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StormWater FAQ

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions For Residents

  • Q. Is there a difference between the storm drain and sewer system?
    A. Yes, an important difference. Stormwater and all the pollutants that flow from our homes, parking lots and streets to the gutter into the storm drains discharge directly into our creeks and other water bodies, without being treated. Water and pollutants that flow into the sanitary sewer, such as water from our bathtubs and toilet, are sent to wastewater treatment facilities before the water is discharged into local creeks and rivers.
  • Q. What is a watershed and how do I affect it?
    A. A watershed is an area of land that catches and drains water into a creek, stream or river via direct runoff. As stormwater flows over land and into the storm drain or across the watershed and into the creek, it can carry polluted urban runoff such as used motor oil and grease, pesticides, trash and other harmful debris.
  • Q. Why should I recycle used motor oil?
    A. Recycling the motor oil from your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, RV or lawnmower is one way that you can demonstrate your commitment to protect the environment for future generations while conserving energy resources. Used motor oil contains heavy metals and other harmful contaminates that negatively impact the environment.
  • Q. There’s oil in the street in front of my house. What should I do about it?
    A. If you can’t determine who is responsible for the pollution , sprinkle it with kitty litter, sweep up the soiled absorbent and place it in a household hazardous waste container for disposal at a household hazardous waste facility near you (see quick links).
  • Q. Can I drain my pool into the storm drain?
    A. Only if the pool water is dechlorinated and free of other chemicals. Otherwise is should go to the sanitary sewer. Check with your local sanitary sewer facility for requirements for draining into the sewer system.
  • Q. Leaves and yard clipping are organic. Why can’t I put them down the storm drain?
    A. When organic and/or yard waste decays in water, the “breakdown” process removes oxygen from the water that is necessary for the health of all aquatic species from microorganisms to fish. Essentially, it robs the aquatic life of oxygen and suffocates them.
  • Q. If I can’t dump left over chemicals into the sanitary sewer, what can I do with them?
    A. Take them to your local household hazardous waste facility or to one of the collection events which are regularly held throughout the county. (see quick links).
  • Q. Why shouldn’t I wash my car at home, I use biodegradable soap?
    A. When washing cars, the water runoff can enter the storm drains. This puts pollutants such as grease, dirt, oil, metals and soap to our local creeks. Even biodegradable soaps require oxygen to breakdown, depleting our creeks of the oxygen fish and other organisms need to survive. Also, just because the soap breaks down, doesn’t mean it breaks down into components that should be in the water. It is best to take your car to a car wash where the water is discharged to the sanitary sewer system or wash your car on a lawn or other surface where the water can be drained down and filtered through the soil.
  • Q. It’s ok to rinse my paint supplies out in the gutter, right?
    A. No, it is not ok. All paint equipment needs to be cleaned in a sink that is plumbed to the sanitary sewer. Any sink in your house should do. Also, water based paints can be dried out and put in the garbage. But, oil-based paints should be disposed of at a household hazardous waste site. (see quick links).
  • Q. What am I supposed to do with my dirty mop water; I don’t want to dump it in my clean sink.
    A. If something is too dirty or “gross” for you to want to dump in a sink in your home, it is definitely not acceptable for the storm drain. The water should go into the sink or pour it onto your yard or dirt to soak into the ground. Remember, only rain down the storm drain!
  • For more information regarding proper Household Hazardous Waste disposal including dates, events, times and locations visit: Placer County Garbage and Recycling

Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses

  • Q. Is there a difference between the storm drain and sewer system?
    A. Yes, an important difference. Stormwater and all the pollutants that flow from our homes, parking lots and streets to the gutter into the storm drains discharge directly into our creeks and other water bodies… untreated. Water and pollutants that flow into the sanitary sewer, such as water from our bathtubs and toilet, are sent to wastewater treatment facilities before the water is discharged into local creeks and rivers.
  • Q. Leaves and yard clippings are organic. Why can’t I put them down the storm drain?
    A. When organic and/or yard waste decays in water, the “breakdown” process removes oxygen from the water that is necessary for the health of all aquatic species from microorganisms to fish. Essentially, it robs the aquatic life of oxygen and suffocates them.
  • Q. Why shouldn’t I wash cars in a parking lot for my mobile detailing business, I use biodegradable soap?
    A. When washing cars, the water runoff can enter the storm drains. This puts pollutants such as grease, dirt, oil, metals and soap into local creeks. Even biodegradable soaps require oxygen to breakdown, depleting our creeks of the oxygen fish and other organisms need to survive. Also, just because the soap breaks down, doesn’t mean it breaks down into components that should be in the water. It is best to wash cars at a car wash where the water is discharged to the sanitary sewer system or wash the car on a lawn or other surface where the water can be drained down and filtered through the soil.
  • Q. It’s ok to rinse my paint supplies out in the gutter, right?
    A. No, it is not OK. All paint equipment needs to be cleaned in a sink that is plumbed to the sanitary sewer. Any sink should do. Also, water based paints can be dried out an put in the garbage. But, oil-based paints should be disposed of at a household hazardous waste site.
  • Q. What am I supposed to do with my dirty mop water; I don’t want to dump it in my clean sink.
    A. If something is too dirty for you to want to dump in in a sink, it is definitely not acceptable for the storm drain. The water should go into the sink or pour it onto the landscaping or dirt to soak into the ground. Remember, only rain down the storm drain!

Contact Placer County Stormwater Quality Program

Email

Stormwater Quality Program

Mailing Address

Placer County Stormwater Quality
3091 County Center Drive, Suite 220
Auburn, CA 95603

Office Address

Placer County Stormwater Quality
3091 County Center Drive, Suite 220
Auburn, CA 95603

Phone

530-745-7503

Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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