Welcome to Clean Bay

The mission of the Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) is to protect San Francisco Bay by cleaning and treating wastewater before it is discharged to San Francisco Bay. Owned and operated by the City of Palo Alto, the RWQCP treats wastewater for the communities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford University and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District.

Who to contact

TOURS: 650-329-2396
PERMITS: 650-329-2122

Report hazardous spills, illegal dumping, storm drain blockages, sanitary sewer backups or overflows in your community.

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Not finding what you need?
Call the City of Palo Alto Public Works - Watershed Protection at 650-329-2122 or email cleanbay@cityofpaloalto.org.


See how the RWQCP treats 20 million gallons of wastewater every day to protect San Francisco Bay.


Rain Barrel Workshop

Get hands-on experience on how to design and install rain barrels for your own home garden! Learn how to use rain barrels to capture rainwater from your roof to irrigate landscaping.

Date: Sunday, June 25, 1-4pm
Location: Hoover Park (near the bathrooms by Cowper Street)
2901 Cowper Street, Palo Alto
Cost: Free! Register now, click here for more information.
Questions? Email claire@grassrootsecology.org

MAP & Directions

To the City of Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant and the Household Hazardous Waste Station.

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Our Programs

What's the latest

ReThink Disposable: FREE program for food businesses to save money and reduce waste and increase efficiency!

Learn more on how your business can participate!

Kicking cigarette pollution in the butt.

Palo Alto takes new steps to reduce cigarette butt pollution and improve public health.

New steps approved to battle plastic foam litter in creeks.

Restrictions on the sale of plastic foam began March 1, 2016 to reduce creek litter.

See where your water goes after it's poured down the drain!

Check out our infographic to see a map of where your water travels after its used.

Quick Information
» Report hazardous spills, illegal dumping, storm drain blockages, sanitary sewer backups or overflows in your community
» About the Regional Water Quality Control Plant
» Smoking ordinance changes
» New plastic foam ordinance protects creeks


The Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) protects San Francisco Bay by treating wastewater from its service area and works with residents, industry and businesses to prevent pollution before it starts. The RWQCP is owned and operated by the City of Palo Alto and serves its partner communities of the East Palo Alto Sanitary District, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Stanford University.

Check out the two art pieces that Artist Martin Webb created for the RWQCP!


In natural systems, rainwater falls onto the ground and soaks into the soil. However, urban areas today have many paved surfaces that prevent infiltration. Storm drains collect runoff from rain, which picks up pollutants along these paved surfaces and direct them into creeks and the San Francisco Bay. Storm drains are separate systems from sanitary sewers and flow into our watershed without any treatment.

There are four primary watersheds in Palo Alto (San Francisquito, Matadero, Barron, and Adobe). See a map of storm drain watersheds within the City of Palo Alto.

Want to learn more on how you can live in a creek friendly neighborhood? Get tips on green storm water features like rain gardens and rain barrels. Visit Green Streets for more information.


The City of Palo Alto recently took additional steps to protect public health and reduce litter by expanding the City's Smoking Ordinance. The revised ordinance prohibits smoking in multi-family housing (inside, common areas and buffer areas or sidewalks) and places restrictions on the sale of tobacco products. Smoking restrictions remain for outdoor commercial areas, outdoor dining areas, public events, work sites and service locations.


On March 1, 2016 revisions to a 2009 City of Palo Alto ordinance went into effect to further reduce litter from expanded plastic foam products (e.g., Styrofoam™). The ordinance prohibits both the retail sale and distribution of plastic foam ice chests, egg cartons, packaging materials and foodware. This measure is one of several to reduce litter in creeks, streets, and the Bay. Learn more.