printech, March, 2004
Prevent Stormwater Pollution from Building & Grounds Maintenance, part II

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From: Gary Jones ( )
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 13:47:21

FYI - From Water and Wastewater Products online

Tips: Prevent Stormwater Pollution from Building and Grounds Maintenance, part II

The second part of these tips, courtesy of the California Stormwater Quality Association, features suggestions for reducing stormwater pollution from building repair and remodeling; mowing, trimming and planting; fertilizer and pesticide management; and more.

To read part I, go to the archives at

Note: These tips reflect California regulations. Be sure to adhere to applicable regulations in your area.

Suggested protocols, cont'd.

Building repair, remodeling and construction
• Do not dump any toxic substance or liquid waste on the pavement or ground or toward a storm drain.
• Use ground or drop cloths underneath outdoor painting, scraping and sandblasting work, and properly dispose of collected material daily.
• Use a ground cloth or oversized tub for activities such as paint mixing and tool cleaning.
• Clean paintbrushes and tools covered with water-based paints in sinks connected to sanitary sewers or in portable containers that can be dumped into a sanitary sewer drain. Brushes and tools covered with nonwater-based paints, finishes or other materials must be cleaned in a manner that enables collection of used solvents (e.g., paint thinner, turpentine, etc.) for recycling or proper disposal.
• Use a storm drain cover, filter fabric or similarly effective runoff control mechanism if dust, grit, wash water or other pollutants may escape the work area and enter a catch basin. This is particularly necessary on rainy days. The containment device(s) must be in place at the beginning of the work day, and accumulated dirty runoff and solids must be collected and disposed of before removing the containment device(s) at the end of the work day.
• If you need to de-water an excavation site, you may need to filter the water before discharging to a catch basin or off-site. If directed off-site, you should direct the water through hay bales and filter fabric or use other sediment filters or traps.
• Store toxic material under cover during precipitation events and when not in use. A cover would include tarps or other temporary cover material.

Mowing, trimming and planting
• Dispose of leaves, sticks or other collected vegetation as garbage, by composting or at a permitted landfill. Do not dispose of collected vegetation into waterways or storm drainage system.
• Use mulch or other erosion control measures when soils are exposed.
• Place temporarily stockpiled material away from watercourses and drain inlets, and berm or cover stockpiles to prevent material releases to the storm drain system.
• Consider an alternative approach when bailing out muddy water: Do not put it in the storm drain; pour over landscaped areas.
• Use hand weeding where practical.

Fertilizer and pesticide management
• Follow all federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the use, storage and disposal of fertilizers and pesticides and training of applicators and pest control advisors.
• Use less-toxic pesticides that will do the job when applicable. Avoid use of copper-based pesticides if possible.
• Do not use pesticides if rain is expected.
• Do not mix or prepare pesticides for application near storm drains.
• Use the minimum amount needed for the job.
• Calibrate fertilizer distributors to avoid excessive application.
• Employ techniques to minimize off-target application (e.g., spray drift) of pesticides, including consideration of alternative application techniques.
• Apply pesticides only when wind speeds are low.
• Fertilizers should be worked into the soil rather than dumped or broadcast onto the surface.
• Irrigate slowly to prevent runoff and then only as much as is needed.
• If fertilizer spills on the pavement or sidewalk, clean these surfaces before applying irrigation water.
• Dispose of empty pesticide containers according to the instructions on the container label.
• Use up the pesticides. Rinse containers, and use rinse water as product. Dispose of unused pesticide as hazardous waste.
• Implement storage requirements for pesticide products with guidance from the local fire department and county agricultural commissioner. Provide secondary containment for pesticides.

• Inspect irrigation system periodically to ensure that the right amount of water is being applied and that excessive runoff is not occurring. Minimize excess watering, and repair leaks in the irrigation system as soon as they are observed.

Spill response and prevention
• Place a stockpile of spill cleanup materials, such as brooms, dustpans and vacuum sweepers (if desired), near the storage area where it will be readily accessible.
• Have employees trained in spill containment and cleanup present during the loading/unloading of dangerous wastes, liquid chemicals or other materials.
• Clean up spills immediately.

• Sweep paved areas regularly to collect loose particles. Wipe up spills with rags and other absorbent material immediately. Do not hose down the area to a storm drain.

• Educate and train employees on pesticide use and in pesticide application techniques to prevent pollution.
• Train employees and contractors in proper techniques for spill containment and cleanup.
• Be sure the frequency of training takes into account the complexity of the operations and the nature of the staff.

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