Protecting Creeks and Bay

Welcome to and the Regional Water Quality Control Plant
Thanks for your patience while our website it being redesigned


Watershed Protection Group
2501 Embarcadero Way
Palo Alto, CA 94303
(650) 329-2122

Office Hours:
Monday – Thursday 8:00 - 4:00 pm
Friday - 8:00 to 3:00 pm

Medicines Disposal Information:
(650) 329-2495 or (650) 329-2122

Upcoming Workshops and Tours

Polystyrene Ordinance Changes

The Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) is owned by the City of Palo Alto and treats wastewater from its six partner Cities and agencies: East Palo Sanitary District, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Stanford. Housed in Public Works is the Watershed Protection Group. This group prevents and reduces pollution from entering the San Francisco Bay from wastewater in our service area and protects creeks from stormwater pollution sources in Palo Alto.

Looking for disposal information for cooking oils and grease, hazardous waste and expired or unused medicines?

  • Palo Alto residents and businesses: refer to services on the Zero Waste web page
  • Partner City residents: visit for services and programs that are closest
    to where you live


Is your facial scrub harming the Bay?

 Wonder where your water goes? 

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2016
Handwashing vs Antibacterial Products
Washing hands with soap is still the best way to keep germs at bay. Avoid using personal care products that contain triclosan.

No Drugs Down the Drain
Don't flush expired or unused drugs down toilets or drains. Dispose of medications at a take-back location.
Image of pills

Vehicle Pollution Prevention
Residents and businesses need to do what they can to keep vehicle pollutants out of the environment.

Less-Toxic Pest Control
Come find more information about how residents can reduce pesticide use at home and how the City reduces pesticides used at City properties and public areas.

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.

Mercury Pollution Prevention
San Francisco Bay is contaminated by mercury-an element used in many household items, which is also a potent human nerve toxin.

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!

Excessive amounts of copper can be toxic to the Bay's ecosystem. Find out how you can reduce the amount of copper being released to the environment.

How To Keep Your Sanitary Sewer Working Properly
Ways to prevent sewer backups and avoid expensive emergency plumbing.