Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention (sometimes called “P2”) is an approach to environmental protection that focuses on eliminating or reducing pollution at its source.

Water Quality Excellence Award of Outstanding Public Outreach in Pollution Prevention

In 2006, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board presented Mt. View Sanitary District with the Water Quality Excellence Award of Outstanding Public Outreach in Pollution Prevention:

  • For leadership in developing an outstanding P2 educational program to educate children about marsh ecology, pollutants, how they enter the environment, and P2 alternatives for the home;
  • For implanting a highly collaborative program through standard science curricula continuously taught to over 1,500 third-fifth graders, county-wide each year;
  • For developing model educational references about marsh ecology and P2, thereby promoting P2 awareness and long-term behavioral changes in future generations.

National P2 Week and MVSD P2 Billboard

National Pollution Prevention (P2) Week is the third full week in September each year.  P2 Week is an opportunity for individuals, schools, communities, industries and agencies to show case or share ideas on how they reduce waste, become more efficient or reduce energy consumption.

To promote pollution prevention, Mt. View Sanitary District has celebrated national P2 Week with its billboard program.  Since 2000, MVSD has partnered with agencies like the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA), Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA), and many more to produce pollution prevention messages and visuals for this annual outreach effort.  The billboard is located near the MVSD treatment plant along Interstate 680 in Martinez, one exit from the Benicia-Martinez Bridge.  The bridge connects Solano and Contra Costa counties, and has the third highest bridge traffic in the Bay Area.

In April 2009, California Special Districts Association (CSDA) featured MVSD’s P2 Billboard program in its statewide magazine. The article is titled “Small District with a Big Message.”

Past Billboard Designs

2000 Billboard

2000 Billboard

2002 Billboard

2002 Billboard

2003 Billboard

2003 Billboard

2004 Billboard

2004 Billboard

2005 Billboard

2005 Billboard


2006 Billboard


2007 Billboard


2008 Billboard


2009 Billboard

2010 American Wetlands Month Billboard

2010 American Wetlands Month Billboard

Dr. Teng-Chung Wu and Mt. View Sanitary District

Dr. Wu is widely regarded as the “Grandfather of Pollution Prevention” in the Golden State for his significant efforts in the fields of wastewater pollution prevention and promotion of the use of treated wastewater for the enhancement of the environment.  After 35 years of Regional Water Board service and retiring as a Division Chief, Dr. Wu chose to come to Mt. View Sanitary District (MVSD) in 2002 to continue to serve as an environmental ambassador.  Dr. Wu used MVSD as a model plant and a successful example to educate foreign dignitaries on global preservation of the environment.

Dr. Wu retired from MVSD in 2006 after serving as the District’s Technical Services Director.  During his time at MVSD, Dr. Wu was a staunch supporter of pollution prevention efforts, wetland enhancements, and public outreach, both locally and internationally.  In 2007, the Regional Water Board established the Dr. Teng-Chung Wu Pollution Prevention Award in memory of Dr. Teng-Chung Wu.  This annual award recognizes Dr. Wu’s dedication to improving water quality throughout this career and, in particular, his leadership in pollution prevention.

MVSD is proud to carry on Dr. Wu’s legacy.

Proper Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

Batteries, fluorescent bulbs, mercury-containing devices like thermostats and thermometers, unwanted pesticides and fertilizers, paints and paint-related products, pool chemicals, household cleaning products, and automotive waste like used motor oil and antifreeze should be dropped off at local household hazardous waste collection facilities.

Mt. View Sanitary District has teamed up with Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD) to provide household hazardous waste collection services for central Contra Costa County residents and small businesses.  As a result of this partnership, recycling and collection services of household hazardous waste are free for our residents.

For more information about the facility, directions, and hours of operation, click here or visit CCCSD’s website.  For a list of other recycling and collection facilities throughout the Bay Area, visit: www.Earth911.com.

Toilets Are Not Trash Cans

Toilets are not for diapers, cleaning wipes, baby wipes, personal wipes, fabric dryer sheets, feminine products, dental floss, rags, toys, cooking grease, expired cough medicine and cold pills.  Disposable wipes, even flushable wipes, should not go down the drain.  Even though some products are labeled as flushable, no materials, except toilet paper, are truly flushable.

When inappropriate items are flushed down the toilet, they clog sewer pipes and create backups that cost time and money to clear.  Our sewer systems are not designed to accommodate anything other than human waste.  These types of products are not flushable and cause blockages which lead to overflows.  Overflows require expensive emergency response from our crews and leads to environmental consequences.

Repair and cleanup can also be pricey for homeowners.  Calling a plumber to clear a backup can cost $200 or more.  If the sewer lateral needs to be replaced, it can run upwards of $5,000.  Furthermore, sewage that overflows in a home can contaminate carpet and walls.

Please only flush human waste and toilet paper into your toilet.  To know how to properly dispose of used medicine and medical sharps, see the following section of No Drugs Down the Drain.  To find out what to do with cooking grease, see the section of Stop F.O.G. (Fats, Oils and Grease).

No Drugs Down the Drain

No Drug Down the Drain
Mt. View Sanitary District is proud to participate in the Statewide Campaign for “No Drugs Down the Drain!” (www.NoDrugsDownTheDrain.org)  Medicine flushed down the drain can end up in your local creeks, bays and the ocean.  So while medicine is good for what ails you, it’s important to dispose of leftover medication properly so it doesn’t hurt the environment.

Old Pills Piling Up?

There are now nine drop-off locations in Central Contra Costa County to dispose of unwanted and expired pharmaceuticals.  Flyer is available.

Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Field Operations Building
1980 Muir Road, Martinez
(925) 313-2520

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center Sheriff’s Substation
2500 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez
(925) 370-5331

Walnut Creek City Hall
1666 North Main Street, Walnut Creek
(925) 943-5899

City of Clayton Police Department
6000 Heritage Trail, Clayton
(925) 673-7350

City of Martinez City Hall
525 Henrietta Street, Martinez
(925) 372-3500

City of Pleasant Hill
330 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill
(925) 671-5270

Town of Moraga Police Department
32 Rheem Blvd., Moraga
(925) 888-7055

City of Orinda City Hall
22 Orinda Way, Orinda
(925) 253-4200

Expected to open soon:
Town of Danville
510 La Gonda Way, Danville
(925) 314-3380

IMPORTANT Drop-Off Instructions:

  • Do NOT dispose of syringes or needles with medications.
  • To ensure privacy, take medications out of their original containers and put them in a sealable plastic bag.
  • Please leave liquids in their original container and mark out personal information, and then place the bottle into a sealable plastic bag.


Stop the F.O.G. (Fats, Oils, and Grease.)  It’s Choking our Sewers and Waterways

(Artwork courtesy of Delta Diablo Sanitation District, Antioch”)

Only you can contain the horror.  Underneath your home, an oozing menace lurks – the F.O.G.  Part FATS, part OILS, and part GREASE, F.O.G. can pollute our waterways, choke our sewers and cause monstrous plumbing problems.

F.O.G. causes blockages of drain and sewer lines the same way that greasy food causes blockage of the arteries in our bodies.  When grease is poured down sinks, it can solidify and sticks to the insides of your sewer pipes.  Over time pipes can decrease in diameter with the buildup of F.O.G.  This can cause sewer backups into houses or onto streets.  Running water – hot or cold or with soap – doesn’t help!  It will cool and harden in the sewer line.

Sometimes F.O.G. is obvious, for example, cooking oil, lard, butter and margarine, shortening, bacon grease and meat fat trimmings.  At other times, it is less apparent as in sauces and salad dressings.

Don’t pour cooking oil, grease or greasy food down the drain.  Always trap F.O.G. in a sealed container and put it in the trash.  Wipe away any residual grease or oil on dishes, pots or pans with a paper towel before washing them.

Copper Pollution

Copper is a commonly used metal in everyday items such as cars, electrical wiring and plumbing. While copper plumbing is almost always harmless, it is possible for copper to corrode and contaminate water. This can also happen when copper items are disposed of improperly and this harmful material makes its way to the wastewater system. Persistent sources of copper in wastewater comes from pools, spas and fountains treated with copper algaecides, copper containing pesticides and copper plumbing.

After MVSD treats wastewater, the effluent is released into our system of marshes, where it can reenter into the water system. These marshes are home to a variety of organisms. At MVSD, we want to do everything we can to keep these organisms safe because they are vital to our ecosystem. This includes ensuring that our effluent does not become contaminated with copper. In fact, we are required by our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to monitor copper levels in the effluent water. MVSD’s treatment process removes approximately 85% of copper from wastewater before discharging to Moorhen Marsh.

MVSD is also working to ensure that copper-containing waste items, such as old plumbing materials, are disposed of properly. These items should be disposed of at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.

We will continue monitoring the amount of copper that is in our effluent to ensure that it does not reach harmful levels. However, we need your help to keep the environment free of copper contamination. Thank you for helping us by properly disposing of your copper waste items! We also recommend using copper-free algaecides and pesticides, and ask your plumbers to use best management practices when installing copper pipes.

Learn more about Draining Pools & Spas