Environmental Health and Safety

Storm Water Management Program

Chico Creek on campus filled with water after heavy rains

A large part of our campus' beauty comes from Big Chico Creek running through the middle. Big Chico Creek plays an important role in our ecosystem by discharging into the Sacramento River, then moving onto the Delta and Pacific Oceans. The storm water collected on campus grounds is of great benefit to many people, animals, and plants; however, if not managed correctly by preventing pollution the effect can be detrimental. Polluted storm water can harm fish and aquatic organisms, disrupt recreational activities, and pollute drinking water sources. We are dedicated to educating the campus community about protecting Big Chico Creek and all other waterways from pollution.

Campus and the city of Chico have separate storm water and sewer systems. This means the storm water that collects in storm drain inlets does not get treated. Any pollutants that have been dumped down the storm drains or left on the sidewalk and streets will enter Big Chico Creek without any treatment. Once a pollutant reaches a storm drain, there is little that can be done to remove it.

The only water that should make it to a storm drain is rainwater. All other liquids, with a few exceptions like A/C condensation, should never be poured down any storm drain or gutter. Never allow these down the storm drain:

  • Mop water
  • Trash
  • Construction materials
  • Chemicals of any kind
  • Pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers
  • Oil, grease, gas, or fuel
  • Sewage
  • Vehicle fluids
  • Paints, polishes, or waxes
  • Soapy water


These items are considered an illicit discharge and could be costly to the University and the environment. Please consider the health of our waterways before performing any activity that may result in pollution.

We encourage everyone to get involved in protecting our waterways by reporting illicit discharges. If you see an illicit discharge, please contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at (530) 898-5126 during normal business hours, or University Police at (530) 898-5555 after normal business hours.

For more information on illicit discharges and activities associated with water pollution, please contact Holly Swan, Environmental Programs Manager, at  530-898-5126.

For a printable infographic that can be posted in employee areas, please visit Storm Water Pollution Prevention: Illicit Discharge (PDF)  and  Get Savvy about Stormwater (PDF)

Storm Water Management Resources:

Chico Creek at high capacity after rain