Vineyards & Wineries

Photo of a vineyard

Preventing runoff from entering our streets and storm drains helps protect our waterways from pollution! All sources of pollution, including runoff from winery 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…

  • Vineyard maintenance can generate pollutants such as sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, and organic waste. These pollutants can be washed into our waterways as a result of irrigation runoff or rain events where they degrade our water quality and harm aquatic life.
  • The by-products of the wine industry, including organic waste, can harm water quality if they make their way into storm drains.  Soil and dirt washed from the vineyard/winery 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).
  • If you operate a winery, you may be subject to enrollment in the Industrial General Permit (IGP) and/or the Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements. Vineyard operations may also be subject to enrollment under the Agricultural Order. Click the links for each to find out more.

 

What can I do?

  • Dispose of waste thoughtfully: Conduct regular maintenance to remove organic waste, such as grass or plant trimmings, unused or excess fruit, and cardboard or other biodegradable packing materials, from the vineyard and winery to keep it out of the storm drain system and waterways. Dispose of organic waste in covered waste bins and drop off green waste (items that can be made into compost like grass clippings, brush, and plant trimmings) to facilities that will compost it into a beneficial compost or mulch. These facilities are often much less expensive than taking the green waste 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 vineyards 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 providing covered waste bins during special events.

 

Know before you go…

Rinse winemaking equipment only in sinks that are connected to the sanitary sewer system.

 

Contact Us

If you would like to report a winery 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