Home Improvement Materials

Why are they bad for water quality?

SidewalkWaste products from performing home improvement projects using tile, grout, stucco, asphalt, concrete, paint, mortar, and gypsum compound are a potential threat to storm water. These materials, if washed down the street and into a storm drain, not only stain the gutters and streets, but add many harmful chemicals and sediments to our waterbodies. Additionally, many building materials can clog storm drain pipes after they dry and harden.

What can we do to reduce or prevent home improvement materials from polluting our waterways?

Never rinse paint brushes out in the street or any area that might flow to the street. If you use a water-based paint, wash all paint brushes, pans, sprayers and other equipment in a sink connected to the sewer. Although we don’t recommend their use, oil based paints and solvents can only be disposed of at a hazardous waste collection site.
If a spill of any liquid building material or other hazardous waste occurs, absorbents or kitty litter must be applied immediately to prevent the spill from flowing down the street. If using kitty litter, be sure to sweep up and dispose of kitty litter in the trash. Use a mop and bucket for other spills needing wash water.
Materials and equipment which require application and cleaning with water, such as grout, motor, gypsum compound or dry wall mud, plaster or stucco, and concrete cannot be rinsed down a street or into a storm drain.
Exposed dirt piles on streets and sidewalks are illegal. If you must temporarily remove soil, make sure to leave it in a contained, covered area where it cannot be tracked into the street.

The City of Oceanside has a handy flier called “Building/Home Improvement Best Management Practices for Preventing Storm Water Pollution”  (163 KB) for residents interested in a brief reference guide.
To properly dispose of construction debris used for home improvement projects, contact the business Moody’s at 760-631-2635. However, they do not accept wood, vegetation or rebar.

What do the laws say about building materials?

It is illegal to allow building materials, or wash water from the cleaning of building materials, to enter a storm drain. It is also illegal to allow dirt in the streets or storm drains.

Report any water running in the street when it is not raining or someone dumping something in the storm drain or curb and gutter by calling the
Urban Runoff Hotline at 760-435-4500.