County of Marin - News Releases - Tarp Your Load

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2018

Reduce Roadside Trash by Covering Truck Loads

Popup event provides tarps and education to drivers in effort to cut pollution

San Rafael, CA Roadway litter is a significant pollutant of the waterways of Marin and the greater Bay Area. In an effort to help eliminate trash and debris from the roadway, the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP) hosted a Tarp Your Load event October 18 at the Marin Recycling Center in San Rafael.

A California Highway Patrol motorcycle is on the right and several trucks with untarped loads are lined up in the background as the CHP officer talks to a truck driver.A CHP officer and other Tarp Your Load organizers speak to a driver about his untarped load on October 18.
The semi-annual event, which is a collaboration with California Highway Patrol, Assembly member Mark Levine’s office, and Clean Marin volunteers, strives to educate drivers on the environmental importance of securing truck loads. During the three-hour event, 121 trucks arrived at Marin Recycling Center, of which 48 had uncovered loads. Event staff reminded drivers of the potential penalty for neglecting the state law requiring truck and trailer loads to be well secured. The fine for unsecured loads is $109, and littering the highway can be as much as $1,000 for the first offense.

No fines were handed out at the event. Drivers entering the recycling center with poorly secured loads were reminded of the public safety hazard and pollution risk. Instead of a ticket, drivers received a free tarp to cover their next load. Out on the road, the CHP may not be so lenient.

Caltrans reported that it spent $67 million to remove 142,000 cubic yards of trash and debris from the highways in 2016. That is the capacity of over 4,000 large garbage trucks or a 100-mile-long line of pickup trucks.

“We need residents to help us reduce litter by properly securing and tarping their load before driving,” said Rob Carson, the County’s Stormwater Program Administrator. “Most people don’t want to see trash on their drive home. We need to get the word out that properly securing your load is the responsible thing to do, it’s the law, and it protects our environment.”

MCSTOPPP is a joint effort of Marin’s cities, towns and the County of Marin, which works to reduce or stop pollutants from washing off urban areas into storm drains, creeks, bays and the ocean. Not only is trash an unsightly road hazard, it pollutes waterways and harms wildlife.

MCSTOPPP’s Tarp Your Load partners include Marin Clean Highways,  California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, Marin Sanitary Service, Marin County Supervisors Kathrin Sears and Damon Connolly, Senator Mark McGuire, and Assemblyman Marc Levine. The event is sponsored in part by Jackson’s Hardware, San Rafael McDonald’s, and Marin Builder’s Association.

To volunteer in this effort, please contact Will Stockard at MCSTOPPP. To learn about the many ways you can reduce pollutants in our waterways, visit the MCSTOPPP website. For information on past events, visit Marin Clean Highways.


Rob Carson
Stormwater Program Administrator
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-2745
Email: Rob Carson
MCSTOPPP webpage