Only let rain down the storm drain

Only let rain down the storm drain. Stormwater flows untreated into Humboldt Bay

Before pouring anything into the street gutter or down the storm drain, remember that stormwater flows directly into creeks and Humboldt Bay. Your Environmental Services Department reminds you to let only rain go down the storm drain. Please put pet waste in the trash. Take used motor oil to Franklin's Service on Heindon Road in Arcata, and any unwanted pesticides, cleaners and paint thinners to the Humboldt Waste Management Authority's household hazardous waste facility at 1059 West Hawthorne Street in Eureka. Click here for more stormwater pollution prevention.


Long billed curlews and coots at Arcata Marsh

December 6, 2013




Even though you may live miles from Humboldt Bay, you may be polluting bay waters without knowing it. Before pouring anything into the street, gutter or down the drain, think about this: On rainy days in Humboldt County, storm drain contents flow directly into creeks, through the sloughs and marshes, and empty into Humboldt Bay.

The storm drain system is separate from our sewer system and rain water and other fluids flowing into storm drains are not treated by our sewage treatment system. Motor oil and antifreeze from driveways, pet waste, pesticides and fertilizers from our yards, and muddy runoff from construction sites wash into the streets and storm drains, impacting the water quality of our streams, creeks and Humboldt Bay.

Our Bay is one of the most ecologically diverse bays on the U.S. west coast. Just one quart of motor oil dumped into a storm drain can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water, harm the fish and birds living in and around our creeks and Humboldt Bay, and pose a hazard for anyone who uses the Bay, including those who rely on it for their livelihoods.

To keep our bay waters clean, remember that only rain should go down the storm drain. Park your car on a lawn or gravel driveway for washing and pour any soapy washing water down a drain connected to the sewer. Pick up and properly dispose of your pet’s waste in a garbage can. Use pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers sparingly and do not apply them if rain is forecast. When possible, use non-toxic alternatives, and do the same for household cleaning products. Take unwanted, toxic household cleaners, paint thinners and used motor oil to the Humboldt Waste Management Authority’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility on West Hawthorne Street in Eureka. Used motor oil can also be recycled in Arcata at Franklin’s Service at 1903 Heindon Road, or at the Arcata Resource Recovery Center at 1445 10th Street.

For a wealth of stormwater pollution prevention information for homes and businesses, go to and search for “stormwater,” or call the City of Arcata Environmental Services Department at (707) 822-8184.