What Residents Can Do

Many of the materials that we use in home improvement projects have the potential to pollute our local creeks and waterways if not managed during construction and disposed of properly. Whether you hire a contractor or work on the house yourself, it is important to follow these simple tips while renovating, remodeling, or improving your home:

General Construction

  • Schedule projects for dry weather.
  • Keep all construction debris away from the street, gutter, and storm drain.
  • Store materials under cover with temporary roofs or plastic sheets to eliminate or reduce the possibility that rainfall, runoff, or wind will carry materials from the project site to the street, storm drain, or adjacent properties.

Building Materials

  • Never hose materials into a street, gutter, or storm drain.
  • Exposed piles of construction material should not be stored on the street or sidewalk.
  • Wash concrete mixers and equipment in a designated washout area where the water can flow into a containment area or onto the dirt.
  • Dispose of small amounts of dry excess materials in the trash; Powdery waste, such as dry concrete, must be properly contained within a box or bag before disposal; Call your local waste hauler for weight and size limits.


  • Tools such as brushes, buckets, and rags should never be washed where excess water can drain into the street, gutter, or storm drain. All tools should be rinsed in a sink connected to the sanitary sewer.
  • When disposing of paint, never put wet paint in the trash.
  • Dispose of water-based paint by removing the lid and letting it dry in the can. Large amounts of paint and all oil-based paints must be taken to the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste Program.

Erosion Control

  • Schedule grading and excavation projects for dry weather.
  • When temporarily removing soil, pile it in a contained, covered area where it cannot spill into the street, or obtain the required temporary encroachment or street closure permit and follow the conditions instructed by the permit.
  • Prevent erosion by planting fast-growing annual and perennial grasses to shield and bind the soil.


  • Use a construction and demolition recycling company to recycle: 
    • Cardboard
    • Carpet
    • Dirt
    • Drywall
    • Green waste
    • Lumber
    • Masonry (bricks, concrete, etc.)
    • Metals
    • Paper
    • Pipes (plastic, metal, and clay)
    • Plastic
    • Rocks
  • For a listing of construction and demolition recycling locations in your area, visit the Cal Recycle website