Businesses can have a big impact on water quality because of the potential for illicit discharges. Any liquid or solid material other than clean water going onto the ground, down a storm drain, or into a stormwater ditch or natural water body can be considered an illicit discharge. Businesses in violation of illicit discharge laws can be fined. Each community has its own rules, so be familiar with the laws for your area. Also, showing customers how "green" you are can be great for business!
General tips for preventing pollution:
- Discharges from indoor floor drains, washing machines, dish washers, industrial processes, chemical mixing areas, vehicle wash stations, and other discharges containing anything other than clean water should connect to sanitary sewers, not to storm sewer systems.
- Clean parking lots by sweeping rather than washing with a water hose.
- If a spill occurs in a parking lot or outdoor area, soak it up with absorbent material like cat litter, then collect with a broom and dustpan.
- Never pour mop water, paint, chemicals, or other products on the ground or down a storm drain.
- Keep storm drains around your business clear of trash, leaves, and other debris.
- Mark storm drains around your business with “no dumping” messages.
- Provide pet waste bag stations for visitors to your business.
- Install rain gardens, vegetated swales, pervious pavement, cisterns or other best management practices to collect rain water and allow it to soak into the ground.
- Train staff on correct disposal of chemicals, cleaning products, and other materials and potential pollutants.
- Recycle everything you can. Click here for recycling and solid waste resources in your area.
- Make sure landscaping staff uses pesticides and fertilizers responsibly and does not blow leaves or grass clippings into the street.
- Have your business "adopt" a stream or highway by volunteering to pick up trash regularly.
- Support local water protection organizations!