Doing Your Part

Simple Solutions to Prevent Stormwater Pollution

Doing Your Part is Easier Than You Think!

Small changes in your daily activities can make a big difference in helping to keep California’s highways and precious water clean.

Use these easy tips to prevent or help reduce “stormwater” pollution.

Before You Start Your Trip

The next time you turn on the ignition, think about your vehicle’s maintenance and, more importantly, take action. Keeping up with maintenance helps prevent air and vehicle pollution that will keep our highways cleaner and polluted water from ending up on to our roads and reaching our waterways.

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Tire Inflation – Keeping your tires properly inflated decreases wear and improves gas mileage.

  • Tune-up – Well-maintained vehicles pollute less – a great incentive to keep them serviced! Some cities and counties even have curbside pickup.

  • Check for Leaks – Even a small leak of oil, antifreeze, or other toxic auto fluid can find its way into a storm drain. Get your leaks fixed as soon as possible. In the event of a spill, soak up fluids with kitty litter and disposed of it at a hazardous waste facility.

Trash/Debris

Birds and airplanes are supposed to fly through the air—not trash and debris!

  • Cigarette butts are the most littered item on California’s highways. They contain toxic chemicals and also are a fire hazard. Due to their size and lightweight nature, they can easily wash down storm drains when it rains. Properly extinguish your cigarette butts in an ash tray, then properly dispose to a trash or cigarette receptacle.

  • Clean out your vehicle’s seats and truck beds – If trash, recyclables, and other debris seem to multiply in your car or truck, consider removing the items when you get home each day or when you’re at the gas station – before anything flies out of an open window or truck bed.

  • Tie down/secure loads in truck beds – Make sure items in your truck bed (whether it’s the load, tools, or yesterday’s lunch wrappers) are secure with tarps and tie-downs so these items don’t fall onto the roadway and end up in a storm drain. Where safe to do so, check your load frequently, especially during a long trip.

  • Don’t litter – Take pride in our highways. It’s that simple. Litter and cigarette butts on the highway may be carried into streams, rivers, and the ocean through storm drain systems. Please remember to always properly dispose of all trash and recycling.

Alternative Transportation

  • Consider alternative transportation – Walk, ride a bicycle, take public transit, or join a carpool. Fewer vehicles on California’s roads reduces pollution that can flow into storm drains.

At Home

Here’s what you can do around your home to help prevent or reduce the potential for stormwater pollution:

  • Auto fluids – If you change your vehicle's motor oil at home, dispose of used motor oil and filters at a certified used motor oil collection center such as a national auto parts store or hazardous waste collection site. Don’t pour used motor oil on the ground, on a driveway, or down a storm drain. If there is a spill, clean it up by pouring kitty litter on the fluid and discard it at a household hazardous waste facility.

  • Trash/Recycling – All of our consumer products are packaged; packaging creates heaps of garbage. Properly dispose items where they belong: in the garbage can or recycling bin.

  • Sediment – Help keep yard soil from washing away due to watering or rain by laying mulch or bark around your plants.

  • Yard chemicals – Fertilizers and pesticides that make your yard beautiful can pollute stormwater. Fertilizers also can promote harmful algae growth. If you must use these products, look for less or non-toxic alternatives and don’t apply them if rain is forecasted.

Thank you for helping to reduce pollutants in California’s waterways through your everyday activities!