Stormwater Quality Program

Common Pollutants

Common pollutants that contribute to stormwater pollution:


Rainstorms wash trash into gutters and storm drains which eventually lead into streams, creeks, rivers, and the ocean. Cigarette butts, paper, fast food containers, plastic bags, cans and bottles, used diapers, construction site debris, industrial preproduction plastic pellets, old tires, and appliances are just some of the different types of trash produced by human activity that continue to pollute waterways. Trash is a significant pollutant to California’s waters that causes​ adverse effects to aquatic life, wildlife, and public health​.

M​otor Oil

Used motor oil significantly contributes to the pollution of Sacramento County's waterways. Petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals found in used motor oil pose a direct threat to fish and other aquatic species. One quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water. That's equivalent to the water in 12 residential swimming pools.

Pet Waste

Pet waste contains bacteria, which in excess can contribute to an increase in water pollution. Please remember to always clean up after your pet. 

Yard Waste

When left in the gutter or dumped into storm drains, yard wastes travel directly to local rivers and creeks. Once in the water, yard wastes decompose rapidly. This process adds excessive wastes to our waterways, which is detrimental. Yard wastes also clog storm drains, rendering them ineffective and causing excessive water buildup.


Avoid over-watering after applying pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticides that run-off into the storm drains can be toxic to aquatic life and pollute local creeks and rivers. It t​akes only one teaspoon of diazinon, a common garden pesticide, to make 2 ½ million gallons of water toxic to some forms of aquatic life.