The City of Arcata is committed to improving local water quality, and our Environmental Services Department is encouraging community members to help us prevent storm water pollution this rainy season.
Storm water is rain or fluid that is not absorbed into the ground. It flows into a storm water drainage system, which is separate from our wastewater system. Rainwater, other fluids and debris entering storm drains are not treated by our sewage treatment plant and flow directly into Humboldt Bay and local rivers, creeks and streams.
Common items left in streets and gutters include leaves, yard waste, cigarettes, soapy runoff from washing cars, trash, pet waste, motor oil, garden pesticides, fertilizers and muddy runoff from construction sites. These items wash into streets, enter the City’s storm drains and flow directly into our local bodies of water. This has negative impacts on our water quality, which affects everyone, including wildlife.
To keep our water clean, we must ensure that only rain goes down our storm drains.
Our Environmental Services Department recommends taking five easy storm water pollution prevention measures:
1. Never wash anything into a storm drain.
2. Maintain your vehicle. Wash your car on a lawn, gravel or driveway, and pour soapy water down the sink, not in the street. Inspect and maintain your vehicle regularly to prevent fluid leaks, and recycle used motor oil at a certified collection center. Arcata residents can even pick up a free motor oil container from our Environmental Services Department, Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. For more information click here.
3. Properly dispose of hazardous waste. Get rid of toxic household cleaners, paint thinners and other hazardous waste at the Humboldt Waste Management Authority’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility, located at 1059 West Hawthorne Street in Eureka. It’s open to Humboldt County residents Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM and by appointment for businesses.
4. Be a smart gardener. Never sweep or dump leaves, grass clippings, yard waste, gravel or soil into streets or gutters. Use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers sparingly. Never apply pesticides if rain is in the forecast. Whenever possible, use non-toxic alternatives. For more smart gardening tips, click here.
5. Pick up after yourself and your pet. Properly dispose your trash or pet’s waste in a garbage can. To learn more about how pet waste can have a negative impact on local water quality, click here.
For more information on storm water pollution, click here, or call the Environmental Services Department at 707- 822-8184.
To report a spill or improper discharge in an Arcata street, road, storm drain or waterway, click here.
Artwork by: Raphael Leiblum