Pollution Prevention

Pollution Prevention for Residents

Anything we use in our home, yard or cars, like paint, pesticide, fertilizers, cleaners and motor oil can flow into the street, parking lot which may contribute to water pollution. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to prevent pollution.

Home Improvement

Paints, solvents, adhesives, debris and toxic materials from home repair and remodeling are often swept, blown or washed into the Orange County storm drain system and go untreated into channels, creeks, bays and oceans. By following a few simple steps, you can prevent pollution.


Use water-based paints whenever possible. Look for products labeled “latex” or “cleans with water.” Avoid cleaning brushes or rinsing containers in the street or gutter. For water-based paint, rinse them in the sink. For oil-based paint, clean them with thinner, which can be filtered and reused. Never dump paint or paint-related products in the trash, gutter or a storm drain. Take them to a household hazardous waste collection site to be recycled. Paint stripping residue, chips and dust from marine paints and paints containing lead or in are hazardous wastes. Sweep them up and take them in a sealed container to a household hazardous waste collection site.

Construction and Remodeling

Schedule grading and excavation projects for dry weather. Practice source reduction. Order only the amount of material needed to complete the project. Use recycled and recyclable materials whenever possible. Keep all construction debris away from the street, gutter and storm drains.


Use the proper procedures for gardening, collection of green waste and application of fertilizers and pesticides. Adjust the sprinklers for minimum water use to eliminate irrigation runoff.

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 business. It means clean water, clean beaches and shows your customers you care about the community.


Food waste, grease, cleaning solvents, mop water and trash from restaurant operations often make their way into the Orange County storm drain system, polluting local waterways. Follow these best management practices to prevent pollution and protect the environment.


Clean floor mats, filters and garbage cans in a mop sink, floor drain or proper outside area, not the parking lot, alley, sidewalk or street. Pour washwater into a janitorial or mop sink, not outside in the parking lot, alley, sidewalk or street. Use non-toxic cleaning products.

Grease & Hazardous Materials

Recycle grease and oil, instead of pouring it into sinks, floor drains or into a parking lot or the street. Dispose of all unwanted toxics materials like cleaning products through a hazardous waste hauler. These items are not trash.


Use dry methods for spill cleanup, by sweeping and using cat litter instead of hosing.

Emergency Number

Have spill containment and cleanup kits available for possible spills on your property. To report serious toxic spills, call 911.