Storm water is rain that does not get absorbed into the ground. It flows into storm drainage systems and is washed directly into local bodies of water such as creeks and rivers. Storm water can also refer to any runoff that occurs from washing cars, power washing impervious surfaces, over watering of lawns and gardens or other sources.
Because stormwater receives no treatment or filtration, it carries pollutants into local creeks, sloughs and Humboldt Bay. In general, if a pollutant enters a storm drain, it will discharge directly into the nearest creek or waterway with no further treatment before it enters Humboldt Bay and then the ocean. Federal, state and local laws require that businesses and citizens put only rain down the drain!
For additional information about stormwater and non-point pollution, check out the following resources:
Humboldt Bay is the 2nd largest estuary in California and the most ecologically diverse coastal embayment on the U.S. west coast. It provides habitat for hundreds of thousands of migratory water birds. It is home to more than 100 fish species and 350 invertebrate animal species - many of which are commercially-valuable and dependent on the Bay for spawning and rearing habitat.
Run-off from the storm drains can have a significant impact on the water quality of the Bay. During the rainy season, large amounts of pollutants flow into the bay, depositing toxins and sediments. Because the Bay is large and shallow but has such a small mouth, it does not flush well. Thus, pollutants build up, potentially degrading its water quality. Polluted storm water run-off presents an ongoing hazard for the fish, birds, and other wildlife living in and around the Bay and for all who use and enjoy it.
Storm drains are meant to divert storm water from our streets and prevent flooding. They lead straight to creeks and Humboldt Bay without filtration. It is against the law to throw anything into the street, gutter or creek - like litter, leaves, cigarettes, pet waste, restaurant wash water or auto fluids like motor oil. If these items are in the street or gutter, they will wash into a storm drain and pollute our creeks and Humboldt Bay. Federal, state and local laws require that businesses and citizens put only rain down the drain!
So please, help keep our creeks and Humboldt Bay clean by not washing materials into streets and gutters.
Call the City at 707-822-8184 if you see any large or hazardous item in the street or gutter, or email reports to the Environmental Services Department.