Trach Control Program Logo

Statewide Water Quality Control Plans for Trash

Trash discarded on land frequently makes its way into streams, creeks, rivers, and eventually the ocean, as rain storms wash it into gutters and storm drains.  Types of trash generated by human activity that frequently pollute waterways include cigarette butts, paper, fast food containers, plastic grocery bags, cans and bottles, used diapers, construction site debris, industrial preproduction plastic pellets, old tires, appliances, and more. Trash is a significant pollutant of California's waters that adversely affects beneficial uses, including but not limited to uses that support aquatic life, wildlife, and public health.

Reducing trash in waterways is a problem that can be solved with the collected effort of the public, agencies, organizations, and permittees. Just as there are many kinds of trash, there are many methods to prevent it from fouling our waterways such as street sweeping, education programs on littering, and the installation of trash-catching devices on storm drains.

On April 7, 2015, the State Water Board adopted an Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California (Ocean Plan) to Control Trash and Part 1 Trash Provision of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries (ISWEBE Plan). Together, they are collectively referred to as 'the Trash Amendments'. The project objective for the Trash Amendments is to provide statewide consistency for the Water Boards' regulatory approach to protect aquatic life and public health beneficial uses, and reduce environmental issues associated with trash in state waters, while focusing limited resources on high trash generating areas.

For information regarding the implementation requirements for this Trash Policy, please visit our Trash Implentation webpage.

New! - Trash Implementation Webpage

Official Documents and Timeline

The Final Staff Report, Final Trash Amendments, and all draft documents are available for your review.


State and Federal Trash Programs

Subscribe to our Trash Plan email list to receive notifications and the latest updates. After subscribing, you will need to check your email host for a confirmation email to complete the subscription.

Email Address: (required)
Your Full Name: (required)
(e.g. John Smith)

  Subscribe to our other email lists.


For Trash Amendments: For Trash Implementation: