Project 6b: Identify Opportunities for Source Control and Pollution Prevention

Protect Every Drop

Protect Every Drop LogoThe three-year "Protect Every Drop" educational campaign includes a cohesive and integrated public relations, advertising and community outreach program across California aimed at helping change the behavior of Californians in a way that leads to improved water quality. The campaign website can be found at and includes tips and information on reducing stormwater pollution.

The campaign is being guided by a steering committee that includes Caltrans, the State Water Boards and the California Stormwater Quality Association. Visit Protect Every Drop to learn more.

Petition to Minimize Zinc Concentration in Tires - Safer Consumer Products

SCP LogoCalifornia Stormwater Quality Association’s (CASQA) “Zinc Sources in California Urban Runoff” study found that tires are a major source of zinc in the environment. In addition, the study found that among tires on the market, there is a great deal of variation in zinc concentration, suggesting that reduced concentrations tires could be feasible without affecting safety and performance. California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products regulatory program is the state’s primary mechanism for developing reasonable and feasible true source control programs for pollutants in consumer products. The primary means to request that DTSC evaluate a pollutant/product combination (e.g., zinc in tires) for inclusion in its program is through submittal of a scientific petition describing the linkages between the product and human or environmental pollution.

CASQA, together with the State Water Board, is working to develop a petition to the Safer Consumer Products program. For the latest update, see the STORMS - Potential Pilot Projects page.


Project Contact Information

Project Lead:
Matthew Freese
(916) 341-5485

What's New

Update: 06/18/19

Staff Report: Discussion and Recommendations to Address Zinc in Urban Receiving Waters

Protect Every Drop - Update 06/15/16

Caltrans released new survey data on June 15, 2016 that shows nearly half of all motorists surveyed admit to sometimes littering along the state's highways. Nearly one in five California motorists report intentionally dumping something on the side of the highway. Survey respondents confirmed they improperly disposed of items ranging from old furniture and appliances to green waste from their yard such as lawn clippings, branches or leaves. In addition, another 6 percent of motorists admitted that they fail to pick up waste left by pets on the side of the highway. The quantitative survey was conducted to measure California highway drivers' awareness, attitudes and behaviors when it comes to maintaining clean highways for the purposes of clean waterways. The survey was conducted in February 2016 by ConsumerQuest Research. Responses were collected from more than 300 California drivers across the state age 18 years of age and older who had driven on California freeways or highways in the last 30 days.

Visit Protect Every Drop to learn more.

Project Description


Medium, Assessment: Important, achievable with significant barriers

Project Objective

Identify opportunities to control storm water pollutants through measures of pollution prevention during the pollutant life-cycle.


Identify where opportunities exist to control storm water pollutants through source control or other measures of pollution prevention during the pollutant life-cycle. Identify potential institutional controls that could be applied to better protect storm water quality, and identify codes and regulations that will affect the use of institutional controls, agencies, and departments with the legal authority to amend the regulations and codes (e.g., Department of Toxic Substances Control, Department of Pesticide Regulation). Collaborate with those agencies and departments to support development of institutional controls to protect storm water quality. Develop cooperative agreements with appropriate authorities responsible for maintaining the California Building Code, plumbing code, pesticide use regulations, and Cal Green to amend or develop codes and/or regulations that are consistent with or support the implementation of the State Water Board source control and pollution prevention-related permits, plans, and policies. This will include the evaluation of the impacts on human health and welfare, quality of life, feasibility associated with regulated (limited) use, product bans, identification of critical steps in product life-cycles for pollution prevention management practices, and replacement products and the risks to the environment associated with replacement compounds or products. In addition, staff will collaborate with other agencies and departments to further outreach and education to the public and to protect storm water quality.

  1. Zinc
    • Work with stakeholders to identify alternative approaches to address zinc exceedances in receiving waters.
    • One alternative is to assess zinc from tires as a storm water quality concern and if appropriate, submit a petition to the Department of Toxic Substances Control's Safer Consumer Product program to add the chemical-product combination, zinc from tires, to the Priority Products list.  The California Stormwater Quality Association's (CASQA) "Evaluation of Zinc Sources in Urban Runoff" is identified as a potential pilot project of the Storm Water Strategy. Tires are potentially a major source of zinc in storm water runoff.  The department of Toxic Substances Control's Safer Consumers Product program is identified as the appropriate agency to investigate alternatives and if necessary, issue regulations for the control of zinc from tires.
  2. Education and Outreach
    • Produce staff report of initial education and outreach opportunities on source control including Caltrans' Protect Every Drop campaign. Provide recommendations on future education and outreach efforts for the campaign. Protect Every Drop is Caltrans' three-year educational campaign about the sources and pathways of storm water pollution to change behaviors of the public to reduce storm water pollution in and around the state highway system. This effort includes statewide public relations, advertising and community outreach program. As part of the implementation committee, Water Board staff will assist in directing and promoting this campaign.


Source control, for the purposes of this document, means the interruption or removal of pollutants from the storm water pathway before there is any risk of exposure. This can be achieved by using alternative products, green chemistry, or by altering/limiting uses and applications. Costs associated with removing pollutants from storm water may be much greater than costs associated with source control or other life-cycle interruption or pollution prevention-based actions; however, only a few pollutants have been controlled using this tool, and as a result, site-based source control and treatment-related management practices still dominate the landscape. This effort is intended to identify where opportunities exist to control storm water pollutants through source control or other measures of pollution prevention during the pollutant life-cycle.

Products and Timelines

Scope 1: Zinc

Fall 2018: Produce a list of alternatives to address zinc exceedances in receiving waters with a staff recommendation for Board consideration.

Scope 2: Education and Outreach

Summer 2019: Staff summary of education and outreach opportunities & final report on the successes, lessons learned and next steps of the Protect Every Drop campaign.