Storm Drain vs. Sewer Drain

Protecting Our Delta

What Can Go Down a Storm Drain?

Only storm water … with a few exceptions. It’s important to know exactly what an “allowable non-storm water discharge” is and what is not. The State Water Resources Control Board has set guidelines in its Industrial General Permit. Non-Storm water discharges may include the following (This is not a comprehensive list of allowable discharges and in no way shall be viewed as such. Please refer to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board if you have any questions):

• Fire hydrant flushing,
• Potable water sources,
• Atmospheric condensates,
• Irrigation drainage
• Landscape watering,
• Springs and ground water,
• Foundation or footing drainage, and
• Sea water infiltration

A Bridge Crossing over the River

What is Not Allowed?

• Wash down of surfaces,
• Vehicle or equipment wash water,
• Contaminated groundwater,
• Rinse or mop water,
• Pressure / steam wash water,
• Boiler or steam water,
• Contact water,
• Cooling water,
• Stormwater commingled with any of the above.

Ask Yourself …

Q: Why should I be concerned with storm water and storm drains?

A: Stormwater runoff flows directly to the Delta, which is a local favorite for fishing, water recreation, and enjoying the natural habitat. It is important that we maintain a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

Q: I thought all drains are the same. What is the difference between storm drains and sewer drains?

A: The sanitary sewer system collects water from inside our homes and businesses and carries it to a treatment plant where the wastewater is cleaned before being released into the Delta. Storm drains are located along streets and in parking lots and flow directly to the Delta without treatment.

Q: How can I tell the difference between a storm drain and a sewer drain?

A: You cannot always tell the difference by looking at them. Generally storm drains are outside and sewer drains inside … but not always! If in doubt assume it is a storm drain. For positive identification contact the Port’s Environmental Department at (209) 946-0246.

Q: What do I need to do to prevent pollutants to the storm drain?

A: The Port of Stockton requires the following of its tenants:
• All tenants are required to prevent pollutants from coming into contact with stormwater discharges by implementing appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs).
• All tenants are required to eliminate non-stormwater discharges.

If you are an applicable industrial facility, you must obtain an Industrial General Permit. If you don’t know whether or not you are required to have a permit, contact the Port’s Environmental Department. If you need to have a permit, you will also need to develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan.

Q: What BMPs should I consider?

A: Sweep it. Keep your areas clean of solids that can be washed off site by storm water. Perform dry sweeping with brooms, vacuums, or sweeper trucks. Do not hose off your site!
Keep it clean. Clean up spills, leaks, or drips immediately. Clean sites produce clean storm water.
Keep it covered. Cover materials that if exposed could contaminate storm water using permanent structures or temporary coverings such as tarps.
Label it. The Port of Stockton has a labeling program for its storm drains. To obtain labels or replace damaged ones call the Port Environmental Department.

Q: How can YOU help keep our waterways clean?

A: Be proactive as you perform your daily activities. Assess the activity from a stormwater pollution point-of-view and ask yourself; “does this activity, directly or indirectly, generate pollution? And, “how can I get the job done and prevent pollutants from entering into the storm drain collection system?

Remember …

CONTROL: Locate the nearest storm drain(s) and take measures to ensure nothing will enter or discharge into them. This may require you to sweep-up and place debris & sediment in a trash can prior to beginning the work activity.

CONTAIN: Isolate your work area, to prevent any potential flow or discharge from leaving the area.

CAPTURE: Once you have completed a job, be sure to clean-up the area. If there is sediment, sweep it up. If there are liquids, absorb it or vacuum it up with a wet-vac.

The Sanitary Question:

Q: Can I dump whatever I want into the sanitary system?

A: No, the City of Stockton requires most businesses that discharge into their sewer system to obtain an Industrial Waste Discharge Permit that has business specific restrictions. But, there are also restrictions for all discharges to the sewer system. Call the City Stockton Municipal Utilities District for more information or visit their website. http://www.stocktongov.com/mud (209) 937-8750

(This is not a comprehensive list of allowable discharges and in no way shall be viewed as such. Please refer to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board if you have any questions)