By now you’ve certainly heard about the Federal and State regulations aimed at preventing pollution in our creeks, bays, ocean and recreational waters. Some of our routine cleaning activities; such as cleaning sidewalks, patios and other surfaces (i.e. impervious surfaces) often contribute to water pollution. After all, what harm is there in letting a little debris and potable water go down into the gutters? Plenty!
Gutters feed into the storm drain system, which was built for flood control purposes and carrying rainwater away from developed areas. Storm water and all water run-off from outside cleaning practices are not treated like the water in the sewage system – it flows directly into our creeks, bays and ultimately the ocean. This is not just an issue for coastal communities and businesses, but an issue for all of us. Studies show that 90% of water pollution (i.e. polluted creeks, bays and ocean water) is attributed to daily urban activities unrelated to the sewer system. So you're probably wondering what the City of San Luis Obispo is doing to eliminate stormwater pollution and protect our waterways and ecosystems. Below is a list of the formal programs that exist within the city to minimize the opportunity for stormwater pollution.
Creek Clean Up
Creek clean-ups are conducted around 10 times per year by City of San Luis Obispo park rangers. Each year City staff removes roughly 25 tons of trash from open spaces and the riparian zone. This focused effort by our park rangers helps us remove trash from transient encampments, litter, and various other sources of stormwater pollution. Without this effort, our creeks wouldn't be as beautiful as they are today!
Street sweeping helps keep our streets clean and our stormdrains clean and clear of leaves, sticks, trash, and other various debris. Clean stormdrains don't get plugged up and they also keep water quality high as it enters our local creeks, and ultimately the ocean.
To view the street sweeping schedule for your neighborhood please visit our interactive street sweeping map.
Stormdrain Replacement and Maintenance
Storm drain replacement and maintenance is conducted by our Public Works Department. Making sure that our storm drain infrastructure is adequate to handle heavy rain falls helps ensure that our community does not fall victim to flooding or unwanted contamination. Streets maintenance staff maintains all storm drain grates and replaces broken or failing storm drain inlets, ensuring that we minimize the opportunity for organic pollutants such as leaves to enter our storm drain system. For more information on storm drain replacement and Capital Improvement Projects related to storm drain infrastructure please visit our stormdrain improvements page.
The wastewater collections staff conducts all cleaning of storm drain piping and catch basins to help remove unwanted materials prior to it hitting our local creeks. This program is funded by the Public Works Department but managed through the Utilities Department. Wastewater collections staff is equipped with a vacuum truck and high-powered pressure washing sytem that allows them to remove unwanted debris from the stormwater collection system. For more information please visit the stormdrain maintenance page.