Suffolk County Government Crest

Suffolk County Stormwater Management Program

Steven Bellone, County Executive

Department of Public Works

Department of Economic Development and Planning

Automotive maintenance facilities are considered stormwater "hot spots" because of the significant amount of waste that is produced at these facilities. Wastes generated from automobile manintenance include:

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

Best Management Practices for Automobile Repair Facilities

Waste Reduction
  • Minimize the number of solvents used.
  • Minimize the amout of solvents and detergents used when cleaning parts and engines.
  • Locate drip pans and draining boards to direct solvents into a holding tank or solvent sink for reuse.
  • Conduct all liquid cleaning at a specific location so that solvents and residues are located in one place.
  • Use a bin to collect metal fillings under part grinders. Uncontaminated filings can be sent to a scrap metal dealer for recycling.
Alternatives
  • Use non-toxic cleaners.
  • Purchase recycled products whenever feasible. Engine oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and hydraulic fluid can all be purchased recycled.
  • Use non-chlorinated organic solvents (kerosene, mineral spirits).
Spill Clean Up
  • Use a dry absorbant material to soak up large spills. For small spills or drips, a towel or cloth could be used.
  • Use as little water as possible to clean up spills.
Good Housekeeping
  • Cover drains with drain mats.
  • Never pour liquid waste down floor drains, sinks, or outdoor storm drains.
  • Have a designated waste storage area with a secondary containment system. Promptly transfer used fluids to recycling drums or hazardous waste containers. Keep wastes separate to simplify disposal and maximize disposal options.
  • Develop a spill prevention plan and train all employees on proper disposal practices and spill prevention. Make sure all employees know to contact the NYSDEC 24 hour spill hotline (1-800-457-7362) in the event of a spill.
  • Maintain an inventory of all materials used at the facility, with Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) sheets outlining proper use and disposal practices available at all times.
  • Inspect facility vehicles and any other vehicles on site for leaks. If a leak is found, either place a drip pan under the leak or drain the fluids from the vehicle.
  • Perform all vehicle maintenance indoors and on an impervious surface.
  • Install barriers to direct any accidental releases to impervious areas and away from storm drains.
  • Avoid hosing down work areas, use a mop if you have to use a wet method. Never dump mop water outside, it will end up in a storm drain.
Cleaning Parts
  • Use detergent-based or water-based cleaning systems, instead of organic solvent degreasers
  • Use steam cleaning and pressure washing instead of cleaning parts with solvent.

For more information, visit the USEPA's webpage on automobile maintenance.