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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

All problems can be reported directly to Public Works by clicking here to Report Problems.

Creeks/Channels

  1. We live adjacent to a concrete lined creek, who is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the channel?
  2. We live adjacent to a creek in Redwood City and we are concerned with mosquitoes, what should I do about them?
  3. I would like to know what can be done about rats in our creek.
  4. Where do I call to report a dead animal in a creek?
  5. I wish to report someone for dumping from private property into the creek?
  6. I witnessed someone dumping trash in the creek. What can be done about it?
  7. We noticed a foreign substance, i.e. liquid (other than debris or trash) in the creek and are concerned.
  8. Where do I call to report algae growth, stagnant water or bad odors in the creek?
  9. Who should I call to report graffiti on the walls of a concrete lined creek?
  10. My neighbor is dumping garbage in the creek. What can the city do?
  11. We live adjacent to a natural creek, is the City responsible for creek maintenance, including removal of fallen trees that can block the flow of water?

Lagoons / Waterways

  1. We have mosquitoes around the backyard and our boat dock.
  2. Who is responsible for maintaining the water quality of the Redwood Shores Lagoon?
  3. What is the water level in the lagoon low in the winter months and higher in the summer months?
  4. Is it legal for people to fish or gather bait in the Lagoons?
  5. Who do I contact to schedule and / or get permission to hold an event on the Redwood Shores Lagoon?

Storm Drains/Culverts/Catch Basins/Inlets/Siphons

  1. What are culverts, catch basins, inlets and siphons and how do they differ?
  2. Does Redwood City maintain the catch basin in front of our home?
  3. During heavy storms the catch basins seem to fill with water or leaves wash over the grates and clog them, what should I do?
  4. The catch basin or siphon near my home is full of water and / or debris, and it smells, can I have something done about it?
  5. The homeowners association where I live is interested in stenciling the catch basins and inlets in our development with either “No Dumping, Flows to the Bay” or “No Dumping, Flows to the Lagoon.” How do we get the stenciling done?
  6. Who is responsible for maintaining catch basins and drains on private property?
  7. How frequently should private catch basins and drains be cleaned?

I. Creeks/Channels

  1. We live adjacent to a concrete lined creek, who is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the channel?Concrete lined creeks were designed and built to improve water flow and minimize flooding conditions. The City cleans and maintains lined concrete channels. However, residents are asked to avoid dumping debris, such as yard waste, and trash in the channels. These channels are maintained to protect adjacent properties from flooding. It is illegal to dump in any channel, creek or stream.

  2. We live adjacent to a creek in Redwood City and we are concerned with mosquitoes, what should I do about them?

    If you are experiencing problems with mosquitoes or yellowjackets in your area contact the San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District (SMCMAD) at (650) 344-8592 and be prepared to provide the following information:

    • Name

    • Daytime phone number

    • Street address and cross street

    • Nature of the call (mosquitoes, mosquitofish, yellowjackets, insect identification)

    For more information on the services provided by SMCMAD visit http://www.smcmad.org

  3. I would like to know what can be done about rats in our creek.
    The City of Redwood City contracts for vector control services and the program is managed by San Mateo County Health Services Agency, Vector Control Program. You may contact Redwood City Public Works to report problems or you may call County Health Services directly at (650) 363-4676 or visit their website for more information.

  4. Where do I call to report a dead animal in a creek?
    You may contact the City of Redwood City and we will contact, report and follow up with the San Mateo County Humane Society or you can contact the Humane Society directly by calling (650) 340-8200. For more information on the Peninsula Humane Society visit: http://www.peninsulahumanesociety.org

  5. I wish to report someone for dumping from private property into the creek?
    Private property issues can be directed to the Redwood City Code Enforcement Department by calling (650) 780-7354

  6. I witnessed someone dumping trash in the creek. What can be done about it?
    Please call the Public Works Division immediately at (650) 780-7464 and be prepared to provide us with the location, any information about the person seen dumping, i.e. house address, license number, address or a company name on the truck, and we will investigate. Callers remain anonymous.

  7. We noticed a foreign substance, i.e. liquid (other than debris or trash) in the creek and are concerned.
    Please notify the Redwood City Fire Department or Public Works immediately. Illicit discharges are taken very serious and need to be investigated as soon as possible.

  8. Where do I call to report algae growth, stagnant water or bad odors in the creek?
    Please call Public Works at (650) 780-7464 so we can evaluate the problem and take steps to address the problem.

  9. Who should I call to report graffiti on the walls of a concrete lined creek?
    Please call our 24 hour graffiti hot line at (650) 780-7304.

  10. My neighbor is dumping garbage in the creek. What can the city do?
    Please call the Public Works Division at (650) 780-7464 directly and we will investigate and take proper measures. Callers can remain anonymous.

  11. We live adjacent to a natural creek, is the City responsible for creek maintenance, including removal of fallen trees that can block the flow of water?

    The City is not responsible for the maintenance of natural creeks. Each property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the creek, including pruning and care of trees and the removal of fallen trees. For more information about the “do’s” and don’ts” of tree removal consult the City’s Tree Ordinance.

II. Lagoons / Waterways

  1. We have mosquitoes around the backyard and our boat dock.

    You may call the San Mateo Mosquito Abatement District at (650) 344-8592 or visit their website at http://www.smcmad.org  and provide the following information:

    • Name

    • Daytime phone number

    • Street address and cross street

    • Nature of the call (mosquitoes, mosquitofish, yellowjackets, insect identification).

  2. Who is responsible for maintaining the water quality of the Redwood Shores Lagoon?
    The Public Works Division is responsible for maintaining the water quality of the waterway under the regulatory authority of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Water quality is maintained by applying pesticide treatments to algae blooms and widgeon grass, as well as by mechanical harvesting of widgeon grass. You should immediately report sightings of algae, widgeon grass, dirty water, bad odors, dead fish and trash/debris in the waterways to Public Works by calling (650) 780-7464 or emailing protectlagoons@redwoodcity.org. For more information about the City’s responsibilities view the City’s Redwood Shores Lagoon Management Plan online (pdf).

  3. What is the water level in the lagoon low in the winter months and higher in the summer months?
    The City regulates the water level of the lagoon. During the winter months the water level is lower to ensure adequate storage capacity for stormwater runoff from adjacent properties. During the summer months the water level is raised to enhance the beneficial recreational uses of the lagoon by Redwood City residents.

  4. Is it legal for people to fish or gather bait in the Lagoons?
    Fishing and bait gathering is allowed with a valid fishing permit from the California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG). The State provides for two free fishing days each year, when the permit is not required. For information about a fishing permit and the free fishing days of the year visit the CDFG website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/index.html.

  5. Who do I contact to schedule and / or get permission to hold an event on the Redwood Shores Lagoon?
    Organizations or individuals interested in holding events on the lagoon should contact the Redwood Shores Community Association (RSCA). For information and a contact at the RSCA visit their website at http://www.lawadmissions.com/index.html and to see the Guidelines for use of the lagoon for events (pdf).

III. Storm Drains/Culverts/Catch Basins/Inlets/Siphons

  1. What are culverts, catch basins, inlets and siphons and how do they differ?
    Generally, these are types of drainage structures, all designed to capture surface runoff and channel it into the storm drain collection system running under roadways.

  2. Does Redwood City maintain the catch basin in front of our home?
    Yes, the Redwood City Public Works Division maintains all public storm drain facilities that are within the city right of way (public street). This service includes a thorough cleaning once each year before the start of the wet season and regular inspection, and cleaning if necessary, during the season.

  3. During heavy storms the catch basins seem to fill with water or leaves wash over the grates and clog them, what should I do?
    Call the Public Works Division at (650) 780-7464 and report the location of the catch basin (or the nearest house address). During heavy rains, city crews respond to all calls in priority order and address the more severe problems first.

  4. The catch basin or siphon near my home is full of water and / or debris, and it smells, can I have something done about it?
    Yes, you can call Public Works at (650) 780-7464 and we will schedule, inspect and clean, as needed. If the problem occurs during a major storm, city crews will respond to the call in priority order. If you notice mosquitoes around the area, calls and you may contact San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District (SMCMAD) immediately at (650) 344-8592 or visit http://www.smcmad.org.

  5. The homeowners association where I live is interested in stenciling the catch basins and inlets in our development with either “No Dumping, Flows to the Bay” or “No Dumping, Flows to the Lagoon.” How do we get the stenciling done?
    Redwood City is also responsible for stenciling pollution prevention awareness information on all public catch basins and inlets. We would like to encourage all businesses and homeowners associations to stencil private catch basins and inlets. We will complete the stenciling for the HOA or business at the cost of materials and labor. Contact Public Works at (650) 780-7464 and schedule an appointment.

  6. Who is responsible for maintaining catch basins and drains on private property?
    It is the responsibility of the private property owner, whether a homeowners association, residential owner or business owner, to maintain structures on his/her property. The City is not responsible for maintaining drainage structures on private property.

  7. How frequently should private catch basins and drains be cleaned?
    Private drainage systems should be cleaned at least once a year before the start of wet season and then inspected throughout the wet season. It is important to remove trash and debris, and ensure that private drainage systems work properly to minimize flooding hazards. Please remember that private system do eventually connect to the public storm drain system and ultimately San Francisco Bay. Flushing debris from a private system into the City’s system is pushing the problem away temporarily and is equal to illegal dumping. This practice can lead to back flows and back ups in your private system and cause flooding during the storm season. Debris and sediment in your private storm drain system should be vacuumed out and hauled away for disposal. Public Works will provide this service to private developments for the cost of materials, equipment and labor. To learn more about the City’s storm drain system cleaning schedule, contact Public Works at (650) 780-7464.



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