What do you know about stormwater?

The North Coast Stormwater Coalition (NCSC) invites all community members to participate in the 2018 Stormwater Survey. The NCSC works collaboratively with North Coast County and City governments to reduce stormwater pollution and protect local watersheds. The Coalition will use the survey to gauge the public’s knowledge of stormwater issues, including the impacts of urban run-off and other harmful discharges into local waterways like the Noyo River and the Pacific Ocean. Based on the survey responses, the Coalition will improve our regional stormwater pollution prevention education and outreach program. Your input is invaluable on this anonymous survey. Please complete the survey online.

Reporting Pollution - PD Dispatch Line - 964-0200

To report an activity / incident involving pollution (oil, wastewater, litter, sediment, or any unknown material) entering the gutter or storm drain inlet, please call dispatch ASAP and be ready to provide your contact information, date of the incident / activity, address, or location of the activity, and a description of the pollution activity you are reporting.

Storm Water Resource Planning

The Storm Water Resource Plan (SWRP) Committee is hosting several public meetings to receive community input on watershed priorities and to create a stakeholder group who will assist in developing a list of potential projects for funding. Projects which are included in the SWRP will then be competitive for the next round of Prop 1 funding. Potential benefit projects must be located in the Noyo River, Big River, and Pudding Creek Frontal Pacific Ocean watersheds. See the County’s SWRP website for upcoming meeting details and a link to the Project submission portal.

Project submittals will be evaluated based on their potential to decrease pollutants entering water bodies, storm water capture, reuse, and regional watershed impacts. Example projects could include trash capture devices, Low Impact Development, streambed or habitat restoration, ground water recharge, etc.

Minimizing Pollution

Timely reliable information is necessary to predict the timing and location where dumped materials will re-emerge which provides an opportunity to apprehend the materials (and/or suspects) and thereby minimize the extent to which pollution of the storm drain inlets affects aquatic ecosystems in Pudding Creek, Noyo River, coastal wetlands, and the Pacific Ocean.

Pet Waste

Winter is here! Rain is forecast on the North Coast, and we need your help! Pet waste left on sidewalks, streets, yards, and recreational areas can be washed away by rain, making its way into storm drains that lead into our local waterbodies. Pet waste is a major contributor to stormwater pollution. It harms water quality and aquatic wildlife. Please help by cleaning up after your pet and by keeping storm drains free of other debris.

Pet waste station

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation events. The part of the stormwater that cannot soak into the ground becomes "stormwater runoff." The more earth that is covered by impervious surfaces like asphalt, or rooftops, the less stormwater can infiltrate the earth to recharge groundwater and maintain summer stream-flows. Cities with lots of houses, roads, and buildings generate more stormwater runoff than wild lands with abundant soil and vegetation. Stormwater runoff washes oil and grease, litter, cigarette butts, lawn and garden chemicals, dirt, and bacteria from sidewalks and roads and carries it to storm drain inlets throughout the city.

The cleaner and greener the city, the milder and cleaner the runoff. Storm drains under the city are like invisible tributaries that join together into increasingly larger pipes that release stormwater runoff into native waterways including streams, rivers, and, eventually, the ocean. We can improve the quality of stormwater runoff and the health of our rivers and ocean by repairing oil leaks on our cars, walking, running, or biking around town, recycling, minimizing chemicals we put out onto the street, and utilizing trash cans to dispose of litter.

Plastic Snack Wrappings

Plastic snack wrappings are a major ocean pollutant found in stormwater runoff from the mainlands. This plastic is accumulating in giant floating rafts in the ocean. Some forms of plastic may trap or choke animals. As some of this plastic degrades into tiny pieces, fish ingest them as if they were food without providing nutrition.

Stormwater Concerns

Stormwater is of concern for two main issues: one related to the volume and timing of runoff water (flood control and water supplies) and the other related to potential contaminants that the water is carrying, i.e. water pollution.

First Flush

First flush is the initial surface runoff of a rainstorm. During this phase, water pollution entering storm drains in areas with high proportions of impervious surfaces is typically more concentrated compared to the remainder of the storm. Consequently these high concentrations of urban runoff result in high levels of pollutants discharged from storm sewers to surface waters.