How businesses can prevent storm water pollution

Businesses

Storm water is everybody’s business!

Businesses are an integral part of our community. As such, they too have a responsibility to help prevent pollution from affecting the surrounding environment. By implementing best management practices, private businesses can prevent pollution from entering Oahu’s storm drain system. If your facility has a physical connection to the HDOT Highways storm drain system, a Connection Permit is required. If your facility is adjacent to HDOT Highways right-of-way and discharges into HDOT Highways storm drain system, a Discharge Permit may be required.

Restaurants

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Hawaii Department of Health identify restaurants as a major source of pollutants. Pollutants originating from leaking trash bins, wash water, food scraps, grease and used cooking oil can enter the storm drain system where they are carried along with storm water flows and ultimately get discharged into our island waters. Click on the button below to download Storm Water Pollution Prevention – A Guide for the Restaurant and Food Industry, or browse the following best management practices to prevent storm water pollution at your restaurant:

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Keep dumpster lids closed to minimize storm water’s impact on the contained garbage.Keep dumpster lids closed
Keeping dumpster lids closed and in proper working condition minimizes storm water’s ability to impact the trash inside.
Minimize used oil exposureMinimize used oil exposure
Place used oil receptacles under cover to avoid exposure to rain and provide secondary containment to capture any leaks.
Quickly respond to spillsQuickly respond to spills
Obtain a spill kit and educate employees on proper spill response procedures. Dispose of used absorption materials properly.
Pour wash water into a janitorial sinkPour wash water in sink
Pour wash water into a janitorial sink, which connects to the sanitary sewer, instead of onto the parking lot or street.
Maintain grease traps frequently.Maintain oil/water separators
Maintain and service oil/water separators and grease traps frequently.

Automotive Facilities

Automotive maintenance and repair activities use petroleum products and hazardous substances in fueling and vehicle servicing. Fuel dispensing areas, trash bins, air/water supply areas, repair shops, and car washes can accumulate automotive fluids, grease, trash, and other harmful water pollutants. When it rains, storm water runoff washes these contaminants into the storm drain system and out into our streams and ocean. Click on the button below to download Storm Water Pollution Prevention – A Guide for Retail Gas Stations and Auto Maintenance Facilities, or browse the following best management practices to prevent storm water pollution at your automotive facility:

Download
Plan your sitePlan your site
Designate an area away from storm drain inlets for replacing motor oil, coolant, and other fluids. Do not pour liquid wastes into floor drains, sinks, or outdoor drains or sewer connections.
Keep dumpster lids closed to minimize storm water’s impact on the contained garbage.Keep dumpster lids closed
Keeping dumpster lids closed and in proper working condition minimizes storm water’s ability to impact the trash inside.
Minimize used oil exposureMinimize used oil exposure
Place used oil receptacles under cover to avoid exposure to rain and provide secondary containment to capture any leaks.
Educate employees on proper spill response proceduresProperly respond to spills
Obtain a spill kit and educate employees on proper spill response procedures. Dispose of used absorption materials properly.
Securely store hazardous materials indoorsProperly store hazardous materials
Clearly label and securely store hazardous materials. Cover products and stockpiled materials from the rain or store indoors.
Take your car to a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its waste water to prevent storm water pollution.Contain vehicle wash water
Contain vehicle wash water onsite and away from storm drains.

Landscapers

Landscape practices are a major source of nutrient pollutants, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus. While they are needed by all plants for healthy growth, excess nutrients fuel algal blooms and can promote harmful algae. When an algal bloom collapses and decomposes, the process takes oxygen out of the water resulting in low oxygen conditions. Here are some best management practices to prevent storm water pollution from your landscape practices:

Use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers only as neededUse pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers only as needed
This will save you money and help reduce the chances of rain washing it down the storm drain. Use spot spray rather than broadcasting or using a spray truck, where feasible.
Use pesticides only as needed to prevent storm water pollution.Utilize best management practices
Do not spray pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers in or around drainage structures. Never apply pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers before a forecasted rain event and avoid spraying during high winds (over 8 miles per hour).
Ensure that your pesticide sprayer is appropriately calibratedMaintain your equipment
Always read the product information on its application. If a spray application is required, make sure mixing occurs away from storm drains and that the sprayer is appropriately calibrated.
Clear all landscaped areasClear all landscaped areas
Keep all gutters, swales and ditches free of litter, rubbish, and debris.
Stabilize eroding areasStabilize eroding areas
Stabilize and replant any eroding areas immediately.

Other

All other facilities have the potential to contribute pollutants to our drainage system. By following these general practices, we become stewards of the community and the environment:

Replace paved surfaces with a porous alternative to prevent storm water pollution.Reduce impervious surfaces
Impervious surfaces such as concrete driveways, parking lots, and roads do not allow storm water to infiltrate into the ground; instead, they allow rain to flow into gutters that lead to the nearest storm drain. To prevent storm water runoff from your property, replace paved surfaces with a porous alternative or install a vegetated buffer, which captures and filters pollutants. Additionally, you may use a rain barrel or a cistern to capture and prevent storm water from flowing onto an impervious surface.
Sweep up litter on impervious surfaces, especially around storm drainsSweep up litter
Regular sweeping of any impervious surface, especially around storm drains, may prevent storm water pollution. Never use water to hose down driveways, sidewalks, etc. because it will transport any pollutants along its path into the nearest storm drain.
Native plants such as morning glory naturally filter sediment.Utilize and maintain landscaping to prevent soil erosion
Vegetation such as trees and shrubs not only provide aesthetic and shade value, but they also help prevent soil erosion, which may lead to pollutants entering a storm drain inlet. Native trees, shrubs and plants should be used because they tend to have strong root systems and will not choke out other plant species.
Properly dispose of extra paint cans, which rust and leak, to prevent storm water pollution.Use and dispose of chemical products properly
It is important to properly dispose of any chemicals such as gasoline, paint, motor oil, fertilizer, pesticides or any other potentially hazardous chemical. They should not be poured into a storm drain because they pose a great threat to marine life and recreational activities near the discharged area.
Adopt-A-Highway ProgramGet involved
Find out ways your community is preventing storm water pollution. Activities may include stream or beach cleanups, or educational events where you can help inform the public on the potential threats and implications of storm water pollution.