Stormwater Education for Businesses
Specific businesses can have a direct impact on our creeks and lakes. They can negatively impact stormwater by improper day-to-day activities, such as:
- Cleaning of equipment or buildings
- Materials handling
- Cooling and refrigeration equipment maintenance
- Landscaping and grounds maintenance
- Dumpster and loading dock areas
- Parking lots
- Illegal connections to storm drainage systems
Our staff are here to help educate you about the rules and regulations surrounding your business and water quality issues. Need help preparing for an inspection or training new employees? We can help get you off on the right foot and provide the education and support you need to have a positive impact on our stormwater system. If you have questions or concerns about your facility’s inspection, contact our compliance and inspector professionals.
Clean up your work area…
When cleaning up your work area after vehicle repair NEVER hose down automotive fluid spills. To absorb spills on concrete surfaces, sprinkle saw dust, kitty litter, or cornmeal. Allow it to sit for several hours, and then sweep it into a bag and place it in the trash.
NEVER attempt to change refrigerant or repair air conditioning units because of potential CFC leaks. Air conditioning repairs must be done by an EPA-certified air conditioning technician.
Washing your car in a driveway or street means the dirty water flows untreated into the nearest storm drain and to the nearest creek and lake. This used water contains residue from gasoline, rust, motor oil, exhaust fumes (caked on your tail pipe). The soap you use may also contain phosphates, which can cause algae blooms in waterways.
Carpet Cleaners have been identified as having the potential to negatively impact water quality due to the illegal practice of discharging wastewater into a storm drain. When disposing of carpet cleaning wastewater it must drain to a sanitary sewer system to be treated otherwise the harmful chemicals and toxins will flow directly into our creeks and lakes killing wildlife and polluting the water.
Stormwater runoff that picks up gasoline can contain harmful chemicals including the known human carcinogen benzene. That stormwater can then infiltrate adjacent soil or flow into local waterbodies through our drainage system. Heavy metals and toxic chemicals bioaccumulate in fish we catch and eat from our lakes, causing harm to human health over time. Oil and grease also decreases habitat availability to aquatic organisms and clog the gills of fish.
Mobile cleaners perform restaurant cleaning typically at night when the restaurant is closed. The cleaners have been known to move the equipment to the exterior of the restaurant for cleaning without proper water quality protection practices. This practice is illegal and the waste water must drain to an inside sanitary sewer drain.
Landscape maintenance service providers perform many activities that have the potential to negatively impact water quality – including fertilizer and pesticide application, irrigation system installation and maintenance, mowing, and material staging.
Common sources of pollutants from mobile cleaning businesses include: soap, oil, grease, paint and dirt. Exterior cleaning benefits water quality when done with water quality in mind.
Water flows through storm drains directly to creeks without being treated. At an event, stormwater can pick up pollutants, such as oil, trash, and food left behind by vendors and guests. As an event coordinator, your organization is responsible for stormwater violations. Check out this resource sheet for some guidelines that help to prevent stormwater pollution.
For Commercial & Residential Property Management
Whether you manage residential or commercial properties, you play a large role in keeping pollutants from your sites controlled. As a facility manager, property manager or homeowner’s association, how you maintain your property has a large impact on the water quality and habitats of our creeks and lakes. Stormwater runoff picks up pollutants as it flows over the ground or paved areas and carries these pollutants into the storm drainage system leading directly into our creeks untreated.
Common Sources of Pollutants from Facilities Include:
- Discharges from HVAC systems and fire suppression system testing
- Trash from overfilled dumpsters
- Pollutants draining from leaking dumpsters
- Not maintain stormwater treatment facilities (e.g. detention ponds)
- Spills or leaks from outdoor storage area
- Wash water that is not collected during outdoor washing
Facilities are required by law to prevent pollutants from entering the storm drainage system. Make sure your employees and companies you hire (e.g. hauler, landscaper, HVAC and pressure washers) know how to do the job right!
Clean Water Healthy Life Checklist for Managers
- Train employees, tenants, and contractors on proper cleaning and disposal methods
- Check outdoor areas daily – clean up any spills and trash immediately
- Check parking lot(s) and storm drainage system daily – clean up pollutants like leaks from vehicles and litter immediately
- Cover all recycling, storage and trash bins
- Dispose of all wastewater from cleaning in sanitary sewer
Resources for Property Managers
The use of some rental equipment can create liquid wastes if not cleaned up properly. Allowing wastes to flow into a ditch, gutter, or storm drain can pollute our creeks and lakes.
Common sources of pollutants from restaurants include:
- Litter and liquids from dumpster areas
- Grease from spills or leaks from outdoor grease bins
- Mop water being poured outside Wash water that is not collected from outdoor washing.
Spills and sediment from work sites can flow into storm drains and pollute local creeks and lakes. Pollutants leaving worksites are prohibited by law. The following resource page illustrates best management practices (BMPs) that can be used at construction projects to protect storm drains and prevent pollutions.