About Piedmont's Clean Water Program 

The natural geography of the City of Piedmont consists of urbanized hills with creeks located in the valleys between. All of the creeks in Piedmont flow into Lake Merritt in Oakland and from there into San Francisco Bay. As they flow through public parks and private property, the creeks provide our community the enjoyment of natural water features and riparian habitats. Unfortunately, these waterways can be negatively impacted by urbanization. Urban runoff is water that becomes polluted when it picks up items such as litter, leaves, pesticides, motor oil, and pet waste that flushes into storm drains and creeks and are then discharged into San Francisco Bay.

The Municipal Regional National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Stormwater Permit (PDF), also known as the Municipal Regional Permit (MRP), issued December 1, 2009, and revised November 28, 2011, by the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, mandates stormwater pollution prevention activities. The MRP requires more than seventy municipalities in the Bay Area, including the City of Piedmont, to place conditions on development projects to incorporate site design measures, source controls, treatment measures, and on larger projects, flow duration controls (FDCs).

Requirements for new development and re-development projects are categorized by the scope of the project as defined in Section C.3 of the Municipal Regional Permit. View the C3 Categories of Projects below to learn more about what requirements apply. You can find much more information and many more resources at the Alameda County Clean Water Program website.

In addition to the stormwater requirements for development projects, the City's Clean Water Program is comprised of a number of different activities including public outreach, maintenance, street sweeping, inspections and enforcement, all of which are intended to minimize the amount of pollution entering our local waterways and San Francisco Bay. Click on the links below to learn more about each of these efforts

Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Pollution Prevention Starts With You!

Urban runoff is water that often becomes polluted when it picks up items such as pesticides, motor oil, pet waste, litter, leaves, etc. that flush into storm drains and creeks and are then discharged into San Francisco Bay.

There are several simple changes we can make in our daily lives to improve and protect our local creeks and San Francisco Bay:

  • Do not pour or wash anything down gutters or storm drains.
  • Clean up outdoor spills with a broom, not a hose.
  • Use absorbent litter, sawdust or cornmeal as needed.
  • Rinse latex paint brushes in the sink, not the gutter.
  • Buy "non-toxic" products whenever possible.
  • Move parked cars from the street side on street sweeping days.
  • Maintain your car regularly and keep it free from leaks.
  • Drive less!
  • Recycle and dispose of automotive fluids properly by taking your used antifreeze, oil filters and motor oil to a recovery facility. Use the Recycling Wizard to find a facility near you.
  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash. Even biodegradable soaps are toxic to aquatic organisms. Please do not permit soap to enter the storm sewer system.
  • Eliminate or reduce your use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. If you must use chemicals, please use them sparingly.
  • Never apply chemicals when rain is in the forecast.
  • Plant your garden with native plants accustomed to our local climate. Check out EBMUD's Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates for more information.
  • There are many non-toxic alternatives available for pest control in your home and garden. Visit the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management Program website for more information.
  • Pick up animal wastes and dispose of them properly by placing them in a garbage can. Animal wastes should NOT be placed in the storm drains, recycling bins, or organic waste bins.
  • Do not over water your yards and gardens. Chlorinated water is toxic to aquatic organisms.
  • Keep all school areas clean and pick up litter regularly.
  • Repair dumpsters that leak and keep areas around dumpsters clean.
  • Clean spills with rags, a mop, and absorbents. Never rinse spills to a storm drain.
  • Keep all work areas clean and pick up litter regularly.
  • Contain leaks by using drip pans and splash guards around and under vehicles and process equipment.
  • Repair dumpsters that leak and keep areas around dumpsters clean.
  • Identify all areas with outdoor equipment and storage of raw or waste materials that are exposed to rainwater and have the potential to be washed to the storm sewer system.
  • Inspect equipment and vehicles regularly for leaks. Fix the leaks.
  • Collect and discharge all wash water to the sanitary sewer system.
  • Clean spills with rags, a mop, and absorbents. Never rinse spills to a storm drain.
  • Store hazardous materials such as grease, paints, solvents and detergents in appropriately labeled containers.
  • Use secondary containment measures for liquids stored outside or inside near a storm drain.
  • Establish a clean-up plan for minor and major spills, post it in work area, and have clean-up kits readily available in accessible locations.

Learn More! Check out the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program for more information on urban runoff pollution prevention. Visit the site's Resources page for additional tips and information for preventing runoff.

Stormwater Treatment & Capture

The City of Piedmont's Clean Water Program aims to reduce the amount of pollutants entering our storm sewer system. Due to the fact that the city is built-out, there is a significant amount of impervious surface area (rooftops, paved surfaces, streets, etc) preventing stormwater from reaching the soil. Instead, stormwater flows over impervious surface areas (collecting any pollutants) and enters the storm sewer system which flows untreated to our creeks and bay.

Discover the many ways to Detain the Rain (PDF) at your home including capture of stormwater in a rain barrel or cistern for use during the dry months, re-routing roof gutters and drainage to reach landscaping, and increasing the amount of pervious surface area.

Development Projects and Single-Family Home Projects

New and redevelopment projects are required to treat stormwater runoff from the site to prevent stormwater pollution. The City is mandated by the Regional Water Quality Control Board NPDES permit, which requires specific measures for development projects including site design, source control and treatment of stormwater runoff.

Additional Resources

Video podcasts from San Francisco Estuary Partnership on rain gardens, green streets, and rainfall capture.

Street Sweeping

The City of Piedmont operates a street sweeping program with scheduled sweeps from September through February and as-needed sweeps during the remainder of the year. In an urban area like the City of Piedmont, street sweeping allows for the collection and removal of litter, leaves, and other visible debris that accumulate at the curb. This debris can block storm sewer facilities, causing localized flooding during heavy rains.

An equally important, but less visible benefit of street sweeping is the removal of metal particles and other hazardous waste products left by passing vehicles. Although they are virtually invisible, these particles can be extremely harmful to fish and other wildlife if they reach our creeks and/or San Francisco Bay.

To help the City keep the streets free of leaves during the fall and winter months, residents are reminded to follow these rules:

  1. Do not put branches in the street, even small branches! They damage the street sweeping equipment.
  2. Do NOT sweep debris from your yard into the gutter (only leaves that fall naturally into the street). DO NOT bag leaves and then empty the bags on the street on sweeping day!
  3. Leaves and other plant debris from your yard should be deposited into your green Organics cart provided by Richmond Sanitary Service (RSS). Yard debris and other organic materials, such as kitchen food scraps and food-soiled paper, are collected weekly in unlimited amounts. If you don't have enough room in your Organics cart, call Richmond Sanitary Service (1-800-320-8077) and request FREE compostable bags to place with your green Organics cart on garbage day and/or to request an additional Organics cart should you consistently have additional organic material. RSS also provides compostable yard bags at the Public Works counter in City Hall.
  4. Leaves that have fallen onto the street should be swept into narrow rows outside the flow line of the gutter. Please DO NOT put them in piles as our current sweepers cannot effectively sweep up piled leaves.
  5. If you need “No Parking” signs in front of your house to keep cars off the street, they are available free of charge in the Public Works Office at City Hall. Please post them at least 24 hours in advance and DO NOT staple or nail them to trees, use string and tie them instead.

The street sweeping schedule (PDF) for September through February is available online as well as at the Public Works counter in City Hall and on KCOM's (cable channel 27) reader board. In addition, as a public service the Piedmont Post prints the sweeping schedule on a weekly basis during the autumn and winter months. For street sweeping concerns, please contact the Department of Public Works Office at (510) 420-3050.

Street sweeping serves as a key part of the City's commitment to protect and restore local creeks and to help protect downstream water quality in San Francisco Bay.

Report Illicit Discharge Incidents - Only Rain Down the Storm Drain!

Only rain belongs in the storm sewer system. Everything else, with few exceptions, is considered a pollutant and can impair water quality. Anyone placing these materials into the street gutter or storm sewer inlet is in violation of Chapter 30 of the City of Piedmont Municipal Code and is subject to a fine or imprisonment. If you witness illegal dumping or a sanitary sewer overflow (usually occurring at a manhole cover), immediately contact the City of Piedmont. The Public Works Department, (501) 420-3050, can take your calls during weekday office hours and you can report incidents anytime during the day or night to the City's Fire Department (510) 420-3000.

Typical pollutants include:

  • Automotive fluids
  • Cleaning products
  • Concrete
  • Food waste
  • Herbicides
  • Paint
  • Pesticides
  • Sediment
  • Sewage overflows
  • Yard waste

For More Information, please see the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program or Our Water Our World

Piedmont's Creeks: Our Local World of Water


There are five creeks located within Piedmont: Pleasant Valley Creek, Bushy Dell Creek, Wildwood Creek, Indian Gulch (Trestle Glen Creek) and Glen Echo Creek (Cemetery Creek). These five creeks and the land areas that drain into them form watersheds that empty into Lake Merritt in Oakland, and from there into San Francisco Bay. The source for Pleasant Valley Creek is in Dracena Park and the source for Bushy Dell Creek is in Piedmont Park. All five traverse a combination of public lands and residential private properties in a combination of buried and open channels.

The City's Clean Water Program is designed to help protect our local waterways and prevent pollution.

Streambed Alteration. Creeks and other streams are protected by State and Federal regulations. Before doing any construction, landscaping, creek bank stabilization or application of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, you MUST contact the City of Piedmont Public Works Department at (510) 420-3050. Alteration of creek banks requires a permit from the California Department of Fish and Game and may require permission from other regulatory agencies. For more information, please refer to Protecting Piedmont's Creeks (PDF).

Explore Piedmont's Creeks

Bay-Friendly Landscaping

Bay Friendly

Bay-Friendly Landscaping is a holistic approach to gardening and landscaping that works in harmony with the natural conditions of the San Francisco Bay Watershed. Bay-Friendly practices foster soil health, conserve water and other valuable resources while reducing waste and preventing pollution. Bay-Friendly Landscaping & gardening promotes healthy vegetation that is suited for our local climate, and minimizes demand on synthetic fertilizers and water resources.

The Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition has extensive information about how you can become a Bay-Friendly gardener and a calendar of home gardener events.

City of Piedmont Regulations

The City has adopted a Civic Green Building and Bay-Friendly Landscaping Ordinance that applies to larger City-owned projects. See Section 17.11.10 (PDF) of the Municipal Code.

Additional Resources

To learn more about landscaping practices that protect San Francisco Bay, click on the following links: Plants and Landscapes for Summer Dry Climates and Our Water Our World.

C3 Categories of Development Projects

The goal of Provision C.3 of the Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit (MRP) is to include appropriate source control, site design, and stormwater treatment measures in new development and redevelopment projects. These measures are intended to address both soluble and insoluble stormwater runoff pollutant discharges and prevent increases in runoff flows from new and redevelopment projects. The C.3 goal is to be accomplished primarily through the implementation of low impact development (LID) techniques.

Construction Site Best Management Practices (BMPs and Control Measures)

For any project that proposes to disturb the site, Piedmont's Chief Building Official may require the implementation of appropriate and effective erosion and other construction pollutant controls by the project's construction site operators and/or developers as outlined under MPE Provision C.6.

Categories of MRP Regulated Projects
Small Projects and Single-Family Home Projects include:

  • a) Projects that create and/or replace at least 2,500 square feet, but less than 10,000 square feet, of impervious surface, and
  • b) Individual single-family homes that create and/or replace 2,500 square feet or more of impervious surface.

These projects must include at least one of the following site design measures:

  • Direct roof runoff into cisterns or rain barrels for use and/or onto vegetated areas.
  • Direct runoff from sidewalks, walkways, and/or patios onto vegetated areas.
  • Direct runoff from driveways/uncovered parking lots onto vegetated areas.
  • Construct sidewalks, walkways, and/or patios with permeable surfaces.
  • Construct bike lanes, driveways, and/or uncovered parking lots with permeable surfaces.

Small Projects and Single Family Home Projects, as defined by section C.3 of the MRP, are required to complete the City of Piedmont's Stormwater Requirements Checklist (PDF) for Small Projects.

Other relevant documents for Small and Single-Family Projects include:

C3 Regulated Development and Redevelopment Projects include
Construction of such projects in Piedmont is uncommon. However, they are required to treat the permit-specified amount of stormwater runoff with Low Impact Development (LID) methods and the stormwater treatment requirements must be met using evapotranspiration, infiltration, and/or rainwater harvesting and reuse. Where this is infeasible, landscape-based treatment measures with underdrains may be used. To begin, complete and submit the Stormwater Requirements Checklist for Regulated Projects. This form will assist both the project applicant and City staff through the planning/permitting process and will help identify the pertinent stormwater requirements.

Please also refer to the Stormwater Quality Control Requirements for Developers, Builders and Project Applicants and the C.3 Technical Guidance, which provides guidance on Low Impact Development (LID) Requirements, numeric sizing calculations, using site design measures, and the hydromodification management (HM)standard. Other regulated project checklists and sample plans include:

MRP Provision C.3.e.ii Special Projects. When considered at the watershed scale, certain land development projects characterized as smart growth, high density, or transit-oriented development can either reduce existing impervious surfaces, or create less “accessory” impervious areas and automobile-related pollutant impacts. Incentive LID Treatment Reduction Credits approved by the Water Board may be applied to these Special Projects, which are Regulated Projects that meet the specific criteria. To determine if your project meets these criteria, please complete the Special Project Worksheet.