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Last Updated: Aug 29, 2016

Water Pollution Prevention

The Watershed Protection Group actively works with industry, businesses and residents to reduce pollutants entering surface waters and the sanitary sewer and storm drain systems. The Watershed Protection Group advocates for environmental regulations that will improve water quality, and seeks to provide cutting-edge public programs and education.

We are located at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant that treats wastewater from the East Palo Alto Sanitary District, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Stanford. 
Watershed Protection Group 
2501 Embarcadero Way
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: 650.329.2122
Hours: M-F 8 AM to 5:00 PM

Polystyrene Ordinance
For information about the current ordinance and proposed changes to the polystyrene ordinance click here.

Last Updated: Jun 8, 2015
Clean Bay Pollution Prevention Plan 2016
The Clean Bay Pollution Prevention Plan report is an annual summary of the Palo Alto's Regional Water Quality Control Plants efforts on reducing pollution from entering local creeks and the San Francisco Bay.
Cover of report

Reduce Plastics in Our Creeks and Bay
Plastic items like single-use water bottles, food wrappers and "Styrofoam" pieces continue to end up in our creeks. This page summarizes the City's work on reducing plastics in our local creeks, wetlands and Bay.

Wastewater Long Range Facilities Planning
Information about the Wastewater Long Range Facilities Plan, including goals, meetings, maps and policies is located here. Extensive public outreach and notification was given throughout the process.
Linda Gass Artwork

Reporting Spills, Dumping, and Back-Ups
If you notice any unusual substance in or around a storm drain, or if you see someone dumping anything into the storm drain, street, or gutter, to local creeks or the Bay, or elsewhere in the outdoor environment, call 650-329-2413 immediately!

Energy/Compost Feasibility Study
On April 5, 2010 the Palo Alto City Council directed staff to hire a consultant to conduct a Feasibility Study for a dry anaerobic digestion facility on the southeast side of Palo Alto's wastewater treatment plant ("Plant"). (See "April 5, 2010 City Council Meeting Results." )

RWQCP School Outreach Programs
Regional Water Quality Control Plant school outreach programs are available to teach your students about the pollution prevention.

Fats, Oils and Grease
Pouring fats, oils and grease down your kitchen drain can result in backups of sewage in your yard, and eventually to the storm drains in your street. Restaurants and homes can face the same costly problem to clean up and repair.

2009 Plastic Bag Restrictions
The purpose of this summary is to provide information about Palo Alto's Comprehensive Reusable Bag Program, and list reports provided to the City Manager's office.