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VTA Stormwater Management Program

VTA is committed to protecting local creeks and rivers, and in turn the San Francisco Bay to which they flow, by preventing pollution from stormwater runoff.

Stormwater runoff occurs when excessive water from irrigation, car washing and other sources carries litter, pesticides, oil, pet waste, and other pollutants directly into the storm drain system.  Unlike water that enters the sewer system, such as from a kitchen sink, water flowing to storm drains is not treated. The storm drain system is a major source of pollution in San Francisco Bay, posing a threat to wildlife and water quality.

At VTA, stormwater pollution prevention is accomplished by promoting environmental awareness through training and education and following Best Management Practices in our operations and maintenance activities.

Picture shows how trash gets into creeks

Litter and Illegal Dumping

Litter that washes into storm drains eventually ends up in the bay. If you observe trash or debris on the ground, or illegal dumping, at a VTA transit facility please report it by calling VTA Customer Service at (408) 321-2300, hearing impaired only (408) 321-2330. You can also e-mail

Another option is to use VTA's free smart phone app VTA ALERTS, which allows you to report litter and trash, or illegal dumping, issues. 

Landscaping and Garden Maintenance

Leaves, lawn clippings, soil from construction or landscaping activities and poor irrigation practices can clog storm drains and introduce pesticides or other pollutants into our waterways.

Here are some ways VTA works to keep stormdrains clear of pollution:

  • In spring 2016, VTA replaced the lawn along North First Street at its River Oaks Administrative Offices with drought-tolerant landscaping  and installed low flow drip irrigation to minimize evaporation and water runoff.  
  • At VTA park & ride lots and transit centers, irrigation controllers control runoff through timing.  Watering periods are broken up into small segments, with “rest” periods in between, to allow water to soak into the soil.  This eliminates sheet runoff that is common source of stormwater.
  • ‚ÄčAt the newly reconstructed VTA Eastridge Transit Center, pervious pavers were used in place of traditional materials, to allow water to infiltrate the soils beneath, rather than running into the nearest storm drain.  Runoff from the parking lot is also directed into a bioswale, or vegetated ditch, which filters the water and returns it to the groundwater supply.
  • Through these and other methods, VTA is keeping irrigation water on plants, in the ground, and out of the storm drains.

Here are some ways you can work to keep stormdrains clear of pollutants:

  • Adjust your sprinklers or irrigation systems to prevent over-watering, and prevent water from draining onto paved surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks.
  • Consider installing efficient irrigation systems and water-wise plants.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean up outside. Sweep dirt into landscaping to prevent it from entering storm drains.
  • Compost leaves and yard clippings, or recycle them through your yard waste recycling program.

Car Washing and Vehicle Maintenance

Washing your car in the driveway, street or carport can carry detergents, oil, brake dust, metals and other chemicals to the storm drain that leads directly to local creeks and the Bay.
  • Wash your car in an unpaved area or better yet, take it to a commercial car wash. Did you know you can get discounts on local car washes? Click here for more information.
If you change your own oil or other automotive fluids:
  • Use a funnel to pour fluid into a plastic container and recycle the used fluids with your local curbside recycling pickup, or through the Household Hazardous Waste collection center. Never drain or pour any auto fluid onto the street or into a storm drain.

Pesticides and Water Pollution

Did you know that more than half of California pesticide use is in urban areas - and applied by residents, home gardeners and pest control professionals in and around schools, businesses and homes?
  • To control pests in and around your home, consider managing them naturally by attracting beneficial insects which feed on pests. Remember that when you apply pesticides, you are treating the symptom, rather than the cause of the problem.
  • Physical barriers (soaps and oils) and good housekeeping are always preferable to chemical pesticides. However, in situations where a pesticide is necessary, consider less-toxic products. Using less-toxic products is safer for your family and pets, for beneficial insects and birds, and for our waterways.


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