Who to contact
Report hazardous spills, illegal dumping, storm drain blockages, sanitary sewer backups or overflows in your community.
Not finding what you need?
Call the City of Palo Alto Public Works - Watershed Protection at 650-329-2122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAP & Directions
To the City of Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant and the Household Hazardous Waste Station.
The RWQCP offers a variety of informative and interactive classroom programs for public and private schools within our service area: East Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Stanford. We reach over 100 classrooms each year and cover a variety of water-quality topics that meet California State Science Standards.
Listed below are the classes offered by grades:
What's Bugging You?
Students crawl into the world of common pests in our local environment and discover how control methods for these pests contribute to water pollution. Through the basic introduction of the concept of "IPM" (Integrated Pest Management) students learn what insects and bugs have to do with water pollution and how to prevent it, whether there really are "good bugs" and "bad bugs" and what they can do to help living things thrive. Through an interactive puzzle game that reinforces these concepts, students also practice patience, cooperation, and sharing.
Who dirtied the bay?
Students dive into the watery world of the Bay and meet its inhabitants as they take part in reading an interactive story that helps reading skills development. Students learn about the impact of plastic bags when bags enter the watershed through human use and misuse. They'll learn alternatives to plastic and become part of the solution as they artfully decorate their own reusable bag to take home. The teacher is presented with her own student-signed bag to take home as well!
GRADE 3 AND UP
Students become detectives as they use the exciting Enviroscape® interactive relief model to understand what defines a watershed. They'll search for pollution in our local environment; learn the sources of common pollutants, how pollutants travel and impact our environment, and what they can do to prevent water pollution in their own community.
Mercury: Past and Present
Students reach back in time to discover the history of mercury and how it was mined here in Silicon Valley and used in the northern California foothills during the Gold Rush. Through the interactive "Fish-Eat-Fish" game, they'll experience how this toxic metal is transferred throughout the ecosytems and the food chain, especially in our own San Francisco Bay. We'll also explore what we can do right now to prevent more mercury from entering our local environment.
Microbes in Sewage
Students dive into the miniature world of the microbes that play a vital role in water treatment and learn how they work to dissolve pollutants. Good lab procedures are demonstrated and a worksheet is provided for making observations. Sludge provided from the treatment plant will give the students active microbes to view through their microscopes. Even the shyest of student gets excited seeing a moving water flea! Students are asked to work together, make scientific observations, and practice lab skills for cleaning their equipment.
Student-focused Plant Tours
Learn what happens when water leaves your sinks, toilets and showers and is filtered, cleaned, and treated before being discharged to our Bay. Students will be taken on a tour of the treatment plant and shown the beginning-to-end process by a plant operations staff person. An illustrated handout will be provided to assist the students on the tour. Call us at 650.329-2396 to set up a tour*.
*Tours should be set up in advance and are free. An age restriction of 11 years or older is enforced for safety reasons.
A fun, interactive tool that the RWQCP uses to help students learn about sources and prevention of water pollution is the portable Enviroscape model. Ask us about bringing it to a school event or fair and one of our trained staff will set it up and demonstrate how a watershed works. Our model will show how nonpoint sources like storm water, transportation, recreation and residential areas, and point sources like factories, sewage treatment plants and stormdrains allow multiple types of pollution to travel through our communities and towns.