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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a watershed?

A watershed is a land area that drains water into a creek, river, lake, wetland, bay or groundwater aquifer.

Is my home in a watershed?

Yes! Everyone lives in a watershed.

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is the same thing as rainwater. That water flows across the land and either soaks into the ground or runs into storm drains and waterways.

Where does stormwater go after it drains into a storm drain?

In Santa Clara Valley, stormwater entering storm drains travels through underground pipes directly into a local creek often carrying pollutants with it. Many people mistakenly believe that storm drains direct stormwater into the sewer system. Since stormwater is untreated and unfiltered, pollution can quickly impact our creeks.

What are some common types of stormwater pollution?

Litter; fertilizers and pesticides used when gardening; vehicle fluids left on the driveway and street; hazardous chemicals dumped into storm drains; pet waste left on the ground.

How can I dispose of chemicals properly?

Contact your waste hauler of visit www.hhw.org to learn about the proper disposal of household chemicals and other household hazardous waste.

What is a TMDL?

A TMDL-or total maximum daily load-is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. In other words, it is the sum of the allowable loads of a single pollutant from all contributing point and nonpoint sources, and includes a margin of safety and consideration of seasonal variations. In addition, a TMDL contains the reductions needed to meet water quality standards and allocates those reductions among the sources in the watershed.

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