Resources for Local Businesses



Since 1991 many types of businesses have had to be covered by stormwater permits. These permitted “industrial activities” were listed by their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code number. Check here to see if your business is on the SIC list of industrial activities.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) has authority over industrial stormwater permitting. The ODEQ has adopted a Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities (OKR05) that should be consulted about your permit coverage. The OKR05 permit includes forms and instructions for applying for coverage.

Why were some industrial activities selected in 1991 and not others? The decision was based upon which types of industrial activities would have the greatest potential to contribute pollutants in stormwater runoff. Some of these activities apply to cities, for example operation of a sewage treatment plant.  If you are not on the 1991 list of industrial activities, you still have responsibility under Federal, State and local authority to not cause releases of pollutants.

If your business is within a Phase II stormwater city or county, there will be specific local codes that prohibit pollution from your facility. These Phase II cities and counties have their own General Permits that require them to enact local codes and inspect and enforce against pollution within their jurisdiction.

Every business owner should be mindful of the amount of waste and pollution that his/her business generates in stormwater runoff. It requires a new way of looking at your actions. For example, how do you store chemicals, clean up spills, wash off your sidewalks and parking lots, dispose of solid waste, and dispose of grease, oils and other chemicals?

Industrial waste is not just from large industrial processes; it can be as simple as allowing grease traps to overflow or dumpsters to leak fluids. Even discarded milk, ice cream and juices from food handlers can leak from unlined dumpsters. Once washed into streams, these materials can cause damaging growths of bacteria and algae which can harm aquatic life. Power washing of parking lots can load a stream with trash, dirt and chemicals which can harm stream life. These are but a few of the many types of discharges that are not allowed. Cities and counties that have their own stormwater permits are required to enforce against such pollution.

Actions that a business can take are called Best Management Practices (BMPs). These can prevent or reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff. In addition, many BMPs just make good business sense - it shows your customers that you care about your community, and it frequently gives your place of business a favorable make-over by having clean walkways and stored items neatly arranged and protected.

Below are types of business examples that can be done to control pollutants. Even if you do not own one of these types of businesses, many of the BMPs can be used universally.

• Rinse all cleaning items and store chemicals away from rainfall contact.
• Connect all drains to the city sewer; do not discharge to open areas or creeks.
• Regularly clean all grease traps, and operate with no leaks or overflows.
• Never pour mop water / waste water onto pavement or in ditches.
• Put floor sweeping trash in proper receptacles.
• Never hose down chemicals into streets, parking lots or storm drains.
• Recycle cooking oil and grease waste at rendering companies.
• Never pour oil or grease into floor drains.
• Maintain all grease traps for sanitary sewer connections.
• Keep grease bins covered and contained.
• Clean up spills immediately with absorbents.
• Keep all dumpster lids closed and the areas around them clean.
• Never place liquid waste in a dumpster or hose them out.
• Contact your trash hauler to replace dumpsters that are damaged or leak.
• Do not water-clean trash bin areas unless the water flows into the sanitary sewer.
• Before power washing, sweep up trash and debris, and minimize soaps and solvents.
• Do not allow power wash water to enter ditches or storm drains.
• Use dry absorbents for liquid spill cleanup, dispose of in trash bins.
• Use non-toxic cleaning products, and follow directions.
• Scrape grease and food waste from floor mats and filters before cleaning.

Automotive Services
• When recycling, never mix chemicals together in a common container.
• Store containers in a rain-proof area in a spill containment device.
• Recycle used motor oil, filters, anti-freeze, and other auto and shop fluids.
• Recycle batteries and tires at time of purchase or by licensed waste hauler.
• Store batteries under rain-proof covers and in spill containment systems.
• Use drip pans and drain boards to capture leaking auto fluids.
• Store waste fluids in lid-tight containers until material can be recycled.
• Do not wash parts or equipment in a parking lot, driveway, or other paved surface.
• Use dry absorbents to soak up spills and leaks instead of wash water.
• Capture metal filings in a bin under your lathe or grinder.
• Send uncontaminated metal filings to a scrap metal recycler.
• Wash vehicles on a grass or gravel surface or where runoff flows to a grassy area.
• Wash vehicles at a designated wash rack connected to the sanitary sewer.
• Wash vehicles at a professional car wash.
• Use phosphate free and biodegradable soaps and detergents.
• Put wastewater from cleaning equipment into the sanitary sewer.

Commercial Landscape Services
• Put leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste in biodegradable bags.
• Take biodegradable bags of yard waste to recycling or compost center.
• Do not sweep or hose yard waste into the street.
• Educate your customers about the benefits of mulching.
• Use natural, non-toxic alternatives to traditional garden chemicals.
• Spot apply fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides if possible.
• Do not over-broadcast chemicals onto sidewalks or driveways.
• Sweep up any over-cast and place onto the lawn or collect for re-use.
• Never apply fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides within 24 hours prior to rain.
• Dispose of unused lawn chemicals at an authorized chemical waste facility.
• Set sprinkler volumes and timing to conserve water and prevent runoff.
• Deactivate automatic sprinkler systems just before or after a rain event.
• Use native vegetation to reduce water and chemical use and enhance survivability.
• Use ground cover on exposed soil, such as sod or hydro-mulch.
• Store chemicals out of rainfall to prevent runoff.
• Cover stockpiles of materials with plastic sheeting to protect from rain.

Carpet Cleaning Services
• Discharge wastewater into a sink, toilet, or sanitary sewer drain.
• Alternatively, pump wastewater to your truck for proper off-site disposal.
• Never discharge wastewater into a street, parking lot or storm drain.
• Filter wastewater before discharging to the sanitary sewer.
• Dispose of non-hazardous filtered materials in the garbage.
• These guidelines also apply to “nontoxic” or “biodegradable” cleaning products.
• Such products are harmful if they enter local ponds and streams.

Commercial Power Washing
• Prior to washing, dry-sweep the area to remove trash, dirt and debris.
• Prior to washing, use dry absorbents to soak up liquid spills and waste fluids.
• Power washing runoff should never be discharged to a storm drain.
• Cover storm drains or block the path to the drain during power washing.
• Degreasers and solvents should be used sparingly if at all.
• Use biodegradable and low phosphate detergents, and sparingly.
• Avoid steam or hot water sprays that could harm stream organisms.
• Confine spray runoff, then pump into a sanitary sewer cleanout.
• Alternatively, discharge spray runoff into a grassy area.
• Use pumps and wet/dry vacuums to collect spray wash water.
• Pump the spray wash water into your service truck for allowable offsite disposal.
• Check with local municipal codes for allowable methods of waste disposal.

General Considerations for all Businesses

• Identify ways to reduce pollutants in your cleaning and maintenance activities.
• Control pollution runoff from parking lots, loading docks and maintenance areas.
• All drains used for disposal must connect to the sewer system
• Inspect all drains to insure they do not flow to pavement, creeks or storm drains.
• Wash vehicles and equipment in a wash rack that drains to the sanitary sewer.
• Alternatively, wash vehicles and equipment at a commercial car wash facility.
• Pour floor mop water into a sink and not into the parking lot or street.
• Make sure that boilers and other process equipment discharge to the sanitary sewer.
• Do not place toxic materials in the trash or pour them into storm drains or open areas.
• Store chemicals and wastes indoors or in a covered spill containment area.
• Use less-toxic alternatives to dangerous chemicals, such as biodegradable detergents.
• Dry-brush dirt and contaminants off of equipment; don’t wash off with water.
• Use porous surfaces for new driveways and walkways to reduce runoff.
• Design site grades to capture contaminated stormwater into vegetated areas.
• Add biofilters and vegetated swales to parking lots to absorb polluted runoff.
• Direct runoff from outdoor washing and cleaning to a biofilter or grass swale.
• Don’t degrease engines or machine parts outside producing contaminated runoff.
• Replace solvent-based degreasing washer units with aqueous units.
• Store contaminated parts in a covered and area away from rainfall.
• Store drained coolant in leak proof containers for recycling or disposal.
• Keep dumpster lids closed when not in use to keep rain out.
• Never place liquids in open, leaking or fragile containers in a dumpster.
• Do not hose down floors into a storm drain or driveway.
• Use dry sweeping methods as much as possible.
• Clean up spills and leaks with absorbent materials and dispose of properly.
• Keep dirty, oily and rusty items indoors or under rain protective tarps.
• Report large chemical spills to the local fire department / hazardous materials team.

The management practices and suggestions for stormwater control measures provided in this website are for general information purposes only. Local municipal stormwater program managers or the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) should be contacted for specific guidance on what actions need to be taken to achieve full stormwater permit compliance.