Pollution Prevention at Municipal DPWs

From Massachusetts EOEA-OTA fact sheet

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This Fact Sheet is a compilation of common recommendations for Departments of Public Works (DPWs) that originated from on-site technical assistance evaluations by the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance for Toxics Use Reduction (OTA). The fact sheet highlights some of the simple pollution prevention practices specifically for DPWs to integrate into their daily routine that will improve worker safety and protect the environment.

Hazardous Waste Storage and Shipping Storage

  • Practice good housekeeping and consistent disposal practices
  • Establish and maintain a separate storage area
  • Use proper labels and signs

Main Areas of Responsibility for Municipal DPWs May Include

  • Road maintenance and other highway issues
  • Sidewalk maintenance
  • Vehicle maintenance and fueling
  • Snow removal and sanding/salting
  • Roadside spraying for vegetation control
  • Trees and parks
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Recycling
  • Maintenance of other municipal buildings
  • Water and Sewer
  • Sanitation
  • Inspectional services
  • Abandoned hazardous waste
  • Assist fire department with chemical emergency response
  • Shipping:
  • Insure that you utilize a licensed hauler/handler
  • Make sure that you and your transporter fill out a Hazardous Waste Manifest
  • Make sure all required record keeping is maintained and filed

Chemical Management

  • Ensure that you set up a protocol and implement proper management of all chemicals – both virgin stock and waste
  • Designate someone to be responsible for these areas

Employee Training

  • Set up a protocol for training and periodic refresher training of all personnel at the facility as required
  • Make sure that documentation of these activities is kept

Non-toxic alternatives

Use environmentally preferable products wherever possible. Refer to the MA OSD website for vendor information: http://www.state.ma.us/osd/enviro/enviro.htm

Air Pollution Prevention

  • Chemical management and employee training (as specified above)
  • Ensure that proper techniques for mixing coatings, spraying, and use of solvents are employed.
  • Keep all containers closed when not in use, this includes: solvents, paints, gun washers, etc.
  • Research the latest developments with vendors on a routine basis

General Recommendations for Vehicle Maintenance

  • Take steps to minimize impacts due to automotive fluids. Immediately check for leaking fluids
  • Wash vehicles with non-toxic, phosphate-free, biodegradable cleaners
  • Wash vehicles on an asphalt lot using a collection system, which collects potential pollutants while protecting nearby water bodies and ground water. A system with containment berms and pump out or drainage to a tight tank is required