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  • Water draining into strom drain

General Tips

Whether someone cleans paintbrushes on the driveway, dumps an auto ashtray at a curb, or drops a candy wrapper on the ground, the litter is washed, untreated and dumped into storm water systems and then into our waterways and onto our beaches. Litter in storm water systems impacts people, animals, fish, and plants.

By following these simple practices you can assure a healthy environment for both your neighborhood and our local waterways

  • When cleaning vinyl floors, carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces dispose of the used wash-water in the sink or toilet, or pour it on the lawn.  Please don’t wash it down your driveway into the gutter.
  • Always drain your residential pool water into a sewer line.  For convenience, use the sewer clean out connection in your yard.
  • You can also access the sewer system drain in your toilet, bathtub or sink inside your home.  Be cautious that you do not flood your home if you use this option.
  • If you are unable to locate the sewer clean out, you can drain your pool water into a vegetated area, but be advised that chemicals may be very harmful to your landscaping.
  • Dispose of water based paint (if possible, do not throw away unused portions) and cleaning water into the sink or toilet and not the storm drain.  Empty (clean) paint cans may be disposed in the trash.
  • Paint must be completely dried out, lid removed, and mixed with kitty litter to absorb any additional moisture before being placed in waste containers.
  • Store waste bins away from storm drains.  Clean and sweep trash disposal areas and check waste bins for leaks to ensure it does not enter the storm drain.
  • Sweep walkways and driveways before washing, and use non-toxic soap, if possible.  Do not use a hose.
  • Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter.  Carrying a personal ashtray is a great way to prevent litter.
  • Do not drop any waste into our streets, including liquid chemicals.  Any litter that gets into our gutters affects our stormwater.
  • Do not sweep grass clippings and garden wastes into gutters and/or streets.  This includes being aware of how you administer your fertilizer, ensuring it does not find its way into our stormwater system.
  • Clippings and sticks that are placed in the yard waste container are recycled.
  • Never pour household chemicals into gutters/inlets.
  • When washing your car, do it on your lawn to minimize impacts from soap, mud, oil, and grease in our water system.
  • Take a plastic bag or other suitable container to collect those little presents your dog leaves behind when you go for a walk.

Contact Republic Services for best solutions of getting rid of household hazardous waste.  You can type in what type of waste you are trying to get rid of and the website will direct you to the best solution.

Pet Owners

By following these simple pet practices, you will be creating a healthy environment in and around your home for your family.  As an added bonus, you’ll create a safe and healthy neighborhood and keep our waterways clean.

  • When walking your dog, always carry a pooper-scooper or plastic bag to pick up your pet’s waste and properly dispose of pet waste by flushing it down the toilet or placing it in the trash.  Abandoned pet waste is a neighborhood nuisance that can carry dangerous diseases into our local creeks, Salina River, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
  • To avoid contamination, always make sure animal waste is bagged before it’s added to your other solid waste.
  • Consider using less toxic shampoos and flea control products for your pets.


Believe it or not, leaves and grass can be harmful to marine life when you use your garden hose to wash them into the gutter.  That’s because once yard waste is in our city streets, it flows into our local waterways and straight out to the ocean, where it decomposes and creates potentially harmful algae.  Pesticides and fertilizers washed off lawns or gardens add to the urban runoff mix and are toxic to marine life.

Here are a few simple good housekeeping practices you can follow to assure a healthy environment for both your neighborhood and our local waterways:

  • Use minimum amounts of the least toxic pesticides and herbicides only if there is an actual problem, not as a preventative measure.
  • Use a broom to sweep your driveway or sidewalk.  Do not use a hose.
  • Strategically apply products on your lawn when rain is not expected.
  • Use water wisely while irrigating your lawn and garden.
  • Read labels and use pesticides and fertilizers as directed.  Do not over apply.
  • Compost green waste or recycle it in your City-issued green recycling bin.

Safely dispose of toxic household hazardous waste.  The Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority provides disposal services.

Home Auto Repair

When working on your car, it’s important to follow these environmental good housekeeping practices to keep your home, neighborhood and our local rivers, creeks and ocean pollutant free.

  • Keep up car maintenance to reduce leakage of oil, antifreeze and other fluids.
  • If you have a leaking car, place a piece of remnant carpet or a sealable container under the leak to capture it while you fix the leak.
  • When changing car fluids, use a drip pan to collect any spills.  If a spill occurs, soak it up using an absorbent material such as kitty litter or sawdust and dispose of it properly.
  • When changing your oil, use a clean container for used oil – don’t mix oil with other fluids.
  • Recycle your used oil, oil filters, old batteries and unwanted fluids.
  • Keep a trash bag in the car. Never throw trash out of your car window.

Find a Motor Oil Recycling Center