Stormwater Management FAQs
- Why worry about stormwater? Isn't it just rainwater?
Understanding the difference between sanitary sewer drains and storm drains is key to understanding the reason we need to manage storm water. Indoor waste drains in Livermore are connected to a network of sewer lines that flow into the Livermore Water Reclamation Plant. There, the wastewater is treated to a high degree before discharge to the San Francisco Bay. Outdoor drainage typically flows directly to the nearest creek or watercourse, without any treatment. As rain falls to the ground, it comes in contact with pollutant sources that increase the potential for pollution of the runoff that flows into the storm drain system.
- Is stormwater regulated?
The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) requires Bay Area cities and counties to conduct stormwater management programs. The objective of these programs is to minimize the release of pollutants into the environment that pose a significant threat to local creeks and the San Francisco Bay. Along with Alameda County, Zone 7 Water Agency, and 13 other cities in the county, the city of Livermore is regulated by a stormwater discharge permit issued by the RWQCB. Since 1991, these member agencies of the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program have worked together to educate the public on how to keep businesses and homes from contributing to storm water pollution. The entities also coordinate activities with other pollution prevention programs, such as wastewater treatment plants, hazardous waste disposal, and water recycling.
- Who maintains the storm drains and drainage ditches?
The Water Resources Division is responsible for maintaining storm drains and drainage ditches in public areas and along city streets. Storm drains and ditches divert the water and debris after a storm or rain shower away from road surfaces and public areas to prevent flooding. The storm drain system consists of inlets or catch basins, open channels and ditches, underground pipelines, and detention ponds. Water Resources Division personnel routinely clean drains and ditches to remove any obstacles obstructing the flow of water, and make structural improvements to ensure that the system can efficiently and reasonably handle the water flow.
- What else does the City do to manage stormwater?
The water that flows into the storm drain system is not treated before emptying into the local creeks. Preventing pollutants from entering the storm drain system is an important function of the Source Control Section of the Water Resources Division. The Source Control staff inspects industrial and commercial facilities to identify illegal discharges or conditions that could allow pollutants to enter the storm drain system. The staff educates business operators about the requirement to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce pollutants entering storm drains. Staff also responds to reports of spills or dumping into the storm drain system, and takes enforcement action in the event of noncompliance with regulations.
- Who do I call if a storm drain has backed up or my street is flooding?
Contact the Water Resources Division at 960-8100 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During other hours and on weekends, call the Water Resources Division at 960-8160.
- What can Livermore citizens do to help?
Remember to never dispose of leaves, grass clippings or trash into the storm drain system, or in a location such as a roadway where the debris can be swept into the system by storm water. Such actions can result in serious flooding during the next storm. Also, never dump oil, paint, pesticides, or other pollutants into the street, gutter or storm drain. Remember the slogan, "Only Rain Down the Storm Drain" to help keep our local creeks and Bay clean. Also, be sure to let us know of any illegal dumping or practices you observe that could cause pollution of stormwater or obstruct the storm drain system. Call the same numbers listed above for reporting backups/flooding.
- How do I get more information about the City of Livermore Stormwater Program?
Call the Water Resources Division during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. That number again is 960-8100.