Auto Shops

car mechanicWastes generated in automobile maintenance facilities and by residents performing their own car maintenance include:

  • Solvents (paints and paint thinners)
  • Antifreeze
  • Brake fluid and brake lining
  • Batteries
  • Motor oils
  • Fuels (gasoline, diesel, kerosene)
  • Lubricating grease

oil-runoff-into-storm-drainAn estimated 180 million gallons of used oil is improperly disposed of each year (Alameda CCWP, 1992).  The used oil from one oil change can contaminate 1 million gallons of freshwater — a year’s supply for 50 people.

auto repair homeFor this reason, automotive maintenance facilities’ discharges to storm and sanitary sewer systems are highly regulated. Fluid spills and improper disposal of materials result in pollutants, heavy metals, and toxic materials entering ground and surface water supplies, creating public health and environmental risks.

Altering practices involving the cleanup and storage of automotive fluids and the cleaning of vehicle parts can help reduce the influence of automotive maintenance practices on stormwater runoff and local water supplies. (Source: EPA)


chemical storage unitMaterial Storage
•Store all containers under cover to protect from rain and snow.
•Use secondary containment devices or construct dikes/curbs to contain any possible leaks.
•Close and secure any opened containers.

•Keep a spill kit appropriate for the materials you use handy and stocked, ready for use.
•Clean up spills immediately.
•Use absorbent material or containment berms for liquid spills.
•Always use dry methods to clean spills (sweeping) and never hose down the area.

auto solvent v1Cleaners and Solvents
•Whenever possible, use detergent-based or water-based cleaning systems instead of organic solvent degreasers.  Look for products labeled “non-toxic” and “readily biodegradable.”
•Use steam cleaning and pressure washing instead of cleaning parts with solvents.  The wastewater generated from steam cleaning can be discharged to the on-site oil/water separator.
•Read labels carefully and follow directions.

recycling engine oil-other automotive fluidsDispose of unused portions properly, and follow appropriate cleanup practices.
•Collect wastes for recycling or proper disposal.

•Prevent polluted runoff by covering all dumpsters and replace leaky ones.



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Keeping our waterways clean for future generations

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