Storm Water Management

Storm Water Management

The City of San Francisco classically has directed all surface water to sanitary sewer treatment plants, in what is known as a “combined” system (storm and sanitary waste in the same system). Very few areas of San Francisco are serviced by a separated storm / sanitary system as indicated by the map. All surface runoff in these areas are directed to storm drains which in turn flow to the bay untreated.

Storm Water - Municipal

Environ SF Storm water

In 2011, the City of San Francisco commissioned a new storm water collection system to service the Mission Bay neighborhood, directly affecting UCSF’s campus at Mission Bay. This UCSF campus is the only campus affected by storm water regulations. Although Mission Bay is directly regulated by storm water regulations, Environmental Programs encourages all UCSF staff and contractors to treat all storm water inlets equally:

Only Rain Down the Drain!

Environ NO Dumping

Pursuant to the Clean Water Act, storm water discharges to waters of the US are regulated by the California State Water Resources Control Board in two specific programs: municipal and construction.

It is the responsibility of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors of UCSF to ensure that we live and work together in a safe and healthy environment.

In urban areas, much of the land surface is covered by buildings and pavement, which do not allow rain water to soak into the ground. Instead, most developed areas rely on storm drains to carry large amount of runoff from roofs and paved areas to nearby waterways. The storm water runoff carries pollutants such as oil, dirt, chemicals, and litter directly to streams and rivers, where they may seriously harm water quality.

Everything that flows into the storm drains at the Mission Bay campus at UCSF is directed to the storm water collection system and flows to nearby creeks, the bay, or ocean waterways without treatment. Pollutants picked up by storm water can harm wildlife and the aquatic habitat. Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt or other pollutants as it flows to storm sewer system or directly into nearby waterways. Common water pollutants may include:

  • Oil and grease (parking lots)
  • Landscaping Chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers)
  • Household Chemicals (detergents, solvents, paint)
  • Mud and sediment (construction activities, landscaping)
  • Litter (cigarette butts, food, newspaper)
  • Coliform bacteria (animal excrement)
  • Heavy metals (copper, mercury)


Pollution prevention requirements

  • Do not discharge anything into a storm drain, including clean tap water. Only rain is permitted in a storm drain.
  • Keep outdoor work and storage areas clean and orderly.
  • Cover or protect storm drain inlets from outdoor work activities as needed.
  • Maintain spill control and cleanup materials and clean up outdoor spills immediately.
  • Do not store machinery, equipment, or vehicles over storm drains.
  • Keep outdoor trash cans and bins closed.
  • Pick up litter
  • If water is used to clean, do not allow wash water to get into a storm drain.
  • Fueling activities must be overseen by the equipment operator at all times.
  • Use drip pans under leaking equipment.
  • Make sure your car does not leak oil or other fluids.
  • Do not throw cigarette butts on the ground.
  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly.
  • Wash your car where runoff will not collect in the storm drain.
  • Report spills and illegal dumping to UCSF Police, or OEH&S.


Best Management Practices for Pollutant Generating Activities


Storm Water Brochures


Report non-storm water discharges

Anything that discharges into a storm drain that is not composed entirely of storm water is a non-storm water discharge (e.g., irrigation water runoff, clean tap water).

  • Report non-storm water discharges into UC San Francisco storm drains:
  • During business hours: E-mail or call (415) 475-1300
  • After business hours: Call UCSF Police: 9-911 or (415) 476-1414



The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) General Storm Water Permit for Construction and Land Disturbance Activities (the General Permit) applies to all construction projects “that disturb one or more acres of land surface”, regardless of ownership of the storm water system, as well as any “construction activity associated with Linear Underground / Overhead Utility Projects”.

All UCSF construction projects are required to implement measures to protect storm drains from sediment run off and accidental hazardous materials releases, but only those projects at Mission Bay have the full reporting requirements as outlined in the SWRQCB General Storm Water Permit for Construction and Land Disturbance Activities.

  • If your project disturbs > 2500 square ft of soil, you will be required to implement stormwater protection measures.
  • If your project disturbs > 1 acre of soil, you may be subject to the General Construction Storm Water Permit and will be required to submit a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) to UCSF Environmental Programs for approval and registration. Please refer to the stormwater section for more detail.


To establish coverage:

Under the General Permit, projects must submit Project Registration Documents (PRDs) to Environmental Programs for upload to the state Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS). PRDs are to include the following:

  1. Notice of Intent
  2. A Risk Assessment of the site - as prepared using the methodology outlined in Appendix 1 of the General Construction Permit
  3. A Site Map
  4. A Registration Fee
  5. A Signed Certification Statement – signed by the contractor
  6. Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) – as prepared by a Qualified SWPPP Developer (QSD). The QSD must have one or more of the following certifications:

Prior to 9/2/2011

After 9/2/2011

· A CA registered professional civil engineer

· A CA registered professional geologist

· A CA registered landscape architect

· A professional hydrologist registered through the American Institute of Hydrology

· A certified professional in erosion and sediment control (CPESC) registered through Enviro Cert International

· A certified professional in storm water quality (CPSWQ) registered through Enviro Cert International

· A professional in erosion and sediment control registered through NICET

· Any of the previously listed certifications

· Successful completion of a State Water Board sponsored or approved QSD training course


To maintain compliance:

Continued compliance with the General Permit requires the following elements:

1. Annual Reports – uploaded to SMARTS by September 1 of each year.

2. For Risk Level 1 sites, adherence to the requirements outlined in Attachment C of the General Construction Permit. Risk Level 1 is a low risk category under the General Construction Permit, representing the minimum obligations for storm water compliance. Risk Level 1 requirements / documents include:

  • Housekeeping measures
  • Erosion control
  • Sediment control
  • Run-off control
  • Site inspections documenting BMP condition, BMP effectiveness, and water quality are to be conducted by a Qualified SWPPP Practitioner (QSP) on the following schedule:

Visual Inspections

Sampling / Numerical Analysis

· Weekly

· Before a qualifying rain event (within 48 hrs)

· Every 24 hrs during extended storm events

· After a qualifying rain event (within 48 hrs)                                                                                                                                  

Using field or lab analysis:

· Any time a breach, malfunction, leakage or spill is observed during a visual inspection

· During the first 2 hours of discharge from a rain event during regular work hours to monitor for any non-visible pollutants identified in the source assessment


The QSP is required to hold one or more of the following certifications:

Prior to 9/2/2011

After 9/2/2011

· A person responsible for non-storm water and storm water visual observations, sampling and analysis

· A certified QSD

· A certified erosion, sediment and storm water inspector registered through Enviro Cert International

· A certified inspector of sediment and erosion control registered through Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control Inc.

· Successful completion of a State Water Board sponsored or approved QSP training course

All project covered by the General Construction Permit are required to submit a Notice of Termination at the completion of construction.

Risk Levels 2 and 3 are more stringent, establishing numerical discharge limits for which sampling and lab analysis is performed during rain events and mandatory reporting of exceedences.