Good Housekeeping Practices for Santa Cruz County Residents

By using simple good housekeeping practices around your work and home, County residents, business owners, and employees can minimize non‐point source pollution that can enter our Monterey Bay. There are two drainage systems: sewers and storm drains. While the sewer system conveys household wastewater into a sewage treatment plant, the storm drain system was designed to prevent flooding by carrying excess rainwater away from city streets and out to the ocean.

Because the system contains no filters, it now serves the unintended function of carrying urban pollution straight to the ocean. Rain, industrial and household water mixed with urban pollutants create stormwater pollution. Some common examples of urban pollutants include oil, automotive fluids, paint, construction debris, yard and pet wastes, pesticides and litter.

Each day, 100 million gallons of polluted urban runoff enter the ocean untreated, leaving toxic chemicals in our surf and over 4,500 tons of trash on our beaches annually. The County of Santa Cruz’ Stormwater Program has produced the following good housekeeping measures (located on the right) that all citizens can implement in their daily activities to reduce the amount of trash, chemicals and other pollutants into our precious beaches and ocean. Residents can also call (831) 454‐2160 to receive other educational materials.

Drainage Review Resources

The following drainage and development resources may be helpful if you are planning on, or are in the process of applying for, a development permit that requires drainage review. Any project that increases impervious area and/or significantly alters drainage patterns requires drainage review.

  • A brochure with drainage guidelines for single family dwellings is available at sccoplanning.com or at the Planning Department counter at 701 Ocean Street, 4th floor.
  • The County Design Criteria, which includes storm water design guidelines, is available for purchase at the County Surveyor’s Office at 701 Ocean Street, 4 th floor. Storm drain facility maps for the Zone 5 drainage District area are also available at the Surveyor’s Office.
  • Drainage and site design guide “BASMAA’s Start at the Source Manual (1999)”
  • Rainfall and stream flow data for the area is available through: USGS
  • Various maps, and dozens of other layers of mapped information used in the permittng and planning process, are available here. Click the APN SEARCH button and type in an Assessor Parcel Number (APN) to zoom directly to your parcel. Turn on the groundwater recharge and water supply watershed layers to check if your parcel is located in one of these zones that require drainage plans to maintain pre‐development runoff rates.
  • The USDA’s soil survey for Santa Cruz County is available here.
  • To check on the status of your development application, click here for the Unified Fee Schedule.
  • To reach the California Department of Water Resources go to cdec.water.ca.gov
  • To read about the EPA’s Storm Water Phase II‐ Final Rules, go here.

Good Housekeeping Measures

Monterey Bay Begins on your Street
Taking Care of your Vehicle and the Environment
Taking Care of your Home and the Environment
Painting, General Home Maintenance and Construction
Preventing Plumbing Problems and Sewer Overflows
Tending your Garden Pool & Spa

Other Helpful Links

Green Business Program
Recycling and Solid Waste Programs
Household Hazardous Waste
Environmental Health
Planning Department
Parks and Recreation
Streamcare Guide
Resource Conservation District Publications