State and County Laws

If you dispose of any material in or near creeks you may be guilty of a misdemeanor as set forth in the following State and County codes:

California Penal Code

Section 374.7(a) of California's Penal Code states that it is unlawful for any person to litter or deposit any waste matter in water or on land in any area other than in appropriate storage containers. Section 374 also prohibits dumping of any waste matter in a body of water or upon a bank, beach or shore within 150 feet of water. It prohibits any person from knowingly depositing hazardous substances in any California water body, in roadways or on property without permission of the property owner. A hazardous substance is one that poses a significant present or potential risk to human health and safety or to environmental health. If convicted of such actions, a person is subject to fines and/or imprisonment, depending on the violation. California Penal Code is enforced by County Sheriff .

California Fish and Game Code

Section 5650 of California's Fish and Game Code states that it is unlawful to deposit, dispose of or permit the dumping of solids, liquids or carcasses into state waters. Fish and Game Code is enforced by California Department of Fish and Wildlife .

California Health and Safety Code

Section 5411.5(a) of California's Health and Safety Code states that it is unlawful for any person, without regard to intent or negligence, to cause or permit sewage or waste to be discharged into any waters of the state and requires notification of the discharge to a local official. Health and Safety Code is enforced by County Environmental Health Services .

Santa Barbara County Code

Sections 17-10(c) and 17-10(g) of the County Code of Santa Barbara County states that it is unlawful for any person to improperly discard any solid or liquid waste in any street, alley, water body or public land. Section 17 also prohibits dumping of any waste material into any County sewer, plumbing fixture or pipe. Dumping of solid waste is enforced by County Resource Recovery and Waste Management Division.

Santa Barbara County Code for Stormwater Management

Chapter 29 Article IV of the County Code of Santa Barbara County states that no person shall discharge or cause to be discharged into the storm drain system any materials, including but not limited to pollutants or waters containing any pollutants that cause or contribute to a violation of applicable water quality standards, other than storm water. The code also states that no person shall throw, deposit, leave, maintain, keep, or permit to be thrown, deposited, left or maintained in or upon any public or private property, driveway, parking area, street, road, alley, sidewalk, component of the storm drain system, any refuse, rubbish, garbage, litter, or other discarded or abandoned objects, and accumulations, so that the same may cause or contribute to pollution. Wastes deposited in proper waste receptacles for the purposes of routine collection are exempted from this prohibition. Pollutant discharges to the storm drains are enforced by the County Public Works Department.

To report water pollution or a water quality program in the County, either call the Water Quality Hotline at 1-877-OUR-OCEAN or visit our Reporting Problems webpage for a list of city contacts.

Remember that creeks, oceans and the life within them are sensitive to pollution of all kinds. Please dispose of all waste in a proper manner. The health of our creeks and oceans depends on it!