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: 650-838-2901 (temporarily unavailable due to COVID)
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.


Coastal Cleanup Day

Keeping trash and debris out of our local creeks and San Francisco Bay begins in our own neighborhoods. Pick a Saturday this September from 9:00 a.m. to noon and commit to a socially-distanced cleanup.

Sign up on Eventbrite and learn more about neighborhood cleanup guidelines here.

Those that sign up to help with cleanup efforts in Palo Alto can receive a trash grabber, garbage bags, and gloves, while supplies last.

To have supplies delivered to your residence or work within Palo Alto, or if you find any household hazardous waste such as batteries, pesticides other toxic materials, contact cleanbay@cityofpaloalto.org or (650) 329-2122. Please sign up first, then contact us to schedule a supply delivery.

Thank you for being an environmental steward and keeping our local creeks clean!

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

Free Distance-Learning Watershed STEM lessons
Need some more educational resources for your children? Visit our schools page for free virtual lessons about our local ecosystems.

Safe Disposal for Sharps and Medicine
Find out where to properly dispose of your old, used, or unwanted medications and sharps.

Don't Rush to Flush
Wipes of any kind should never be flushed down the toilets. Visit our residential page for more information.

Find a Recreational Vehicle (RV) Sewage Disposal Site

Palo Alto Plans for Sea Level Rise
Neighboring City of Mountain View also begins sea level rise studies to evaluate conditions.

RWQCP Update: New effluent pipe plans in the works

Quick Information
» Report hazardous spills, illegal dumping, storm drain blockages, sanitary sewer backups or overflows in your community
» Smoking ordinance change


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!


Stormwater is runoff generated when precipitation flows over land or impervious surfaces (streets, parking lots, building rooftops, etc.) without infiltrating into the ground.

This runoff picks up pollutants as it flows into storm drains, leading directly into creeks and the San Francisco Bay. Storm drain systems are separate from sanitary sewers and flow into our watershed without any treatment. During heavy rainfall, excess runoff causes flooding to occur.

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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.