Pesticide Use and Water Quality

The State of California has regulations in place to protect water quality in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds. The regulations focus on managing pesticide use to prevent harm to aquatic life in our streams and rivers. Such aquatic organisms include fish, reptiles, amphibians, crayfish, mussels, mollusks, and crustaceans.

Any chemicals used in our yard and gardens can be washed off directly into streams and rivers. It is best to use less toxic pesticides or other means of controlling unwanted pests, rather than harmful pesticides. Learn more about how pesticides get into our streams and rivers and affect water quality.

As part of this effort, this website provides information about pesticides, less toxic alternatives to control pests, and integrated pest management for residents and businesses. Small changes made around your home or business—something as simple as not spraying a pesticide on a windy day or addressing a pest issue without using pesticides—can make a big difference in our local water quality.

General Pesticide Information

Pesticides and herbicides are used to control unwanted bugs and plants (“pests”) such as insects (ants, wasps), rodents (mice, rats), weeds, or other unwanted organisms. Although efficient, even when used correctly, these chemicals can cause harm to human health or have negative consequences within the environment. It is important to consider less toxic or other alternatives and always follow label instructions when pesticide applications are needed.

Take action! Read the label of the pesticide you are thinking about purchasing and select the pesticide carefully. Ensure that it is appropriate for the pest and determine where you will use it. Learn more about how to read a pesticide label and find answers to common questions about pesticide labels.

In California, pesticides are regulated by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) as well as by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). To learn more about why pesticides can be harmful and how they are regulated, visit the following websites:


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Coming Soon! "Our Water Our World" Point-of-Purchase Displays

“Point-of-purchase” displays are focused efforts to educate and raise awareness among both retailers and consumers so that they can make informed decisions about what types of products are available for sale (retailers) and what products are most effective, least harmful, and ultimately purchased (consumers). Point-of-purchase displays often include materials such as shelf edging or tags and display stands with fact sheets, banners, and other educational materials.

Our Water – Our World (OWOW) is an example of an established point-of-purchase program that is implemented in retail stores throughout northern California and will be integrated into multiple stores that sell pest control products within the West Slope of El Dorado County. Be on the lookout for the OWOW logo in participating stores!

Contact Us

El Dorado County Tahoe Planning and Stormwater
2850 Fairlane Court
Placerville, CA 95667
Phone: (530) 573-7906