Auto Body Repair

It is illegal to allow anything other than rain water to be discharged to a storm drain.

Never allow sanding debris, paint, vehicle wash water, or other chemicals used to be transported to a street, gutter, parking lot, or storm drain. If discharged or disposed of improperly, materials such as hydrocarbons, oil and grease, and heavy metals can be harmful to water quality and creek habitats.

Individuals and businesses that improperly handle and dispose of non-stormwater materials down the storm drain are both subject to civil and criminal prosecution.

How are the Storm Drain and Sanitary Sewer Systems Different?

Throughout urban communities, the storm drain system transports rainwater to local creeks, rivers, and the ocean. This system was created to prevent flooding within communities and homes.

All water and materials that enter the storm drain system is untreated.

The sanitary sewer is a plumbed system that transports used water from buildings to a wastewater collection and treatment facility, where the water and sewage is treated.

If you see an outdoor drain and are unsure of its use, assume it is a storm drain and do not discharge wash water to it.

Clean creeks are important. They provide vital fish habitat, recreation, and add to the beauty
of our city.

Cleaning products labeled “nontoxic” and “biodegradable” can still harm wildlife if they enter the storm drain system. These products are prohibited discharges to the storm drain system.

Best Practices: 

  • Perform all work activities inside. Immediately clean up drips or small spills.
  • Use sanding tools equipped with a vacuum to pick up debris and dust.
  • Properly contain used solvents for offsite removal by a licensed hauler (i.e. paint gun solvent).
  • Use low volume paint mixing equipment and high efficiency painting tools. (Calculate paint needs based on surface area to minimize wasted paint and thinner)
  • Wash vehicles and equipment on-site within a City approved drainage area connected to the sewer system. Contain wash water and dispose of properly into the sewer system.
  • Use dry cleanup methods (i.e. broom or vacuum). Don’t hose down or pressure wash work areas.
  • Inspect damaged vehicles for leaks.
  • Protect hazardous materials, recyclables, and discarded parts/materials from rain.
  • Separate hazardous wastes and use secondary containment for storage.
  • Don’t use acid-based wheel cleaners or solvent based degreasers.

Wastewater Requirements

An approved oil/water separator or sump is required if wash water is discharged to the sewer system. A Wastewater Discharge Permit may be required. Check with your local municipality for specific requirements. 

Are You Ready to Respond to a Spill?

  • Have a written plan.
  • Train employees annually on storm water regulations, spill response, personal safety, and hazardous waste handling and disposal.
  • Have spill cleanup materials onsite.
  • Have Safety Data Sheets for all products used.

For an emergency or a spill involving hazardous materials or hazardous waste call 911 or your local Fire Department.

For All Non-Emergency / Non-Hazardous Spills

  • To report a Non-Hazardous spill, or for other useful phone numbers, see Spill Numbers informational reference sheet for your local agency contact information or visit:
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