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The original item was published from 10/15/2021 2:06:21 PM to 5/23/2022 10:35:26 AM.

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Posted on: October 15, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Help Prevent Storm Water Pollution this Rainy Season

Strom Drain Art by Raphael Leiblum Cropped for Website

The City of Arcata is committed to improving local water quality, and preventing stormwater pollution is an easy way community members can help keep Humboldt Bay and other local waterways clean. 

Stormwater is rain that does not get absorbed into the ground, it flows into storm drains. Stormwater runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils and dirt that can harm local creeks and Humboldt Bay.

The City’s storm drainage system is separate from the wastewater sewer system, which means that rainwater and anything that flows into storm drains are not filtered or treated by Arcata’s wastewater treatment plant. When it rains, items commonly left in streets and gutters including leaves, cigarette butts, trash, motor oil and pet waste wash into the City’s storm drains and flow directly into Humboldt Bay, local rivers and creeks.

To keep local waterways clean, we must ensure that only rain goes down the storm drain. Here are some stormwater pollution prevention measures residents can take to help protect local water quality: 

  • Never wash anything into a storm drain: Pick up trash in the gutter and toss it in a garbage can, park your car on a lawn or gravel driveway for washing or take it to a designated car wash, and pour soapy water down the sink.
  • Maintain your vehicle: Inspect and maintain your vehicle regularly to prevent or stop leaks. Recycle any used motor oil at a certified collection center, such as Franklin’s Auto Service, located at 1903 Heindon Road in Arcata.
  • Properly dispose of hazardous waste: Take unwanted, toxic household cleaners, paint thinners, and any other hazardous waste to Humboldt Waste Management Authority’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility, located at 1059 West Hawthorne Street in Eureka.
  • Be a conscious gardener: Use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers sparingly and never apply them if rain is in the forecast. When possible, please use non-toxic alternatives
  • Pick up pet waste: Always dispose of pet waste in a garbage can.

For more information on preventing stormwater pollution, please click here. The Environmental Services Department is also available to assist with additional questions about stormwater pollution and best management practices. For more information, please call 707-822-8184 or email

To report a spill or improper discharge in an Arcata street, road, storm drain or waterway, click here. Community members may also call the Northcoast Stormwater Coalition toll free at 1-707-2STORM2 to report active pollution and storm water concerns. For more information, please visit


Storm Drains by Raphael Leiblum

Artwork by: Raphael Leiblum

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