Pollution Prevention


Pesticides and herbicides are used to control unwanted bugs and plants. Also known as “pests,” these may include insects (ants, wasps), rodents (mice, rats), weeds, or other unwanted organisms. Chemicals used in our yards and gardens can be washed off directly into streams and rivers and harm aquatic life as well as human health.
Pesticides Impact Water Quality
Pyrethroid Pesticides
Pyrethroids are long-lived, synthetic pesticides that interfere with the function of an organism’s nervous system. They kill a wide variety of insect pests, including ants, cockroaches, and lawn grubs, but also earthworms and beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings. When pyrethroids end up in our waters, they can kill crustaceans, aquatic insects, and fish. Products that contain pyrethroids typically have active ingredients that end with the letters “-thrin.” When reading the pesticide label, look for any of the following active ingredients:

  • Permethrin
  • Bifenthrin
  • Cyfluthrin
  • Beta-cyfluthrin
  • Cypermethrin
  • Deltamethrin
  • Lambda-cyhalothrin
  • Tralomethrin
  • Esfenvalerate (an exception to the “-thrin” rule)
If a pyrethroid is an active ingredient, consider other ways to manage the pest, such as less toxic pesticides or controls that do not require the use of a pesticide.
Pesticides and Gardening
Unwanted insects in your lawn, garden, or home can be a source of frustration and damage the plants that you are trying to grow and maintain. Some pests can also potentially transmit disease. To effectively prevent or remove these pests, it is important to understand what is attracting them, how they are entering the home or garden, and the best control for that specific pest.

The following small changes made around your home or business can make a big difference in the quality of our local water:

  • Identify if a bug is good or bad
  • Determine the best method to control pest
  • Consider no or less toxic alternatives
  • Follow best practices when applying pesticides
  • Hire a pest control company that uses Integrated Pest Management practices (IPM) and less toxic approaches
Disposing of Pesticides
Regardless of what the label may state, it is illegal in California to dispose of any amount of pesticide in the trash. Unused pesticides and other household chemicals, including unused medicines, may be taken to the San Joaquin County Hazardous Waste Facility to be disposed of for free.
Last Update : 11/07/2023, 11:33:54