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Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024
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What Businesses Can Do to Reduce Their Legal Exposure

The following is a list of small businesses and situations involving storm water enforcement and some practical tips toward compliance. In many cases, businesses can improve their maintenance by regular sweeping and employee education; some businesses will require structural controls or modified landscaping so as to divert or capture runoff in a drainage basin.

– Restaurants: Stop washing outside and/or disposing of wastewater outside. Dispose to a sewer, which may require grease trap.

– Painters, contractors, concrete layers and cutters: Stop allowing discharge from power washing from entering storm drain; stop washing equipment, painting utensils along the curb and into the drain; collect wastewater; avoid loss of paint chips, particularly those containing lead.

– Businesses with loading stations: Block storm drains located next to loading ramps to prevent oils and other materials, including emergency releases of hazardous materials, from entering; improve location and storage of chemicals.

– Auto detailers: When washing cars, prevent all wastewater from going offsite; use portable berms and vacuum up or evaporate water.

– Gas stations: Do not hose spills off pavement; use an absorbent.

– Fabricators and welders: Sweep up sawdust and metal shavings.

– Businesses with vehicles: Prevent employees from changing oil and discarding contents improperly, washing cars onsite, or allowing oil leaks; promote car washes that recycle water.

– Businesses with dumpsters: Use waterproof dumpsters with lids.

– Parking lots: Absorb leaking oil (Municipal code already requires property owners to clean their lots regularly and to absorb oil leaks).

– Printers: Avoid dumping ink and other materials in alleys and parking lots.

– Pool companies: Avoid dumping filter material or hydrochloric acid (used for acid washes) into the street.

– Pesticide use: Change to nontoxic or less toxic pesticides and other poisons on your property. Chemicals such as diazinon degrade when exposed to the sun. Once irrigation or rain washes diazinon away, however, it dissolves easily in water and is difficult to degrade , thus long-lasting as a toxin in the water body.

– Landscaping: Reduce overfertilization of landscaping and overirrigation; do not apply before rain; do not apply on hard surfaces; prevent dirt from leaving property during rain by revegetating land or using other methods to stop siltation from entering the storm drain; dirt in water blocks sunlight from killing bacteria in the water and contributes to beach closures.

– Animal wastes: Clean up wastes that may contain harmful bacteria.

– Farmers: Previously unregulated for runoff, expect agencies to seek ways to control pesticide, nutrient and silt from entering storm drains.

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