Pollution Prevention

Illicit Discharges/Illegal Dumping

Illicit discharges are non-stormwater releases to the storm drain system. Common illicit discharges include:

  • Soil from piles stored too close to creeks
  • Leaves and "green waste" raked into streets or spread along creeks
  • Incidental leaks of petroleum fluids from vehicles and equipment
  • Spills, such as paint and chemicals
  • Illegally dumped solid waste, appliances and debris

Illegally dumped material near San Pablo CreekLarge objects in waterways can lead to flooding and downstream erosion. Other items, including hazardous waste and other toxic substances can seep into the ground and contaminate groundwater and surface water. The County Watershed Program (CWP) holds dischargers responsible for taking corrective action to clean up their releases. According to the County's Enforcement Response Plan, responsible parties may be subject to fines, administrative penalties, property liens and cost recovery.

To report illegal dumping or illicit discharges to storm drains and natural waterways in incorporated and unincorporated cities and towns in Contra Costa County, please call 1-800-NO-DUMPING or, to report illegal dumping in unincorporated Contra Costa County, call the County Public Works Department at 925-313-2000.

To report an active release, or an illegal incident occurring outside of business hours, call the Sheriff's Office at (925) 646-2441 or dial 911.

Click the Help Prevent Illegal Dumping (PDF) for tips on how to properly dispose of your waste and who to call to report illegal dumping.

To report oil spills to navigable waterways, please notify:

National Response Center (US Coast Guard) at 800-424-8802; and

CA Emergency Management Agency at 800-852-7550

Inspection Activities

Leaking oil drums behind a chain link fence

The CWP is also responsible for overseeing monitoring and inspecting businesses within unincorporated Contra Costa County to ensure that their practices do not contribute to stormwater pollution. We work cooperatively with other County departments to make sure businesses remain in compliance with stormwater regulations.

The CWP currently works with two divisions of the Health Services Department: Environmental Health inspects restaurants and horse boarding facilities for stormwater issues including grease, manure, and trash management; while the Hazardous Materials Program inspects industrial and commercial businesses that have hazardous materials onsite and those that generate hazardous waste.