Your business is required to prevent pollution of stormwater that could reach a surface water (streams or lakes) or groundwater. Rain falling on your business or generated by your activities can collect a number of different contaminants, including dirt, oil, fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, litter and assorted chemicals and metals. This polluted storm runoff flows into storm drains and ditches that lead to streams, lakes, and wetlands.
Preventing pollution cuts costs, avoids expensive cleanups and protects a business from fines. Here are some tips to help your business reduce pollution. Unsure of where your drains go? Contact your jurisdiction here.
Only rain down the drain
Soaps, sediment, chemicals and other contaminated runoff can pollute nearby waterways and harm fish and wildlife. It can even reach groundwater, which is where we get our drinking water.
Never dump waste or wash water onto hard surfaces that empty into storm drains.
Mark storm drains on your site with metal medallions and stenciling to inform staff and customers that drains lead to waterways and not to dump waste.
Keep it covered
The most effective and least costly way to reduce polluted runoff is to keep stormwater from picking up pollution in the first place.
Keep dumpsters under cover or have working lids. Inspect dumpster for leaks and fix immediately.
Ensure trash compactors are connected to the sanitary sewer and not leaking.
Barrels and containers with any amount of hazardous material such as oil, chemicals, batteries or paint must be stored in a covered area or have a lid to keep rainwater out.
Post signs to remind employees of best practices and proper use.
Clean without polluting
Ensure equipment and outdoor cleaning projects aren't sending pollutants to storm drains. Storm runoff that enters a storm drain doesn't go to a wastewater treatment plant, it ends up in our streams, rivers, lakes and the groundwater that supplies our faucets.
Wash vehicles at a commercial wash or in a covered area that drains to a sanitary sewer.
Never pressure wash hard surfaces or equipment unless you are sure the wash water flows to a sanitary sewer.
Keep equipment clean and maintained to avoid leaks that can become contamination sources.
Sweep, never wash outdoor spills of any type or size. Apply an absorbent material like kitty litter or rags, sweep it into a bag, and dispose of in the trash or hazardous materials center.
Conduct cleaning activities indoors. If outdoors, contain the cleaning activity and collect discharge water.
Contain sources of pollution
Best practices and structural features of your workplace can prevent spills from polluting stormwater. Lessen the impact to your business and our water resources by being prepared to contain and clean up spills. Find resources to help your business properly manage hazardous waste here.
Inventory your business to know where liquids are stored, handled, delivered and disposed of. Secure liquids at each of these locations to prevent accidental spills.
Hazardous materials and pollution sources should have secondary containment barriers such as permanent or mobile berms, capture containers or some type of dedicated area that will stop runoff.
Have a plan to clean up spills quickly and safely.
Keep a spill kit ready and make sure employees know how to use it.
Locate all drains and determine if they lead to sanitary or storm sewers. Only rain down the storm drain!