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Pollution Prevention

DumpsterBusinesses can impact stormwater and water quality in a number of ways:

  • Cleaning of equipment and buildings
  • Spills
  • Materials handling
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Landscaping and grounds maintenance
  • Dumpsters and loading dock areas
  • Parking lots
  • Illegal connections to storm drainage systems


Common Commercial Pollution Sources General Prevention Strategies
Automotive Services
  • Remove litter, debris, and dirt from outdoor areas.
  • Sweep parking areas.
  • Keep lids on dumpsters and recycling containers closed, make sure containers do not leak.
  • Cover and provide secondary containment for all materials or containers stored outside.
  • Prevent and clean up spills and leaks with a spill kit, do not hose down. Train employees to use spill kit.
  • Do not store or repair leaking vehicles or equipment outdoors.
  • Do not dump any liquids outside or in storm drains. Use the sanitary sewer system to discharge wastewater (may require a permit depending on volume and content).
  • Keep storm drains clean and maintain stormwater control measures.

Car Washes

Carpet Cleaners
Food Service / Hood Cleaners
Gas Stations
Homeowners Associations
Mobile Cleaners & Pressure Washers



The UNC Institute for the Environment (IE) partnered with the Town of Chapel Hill’s Stormwater Management Division to improve stormwater management in the commercial sector.

An advisory committee comprised of stormwater and business professionals identified the food service industry as one of several important commercial targets for educational efforts. The UNC IE developed outreach materials for food service that can also inform other commercial sectors.





Overview of food service pollution prevention strategies. Source: UNC Institute for the Environment

The Keep it Clean Partnership also provides detailed factsheets on stormwater pollution prevention for various commercial sectors.

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)

Illicit discharges into storm drainage systems (catch basins, pipes, streams, ditches, waterbodies) are those that are not composed entirely of stormwater and have not been permitted. There are exemptions, including: irrigation water, street wash water, fire fighting flows, air conditioning condensation, and residential vehicle washing.

Jurisdictions with a NPDES Phase II Permit are required to implement IDDE. This also applies to sedimentation. Jurisdictions can enforce civil penalties up to $25,000 and $10,000/day for a continuing violation.

Please report spills, dumping, dry weather runoff, and sedimentation. These communities provide contacts on their websites. If yours is not listed, contact someone from your planning or public works department.

Jurisdiction Contacts
NCDEQ 1-866-STOPMUD (786-7683) (for erosion/sedimentation)


(828) 232-4567 / (828) 251-1122 (after hours)
Fletcher (828) 687-3985 (Eric Rufa)
Hendersonville (828) 697-3013 (or mhuffman@hvlnc.gov)
Montreat (828) 669-8002 ext. 303 (or dcurrie@townofmontreat.org)

Note: NC DEQ also offers several different hotlines for sanitary sewer overflows, oil spills, hazardous substance spills, and fish kills.

NCSU Cooperative Extension provides IDDE and Good Housekeeping trainings to help businesses, jurisdictions, and individuals recognize and prevent illicit discharges.