Rain on a roofStormwater, or the surface water runoff from rain, is normally safe to use in a variety of application. In Australia, urban planners design drainage systems to collect stormwater for commercial, industrial and even domestic use. These are separate from the sewage systems which collect and divert grey and black water waste to treatment plants. Stormwater drains don’t pass through treatment and sanitation; they flow directly to the catch basins and the sea.

Unfortunately, stormwater runoff in urban areas carries with it debris, oil, grease and other pollutants from the streets. In many cities, food businesses and auto services compound this problem.

Contributors to Stormwater Pollution

According to The EPA Information Centre of Victoria, auto detailers and car yards contribute to stormwater pollution what with the oil and grease spills, paint, thinners, metals and other wastes from car repairing and detailing. These spills and wastes are minimal at a glance, but their accumulated volume can be significant.

Food establishments deal with used oil and spoiled food on a daily basis. Although they store and dispose of waste through authorised collectors, they are not completely spill-free. Oil spills on the kitchen floor can find their way to the streets after routine cleanings.

Prevention is Possible

Food businesses and auto services can reduce oil spills and grease waste by strictly implementing collection and storage SOPs. Furthermore, they keep in stock kits and materials for oil spill control such as absorbent pads and absorbent booms. If accidental spills occur, like someone knocking over a bottle of cooking oil or a can of petrol, businesses can immediately contain and clean-up the mess.

Keeping stormwater systems as clean as possible is a concern not only for the government but the entire community. For food businesses and auto services, a concerted effort to avoid, reduce and contain grease and oil spills can go a long way to minimising pollution in stormwater systems.