Pressure washing surfaces such as driveways and buildings
can release oil and grease, pesticides, paints, solvents, toxic chemicals
and contaminants into our storm drains, even if there is no stream or river
directly in site. Pressure washing prior to painting is especially of concern,
since it produces paint chips which may contain lead or other toxic metals.
Paint chips should be collected and disposed of properly, and not allowed
to enter the storm system.
Tips for Pressure Washing
- Start with dry cleanup methods first, such as sweeping,
vacuuming or blowing dirt and debris into piles for pick up and disposal
in the trash.
- Use dry absorbents (such as cat litter) to clean
up oily spots and other fluids.
- Block the gutter or the storm drain with bark bags,
absorbent booms, or a rolled up towel to filter the runoff. If possible, direct
or redirect the runoff to a lawn or landscaped areas with no runoff to the
- Only use cold water, and never wash greasy or
oily auto parts outside; use a commercial car wash or a parts-cleaning
- Do not use household cleaners or soaps.
- Sweep up and dispose of debris after washing.
Check out the pressure washing booklet.
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Due to the nature of auto shops, they can contribute significant
amounts of water pollution to local rivers and streams if not properly managed.
Automotive products like motor oil and solvents endanger water quality and
cannot be removed by sewage treatment facilities.
for Auto Shops
- Store vehicle fluids and other hazardous wastes in well-marked containers
for recycling or disposal at the appropriate facility, or by a commercial
- Prevent spills, leaks, and drips. Use drip pans and secondary containment to keep oil, grease, solvents, and other
chemicals out of storm and sanitary drains.
- Do not allow wastewater from steam-cleaning to flow into storm drains.
It must be diverted to the sanitary sewer system, or use a commercial car
- Recycle motor oil, batteries, solvents, paints, oil filters, antifreeze,
and lubricants. Follow all regulations for the storage, use and disposal
of hazardous substances.
- Keep dust from sanding and body fillers out of the sewers: sweep up instead
of hosing down, allow debris from wet sanding to dry out overnight before
sweeping, purchase sanders with an attached vacuum to reduce cleanup time,
and dispose of non-hazardous dust in the garbage.
- Keep batteries and chemicals in their original containers. Use secondary
containment trays to catch spills and prevent leaks into storm drains.
- Drain and collect fluids from vehicles that are being dismantled, and
remove hazardous mercury-containing switches in trunks and under hoods.
Reuse or recycle collected fluids, and properly dispose of the switches
as hazardous waste.
- Inspect, maintain, and clean pollution prevention equipment regularly.
Separators and grease traps should be cleaned at least every three months,
or more often if needed.
- Dry sweep areas around fuel-dispensing islands, using dry absorbents to
Do you think your auto shop
is already using environmentally safe practices? You should check out the
ECOBIZ to learn how to
have your shop certified as an eco-logical business.
Is your shop a Clean Water Business? Take a look
at the Good Operating Practices
manual to find out. For more information about the program or to request a
manual or poster, contact Kim
Singleton at 726-3626.
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Print shop owners are well-informed about the
type of chemicals they use and the potential hazards they pose to employees and the
workplace. It is also important to consider what happens to those hazardous
chemicals once they have been used and need to be discarded. Printers generate
wastewater during image processing, plate making, the printing process,
and cleanup. Some waste products carried in the water, like silver, are
highly toxic and can have serious negative impacts on the environment. Some
waste products can also be hazardous to treatment plant personnel.
for Print Shops
- Switch to silver-free films-- vesicular, diazo, electrostatic or photopolymer
- When using silver-based processes, install a commercial recovery system
to extract silver from wastewater.
- Substitute environmentally safe inks when possible. Many printers have
switched to soy-based inks.
- Recycle waste inks when possible.
- Recycle product rejects when possible.
- Structure your process to limit ink fountain cleaning.
- Buy solvents from a company that picks up and recycles them. Consider
recycling solvents on-site or choose recycling as a waste disposal option.
- Automatic blanket cleaners can be safer and improve efficiency while reducing
- Electronic imaging and laser plate-making reduces wastewater.
- Substitute non-hazardous alternatives for metal etching or plating processes.
Some alternatives include: presensitized lithographic plates, plastic or
photopolymer plate, or electrostatic plates.
- When possible, choose less-evaporative solvents to reduce VOC emissions
and solvent use.
- Use water-developed lithographic plates and film when possible.
- Recycle plate and plate materials by returning them to the manufacturer
or to a metal recovery firm.
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Construction activities can have a significant
impact on water quality, contributing sediment and other pollutants to local
streams and rivers. Soil excavation and grading operations often contribute
to urban stormwater pollution by loosening large amounts of soil and sediment.
Sediment can flow into storm drains with runoff from rainfall and find its
way into local streams and rivers. Sediment can clog fish gills and increase turbidity, which impairs fish health and their ability to find food and
Tips for Construction Companies
- Maintain all vehicles and heavy equipment. Inspect
frequently for leaks.
- Use rocked construction entrances where truck traffic
is heavy, to limit tracking of sediment into streets.
- Use drip pans or drop cloths to catch drips and
spills if you drain and replace motor oil, radiator coolant or other fluids
on-site. Collect all fluids, store in separate containers, and recycle when
possible. Have spill kits available on-site and ensure that workers are
trained in their use.
- Do not use diesel oil to lubricate equipment or
- Sweep up dry spilled materials immediately. Never
attempt to bury them or "wash them away" with water. Use absorbents,
such as kitty litter, for liquid spills.
- Clean up spills on dirt areas by digging up and
properly disposing of contaminated soil.
- Avoid excavation and grading activities during wet
- Always obtain appropriate grading and erosion control
permits. See the City's Public Works Department for information on grading
("LDAP") permits, and follow all applicable provisions.
- Cover stockpiles and excavated soil with secured
tarps or plastic sheeting.
- Plant temporary vegetation for erosion control on
slopes where construction is not immediately planned.
- Plant permanent vegetation as soon as possible.
Check out the LDAP program fact sheets.
Tips for Managing Concrete and Mortar
- Pour concrete, asphalt and seal coat during dry
- Store dry and wet materials under cover, protected
from wind, rainfall, and runoff.
- Provide a designated clean-out area for concrete
trucks. Never allow trucks to clean out where the material will block drainage
ways or be carried to storm drains.
- Place bio-bags or other erosion control devices
downslope to capture runoff before it can reach a storm drain or waterway;
better yet, avoid dumping in places where it may run off.
- Mix only the amount of fresh concrete/cement you
will be using that day.
- Cover catchbasins and manholes when applying seal
coat, slurry seal, fog seal etc. or when performing saw-cut operations.
- Park paving equipment over drip pads.
- Shovel or vacuum saw-cut slurry.
- Do not discharge fats, oils, or greases down the sink. Use grease traps
or pour grease into a container for disposal in the trash. A better practice
is to recycle oils and greases with a commercial recycler.
- Do not discharge wastewater with temperatures in excess of 140 degrees
Fahrenheit. This includes water from mechanical dishwashers that have a
minimum required temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not discharge waste from a food waste disposal unit to any grease traps.
- Do not discharge waste caustics, acids, solvents, or other emulsifying
- Do not clean equipment outdoors in an area where water can flow to the
gutter, storm drain, or street.
- Keep trash and grease dumpster areas clean and keep dumpsters covered.
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