City of Hayward - Heart of the Bay

  • Disposable Does Not Mean Flushable!
  • HOME
  • Things that pollute our water through storm drains.
  • Proper disposal of pharmaceuticals/medications.
  • IPM – Integrated Pest Management - less toxic means to rid your garden of unwanted pests!
  • What are Household Hazardous Wastes and where do I get rid of them?
Just because a product says it is “disposable”, doesn’t mean that it is meant to be flushed down your toilet. Toilets are meant to be used for only one thing, and we all know what that is! Toilets are not meant to be a garbage can or disposal system for anything other than its intended purpose. When you flush items down your toilet, the results can include costly backups in your property’s sewer lines or cause problems at Hayward’s Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF). Homeowners are responsible for their property’s sewer pipes. Sewer overflows can create not only a mess on your property and in your home, but are costly as well. It can also cause backups in the sewer pipes at the WPCF, requiring costly repair and the related costs can be passed on to ratepayers. Even if the label reads “flushable”, you are better off and more environmentally correct to place the item in a trashcan.

Don’t flush the following items or similar:Hand Wipe
  • Baby wipes and diapers
  • Rags and towels
  • Cotton swabs
  • Syringes
  • Candy and other food wrappers
  • Clothing labels
  • Cleaning sponges
  • Toys
  • Plastic items of any description
  • Aquarium gravel or kitty litter
  • Rubber items such as latex gloves
  • Cigarette butts
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Hair
  • Underwear
  • Disposable toilet brushes
And remember, whatever goes down your toilet goes through the Water Pollution Control Facility and then gets released into the Bay. The WPCF’s primary function is to treat human waste, so it’s important to keep household wastes such as window cleaners, unused or expired pharmaceutical products, paint thinners, fats, and fruit labels out of toilets and drains. Dispose of these items properly. For more information, please visit the Water Environment Federation website.
Pollution Prevention Programs or Events
Thermometer Exchange Program
Upgrade your old mercury thermometer for a digital thermometer, FREE of charge.

Hayward Utilities Center
Water Pollution Source Control (WPSC)
24499 Soto Road
Monday thru Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Exchanging your mercury thermometer is one way of keeping mercury out of the Bay. You can exchange your mercury fever thermometer for a non-mercury model at the location listed above. Please transport your mercury thermometer inside its original plastic case or sealed in two re-sealable plastic bags. Zip lock bags are acceptable.

Need additional information? Contact City of Hayward at (510) 881-7900
Pharmaceutical Take-Back Events
Permanent locations:

Ted’s Drug Store
(510) 782-6494
27453 Hesperian Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545

Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Facility
(800) 606-6606
2091 West Winton Avenue
Hayward, CA 94545

Medications are to be removed from the original containers and placed in sealable plastic bags for disposal.

Old prescription drugs are more than just a hazard to young children and pets; they encourage substance abuse, and pollute our nation’s water supplies. Don’t throw them in the trash. Don’t wash them down the drain. Please do your part. Drop off your old pharmaceuticals for safe disposal.
Download and fill out an Adopt-a-Block Application. Email the completed application to A Coordinator will contact you within 2 business days.
Public Information Handouts
Stormwater and Pollution Prevention handouts can be found on the City of Hayward’s website.

Just click on the link.
What is Stormwater?
What is Stormwater?Stormwater is the water that runs down the street when it’s raining. Stormwater enters holes in the gutter called storm drains. Water that flows down the street when it’s not raining, like when you wash your car or water your lawn is called urban runoff.

When stormwater is absorbed into the ground, it is filtered and ultimately replenishes aquifers or flows into streams and rivers. In developed areas, impervious surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent the stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, the water runs rapidly into storm drains. Water pollution can come from a lot of different places, but the number one reason that our creeks, rivers, lakes, bays, and beaches get dirty is from the water and other pollutants that flow into storm drains.
Storm Drain
After stormwater and urban runoff flow into the storm drain, it gets sent to the nearest creek, river, lake, bay, or ocean so our streets don’t flood. That means any pollutant on the street or in urban runoff gets carried to our water bodies and eventually the bay and ocean.
Polute Fish
What is Pollution Prevention?
Instead of trying to clean up pollution after it has been created, pollution prevention is about reducing or eliminating waste at the source by changing or modifying plans, practices, or habits. This could mean changing production processes in businesses, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances at home, implementing conservation techniques, and re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream. There are several ways to accomplish this.

Changing What You Use
– Using non-hazardous or more efficient products (for example, using vinegar and hot water instead of hazardous commercial drain cleaners, using ladybugs to get rid of aphids in your garden instead of using pesticides, or purchasing products with less packaging)

Changing What You Do – Using more efficient or less wasteful methods (for example, turning off lights when you leave the room or finding another use for an item instead of throwing it away)

Improving Your Housekeeping – Minimizing spills and leaks (for example, immediately cleaning up outdoor spills before the spill is washed into the storm drain or when changing your car’s oil make sure you capture all the old oil and take the oil and filter to a used-oil recycling facility)

Educating Yourself and Others – Learning about and showing others how to think “pollution prevention first” (for example, conducting a survey of your home to identify pollution prevention opportunities)

Pollution prevention is about learning attitudes and behaviors that build a lasting responsibility for a sustainable environment. It requires people to get rid of the “throw it away” mentality and instead think about the environmental consequences of their daily activities and practices.
Other Links
Water Environment Federation -

StopWaste -

Our Water-Our World -

Earth 911 –

Environmental Protection Agency -
Can you imagine swimming in all the stuff that’s on our streets? Soaps, grass clippings, trash, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizers, dirt, and oil are just some of the pollutants that make our water unhealthy for people and other animals. But, do you know why it’s bad for people and the environment?

Leaves and Grass Clippings Swimming Pool chemicals Hazardous chemicals Soaps and detergents Trash and Litter
things things things things things
Animal Waste Dirt Oil and other chemicals from cars Air pollution from car Pesticides and Fertilizers
things things things things things

Chemicals like oil, chlorine (used for swimming pools), cleaners, pesticides, and fertilizers can harm the animals, bugs and plants that live in the water, and can make people sick when it floats down to the bay or ocean.

Too many leaves and grass clippings
can take the oxygen out of water and suffocate the plants and animals who need oxygen to breathe.

The waste from our pets is very harmful to our water bodies. Our pets’ waste has dangerous bacteria that can spread diseases to plants, animals and humans that swim in dirty water.

Soaps and detergents, like too many leaves and grass clippings, can take oxygen out of water and suffocate plants and animals. Also, soaps and detergents eat away at the slimy mucus layer that protects fish from diseases and bacteria.

Did you ever think air pollution from cars could pollute our water?
Remember, anything that goes up, must come down. So all the gross-looking, bad-smelling, gray/black/brown/blue gasses that come out of cars’ tailpipes floats up into the air and eventually lands on the ground or in a creek, river, lake, bay, or ocean.

Listen up, litterbugs… the trash you throw in the street will eventually end up on the beach or in the bay! If you don’t litter, you’re helping our environment stay clean! Trash is not only ugly to look at, but it pollutes our water and can make animals sick.

You’re a water pollution genius if you can get this question… Why is dirt bad for creeks, rivers, and lakes? Well, a little bit of dirt is natural. But, too much from what’s called “erosion” is harmful to water bodies. “Erosion” is when dirt slides off hillsides and lands in a water body. Also, dirt can come from our streets and sidewalks, get carried into a storm drain and eventually end up in a water body. So, why is dirt bad? It makes water murky, so fish have a hard time breathing or finding places to lay their eggs. Dirt also clogs up creeks, rivers, and lakes making them disappear altogether.
How do pharmaceuticals enter the environment?Pills
  • While some pharmaceuticals enter the environment via normal human and livestock excretion into sewer systems or waterways, much enters the environment via direct disposal, such as having been flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain.
Isn’t excretion responsible for more pharmaceuticals entering the environment than improper disposal?
  • Pharmaceuticals enter the environment through both excretion and disposal. The portion that we can control right now is improper disposal.
  • Pharmaceuticals improperly disposed of down the drain have not been degraded at all by the body and may be more potent.
Why don’t wastewater treatment plants improve treatment to remove pharmaceuticals?
  • While treatment does remove and reduce some types of pharmaceuticals, wastewater plants are designed to treat human and biological waste, not complex pharmaceutical chemicals. Because some aquatic species have shown sensitivity to the low levels of medications that do pass through treatment plants, the more medication we can prevent from going down the drain, the better.
  • Alternative treatment may have other environmental consequences. For example, reverse osmosis results in a brine of contaminants that must be properly disposed of as well. This type of treatment also requires enormous amounts of energy, which could also mean more greenhouse gases emitted into the environment.
  • Adding more sophisticated treatment, like ozone or reverse osmosis is always more expensive than prevention. For example, advanced treatment is extremely expensive and requires enormous amounts of energy, costing communities millions of dollars and significantly increasing utility rates.
Do pharmaceuticals impact water quality?
  • Several studies have shown that exposure to certain pharmaceuticals results in abnormal development and reproduction in fish and other wildlife, even at very low levels.
    • The antidepressant Fluoxetine delayed development of young Western Mosquitofish.
    • Increased numbers of male fish have been associated with pharmaceuticals in ocean waters in Orange County.
  • With the advance of technology and testing, some waterways that supply drinking water have been reported to have trace levels of pharmaceuticals.
What should I do with unwanted or expired medication?
  • Help protect people, pets and the environment by taking prescriptions as directed, and then properly disposing of your unused portions.
    • Do not pour medications down the drain or flush them down the toilet.
    • Avoid placing medications in garbage cans where they can be ingested by children or pets, or scatter and pollute the soil and groundwater at the landfill.
  • Ted’s Drug Store at 27453 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545 – (510) 782-6494, will accept most medications. Available to residents of Alameda County.
  • Your local Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility will accept most medications, please follow the link to visit their website for hours of operation and additional information.
  • Regularly check or for updated information on local disposal options and collection events.
  • Remember: No Drugs Down the Drain!
When people use pesticides to kill the pests in their yards, they create a toxic environment. Pesticides can be harmful to both humans and animals. You can breathe in fumes, touch a plant and get pesticides on your hands, or your pets could ingest plant material coated with pesticides resulting in poisoning. In addition, they can be washed into the storm drains, from rain or over-watering of your yard, which then travels to the closest lake, creek, river, bay, or ocean untreated.

Did you know that not all bugs are bad? Some are even beneficial to your garden. They help to get rid of the “bad” bugs that eat your plants and cause havoc in your garden. Bugs pollinate our food crops and flowers, mix and fertilize soil, eat our garbage, provide food for wildlife and give us honey, wax, and silk. There are millions of bugs and very few of them are pests that harm people or plants. Bugs have four important jobs in your garden:
  • Predators, such as ladybugs and spiders, help monitor unwanted bugs. These garden defenders are skilled hunters that feast on plant-eating insects.
  • Parasitoids, such as some tiny wasps, lay their eggs inside of garden pests. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae eat the insides of their victims.
  • Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, move pollen from flower to flower as they feed on nectar, helping plants make seeds and reproduce.
  • The Clean-Up Crew including earthworms, millipedes and fruit flies, eat and break down dead plants and animals. This process transforms waste into nutrient-rich soil for healthy plant growth.
Problems with:

Aphids suck the juices out of plants and secrete a sweet liquid that ants love to eat.
Did you know that one ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime? Lacewings and hoverflies also find aphids to be a tasty snack as well!
Mosquitoes love to suck your blood and can spread disease.
Dragonflies are swift predators that love to gorge themselves on flying pests like mosquitoes, flies, and moths.
Scale Insects appear as tiny barnacle-like bumps on the stems of plants.
Lacewings, hoverflies, and ladybugs find them delicious!
Spittlebugs appear as a wad of bubbles that look like spit on a plant.
Lacewings, wasps, and assassin bugs make them into a feast.
Snails & Slugs love to eat holes in your plants and leave a slimy trail across your garden.
Beetles, birds, and toads help keep these pests under control.

To attract many of the beneficial bugs that help protect your plants and garden, try planting alyssum, calendula, cosmos, yarrow, asters, and sunflowers. To attract butterflies and their caterpillars, plant some buddleia, fennel, zinnia, lantana, hollyhocks, and milkweek.

Spiders – the real story……
Though they look ferocious, they are shy creatures that munch on pests, not people. Spiders will bite only if they feel threatened. Most spiders have fangs that cannot pierce human skin. Without these skillful hunters, we’d be overrun with insect pests. The pests that spiders eat in a year weights more than 50 million people! So think twice next time you want to squish this eight legged friend. If you find one in your house, kindly escort the little fellow out to your yard where he can live a productive life.

Beneficial Bugs Bad Bugs
• Dragon Flies
• Green Lacewing
• Assassin Bugs
• Common Black Ground Beetle
• Ladybugs
• Aphid wasp
• Braconid wasps
• Paper wasp
• Praying Mantis
• Centipede
• Crab spider
• Wolf spider
• Yellow Jacket
• Bold-faced hornet
• Aphids
• Stink bug
• Grasshopper
• Mites
• Scale Insects
• Codling Moth
• Diamondback Moth
• Hornworm
• Spittlebug
• Mosquitoes
• Earwigs
• Snails
• Slugs

If you need to use products in your yard or garden, please choose the less toxic products such as fungicides and herbicides. There are many more products on the market today that provide safer alternatives and can be found in your local home improvement stores, garden stores, and nurseries. Many are grouped together and identified as less toxic alternatives. For additional information on products and safe alternatives to pesticides, please visit the Our Water-Our World website.
Beneficial Bugs
Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be “household hazardous waste” or “HHW.” Products (such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides) that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them.

Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm drains, or in some cases putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.

Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste facilities accept the following materials:
  • Paint, stain, varnish, thinner and adhesives
  • Auto products such as old fuel, motor oil, oil filters and batteries
  • Household batteries, fluorescent bulbs, cleaners and sprays
  • Garden products, including pesticides and fertilizers
  • Home generated "sharps" waste. Sharps MUST be packaged in approved sharps containers.
  • Prescription and over the counter medicines, except for controlled substances
Please Note: State law requires all types of household batteries and fluorescent lamps to be recycled. They can no longer be thrown in the trash.

To find alternatives to Hazardous Household Products, please follow the link.

Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Facility

Hayward Location – 2091 West Winton Avenue, Hayward, CA 94545


For the Hayward HHW hours and days of operation schedule, please follow the link.