Storm Water and Lodi's Watershed

What is Stormwater Pollution?

Stormwater pollution comes from many sources. As rainwater and other runoff flows across the ground, they pick up harmful contaminants like fertilizers, pesticides and dirt. When the rainwater hits our streets, the water mixes with waste oil, automotive fluids and plant debris. Unlike the wastewater we put down our sinks and toilets, stormwater flows to our waterways untreated. This contaminates the water and can harm wildlife in our watershed.

Stormwater pollution is considered the most significant source of water pollution in our country. Past water pollution control efforts were directed at industrial sources and good progress has been made. Now, non-industrial activities impact water quality more than industrial operations.

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is the area of land that water flows across or under on its way to a stream, river or lake. In Lodi, rainfall or irrigation water runoff drains off streets to the Mokelumne River, Lodi Lake, or one of the Woodbridge Irrigation canals.

Stormwater Management Program

In compliance with state and federal requirements, the City of Lodi has developed a Stormwater Management Program committed to protecting our rivers and the Delta by involving and educating our residents in stormwater pollution prevention, regulating stormwater runoff from construction sites, investigating non-stormwater discharges and reducing non-stormwater run-off from municipal operations. You can access the City of Lodi’s Stormwater Management Program online (PDF). You may also contact us via email.


Stormwater or storm drain emergencies must be reported through the hotline at 209-368-5735.


What Can You Do to Help?

Be Storm Ready

Rake, sweep and remove debris from the drain inlets. Leaves plug the drain inlets and cause localized flooding. Pick up leaves and put them in your yard and garden cart for collection by the refuse company. Do not blow leaves, grass, yard clippings, and/or other landscape debris into the public right-of-way except when specifically permitted by the City.

When Washing Your Car

Use a spray nozzle on your hose and use minimal amounts of biodegradable, phosphate-free soap. Wash your car on grass or gravel areas. Empty any remaining soapy wash water into a sink or toilet or pour it on to landscaped areas. We would highly recommend going to a full- or self-service car wash since these facilities use recycled water. Download tips for car wash fund-raisers.

If Painting Your House

Choose water based paints over more toxic oil based paints. Use up all the paint before disposing of the can. Take unused paint to a County disposal facility or let any residual paint air dry in the can and then throw it in the garbage. Wipe off your paint brushes then rinse them in the sink. Do not rinse paint equipment in the gutter.


Your organization’s help is needed to attach storm drain markers near storm drain inlets. The markers help remind people not to dump into the drain. Call 209-333-6740 to volunteer.

Care for Your Pets

Pick up pet waste. Bag it and throw it away in your garbage. Bacteria in pet waste can hurt fish in our rivers and streams.

When Watering Your Lawn

Conserve water, do not over water. If water is running off into the gutter, consider cutting your watering time in half and water twice, an hour apart. Apply lawn fertilizers and pesticides sparingly to reduce run off. Use non-toxic pest controls such as ladybugs or insecticidal soaps for aphids. Use grass clippings as a compost for your lawn. See the Water Conservation page for more tips and links.

When Cleaning Your Driveway

Sweep the mixture up. Bag it and throw it in the garbage. Never hose pollutants down your driveway.

Spread the Word

Tell your neighbors that helping to maintain clean storm drains helps everyone. Remember -“Only rain down the drain.”

CPEL: Community Partners for Environmental Literacy

Visit the CPEL website today!
The goal of the CPEL network is to connect you and the environmental work you are doing in the real world to the students, schools, and districts in San Joaquin County. Our goal at SJCOE is to help you make those connections and support you in your efforts.