collage featuring dolphins

Those of us who live in San Francisco are fortunate to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and beautiful natural surroundings. Because the quality of our environment is important to our quality of life, the Port of San Francisco has established a storm water management program to protect the San Francisco Bay. According to the California State Water Resources Control Board, urban storm water runoff is a leading cause of water pollution in California. Storm water runoff at the Port of San Francisco discharges directly to San Francisco Bay from streets and piers, carrying with it whatever pollution it encounters. Some common pollutants associated with activities along the San Francisco waterfront include: 

  • Motor Oil
  • Soapy Vehicle Wash Water
  • Litter
  • Abandoned Waste
  • Sediment Laden Runoff from Construction Sites
  • Bilge Water from Recreational and Commercial Watercraft 

What is being done?

The Port of San Francisco Stormwater Management Program was developed in 2003 in response to regulatory mandates from the California State Water Resources Control Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The program targets those areas of the San Francisco waterfront that drain directly to the Bay. The permit and program are aimed at reducing urban runoff pollution and protecting the San Francisco Bay from water quality impairment. Activities for the storm water management program include:

  • Public Outreach and Education
  • Industrial Facility Inspections
  • Illicit Discharge Investigation and Enforcement
  • Construction Site Management
  • Maintenance of the Port Drainage System
Storm Water Program Information

Most of San Francisco inland of the eastern waterfront is served by a combined sewer system, whereby storm water, along with residential and commercial sewage, is directed to treatment plants prior to being released to the San Francisco Bay or Pacific Ocean. In addition to the Port of San Francisco, other limited drainage areas such as Lake Merced and Golden Gate Park have drainage systems that flow directly to surface waters. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has prepared a separate Stormwater Management Plan that addresses runoff in these areas. For information about the SFPUC Stormwater Management Plan, please contact Lewis Harrison at or (415) 695-7337, or visit  

For more information about the Port Stormwater Management Program, contact Richard Berman at: (415) 274-0400 or