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Maintenance activities using chemicals such as paint, caustics, biocides, bleach, detergents, etc. have the potential to contaminate stormwater runoff if used outside or in mechanical rooms. Any of these chemicals that discharge to the storm drain system can harm aquatic life and fish. Pollution prevention happens by following a few simple good practices.


Best Practices

Chemical use and storage

  • Store chemical substances such as paints, solvents, detergents, and de-icer under cover when not in use or during rain.

Paint cleanup

  • Clean latex paint brushes in sinks connected to the sanitary sewer or in portable containers that can be emptied into the sanitary sewer.
  • Collect oil-based paint waste and brush cleaner in a container, then contact EHS for waste pickup.

Mechanical room floor drains

Drain Labels

  • Do not discharge chemicals into mechanical room floor drains unless the drains are labeled “Drains to Sanitary Sewer.”
  • If mechanical room drains are labeled “No Dumping: Drains to Creek,” contact EHS for assistance in collecting and removing chemical waste.
  • Do not store chemicals near floor drains labeled “No Dumping: Drains to Creek.”
  • If floor drains are not labeled, and draining or discharging to the floor drains is required, contact EHS for dye testing to determine piping system.
  • More information on mechanical room floor drain dye testing is located on the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) page of the EHS website.

Biodegradable or “green” products

  • Biodegradable and “green” soaps and chemicals must not be discharged to the storm drain.
  • Some of these products use “creative labeling” and are toxic to aquatic life.
  • Contact EHS for a product review if you would like to use this type of material outside or in a mechanical room connected to the storm drain system.

Pressure washing

Sandblasting and scraping paint

  • Use a ground cloth beneath outdoor painting, scraping and sandblasting work to collect debris.
  • Contact EHS for waste pickup of the collected materials.

Ground disturbance from small construction projects


  • Any chemical spills should be cleaned up immediately so that the spill can’t reach a storm drain.
  • Call EHS at 919-962-5507 or call 911 if you need help cleaning the spill.
  • Call EHS at 919-962-5507 or call 911 if any amount of chemical spills into a storm drain.

Waste material pickup

  • Contact EHS for waste pickup of unwanted chemical materials.