Tips for Businesses
Discharges from businesses within the City of Santa Maria may contribute to water pollution. By following these good housekeeping and best management practices (BMPs), the City of Santa Maria and surrounding communities can be a much cleaner and better place to live and work.
Event Car Washes and Mobile Washing
- Effective May 2021, Santa Maria City Council approved and added Chapter 4-21 to Title 4 of the Santa Maria Municipal Code (Ordinance No. 2021-02). This new ordinance regulates mobile commercial washing activities to prevent wastewater from being discharged into the City’s storm drain system. Any persons wishing to conduct mobile car washing or charitable event car washes within City limits must obtain permit coverage through City of Santa Maria Code Enforcement.
Mobile Commercial Washing Operations Permit Application – English
Mobile Commercial Washing Operations Permit Application – Spanish
Mobile Commercial Washing Frequently Asked Questions
Managing Fats, Oils, and Grease
- Wipe cookware and work areas prior to washing. Do not pour cooking oils, fats, or grease directly into the storm drain.
- Dispose of food waste directly into the trash and minimize the use of the garbage disposal.
- Collect waste cooking oil and grease and store for recycling. Do not pour waste cooking oils, fats, or grease directly into a storm drain or onto a parking lot, street, or gutter.
- Clean floor mats indoors and over a utility sink. Do not wash floor mats outside where water has the potential to runoff into a storm drain.
- Save money and minimize over-watering of your lawn and landscaped areas. Water during the early morning hours and avoid water runoff into the streets and gutters. Remember, it is better to water for shorter durations, more frequently, than longer durations, less frequently. Water runoff occurs because your lawn and/or landscape areas are over-saturated and cannot take in any more water.
- Apply lawn and garden chemicals and fertilizers sparingly and according to the manufacturer’s directions. To prevent chemicals and fertilizers from being washed into a storm drain, do not apply these products when moderate to heavy rain is forecasted.
- Minimize or eliminate toxic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or use less-toxic alternatives. See the Our Water Our World Program website for more information.
- Cover piles of dirt, mulch, and other landscape material to prevent material from blowing or washing off your landscape and into a storm drain or water body.
- Select native plants and grasses that are drought tolerant and pest resistant. Native plants require less water.
- Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces and onto lawns or other landscaped areas. This helps save money on irrigation costs, increases infiltration, and reduces the chance of polluted runoff.
- Control soil erosion on your property by planting groundcover and stabilize erosion-prone areas.
Machinery and Maintenance
Properly dispose of hazardous materials and waste such as paints and paint thinners, pesticides, oil and fuel additives, starter fluids, and solvents at the Santa Maria Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility (HHWCF) located at the Santa Maria Regional Landfill at 2065 East Main Street. The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility is open on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Outdoor Washing Activities
- Before beginning an outdoor project, be aware of the nearest storm drain(s) and protect them from loose debris and other material.
- Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
- Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible and follow all manufacturer’s directions. Clean up any spills immediately and properly dispose of the waste safely.
- Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
- Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, and recyclable products whenever possible.
- Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints. Properly dispose of excess paints and paint thinners for free at the Santa Maria Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.
Trash, Waste, and Debris
- Make sure trash cans and dumpsters are covered and emptied regularly.
- Maintain clean and debris-free ditches, street gutters, and storm drains.
- Pick up pet waste and dispose of the waste and used kitty litter in the trash. Do not dispose of kitty litter in the toilet.
- Purchase detergents and cleaners that are low in phosphorus.
- Try to minimize the use of toxic products and dispose of any excess at the Santa Maria Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.
Spill Prevention, Control, and Clean-Up
- Never store or handle chemicals adjacent to a storm drain or waterway.
- In the event of a spill, first attempt to contain it and prevent it from spreading. Then proceed to clean up the spill.
- Use dry absorbents and clean-up methods for spills. For example, sawdust, kitty litter, rags, mops, and buckets are all products that can be used). Never rinse or hose spills into a street, gutter, or storm drain. Properly dispose of any absorbent material in the trash.