Mitigating Environmental Effects of Pesticides in Urban Areas

Pesticides and Water Quality

Pesticides are toxic chemicals that kill pests, but they also have the potential to harm the environment, especially our waterways. Poor pesticide application practices can result in runoff from the surfaces that are sprayed.

You can reduce pesticide runoff by

  • Understanding how pesticides work
  • Knowing how to use them properly
  • Taking action to offset their risk of contaminating water bodies

UC IPM publications and online tools can help you learn how to prevent and mitigate pesticide runoff in urban environments.

See also the Urban Pesticides and Water Quality pages.

Sample screen comparing risks

Comparisons of pesticide risks

Active Ingredients: compare risks button

Many of UC IPM's Pest Note publications compare the risks of various active ingredients to water quality, bees, people, and the natural enemies of pests. Click the Active ingredients: Compare risks button when it appears on a Pest Note page.

More information about specific active ingredients is also available.

Green Bulletin newsletter

UC IPM Green Bulletin

The Green Bulletin newsletter describes specific practices and information that pest management professionals can incorporate into their daily work to manage pests effectively, while reducing pesticide runoff and other environmental problems.

Online training courses

These free courses were developed for professional pesticide applicators, but they can help anyone learn about reducing pesticide use, pesticide effects on water quality, and best practices to keep the pesticide where it should be. Those who complete each course or course module will receive Continuing Education units from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation Online Course Modules

  • IPM – A Solution for Reducing Pesticides / Water Quality: Pesticide Properties
  • Impact of Pesticides on Water Quality / Mitigating Urban Pesticide Runoff
  • Water Quality and Mitigation: Bifenthrin and Fipronil
  • Herbicides and Water Quality

Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration Course

Pesticide use and active ingredient information

These very short publications and videos describe uses of certain pesticide active ingredients, the risks associated with them, and how to reduce the risks.

For more information about specific active ingredients, see the active ingredient database. For more about home use of pesticides in general, see the page on pesticides for home and landscape use.

View online or download

Download PDF


Active ingredients videos


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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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