Wednesday March 26, 2008

A painting contractor recently paid a $1,000 fine for violating the City of Napa’s Stormwater Runoff Pollution Control Ordinance. The contractor’s workers cleaned their brushes and rollers directly over a storm drain inlet in a parking lot. Storm drains in the City of Napa feed directly to creeks or the Napa River without treatment. Latex paint and other construction/household wastes are extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic life. In addition to the City’s fine, the contractor was required to pay thousands of dollars to hire a hazardous waste contractor to clean up the paint waste from the storm drain, and will reimburse the City’s Fire Department for hazardous material response team costs. Pollution such as this can also result in much larger fines from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and/or the California Department of Fish & Game.

The following are some recommendations for properly disposing of paint:
  • “Paint out” brushes as much as possible.
  • Rinse water-based paints to the sanitary sewer by using properly connected indoor sinks for the cleanup.
  • Filter and reuse thinners and solvents.
  • Dispose of excess oil-based paints and sludge as hazardous waste*.
  • Paint brushes and equipment for water and oil based paints should be cleaned within a contained area and should not be allowed to contaminate site soils, watercourses, or drainage systems.
  • Waste paints, thinners, solvents, residues, and sludges that cannot be recycled or reused should be disposed of as hazardous waste*
  • When thoroughly dry, latex paint and paint cans, used brushes, rags, absorbent materials, and drop cloths should be disposed of as solid waste.

(*Hazardous waste disposal is described in the “Recycling Guide” section of your phone book.)

For more information about pollution prevention go to To report non-emergency water pollution in the City of Napa, submit a service request using the City's online Service Center or call the stormwater pollution prevention hotline at 707.257.9600.