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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 stormwater pollution, and prevention is good for business. It means clean water, clean environment and shows your customers you care about the community.

For more information on municipal, industrial and construction Nation Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits:

General Industrial Permit

Automobile and Equipment Maintenance


Automotive maintenance is potentially a significant source of pollution containing hydrocarbons, trace metals, and other pollutants. Some of the wastes generated at automobile maintenance facilities include the following:

  • Cleaning Solvents
  • Antifreeze
  • Brake fluid and brake lining
  • Used Batteries
  • Motor oils
  • Fuels (gasoline,diesel, and kerosene)
  • Lubricating grease


The most effective way to minimize the impacts of automotive and equipment maintenance generated waste is by preventing its production. Implementation of the following activities can prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants to storm water municipal automotive maintenance activities.

Pollution Prevention Method

Suggested Activities

Waste Reduction

  • The types/brands of solvents used should be kept to a minimum to make recycling easier and to reduce hazardous waste management cost.
  • Peform all liquid cleaing at a centralized station to ensure that solvents and residues stay in one area.
  • Locate drip pans and draining boards to direct solvents back into solvent sink or holding tank for re-use.

Using Safer Alternatives

  • Use non-hazardous cleaners when possible.
  • Replace chlorinated organic solvents with non-chlorinated ones.
  • Recycled products such as engine oil, motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and hydraulic fluid can be purchased to support the market of recycled products.

Spill Clean

  • Use as little water as possible to clean spills, leaks, and drips.
  • Rags should be used to clean small spills, dry absorbent material for larger spills, and mop for general cleanup. Mop water can be disposed of via the sink or toilet to the sanitary sewer.

Good housekeeping

  • Employee training is necessary to reinforce proper disposal practices.
  • Conduct all vehicle maintenance activities indoors.
  • Parked vehicles should be monitored closely for leaks and pans placed under any leaks to collect the fluids for proper disposal or recycling.
  • Promply transfer used fluids to recycling drums or hazardous waste containers.
  • Do not pour liqiuid waste down floor drains, sinks, or outdoor storm drain inlets.
  • Obtain and use drain mats to cover drains in the event of a spill.
  • Store cracked batteries in leak proof secondary containers.

Parts Cleaning

  • Use detergent-based or water-based cleaning systems instead of organic solvent degreasers.
  • Steam cleaning and pressure washing may be used instead of solvent parts cleaning. The wastewater generated from steam cleaning can be discharged to the on-site oil/water separator (clarifier).


Food waste, grease, cleaning solvents, mop water and trash from resturant operations often make their way into the environment causing pollution.Follow these best management practices to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

Cleaning Spills and Equipment

  • Never hose a spill into a gutter, street, or storm drain!
  • Before mopping a wet kitchen spill, absorb it with towels, cat litter or other absorbent materials.
  • Sweep up dry spills immediatley and dispose of the material in the trash.
  • Scrape grease and food waste from floor mats and filters before cleaning. Depose of scrapings in trash.
  • After scraping, clean floor mats, filters, and garbage cans in a mop, sink or designated, curbed area connected to the sanitary sewer. Consider using a cleaning service for these activites.

Dumpster/Grease Bin Area Cleaning

  • keep the area around the dumpster clear of trash and other debris. Do not over fill the dumpster.
  • Cover the dumpster to block insects, animals, rainwater, and wind.
  • Sweep or vacuum up the trash and throw it away.
  • Absorb wet spills with cat litter, towels, or similar materials. Discard in the trash.
  • Do not rinse your dumpster area! Doing so can cause grease and trash to enter the storm drains.
  • Have leaky dumpsters replaced.


  • Use dry methods for spill cleanup by sweeping and suing 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.

Practices in the Kitchen

  • Collect waste cooking oil and grease in portable containers with lids. Transfer into drums or barrels for recycling.
  • Do not pour oil or grease down any drain. Recycle or use absorbent materials and dispose of waste in trash.
  • Dry-wipe pots, pans, dishware, and work areas to remove all visible grease before washing. Dispose of waste in the trash.
  • Use drain screens to capture food waste and dispose of properly into the trash.
  • Train employees about proper grease disposal and post "NO GREASE" signs near all sinks or drains.

Maintenance of Grease Traps and Interceptors

  • Reduce Soilds going to grease trap of interceptor.
  • Inspect and clean grease traps frequently to ensure proper operation.
  • Have a licenced company inspect and pump out grease interceptors regularly to ensure proper operation.


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