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Impacts to City Services

Find information about city services during this Emergency Declaration for Work Stoppage

Best Management Practices to Prevent Pollution and to Protect Our Rivers and Streams

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A graphic that is green at the top with the text, "No dumping" in a bold white font. There is a white wavy line that is blue underneath with the following text in the center, "Report pollution 24/7. [telephone number] 503-823-7180. Stormwater only." A white simplified graphic of a salmon is located to the right of the final line of text.
In many places in Portland, storm drains flow directly into a river or stream. To protect our rivers and streams, City Code prohibits pouring or dumping anything into a storm drain. Learn about requirements and ways you can prevent pollution. Remember, only rain goes down a storm drain.

The City's Role

The federal Clean Water Act requires cities to set rules and regulations to protect the city's sewer and stormwater systems and its watersheds. Environmental Services works with Portland residents and business to meet those regulations and to protect our watersheds, infrastructure, city workers, and fish and wildlife from harmful pollutants.

Help prevent pollution by following the best management practices available here. Each page provides links to relevant City Code and guidance on ways to prevent pollution.

Report Pollution

In the event of a spill or if you see pollution, be sure to report it.

Do you own a business? Train your employees to prevent pollution.

Educating employees on the effects of stormwater pollution on human health and the environment is an important step in keeping our waterways clean. Employee training programs teach employees about potential sources and best management practices to minimize pollution. Here are some ideas for how to integrate employee training into your business.

  • Consider integrating stormwater training with existing programs such as safety meetings which may be required for your business by other regulations.
  • Involve coworkers in the training development and presentation. More employee involvement will lead to more employee buy-in.
  • Make stormwater relatable. Anyone who fishes, swims, or eats fish will be affected by stormwater pollution. Make a personal connection to how stormwater pollution could impact their personal lives or the ones they care about.
  • Customize the training session to address your site’s specific operations and potential stormwater pollutants.
  • Review your site’s spill prevention and response plan. Identify a staff person for employees to contact in the event of a spill.
  • Show employees where the stormwater catch basins and drains are located on your site.
  • Include hands-on training such as spill response drills. Include notification requirements.
  • Identify the locations of the spill kits on your site. Teach employees how to use them properly and dispose of cleanup material after it is used.
  • Have employees apply catch basin decals or stencils with no dumping information, for example, “Dump no waste – drains to stream.” Decals and stencils are available from the Bureau of Environmental Services.
  • Explain the difference between the sanitary sewer and stormwater systems. Only rainwater may go into storm drains. All other discharges must go to the sanitary sewer, through which wastewater is treated. This basic knowledge can go a long way to reducing pollution. (Business discharges to the sanitary sewer may require authorization or permit.)
  • One of the most effective ways to prevent stormwater pollution is maintaining a clean and organized facility. Discuss the company’s expectations regarding good housekeeping practices and storage.
  • Discuss potential consequences of stormwater noncompliance. Facilities could be fined by the federal, state, or City governments. In addition, businesses can also be sued by citizen groups under the Clean Water Act.
  • Conduct regular refresher training sessions and document the training. This improves employees’ retention of information and ensures new employees obtain important information.