Companies that discharge pollutants, such as oil and debris, into waterways are required by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to have a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
Consider incorporating the following best management practices (BMPs) into your company’s SWPPP to better comply with the CWA and prevent stormwater pollution:
1. Discourage Accumulation of Waste
Stacked drums of waste or used rags can hide leaks and spills. These leaks and spills can escape to drains if not absorbed properly and in time. Put up signage to remind employees to clear waste and keep work areas clean.
2. Pressure Wash Surfaces Responsibly
Pressure washing drives contaminants from surfaces into stormwater drains. Seal grates with drain covers before power washing and use a vacuum to collect the waste water.
3. Use Funnels to Prevent Spills
Spill risk increases when adding and removing liquids from containers. Drum funnels prevent spills when transferring liquids from one container to another.
4. Contain Spills and Leaks in Storage Areas
Secondary containment in transfer and storage areas is essential if primary containers leak or spill. Put spill pallets or decks underneath containers so liquids can’t get into drains.
5. Landscape Smarter
Consider planting more trees, wildflowers and rain gardens around your facility since they absorb more water than grass. The soil and gravel used in plant beds also absorb more water than brick or pavement, which slows down runoff to storm drains.
6. Keep Spill Kits and PPE in High-Risk Areas
Rapid containment and collection are essential before a spill can get to a drain. Keep spill kits and personal protection equipment (PPE) near potential spill and leak areas for fast response.
7. Guide Spills Away from Drains with Dikes
Most floors slope toward drains, but that doesn’t mean all spilled liquids can go down them. Guide and confine spills with containment dikes. Most dikes can be reused if properly cleaned with soap and hot water and stored in a cool and dry place out of direct sunlight.
8. Use Environmentally-Friendly Cleaners
Too much phosphorous discharge leads to algae blooms and other water pollution issues. Choose low-phosphorous detergents and similar alternatives, such as natural citrus and pumice hand cleaners.
9. Cover Outdoor Storage and Waste Collection Areas
Rainwater and snowmelt wash oil and other pollutants from storage tanks surfaces to drains. Rolltops and covered spill containment pallets prevent rain and snow from directly hitting storage tanks while providing easy access to its contents.
10. Run an Internal Campaign
Encourage employees to buy into reducing stormwater pollution by incorporating it into the workday beyond regulation trainings. Discuss stormwater pollution prevention at staff meetings and leverage events and holidays, such as Earth Day, to raise awareness.
When it comes to CWA compliance, even small efforts can lead to big results. Following the above tips can help you avoid violations and fines at your facility.
You tell us: Does your facility use other practices to prevent stormwater pollution? Let us know in the comment section below!