Storm Water Requirements


Dumping any pollutants, including wash water, paint, oil, sediment and trash, into the gutter or the storm drain system is ILLEGAL. Local ordinances limit storm water flows to clean rain water and non-polluted groundwater. Please do your part to protect local waterways!

Take a photo and call (831) 620-2078 and if you witness an illegal discharge.

The City’s storm drain system is important infrastructure that prevents flooding when it rains. The system includes: 

  • gutters and surface drainage on streets,
  • storm drain inlets, and
  • storm drain pipes and outfalls. 

Storm drains flow directly into surface water bodies without any treatment, so it is critical to keep stormwater pollutant free.

Visit the MontereySEA website to learn more about steps residents and businesses can take to protect water quality.

New Development Requirements

The Carmel Municipal Code requires that development and construction projects are designed to primarily manage storm water on the site of origin. More details on private residential stormwater management requirements can be found here

Download this guide to improve the design of your residential drainage: 

Homeowner's Guide to Greener Drainage Design 

For commercial projects creating or replacing over 5,000 SF of impervious area (building and site coverage), please review the Monterey Regional Stormwater Technical Guide for more information on how to meet our Post-Construction Stormwater Requirements.

Construction Requirements

Carmel Bay is an Area of Special Biological Significance which requires special attention to prevent chemicals, debris, silt, and other contaminants from entering the Bay. Construction projects that involve excavation, grading, paving, painting and other operations that may impact the environment are required to utilize Best Management Practices (BMP’s). A BMP sheet must be submitted with development plans for projects that involve ground disturbance. 

Construction BMP Sheet

Where projects are subject to construction BMP requirements, applicants are required to schedule a pre-construction site visit by the Building Inspector and Environmental Compliance Manager to ensure proper installation of BMP’s. During the rainy season, October 1st through April 30th, City staff conduct weekly inspections of BMP installations, with additional inspections conducted when significant rainfall is in the short-term forecast.

Commercial Requirements

Your business can be part of the solution to prevent stormwater pollution.  Follow these simple good housekeeping practices to keep your business in compliance and help improve water quality in our local waterways:

  • Prevent leaks and spills from getting into storm drains
  • Keep dumpster areas clean and lids closed
  • Prevent leaves and garden chemicals from washing into storms drains
  • Keep the outside of your facility free of litter
  • Label and inspect storm drain inlets
  • Prevent wash water and other pollutants from flowing into storm drains
  • Recycle fluorescent lamps, batteries, and electronics
  • Educate and train employees and contractors

The City partners with the Carmel Area Wastewater District to conduct annual inspections at commercial food service businesses to inform business owners and to ensure that impacts to the storm drain system are minimized.

Residential Requirements

In order to protect the sensitive ecosystem of Carmel Bay, no water or fluids should get into the storm drainage system during dry weather. Residents can help by:

  • Washing cars in a landscaped area or at the car wash to avoid runoff into the street.
  • Adjusting landscape irrigation to avoid over-watering. 
  • Cleaning driveways, patios and other outside surfaces by sweeping or blowing them with a leaf blower, rather than washing them down with water. 
  • Never dumping paint, anti-freeze, motor oil or any other substance down a storm drain. Remember, in Carmel they all “flow to the sea.”
  • Following these best practices when power washing:

Trash Requirements

The City operates its storm drainage system under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit administered by the State. There are many regulations associated with this permit, including the requirement that the City capture all trash entering its storm drain system by 2030. See the reports below for how the City and other local municipalities plan to comply with these requirements.

Trash Compliance Implementation Plan

Evaluationof the Trash Capture Benefits of Existing BMPs