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.

Our Programs

MAP & Directions

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

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Business & Industrial

The City of Palo Alto Public Works-Industrial Waste permits and inspects the industrial waste discharge activities of industries and commercial dischargers located in the East Palo Alto Sanitary District, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto and Stanford University. The City of Mountain View issues permits and regulates dischargers in its city. Regulated businesses throughout the Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) service area include restaurants, photo processors, dentists, automotive service facilities, industrial dischargers, businesses handling contaminated ground water and machine shops.

Quick Information

» PAMC 16.66 Septic Hauler Ordinance (DRAFT)
» Summary of PAMC Proposed New Chapter 16.66 Hauled Waste Ordinance
» City of Palo Alto Sewer Use Ordinance
» Proposed Amendment to Sewer Use Ordinance
» Summary of Proposed Changes to Sewer Use Ordinance
» Report spills, illegal dumping, and back-ups
» Industrial Waste Permitting
» Hauled Liquid Waste Discharge Permit
» Commercial Pollution Prevention Best Management Practices (various)
» Food Service Establishments (Palo Alto)
» Dentists and Amalgam Management (Palo Alto)
» Single-use Checkout Bag Ordinance (Palo Alto)

REPORT SPILLS, ILLEGAL DUMPING and BACKUPS

Accidental spills or illegal dumping of industrial or household pollutants near storm drains can harm sensitive creek ecosystems and storm drain blockages can lead to street flooding. Sewer blockages can result in expensive sewer line repairs and overflows of wastewater and pollutants into neighborhoods and creeks. Report spills, dumping or backups in your community. 

Regional Water Quality Control Plant–Industrial Waste Permitting

The RWQCP Industrial Waste Program works with industrial and commercial facilities in the RWQCP service area to prevent the release of industrial pollutants to the Bay or local creeks via the sanitary sewer system or stormdrains. The Industrial Waste Program permits and inspects industrial and commercial facilities and reviews plans for:

  • New facilities
  • Remodels
  • Spec buildings
  • Buildings with elevators with discharge lines
  • Facilities with hazardous waste materials storage or use
  • Commercial facilities with discharges
  • Food service facilities
  • Loading docks
  • Cooling towers
  • Buildings with proposed high water use
  • Automotive facilities
  • Dry cleaners
  • Medical offices
  • Dental offices
  • Laboratories
  • Photo shops
  • Large multi-use residential projects
  • Projects with underground parking
  • Projects with swimming pools (other than single-family)

How do I get a permit? Contact the City of Palo Alto Public Works-Industrial Waste Program at 650-329-2122, or email pretreatment@cityofpaloalto.org for a permit application to discharge process water to the sanitary sewer from an industrial facility, photo processor using silver, or from auto shops that use wash racks or floor drains. Dentists must file an annual self-certification but do not require a permit at this time.

Exceptional Wastewater Discharge permits are required for any discharges to the sanitary sewer from dewatering, sewer line flushing, decontamination, or similar activities.

Public Notice of Industrial Waste Discharge Permit Issuance 
(Last updated 7/1/2021)

The City of Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant has issued an Industrial Waste Discharge Permit (Permit) to the below listed companies to discharge industrial wastewater to the City of Palo Alto sanitary sewer system.­­­

Company Facility Address Permit Effective Date Permit Expiration Date

Hammon Plating Corporation

890 Commercial Street

July 16, 2021

July 15, 2026

Stanford School of Medicine

855 S. California Avenue

1651 Page Mill Road

1701 Page Mill Road

2370 Watson Court

July 28, 2021 July 27, 2026
Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated 3333 Coyote Hill Road August 1, 2021 July 31, 2026


This notice is posted in compliance with Section 16.09.085(g) of the Palo Alto Municipal Code. Members of the public may appeal the issuance of a Permit within 45 days of issuance and request a hearing following the procedures of Section 16.09.100 of the Palo Alto Municipal Code. The Permit effective date shall not be postponed solely because of the filing of an appeal. For more information, contact pretreatment@cityofpaloalto.org.

HAULED LIQUID WASTE DISCHARGE PERMIT

The RWQCP accepts hauled liquid waste such as septic tank waste, portable toilet pumpings and grease control device (GCD) waste from the RWQCP service area of East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Stanford University. Exceptions to service area restrictions must be approved in advance by the RWQCP Plant Manager.

To apply for a permit, complete and sign the Hauled Liquid Waste Discharge Permit Application and submit with the required permit fees and information outlined in the application. Permit information may be submitted in person or by mail to:

City of Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant
Administration Building
2501 Embarcadero Way
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Attention: Hauled Liquid Waste Discharge Permit

Hazardous materials are not permitted for disposal. For more information, contact the RWQCP at 650-329- 2598.

Commercial Pollution Prevention Best Management Practices

FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS

All Food Service Establishments (FSEs) must comply with Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) Section 16.09.075 which contains specific requirements applicable to FSEs. For assistance interpreting the code, meeting the requirements, or help sizing and selecting a Grease Control Device (GCD) call the Regional Water Quality Control Plant at 650-329-2122.

Amalgam Management Requirements for Dental Practices

San Francisco Bay is impaired due to high levels of mercury in fish, water and Bay sediment. To reduce mercury loadings to the Bay, dental practices that remove or place amalgam fillings must use approved amalgam best management practices and install an amalgam separator. These requirements have reduced the amount of mercury entering the Bay from the RWQCP wastewater effluent by more than 50%. Compliant dental offices:

  • Follow all amalgam management requirements.
  • Train staff in the proper handling and disposal of amalgam materials and fixer-containing solutions; training records must be available for inspection.
  • Install an approved amalgam separator that will remove up to 95% of the amalgam particles
  • Store amalgam waste in accordance with recycler or hauler instructions
  • Do not rinse chairside traps, vacuum screens, or amalgam separator equipment in a sink or other sanitary sewer connection.
  • Do not use bleach or other chlorine-containing disinfectants to disinfect the vacuum line system.
  • Do not use bulk liquid mercury; only precapsulated dental amalgam is permitted.
  • Find additional dental office resources