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Pollution Prevention for Businesses

One of the most common types of pollution from businesses is contaminated water runoff, usually from cleaning and maintenance activities. Simple best management practices (BMPs) can prevent storm water pollution, and prevention is good business. It means clean water, clean beaches and shows your customers you care about the community.

Automotive Services

Motor oil, anti-freeze, grease and other toxic fluids from auto repair and gas station operations often make their way into the Orange County storm drain system, and flow untreated into local waterways. Follow these best management practices to prevent pollution and avoid fines and legal action.

Preventing leaks and managing spills:
 
  • Use drip pans to catch leaks when pouring and draining fluids.
  • Prevent leaks from stored vehicles by draining gas, hydraulic oil and transmission, brake and radiator fluids.
  • In case of a hazardous spill, follow your hazardous materials response plan as filed with the Fire Department or other hazardous materials authority.
  • Be sure employees are familiar with your hazardous materials response plan and are capable of implementing it.
Storing and disposing of hazardous materials:
 
  • Keep liquid wastes segregated. Many fluids can be recycled through hazardous waste disposal companies, as long as they are not mixed.
  • Store hazardous materials under cover or inside, to prevent leaks and spills.
  • Recycle motor oil, oil filters, anti-freeze, batteries, solvents, lubricants, tires and metal filings from grinding and polishing metal parts. These items are not trash, and are illegal to dump. Contact a hazardous waste hauler for proper disposal.
Cleaning and Maintenance:
  • Use dry methods, by sweeping and using absorbent cleaning agents, to clean work areas, instead of hosing them down.
  • Sweep outside areas regularly and put the debris in the garbage, instead of sweeping or hosing it into the street.
  • Keep dumpster lids closed and the areas around them clean. Do not fill with liquid waste or hose them out. Call your trash hauler to replace any dumpsters that leak.
Washing vehicles:
 
  • Wash vehicles at a washing facility that reclaims water. If washed at your business, use berms or sweep to keep contaminated wash water from flowing into the street.
  • Use non-toxic detergents and cleaners.
For more information:

Commercial Landscape Maintenance

Keeping lawns and gardens looking good isn’t always good for our environment. Sprinkler runoff carries pesticides and fertilizers into the storm drain system. Leaves, grass clippings and yard waste get swept or blown into the street, along with sediment from erosion, clogging catch basins and polluting waterways. Follow these best management practices to prevent pollution and avoid fines and legal action.

Yard waste:
  • Recycle leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste, instead of blowing, sweeping or hosing them into the street or gutter. The City of Fullerton has a Green Waste Recycling Program
  • Let your customers know about grasscycling. Letting grass clippings drop on the lawn, instead of using a grass catcher, acts as a natural fertilizer, returning nutrients and organic matter back to the soil.
  • Conserve water. Reducing the need to water as often or use pesticide and fertilizers means less contaminated runoff.
Pesticides and fertilizers:
  • Spot apply pesticides, rather than blanketing entire areas.
  • Ask your customers if they prefer non-toxic alternatives to traditional pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Do not put pesticides or fertilizers in the trash. Dispose of hazardous materials through a hazardous waste hauler or take them to a household hazardous waste collection site to be recycled.
Erosion prevention:
  • Prevent erosion and sediment runoff by using berms and vegetation down-slope to capture runoff.
  • Cover exposed piles or bags of soil, groundcover and other materials with plastic sheeting to prevent it from blowing or washing into the storm drain system.
Wise water use:
  • Control the amount of water and direction of sprinklers, to avoid waste and runoff.
  • Periodically inspect and fix leaks and misdirected sprinklers.

Construction and Development

Soil, cement wash, asphalt and oil from construction sites often make their way into the Orange County storm drain system, and flow untreated into local waterways. Follow these best management practices to prevent pollution and avoid fines and legal action.

Erosion prevention:
  • Reduce erosion by avoiding excavation or grading activities during wet weather, and by planting temporary vegetation on slopes where construction is not immediately planned.
  • Use berms and diversion dikes to channel and contain runoff.
Concrete and mortar application:
 
  • Prevent mortar and cement from entering storm drains by placing erosion controls such as berms or temporary vegetation down-slope to capture runoff.
  • Wash concrete mixers and equipment only in specified wash-out areas, where the water flows into containment ponds. Cement wash water can be recycled by pumping it back into cement mixers for reuse.
  • Never dispose of cement washout into driveways, streets, gutters or drainage ditches.
Handling materials and waste:
  • Cover exposed piles or bags of soil, cement and other construction materials with plastic sheeting to prevent it from blowing or washing into the storm drain system.
  • Recycle broken asphalt, concrete, wood and cleared vegetation.
  • Store hazardous materials under cover or inside, to prevent leaks and spills.
  • Dispose of hazardous materials through a hazardous waste hauler or other means in accordance with the construction permit.
Managing spills:
  • Use funnels and drip pans to catch leaks when pouring or draining fluids.
  • In case of a hazardous spill, follow your hazardous materials response plan as filed with your local fire department or other hazardous materials authority.
Equipment maintenance:
 
  • Inspect vehicles and equipment frequently for leaks.
  • Perform major equipment repairs and washing off site.
  • Use gravel approaches where truck traffic is frequent to reduce soil compaction and limit the tracking of sediment into the streets.
For more information:

Restaurants

Food waste, grease, cleaning solvents, mop water and trash from restaurant operations often make their way into the Orange County storm drain system, polluting local waterways. Follow these best management practices to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

Cleaning:
  • Clean floor mats, filters and garbage cans in a mop sink, floor drain or proper outside area, not the parking lot, alley, sidewalk or street.
  • Pour washwater into a janitorial or mop sink, not outside in the parking lot, alley, sidewalk or street.
  • Use non-toxic cleaning products.
Grease & hazardous materials:
  • Recycle grease and oil, instead of pouring it into sinks, floor drains or into a parking lot or the street.
  • Dispose of all unwanted toxics materials like cleaning products through a hazardous waste hauler. These items are not trash.
Spills:
  • Use dry methods for spill cleanup, by sweeping and using cat litter instead of hosing.
  • Have spill containment and cleanup kits available for possible spills on your property. To report serious toxic spills, call 911.
Outside maintenance:
  • Keep dumpster lids closed and the areas around them clean. Do not fill with liquid waste or hose them out. Call your trash hauler to replace any dumpsters that leak.
  • Sweep outside areas regularly and put the debris in the garbage, instead of sweeping or hosing it into the parking lot or the street.
For more information:
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