Waste Water Discharge

Waste water produced on campus is conveyed via the campus sewer system, without treatment, to the City of Santa Cruz POTW (publicly owned treatment works). Campus waste water is collected from restrooms, sinks, laboratories, dark rooms, art studios, shops, and dining hall kitchens. The City regulates what may be discharged, to ensure proper treatmeant before discharge to the Monterey Bay (see below).

A good rule of thumb for drain disposal: If you're reluctant to eat it or wear it, you probably can't put it down the drain. A more precise guide for determining suitability for drain disposal is the Drain Disposal Flow Chart, or contact the Environmental Programs Manager at 459-4840. Waste water must be discharged to the sanitary sewer and never to the campus storm drain system (see descriptions below).

Types of Drainage Systems

UCSC maintains two types of drainage systems: storm drains and sanitary sewers.

Storm drains are open drains on streets, parking lots, loading docks, roofs, and any other surfaces that receive rain water. UCSC storm drains discharge water, as well as pollutants and litter it picked up, into the natural environment without any form of treatment. Because this water receives no treatment, it is important to keep pollutants out.

Sanitary sewers collect the wastewater generated inside buildings, such as sink, shower and toilet discharges. The wastewater is then transported through the sewer system to the City of Santa Cruz wastewater treatment plant, where it is treated before being discharged to the Monterey Bay. The City treatment plant utilizes physical methods (screening and settling), a microbial process, and a disinfection step to purify the water it receives. This treatment is effective only on garden-variety pollution; the City plant is very limited in the type of contamination it can successfully remove. Toxic materials in wastewater will damage the treatment plant's working microbial population and will pass through the plant unremediated.

Accidental Discharge and Waste Water Monitoring

Unpermitted waste water discharges, such as those caused by an emergency failure, must be immediately reported to the Environmental Programs Manager at 459-4840, who may need to notify the City before the discharge reaches the treatment plant. If you can't contact directly, call EH&S at 459-2553, and if there is no answer at the EH&S office, dial the campus dispatcher at 911.

Campus wastewater is routinely monitored by the campus and by the City, to ensure that the campus complies with our waste water discharge limitations.

Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP)

UC Santa Cruz has developed and is implementing a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) pursuant to State Water Resources Control Board Order 2006-0003, Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements for Sanitary Sewer Systems.

For further information about the development, implementation, or performance of the SSMP contact the Storm Water Programs Manager: trask@ucsc.edu or (831) 459-4520

Waste Water Information Resources

Santa Cruz Municipal Code, Chapter 16.08 Sewer system

CFR Title 40: Protection of Environment, Subchapter D (Water Programs)

CFR Title 40: Protection of Environment, Subchapter N (Effluent Guidelines And Standards)

Santa Cruz City Public Works Department Waste Treatment Facility

Santa Cruz City Environmental Compliance Division

US EPA Office of Wastewater Management

State Water Resources Control Board Sanitary Sewer Overflow Program