Concrete & Mortar Projects

Pollution Prevention is up to You!

Did you know that storm drains are not  connected to sanitary sewer systems or treatment plants? The primary purpose of storm drains is to carry rainwater away from developed areas to prevent flooding. Untreated pollutants such as concrete and mortar flow directly into creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean and are toxic to fish and other wildlife. Disposing of these materials into storm drains causes serious ecological problems — and is prohibited by law.

Do the Job Right

This information is for do-it-yourself remodelers, masons and bricklayers, contractors and anyone else who uses concrete or mortar to complete a construction project. Keep storm water protection in mind whenever you, or people you hire, work on your house or property.

Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices, or BMPs, are procedures and practices that help to prevent pollutants such as chemicals, concrete, mortar, pesticides, waste, paint, and other hazardous materials from entering our storm drains. All these sources add up to a pollution problem. But each of us can do our part to keep storm water clean. These efforts add up to a pollution solution!

What You Can Do

  • Always store both dry and wet materials under cover, protected from rainfall and runoff, and away from storm drains or waterways.
  • Keep all construction debris away from the street, gutter and storm drains.
  • Never dispose of washout into the street, storm drains, landscape drains, drainage ditches, or streams.
  • Look for and clean-up material that may have traveled away from your property after each day's work.
  • If you or your contractor keep a dumpster on your site, be sure it is securely covered with a lid or tarp when not in use.
  • Don't mix up more fresh concrete or mortar than you will need for a project.
  • Set up and operate small mixers on tarps or heavy plastic drop cloths.
  • Protect applications of fresh concrete and mortar from rainfall and runoff until the material has dried.
  • Protect dry materials from wind. Secure bags of concrete mix and mortar after they are open. Don't allow dry products to blow into driveways, sidewalks, streets, gutters or storm drains.
  • Empty mixing containers and wash-out chutes onto dirt or other landscaped areas that do not flow onto streets, drains or waterways, or allow material to dry and dispose of properly.
  • Never wash excess material from bricklaying, patio, driveway or sidewalk construction into a street or storm drain.
  • Sweep up and dispose of small amounts of excess dry concrete, grout and mortar in the trash.
  • Wash concrete or brick areas only when the wash water can flow onto a dirt area without further runoff, or drain onto a surface that has been bermed so that the water and solids can be pumped off or vacuumed for proper disposal.
  • Don't place fill material, soil or compost piles on the sidewalk or street.
  • During cleanup, check the street and gutters for sediment, refuse, or debris. Look around the corner or down the street and clean-up any materials that may have already traveled away from your property.