Here's how you can help BART keep our rivers and ocean clean


Here's how you can help BART keep our rivers and ocean clean

Warm Springs bioswales

A bioswale at Warm Springs Station designed to prevent storm water run-off.

Trash is a major storm water pollutant in California. Because storm water flows to the bay untreated and unfiltered, trash discarded on land frequently makes its way into streams, creeks, rivers, and eventually the ocean, as rain storms wash it into gutters and storm drains.

Types of trash commonly found in waterways include cigarette butts, paper, fast food containers, plastic grocery bags, cans and bottles, used diapers, appliances, and more.

BART is committed to preventing storm water pollution in our stations and facilities. To meet its commitment, BART installed new features such as storm drain markets to raise public awareness of storm water pollution, drought resistant plants and efficient irrigation system in our landscaping, and biofiltration and bioswales in numerous locations to remove pollutants from our parking facilities. It also started new practices, like cleaning parking lots and plazas at least once a week to remove trash and pollutants, using recycled water to wash train cars and adopting low-impact development (LID) as an approach to land development which works with nature to manage storm water. 

Drain marker

But BART is not alone in this effort to clean our local bodies of water clean. More than 420,000 riders use BART to commute to work, home and everywhere in between. We are asking our riders to practice these simple steps to help prevent storm water pollution:

  • If you see a problem with overflowing trash cans or Dumpsters or a leak of any kind at a BART station, please help protect our environmental and report it to a Station Agent.
  • Put litter in its place: Dispose of trash into garbage and recycling receptacles provided by BART in our stations and parking lots. Please clean up after pet waste as well.
  • Avoid disposable cups: You can prevent litter by using reusable containers like travel mugs.
  • Decline the printed receipt at BART ticket and parking machines if you can.

Cars are another source of water pollution in the Bay Area. That’s because leaking fluids like oil and particles from exhaust and other contaminants end up on our roads and then are washed untreated into storm drains that lead directly into our waterways. Birds, fish, and other animals are then exposed to the pollutants.

Maintaining and washing your car are ways to prevent contominants from ending up in storm drains. If you drive to BART, please ensure your car isn’t leaking. Regular tune ups and leak inspections can prevent leaks or fix them if you have one. 

If you park outside in our station lots, the grime on your car that includes residue from gasoline, motor oil, and other chemicals can get washed off during a rain storm. Help prevent this runoff by taking your car to a commercial or coin operated self-service car wash where all wash water is recycled and properly disposed of.

Riding BART and leaving your car off the road and waterways is another key environmental benefit of keeping our rivers and ocean clean. People who choose BART over driving are helping with our efforts.  

For more information, check out our Sustainability page and our recent articles of stations which installed storm water prevention landscaping and bioswales. 


Downtown Berkeley


Warm Springs