The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) has determined that trash is a pervasive problem near and in local creeks, rivers, and the San Francisco Bay. Trash in our waterways may impair the beneficial uses of these waters, which includes recreation and wildlife habitat among others. Trash such as plastic bags may harm wildlife through entanglement or ingestion. Trash may also contain hazardous materials such as heavy metals, toxic chemicals, oil and grease products, and other constituents that are harmful to the environment.

To reduce the amount of trash reaching these waterways, the San Francisco Bay Region Municipal Regional Stormwater Discharge Permit (MRP), which is issued to 79 cities, counties and flood control agencies by the Regional Water Board, requires Permittees to reduce trash discharged from their municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) by demonstrable amounts in specific timeframes and to develop and test a receiving water trash monitoring program plan.

Permittees may reduce the amount of trash discharged from their MS4 through installation of certain types of trash capture devices or implementation of trash management actions such as increased street sweeping, on-land cleanups, or improved bin management. In FY 2019, Permittees were required to reduce their trash load by 80%.

The MRP also requires Permittees to develop and implement a receiving water monitoring program for trash. There are several goals associated with the monitoring effort including helping to determine if the actions municipalities have taken on land are reducing the amount of trash entering our waterways.

For more information about trash requirements under the MRP, please visit the Regional Water Board’s Trash Page

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