Simple best management practices (BMPs) can aid in preventing stormwater pollution and in protecting our local creeks and rivers! Following BMPs leads to clean water and neighborhoods and also shows your customers that you care about your community.
As a business owner or manager of an industrial or commercial business, you are instrumental in helping to reduce stormwater pollution. Your business can do its part to prevent stormwater pollution through environmental practices such as environmentally friendly cleaning and maintenance activities and recycling hazardous waste materials.
The California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) produced the Industrial & Commercial BMP Online Handbook to provide general guidance for selecting and implementing BMPs to reduce pollutants in runoff from industrial and commercial facilities. This document is available for a fee.
If you own or manage an industrial business, be aware that you may need coverage under the Industrial General Permit (IGP). This permit is issued by the State Water Resources Control Board that regulates discharges associated with nine categories of industrial activity categories. These broad categories included manufacturing plants, mining operations, disposal sites, recycling centers, and transportation facilities. A requisite of the permit is the development of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that identifies pollution sources and also describes the measures the facility has taken to reduce stormwater pollution. For more comprehensive information on the Industrial General Permit and to see if this applies to you, please visit the California State Resources Control Board’s Industrial Permit site.
Reduce runoff on your property to reduce the amount of pollutants washed into storm drains.
- Make sure you and your employees understand where the storm drains on your property are located. Ensure that trash or liquids are not flowing into those drains.
- Wash vehicles and equipment indoors in an area that is connected to the sanitary sewer or off-site at a commercial wash facility.
- Avoid power-washing with water when possible. Instead, opt for water-free methods such as sweeping or vacuuming.
- Incorporate landscaping features that capture and clean stormwater such as rain gardens,bioswales, terrace walls, and trees.
- Collect rainwater by installing a rain barrel. This rainwater can be used to water your plants while simultaneously decreasing your water bill.
- Use stones, pavers, gravel, mulch, or other materials that allow water to soak into the ground in areas where you don’t have plants.
- Make sure your irrigation equipment is working properly by regularly inspecting it and consider installing a “smart” irrigation controller to reduce overwatering.
- Consider using water-friendly gardening approaches such as selecting appropriate plants, minimizing the use of chemical pesticides, and creating "hydrozones" by grouping plants according to water needs. Learn more about how to make your yard river-friendly on the Lodi Watershed Friendly Landscaping website or by following these River-Friendly Landscape Guidelines.
Less-Toxic Pest Management For Businesses
Dealing with pest problems on your business property? Luckily there are ways to deal with pests while minimizing use of toxic chemicals. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a strategy that aims to limit the use of pesticides. IPM programs are not a single approach to pest control but rather a multi-method plan based on inspection and monitoring of the building in question.
A key principle of IPM is to identify the specific pest that you are dealing with and treat the root cause of their presence. Use this Statewide Integrated Pest Management guide to help identify and manage specific pests.
Here are some resources for locating a pest management professional trained in IPM:
- EcoWise Certified professionals work to address the root cause of your pest issue. They use their knowledge of how pests live, feed, reproduce and move to effectively solve pest problems.
- Green Shield Certified is an independent, non-profit certification program that promotes effective, prevention-based pest control that minimizes the use of pesticides.
- Green Pro Certified is offered by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and recognizes pest management companies committed to providing customers with reduced risk, comprehensive and effective pest control services.
- Check out this tip sheet for finding an eco-friendly pest management professional.
- Consult the Department for Consumer Affairs to ensure the pest control operator has a license issued by the California State Structural Pest Control Board and any other registrations, certifications, or insurance required.
For a more detailed description of IPM programs and their four-tier implementation approach, please review the EPA’s Integrated Pest Management in Buildings Guide
Smart Fertilizer Use
You may want to attract customers by maintaining an attractive landscape around your business. Using fertilizers can help plants stay healthy. However, improper fertilizer use can result in excess fertilizer being washed into our waterways. There, the nutrients in fertilizers can cause algal blooms that are harmful to local ecosystems and make water bodies unsafe to swim in. Follow these tips for safely using fertilizers:
- Only use fertilizer when necessary and only when it benefits the specific plant you are fertilizing. Different plants have different growth periods to be aware of.
- Use slow-release fertilizers to minimize leaching.
- Only apply fertilizer to planted areas, and keep fertilizer off walkways and bare areas.
- After applying fertilizer, water just enough to wash fertilizer off the plants and into the soil.
- Avoid overwatering your yard to prevent fertilizer and water from running into storm drains.
- Follow all instructions on the fertilizer package to ensure proper use.
Make sure your business does its part to keep trash off of the streets, out of gutters and storm drains, and out of our waterways.
- Provide easily accessible waste receptacles for employees and customers.
- Keep trash enclosures swept and trash bin lids closed at all times.
- Train your employees about the importance of containing trash in the work space.
- Provide signage to educate employees and customers about where to properly dispose of waste.
- Never dump trash or bulky items out on the street. Contact your waste hauler if you need to schedule a bulky item pickup.
General Best Management Practices
- Make sure that cooling towers, boilers, compressors, water softeners, and other equipment are connected to the sanitary sewer.
- Store chemicals, waste, raw materials, and contaminated equipment indoors or in a covered, spill-contained area to prevent exposure to stormwater.