Waste Management

How Can Waste from Your Business Affect Stormwater?

  • Litter and other debris on the sidewalks surrounding your business is not only unattractive, but will eventually wash into storm sewers, resulting in pollution of our waterways, clogging of storm drains and even flooding.
  • Outdoor cleaning with harsh chemicals washes into our storm sewers and contaminates our streams and rivers, the sources of our drinking water.
  • Materials such as grease, paints, detergents, metals and raw materials that are not stored correctly can spill or be washed into our storm sewers, eventually polluting local waterways.

Reduce Runoff

  • Review your cleaning and maintenance activities to look for ways to reduce runoff into the storm drain system, especially in outdoor areas like parking lots, loading docks and maintenance yards.
  • Keep trash enclosures swept and trash bin lids closed.
  • Train employees to wash vehicles and equipment indoors in a wash rack that is connected to the sanitary sewer or off-site at a commercial wash facility.
  • Train janitorial staff to dispose of floor cleaning water in the sewer and not in the parking lot.
  • Make sure that cooling towers, boilers, compressors, water softeners and other process equipment are connected to the sanitary sewer and do not discharge water into the parking lot.
  • Utilize low-toxic products as alternatives to dangerous chemicals. From detergents to drain openers, there are a lot of ways to get the same or better results without relying on toxic substances.

Control Litter

  • Help control litter by providing trash cans at your business for customers and employees.
  • Pick up litter and other wastes daily from outside areas.
  • Never throw or sweep litter into storm drains.
  • Remove litter from storm drains to prevent clogging and flooding.

Outdoor cleaning

  • Sweep parking lots and other paved areas periodically to remove debris. Dispose of debris in the garbage, rather than in the street or storm drains.
  • Refrain from using detergents or other chemicals to clean pavement. Water from a hose or pressure-washer will do the job.
  • If outdoor pavement cleaning with detergent is required, collect wash water and dispose in indoor sinks or drains, rather than letting it flow into storm drains. Contact your local wastewater agency.

Waste Management

  • If you use hazardous materials such as ink or solvents for printing, polishes and chemicals for car detailing or manufacturing, do not put these hazardous materials in the trash or pour them into the gutter. Take them to be recycled safely.
  • Inspect dumpsters and waste containers periodically. Repair or replace leaky dumpsters and containers.
  • Cover dumpsters and other waste containers.
  • Never dispose of waste products in storm drain inlets.
  • Use dry methods for spill cleanup, 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 1-800-33-TOXIC (1-800-338-6942)

Proper Materials Storage and Disposal

  • Store materials such as grease, paints, detergents, metals and raw materials in appropriate, labeled containers.
  • Store chemicals, wastes, raw materials and contaminated equipment indoors or in a covered, spill contained area, to prevent exposure of these materials to storm water.
  • Make sure all outdoor storage containers have lids, and that lids are tightly closed.
  • Store stockpiled materials inside a building, under a roof, or covered with a tarp to prevent contact with rain.
  • Dispose of all unwanted toxic materials like cleaners, solvents and detergents through a hazardous waste hauler. These items are not trash.


This website content is provided to you on an “AS IS” and “WITH ALL FAULTS” basis. You acknowledge that you assume the entire risk of loss in using this information, including without limitation any loss incurred by any End User. You further acknowledge that this content is complex and may contain some nonconformities, defects and/or errors. PWD does not warrant that this website will meet your needs or expectations, or that all nonconformities can or will be corrected. PWD assumes no risk, liability or responsibility for the accuracy of this guide. See full disclaimer