Cemetery Services

Photo of a cemetery site

Preventing erosion and irrigation runoff from entering our streets and storm drains helps protect our waterways from pollution! All sources of pollution, including runoff from cemetery activities, are prohibited from leaving your property and entering streets and storm drains. Only rainwater is allowed in the streets and storm drains.

Did you know…

  • Cemeteries may use fertilizers, pesticides, and generate grass clippings. These pollutants can be washed into our storm drain system that leads to our waterways.  The pollutants from over irrigation or rain event erosion can degrade our water quality and harm aquatic life.
  • Soil and dirt washed from the grounds can also harm aquatic life by reducing oxygen levels, blocking light, inhibiting photosynthesis, causing flooding, and promoting algae blooms.
  • Releasing pollutants directly or indirectly into the storm drain system or waterways is a violation of the County’s Watershed Protection Ordinance (WPO).
  • Review the information provided on the Do I Need a Construction Permit? flyer for more information on any large land disturbances.


What can I do?

  • Dispose of waste thoughtfully: Conduct regular maintenance to remove green waste and litter from the grounds to keep it out of our storm drain and waterways. Dispose of waste in covered waste bins or alternatively, drop off green waste to facilities that will compost them into a beneficial compost or mulch. These facilities are often much less expensive than taking the materials to a landfill. To locate a facility near you, visit https://wastefreesd.org/.
  • Use Best Management Practices (BMPs) for your business: BMPs are techniques or controls used to prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants, such as organic waste or chemicals, into the storm drain system. BMPs for the cemetery industry could include not applying fertilizers or pesticides prior to a rain event, storing chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides in a manner that prevents contact with stormwater, installing erosion control measures, and preventing irrigation runoff by watering in short cycles and regularly checking sprinkler alignment.


Know before you go…

Choose non-toxic, biodegradable pesticide and fertilizers whenever possible. To learn more about these practices, visit the University of California's Integrated Pest Management Program.

Contact Us

If you would like to report a cemetery industry discharge concern, have questions about our program, or would like additional information call the County Storm Drain Pollution hotline at: 1(888) 846-0800 or e-mail us at watersheds@sdcounty.ca.gov