Industrial and Commercial Stormwater Inspection Program

In 1987, Congress began to address urban run-off pollution by requiring municipal agencies to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to manage stormwater runoff.  In Alameda County, a single NPDES permit is issued to the public agencies within Alameda County, which collaborate together with the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program (ACCWP), a consortium of 17 member agencies, including the City of Berkeley.  Each agency within the ACCWP is responsible for enforcing the NPDES permit requirements within its respective jurisdiction.  The current NPDES permit can be found on the State Water Resources Control Board's website. 

The Toxics Management Division (TMD) is responsible for conducting stormwater inspections at commercial and industrial businesses to ensure compliance with the requirements of local stormwater ordinances that require businesses to:

  • Prevent the discharge of pollutants into the storm drain systems
  • Eliminate, or significantly reduce outdoor pollutant sources that are likely to be washed into the storm drain system upon contact with rainfall

Common Pollutants

TMD-Stormwater discharge

Automotive fluids such as antifreeze and engine oil are common pollutants of concern at facilities that are involved with auto repair.  These pollutants may be intentionally or accidentally dumped or washed into the storm drain by careless or uninformed employees.  Pollutants may also be washed into the storm drain system when rainwater comes into contact with outdoor spills, oily parts left outside, and other contaminated surfaces. 

Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices are measures that eliminate, reduce, mitigate, or treat pollutant discharges and outdoor exposed pollutant sources.  BMPs may be physical devices (structural BMPs) such as storm drain filters or a roof over a waste storage area, or they can be behavioral (non-structural BMPs) measures, such as initiating a policy of sweeping up debris outdoors on a daily basis.  Some typical BMPs include:

  • Installation and maintenance of on-site storm drain protection such as approved storm drain filter inserts.
  • Keeping outdoor areas swept and clean.
  • Covering or tarping oily, dirty items that must be stored outdoors.
  • Moving hazardous materials indoors or placing it under permanent coverage with secondary containment.
  • Covering outdoor dumpsters.
  • Properly disposing of pressure washing discharges.
  • Cleaning spills prompty with dry methods (as opposed to hosing spills into a storm drain, which is prohibited).

All businesses within the City of Berkeley must incorporate best management practices to prevent pollution of stormwater or water resources in the Bay Area.  More information on pollution prevention, including best management practices for specific activities can be found on the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program website.

The discharge of pollutants to streets and stormdrains and/or creating a potential to pollute stormwater is a violation of local, State, and Federal clean water laws.  TMD inspects facilities regularly or upon response to a compliant to ensure compliance with all clean water regulations.

Related Links

Berkeley Public Works

Alameda County Clean Water Program

Regional Water Quality Control Board