3.2B – Construction – Groundskeeping and Chemical Control

Management Measure

  1. Limit application, generation, and migration of toxic substances;
  2. Ensure the proper storage and disposal of toxic materials;
  3. Apply nutrients at rates necessary to establish and maintain vegetation without causing nutrient runoff to surface waters; and
  4. Prepare and implement, prior to the use or storage of toxic materials on site, an effective, approved chemical control plan or similar administrative document that contains chemical control provisions (e.g., minimize use of toxic materials; ensure proper containment if toxic materials are to be used/stored on site).

Management Practices

The practices associated with this management measure focus on properly using chemicals that might be spilled or transported in runoff, which means storing and using chemicals according to the instructions on the label. Users can help to ensure that chemicals will not become pollutants in runoff by providing a covered storage area with primary and secondary containment of chemicals and storage off the ground to prevent accidental spills or leaks. Care should be taken to not use chemicals during wet weather or high wind conditions. Also, less toxic alternatives should be considered.


The following practices should be used to reduce risks associated with pesticides or to reduce the amount of pesticides that come in contact with storm water:

  • Follow all federal, State, and local regulations that apply to the use, handling, or disposal of pesticides.
  • Do not handle the materials any more than necessary.
  • Store pesticides in a dry, covered area.
  • Construct curbs or dikes to contain pesticides in case of spillage.
  • Follow the recommended application rates and methods.
  • Have equipment and absorbent materials available in areas where pesticides are stored and used to contain and clean up any spills that occur.

Petroleum products

The following management practices should be followed to reduce the risk of contamination associated with petroleum products:

  • Store petroleum products and fuel for vehicles in covered areas with dikes in place to contain any spills.
  • Immediately contain and clean up any spills with absorbent materials.
  • Have equipment available in fuel storage areas and in vehicles to contain and clean up any spills that occur.

Solid wastes

State or local solid waste regulatory agencies or private firms should be consulted to ensure the proper disposal of contaminated soils that have been exposed to and still contain hazardous substances. Some landfills might accept contaminated soils, but they require laboratory tests first. The following steps should be taken to ensure proper storage and disposal of solid wastes:

  • Designate a waste collection area onsite that does not receive a substantial amount of runoff from upland areas and does not drain directly to a water body.
  • Ensure that containers have lids so they can be covered before periods of rain, and keep containers in a covered area whenever possible.
  • Schedule waste collection to prevent the containers from overfilling.
  • Clean up spills immediately. For hazardous materials, follow cleanup instructions on the package. Use an absorbent material such as sawdust or kitty litter to contain the spill.
  • During the demolition phase of construction, provide extra containers and schedule more frequent pickups.
  • Collect, remove, and dispose of all construction site wastes at authorized disposal areas. A local environmental agency can be contacted to identify these disposal sites.

Hazardous materials

The following steps should be taken to ensure the proper disposal of hazardous materials:

  • Local waste management authorities should be consulted about the requirements for disposing of hazardous materials.
  • A hazardous waste container should be emptied and cleaned before it is disposed of to prevent leaks.
  • The original product label should never be removed from the container. It contains important safety information. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended method of disposal, which should be printed on the label.
  • If excess products need to be disposed of, they should never be mixed during disposal unless specifically recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Paint and dirt are often removed from surfaces by sandblasting or pressure washing. Sandblasting grits and pressure wash water are the byproducts of these procedures and consist of the sand or water used and the paint and dirt particles that are removed from the surface. These materials can be hazardous if they are removed from older structures because they are more likely to contain lead, cadmium, or chrome-based paints. To ensure proper disposal of sandblasting grits and pressure wash water, a licensed waste management or transport and disposal firm should be contracted.

Storage and disposal

The following are ways to ensure proper storage and disposal of materials:

  • Cover and stabilize topsoil stockpiles to reapply when revegetating the site.
  • Locate pollutant sources such as access roads, borrow areas, and material stockpiles away from critical areas such as steep slopes, highly erodible soils and areas that drain directly into sensitive water bodies.

Phosphorus and nitrogen containing fertilizers

Are used on construction sites to provide nutrients necessary for plant growth, and phosphorus- and nitrogen-containing detergents are found in wash water from vehicle cleaning areas. Excesses of these nutrients can be a major source of water pollution. Management practices to reduce risks of nutrient pollution include the following:

  • Apply fertilizers at the minimum rate and to the minimum area needed.
  • Work the fertilizer deeply into the soil to reduce exposure of nutrients to storm water runoff.
  • Apply fertilizer at lower application rates with a higher application frequency.
  • Ensure that erosion and sediment controls are in place to prevent fertilizers and sediments from being transported offsite.
  • Use detergents only as recommended, and limit their use on the site. Wash water containing detergents should not be dumped into the storm drain system–it should be directed to a sanitary sewer or be otherwise contained so that it can be treated at a wastewater treatment plant.


  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation contains links to information regarding laws and regulations; product use information; licensing and certification programs for applicators, dealers, and advisors; integrated pest management practices, and other information related to pesticide use.
  • California Integrated Waste Management Board, Household Hazardous Waste Program provides information on the location of certified used oil and household hazardous waste collection centers, a directory of products with recycled content, information on products made from rerefined oil, and grant opportunities for demonstration projects related to used oil and household hazardous waste.
  • California Integrated Waste Management Board’s Used Oil Recycling Program develops and promotes alternatives to the illegal disposal of used oil by establishing a statewide network of collection opportunities and undertaking outreach efforts to inform and motivate the public to recycle used oil.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Safety and Health Topics provide access to selected occupational safety and health information. The subjects of these pages include specific workplace hazards, as well as individual industries. Members of the Editorial Boards evaluate numerous OSHA and non-OSHA references on a given subject to determine which they consider most important in reducing occupational injuries and illnesses. With the continued support of our users, editors, and editorial boards, OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages provide assistance for complying with OSHA standards, enabling employers to ensure safer workplaces.
  • SWRCB, Division of Water Quality, Storm Water Program Discharges of pollutants from construction activities are for the most part regulated under the NPDES permitting program. Regulated entities include all construction sites with one or more acres of disturbed area. Discharges of pollutants from construction sites smaller than 1 acre typically are considered nonpoint sources but might also be regulated at the local level. Construction site operators should contact the municipal department for more information about local requirements, including air quality requirements for dust control.

Information Resources

  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation, School Integrated Pest Management Program these fact sheets include safety requirements for pesticide handlers, pesticide storage, transportation and disposal, use of engineering controls, first aid and decontamination, respiratory protection, worker safety regulations, laundering pesticide contaminated clothing, hazard communication requirements for employees handling pesticides, and minimal exposure pesticides in noncrop settings. Other pesticide resources that can be helpful include the following: Lawn Care Tips, Pesticides and Proposition 65, Pesticide Storage and Disposal (English version) and Spanish version.
  • California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA), Storm Water Best Management Practice Handbook: Construction outlines waste management practices in a set of fact sheets that include erosion controls (scheduling, velocity dissipation devices, slope drains, streambank stabilization, polyacrylamide, preservation of existing vegetation, hydraulic mulch, hydroseeding, soil binders, straw mulch, geotextiles and mats, wood mulching, earth dikes, and drainage swales), sediment controls (silt fence, storm drain inlet protection, chemical treatment, sediment basins, sediment traps, check dams, fiber rolls, gravel bag berms, street sweeping and vacuuming, sandbag barriers, straw bale barriers, stabilized construction entrances and exits, stabilized construction roadways, entrance/outlet tire washing), and wind erosion control.
  • USEPA, Consumer Products Treated with Pesticides include many products (e.g., cutting boards, kitchen sponges, cat litter, toothbrushes, and juvenile toys) treated with antimicrobial pesticides. Antimicrobial pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances used to destroy or limit the growth of microorganisms, whether bacteria, viruses, or fungi–many of which are harmful–on inanimate objects and surfaces.

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