Business Stormwater Inspections

Why do we inspect businesses?

The City inspects non-residential, non-mobile industrial and commercial business types within Oakland that are reasonably likely to contribute pollutants, such as chemicals and trash, to stormwater. In Oakland, all storm drains lead directly to creeks, lakes, and the San Francisco Bay. Only clean stormwater is permitted in the City’s storm drain system.

These inspections help protect water quality and the City of Oakland comply with section C.4 Industrial and Commercial Site Controls, of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit, Order No. R2-2015-0049 (Clean Water Permit) and Oakland Municipal Code Section 13.16.070, Creek Protection, Storm Water Management and Discharge Control.

Inspection Frequency

Businesses subject to the Statewide General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities, Order 2014-0057-DWQ (Industrial General Permit) or that are defined by the Oakland Municipal Code Chapter 17.10 as Industrial (not already registered as IGP) are classified as “Industrial” are inspected every two years.

Businesses that involve activities defined by the Oakland Municipal Code Chapter 17.10 as Commercial are classified as “commercial” and are inspected every five years.

Inspection Schedule

Initial inspections are usually not scheduled ahead of time with the business.

Re-inspections are conducted at additional cost within a prescribed time after an initial inspection documents violations, and if the business has not provided adequate documentation of corrected violations.

Additional inspections may be scheduled in response to complaints of stormwater violations.

Save money, time, and the environment by complying with laws and preventing stormwater pollution.

Prepare for your inspection and protect stormwater year-round

The Four C's: Cover, Capture, Clean, and Contain

  1. Cover outdoor work and storage areas. Repair any leaks or cracks.
  2. Capture fluids before they run to the street and nearby storm drain inlets, including spills from fuel, vehicle/equipment maintenance areas, cooking liquids, and rooftop equipment.
  3. Clean up spills before they reach a storm drain inlet. Use dry clean-up methods (sweeping, absorbents) to clean spills indoors and outdoors. Watch this video about the benefits of using dry clean up methods.
  4. Contain new and used stored fluids to capture leaks. Use secondary containment for chemical or material storage

Find more information on the Alameda County Clean Water Program website.

What do inspectors look for, and how are violations handled?

Inspections cover how well each business is preventing stormwater pollution. For example, the inspector typically reviews relevant record keeping and staff training, cleaning, and other practices. Compliance with recycling and fats, oil, and grease (FOG) management requirements are evaluated where applicable. To help businesses comply with the regulations, the inspector provides relevant information and written guidance to the business representative. The inspector will also communicate with the business representative on hand to try and correct minor issues observed during the inspections.

If violations were observed during the inspection, the inspector will discuss and document required corrective actions with the business representative present during the inspection. The inspector will provide the business representative a letter at that time documenting the violation(s) and corrective actions required. An email will also be sent to the business with the inspection results and required follow-up.

Invoice Payment Information

When will my business receive an invoice?

After an inspection, the business will be mailed an invoice showing inspection fee(s) and associated charges. Typically invoices are mailed out within two months of the date of inspection or re-inspection.

Invoices are mailed to the inspected business storefront address, and copies will not be sent to the property owners or property managers.

How much will my business be charged?

A flat rate is charged for an initial inspection according to facility type. If re-inspection(s) are necessary, an additional hourly rate charge will be listed on the invoice. Each invoice also includes a 14.75% fee to cover electronic records management and technology licensing fees. These fees help cover program inspection and administration costs and are listed in the City of Oakland’s 2021-2022 Master Fee Schedule.

What will happen if my business does not pay the invoice?

If not paid before 60 days, a late fee of 10% of the initial invoice amount will be applied to the invoice. If not paid before 90 days, another late fee of 10% of the initial invoice amount will be applied to the invoice. Invoices 120 days past due will result in consequences including, but not limited to, referral to collections, additional fees, and/or legal action.

How does my business make a payment?

Send check, cashier’s check, or money order payable to City of Oakland.

Write the record number on your check.

Mail to: Oakland Public Works

Watershed and Stormwater Management

250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza #3341

Oakland, CA 94612

Contact Us

If you have any comments or questions regarding this program, or inspection invoice, inspection report, please call us 510-238-6600 (option #1 for English, then #3) or write us at watersheds@oaklandca.gov.