On the Road

You may not realize it, but small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in keeping stormwater safe and clean. Did you know that water run-off from a driveway, gutter, street or highway is stormwater? That’s true whether it comes from rain, sprinklers or hoses. Do your part at home and on the road to keep California’s stormwater free of pollutants. On the road everyone likes a clean car. But few people think of what’s in the water that’s running off their cars and down the driveway as they are getting washed. The water contains vehicle dirt, grime and brake dust. This contaminated water goes directly from the driveway into storm drains and flows to streams, lakes, rivers and the ocean. Your car can be a big polluter. The next time you turn on the ignition, think about your vehicle’s maintenance and more importantly, take action. 

Prevent Highway Pollution

Keeping our roadways clean prevents polluted water from entering the storm drain system. Here are some car maintenance issues that will help:

Tire Inflation – What does tire inflation have to do with clean water? Keeping your tires properly inflated improves gas mileage and better gas mileage reduces air pollutants. Less pollutants in our air means less pollutants filtering down into our water. Properly tuned up – well-maintained cars pollute less; a great incentive to keep them serviced! If you change your automobile’s oil yourself, dispose of used motor oil and filters at an auto parts store or hazardous waste collection site. Some cities and counties even have curbside pickup.

No leaks – Even a small oil leak, antifreeze or other toxic auto fluid can find its way to a storm drain. Get your leaks fixed or soak up fluids with a mat that can be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.

Trash/Debris – Birds and airplanes are supposed to fly through the air, not trash and debris!

Clean out backs of trucks – Does trash, recyclables and other debris seem to multiply in your car or truck? Get rid of it before it flies out of an open window. A great time to remove items is at the end of the day or when you’re refueling.

Tie down/secure loads in truck beds – Make sure items in your truck bed are secure. Use tarps and tie-downs so they don’t fall out and end up in a storm drain. You’ll need to check your load frequently especially during a long trip.

Don’t litter – Don’t be a Litter Bug; it’s that simple. Litter on the road or sidewalk is easily carried into streams, rivers and beaches through curb, gutter and storm drain systems. This threatens water quality, human and wildlife health, and it’s just plain ugly.

Wipe off brake dust – Don't let the build-up on rims and wheels flow into local waterways when it rains.