Translation Disclaimer

Department of Public Works
Department of Public Works


The spirit of cooperation and community responsibility is alive and well in Berkeley. The City that is known for its community spirit and environmental concern is intensifying its efforts to inform and motivate residents and businesses to make conscious and positive choices that enrich and inspire the appearance and condition of the City's neighborhoods and business districts.

Clean City is a collective effort to:

  • Enhance the City's appearance
  • Encourage business and property owner compliance
  • Enforce environmental and safety regulations

Clean City maintains public property that provides a healthy, safety and convenience City for residents. In turn citizens must comply with health, safety and environmental regulations protecting roads, sidewalks, storm drains and the communities welfare.

Public Works and Clean City are working together with businesses, property owners and residents to make Berkeley a clean and comfortable community.


The community must become the eyes and ears of our joint effort to keep Berkeley clean.

The property owner, resident or business is responsible for keeping the area from the property line to the curb face free of litter, debris or safety hazards.

To report violations or request information please contact the following City department(s):

Public Works Customer Service (510) 981-6620
Berkeley Police Department (510) 981-5900
Toxics Management Program (510) 981-7460

To report graffiti or illegal dumping in progress call (510) 981-5900

You can help by fighting back. Work with your merchant or neighborhood associations to organize community paint-outs and community clean-ups against graffiti vandalism, illegal dumping, illegal posters and litter.

You can help by reminding and informing your residential or business neighbor that placing debris on the sidewalk and roadway reduces your ability to protect your property, safety and health. Encourage your neighbor to be a good neighbor.

1. Graffiti Abatement

Graffiti degrades the appearance of our residential and commercial areas. City crews remove an average of 150,000 square feet of graffiti in a year.

California Penal Code, Chapter 594 prohibits vandalism of real and personal property; fines up to $1,000.

California Penal Code, Chapter 640 prohibits graffiti vandalism of governmental facilities and vehicles imposing fines up to $1,000, community service up to 300 hours and up to 1 year in jail.

2. Illegal Dumping

Annually, 160 tons of materials, debris and waste are dumped on the streets of Berkeley. Clean up of illegal dumping cost Berkeley tax payers over $100,000 per year and increases the cost to maintain clean and healthy streets. One litter crew commits 22% of its time removing illegally dumped material. The yearly impact to the community is that Clean City is unable to provide litter service to 5,885 blocks in residential and commercial areas.

Violators can be imprisioned or fined up to $1,000 per day.

BMC Chapter 12.40 prohibits dumping on public and private property.

California Vehicle Code Section 23112 prohibits illegal dumping on public roadways.

California Penal Code Section 374.3 prohibits illegal dumping on public or private property.

BMC Chapter 12.32.030 prohibits illegal dumping of refuse in litter containers by any property owner, company or corporation.

3. Storm Drain Cleaning and Maintenance

Catch basins and storm drains divert rainwater from sidewalks, streets and intersections to the bay. When residents and businesses sweep and dump debris, cement and oil into the storm drain system it causes sidewalk flooding, dangerous driving conditions, and increases pollutants in the Bay. There are approximately 2,000 catch basins and 4,000 cross connection drains in the City of Berkeley. Illegal dumping and mishandling of litter, leaves and trash Public Works responded to 2500 emergency calls to clear flooded and clogged catch basins and storm drains. This effort cost the citizens over $200,000 per year.

Violators can be imprisoned or fined up to $250,000 per day.

BMC Chapter 12.40.010 prohibits property owners or anyone in charge of a building or property from allowing trash, debris or litter to be swept into the roadway, street or drainage system.

BMC Chapter 12.40.080 prohibits any person, company or corporation from throwing, depositing or dumping debris, litter or rubbish in public places.

BMC Chapter 17.20.050 states that no person shall throw, deposit, leave, maintain, keep, or permit to be thrown, deposited, placed, left upon any public or private place any trash, debris or litter that might be or become a pollutant that enters the storm drain system.

California Vehicle Code Section 23112 prohibits any person from throwing, depositing, placing or dumping any garbage, glass, paper, wire, rock, refuse or any substance likely to injure or damage traffic using the highway.

4. Illegal Posting on Utility and Lamppost

Utility poles and lamppost covered with posters create the appearance of a fragmented and decaying community. Cluttered poles must be cleaned before utility repairs begin causing delays in utility installation and repairs. Additionally, cluttered poles increase incidents of graffiti, litter and illegal dumping.

Violators can be imprisoned or fined up to $1,000 per day.

The Public Utilities Commission's General Order 95 prohibits placement of signs and posters on power, telephone, and cable utility poles.

BMC Chapter 20.16.010 (B) prohibits placement of signs and posters on city owned utility poles and lampposts that may represent a hazard to pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

5. Weed Abatement

It is the responsibility of property owners, business owners and operator to ensure that the public right of way fronting their property or business is free and clear of grass weeds, debris and any material that contribute to the poor, disorderly and unfit condition or appearance of the immediate and surrounding properties and community. Businesses, property owners and occupants should be aware that dumping, sweeping or blowing leaves, weeds, trimmings, and litter into the street or gutter is a misdemeanor and a violation of the California Vehicle Code.

Violators can be imprisoned or fined up to $1,000 per day.

BMC Chapter 12.40.010 prohibits property owners or anyone in charge of a building or property from allowing grass, weed, dirt, rubbish or any obstruction or material to accumulate from the lot line to the curb face and shall not allow such obstructions or material to be swept into the roadway, street or drainage system.

BMC Chapter 16.04.010 prohibits property owners or anyone in charge of a building or property from allowing the area from the lot line to the curb face to be out of repair or in any condition that would endanger persons or property passing or interfere with the public convenience.


Send e-mail to the City concerning Clean City issues.


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Department of Public Works, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-6300
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903