Our City Services

Regulations for Stormwater

You are here

URBAN RUNOFF, is all the water that flows from our streets, driveways, buildings, sidewalks and landscapes including STORMWATER.  It doesn’t necessary have anything to do with a “storm”.  It could be just someone over-watering their garden which sends untreated water into the City;s storm drains and downstream to our creeks, the Reclamation Ditch or the Salinas River. All of this water eventually drains into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Urban runoff is the largest threat to the health of our waterways, impacting humans and wildlife alike, because this water picks up contaminants along its path of flow and is untreated. Our rainwater and water we use for such things as watering lawns or washing cars can contain litter, pet waste, pesticides, motor oil, and other hazardous materials.

The protection of our local watersheds and waterways depends upon everyone doing their fair share to protect water quality. There are many simple things you can do to prevent pollutants from entering streets by reducing the flow into our storm drains that carry urban runoff away.

These simple actions are called best management practices (BMP) and include things you can easily incorporate into your everyday life as well as regulations to protect water quality. In many cases, these BMPs are requirements that must be followed.  Refer to PDFs/Links to Regulations, Master Plans and Stormwater Related Documents below for BMP brochures illustrating the best ways to comply with Salinas stormwater requirements for different types of projects/operations as well as other information.

Urban runoff will be recycled and used for irrigation and drinking water in the near future, thanks to the efforts of the City and the City’s Pure Water Monterey partners.  To keep recycling costs down, and the cost of your drinking water, requires the public to be good stewards and refrain from allowing polluted water into the streets and storm drains.  This includes irrigation runoff as well as any other source of pollution.

Federal, State, and Local Regulations for Stormwater

Storm systems and their connections to creeks and rivers were used in the past as ways to dispose of waste.  Even raw sewage was disposed of this way.  On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire, capturing the attention of Time magazine, which described the Cuyahoga as the river that "oozes rather than flows" and in which a person "does not drown but decays".  The US Congress took action to protect the quality of our water by passing the Clean Water Act and creating the Environmental Protection Agency.  The Clean Water Act established water quality standards for surface waters in the United States.  These water quality standards related to stormwater are enforced through a stormwater permitting process. 

California’s stormwater permitting program falls under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program. NPDES authority is delegated to the state for implementation, with authority resting with the State Water Resources Control Board and its nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Salinas lies within the Central Coast Region of the State Water Board and works with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to meet federal and state water quality requirements.Note: Contact Salinas Development Engineering if you will be applying for a building or other construction related permit for guidance: http://www.cityofsalinas.org/our-city-services/public-works/development-engineering