Environmental Programs

Environmental Programs

South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District asks its residential and commercial community to help protect our Treatment Plant along with our oceans and waterways. Being proactive in protecting the plant and our environment can help prevent sewer rate increases and protect our environment for generations to come.

Things to remember:

  • Dumping hazardous chemicals down household drains puts the environment in jeopardy.
  • Used paint thinner, old insecticides, and expired pharmaceuticals are not the kind of stuff you want to keep around the house. Washing these hazardous and harmful chemicals down the drain can create tremendous environmental damage and hurt the efficiency of the treatment plant.
  • Discarding chemicals improperly can result in unsustainable pollution risking the health of your children, neighbors and the environment.

The following risks are briefly discussed below.


Once harmful chemicals are introduced into the wastewater it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to remove them. The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment plant is a remarkably efficient system for processing biological waste but it has no way to remove salts and other chemical compounds. These agents are simply transferred to the delicate oceans, ecosystems and habitats.


You might not imagine that wastewater has anything to do with air quality. However, during several stages of wastewater treatment, vapors can be released into the air. When wastewater contains improperly disposed hazardous solvents such as perchlorethylene–an ingredient in some automotive degreasers and dry cleaning solutions–this can become a significant air quality issue.


Hazardous wastes can become a great threat if they are disposed of inappropriately. Some cities have documented cases of sewer line explosions from flammable liquids. Other compounds may have a corrosive or obstructive effect on sewer lines. The result can be biological contamination as well as pollution.

What you can do

There are three ways to eliminate chemical contamination of the environment.

  • Reduce the amount
    Consider carefully how much you need of any toxic substance before you buy it. If you need a small amount of something such as paint thinner, try asking a neighbor. Consider using environmentally-friendly alternatives.
  • Read the label
    Warning labels often have important information about disposal and handling. “Do not mix with bleach,” is one such warning that lets you know that the product can create a toxic substance if improperly handled.
  • Dispose of properly
    Hazardous waste can be disposed of at the Cold Canyon Landfill on Fridays and Saturdays between 11-3. They also have a wonderful recycling program. You can contact them at: (805) 549-8332