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 stormwater pollution, and prevention is good business. It means clean water, clean neighborhoods and a clean environment. It also shows your customers that you care about your community. Follow these BMPs to prevent pollution, protect public health and avoid fines or legal action.
Food waste, grease, cleaning fluids, mop water and trash from restaurant operations often make their way into the stormdrain system and do not get treated before flowing into local waterways. These tips will help you keep your restaurant from contributing to stormwater pollution.
Automotive fluids such as oil, grease and anti-freeze along with other harmful materials—like asbestos worn from brake linings and zinc from tires—significantly degrade water quality when they make it into waterways. Along with being an issue for public safety, these materials are detrimental to sea life and aquatic animals. If you are in the automotive industry, here are some things you can do to curb stormwater pollution.
In the cleaning and maintenance of vehicles, many products used, along with the wastewater produced, are toxic and must be disposed of properly. Here are some tips for safe mobile vehicle maintenance.
Construction and Development
Construction sites can be big contributors to stormwater pollution. Soil, cement wash, asphalt, oil and other hazardous debris from construction sites often make their way into the stormdrain system. Follow these tips for more waterway-friendly building.
When it rains, any yard waste or chemicals used in landscape maintenance are swept into the stormdrain system and eventually lead to other waterways. Grass clippings and other plant waste can clog the stormdrain system, while lawn and garden chemicals can have adverse affects on marine life. When working in the yard, use these tips to avoid creating problems for the stormdrain system and at the end of the pipe.
If disposed of improperly, toxic chemicals and discharged waste water from carpet, drapery, furniture and window can make their way into the stormdrain system and eventually our waterways. Use these tips when cleaning carpets. These guidelines apply even if the cleaning products are labeled “nontoxic” or “biodegradable." Although these products may be less harmful to the environment, they can still have harmful effects if they enter the stormdrain untreated.
Industrial and Manufacturing
If you own, manage or help operate a business, especially an industrial or manufacturing company, you can help reduce stormwater pollution. From environmentally friendly cleaning and maintenance activities, to recycling hazardous waste materials, businesses can do their part to prevent stormwater pollution.
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act prohibits the discharge of any pollutant to navigable waters from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The 1987 passage of the Water Quality Act established NPDES permit requirements for discharges of stormwater. The NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.