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Storm Water - Introduction

Storm water is an important natural resource that sustains our agricultural, economic and recreational interests. Since all aspects of life depend on water, the County of Sonoma is committed to protecting and enhancing the quality of our waterways.


Storm water runoff occurs when rainfall flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like parking lots, rooftops and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. More impervious surfaces means more storm water runoff entering the County’s storm drain system which includes curb inlets, underground pipes, road side ditches, creeks, streams, and rivers.


Storm water runoff carries debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants into our storm drain system. Anything that enters our storm drain system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, recreation and drinking water. Some common pollutants found in storm drains and creeks include: motor oil, yard clippings, fertilizers, pesticides, milky water from paint, soapy water from car washing, eroded sediment and concrete by-products from construction projects and litter.


Through a joint endeavor with the City of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Water Agency, the County of Sonoma has established a Storm Water Management Program to protect our waterways and enhance our quality of life. Some of the program goals include raising awareness of storm water quality issues through public education and outreach, providing information and resources to the construction and development industries to promote better storm water management, and reducing polluted runoff to our receiving waters.


Quality of water directly affects quality of life!

Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website, users are advised to contact appropriate Permit Sonoma staff before making project decisions. This may involve contacting more than one section within Permit Sonoma(e.g. Building, Plan Check, Zoning, Well & Septic, etc.) since each section implements specific codes or ordinances which may affect your project.
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Permit and Resource Management Department County of Sonoma