We all know that cars need regular maintenance and repair. However, when done right, car care can keep more than just the vehicle running in tiptop shape. Knowing how to properly manage automotive fluids and materials helps prevent harmful pollutants like motor oil, grease, copper, asbestos and zinc from running into our local waters and upsetting aquatic life. Follow these five simple tips to better car care:
- Never hose down your work area. Harmful pollutants could be washed into the storm drains and into our local waters. Sweep or vacuum the shop floor instead.
- Use a funnel and drip pan to prevent unexpected leaks and spills. You can avoid fluid spills by emptying and wiping the drip pans when they are half-full.
- Collect, store and recycle used automotive fluids like motor oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid and gear oil separately. Mixed waste fluids are not accepted for recycling.
- Keep dry absorbent materials or a wet/dry vacuum on hand to quickly clean up mid-sized spills.
- Train employees on efficient hazardous waste spill response and emergency procedures.
Check out our Automotive Maintenance and Car Care Best Management Practices brochure for more tips.
It is illegal in California to toss household hazardous waste (HHW) into the trash. Be sure to always take HHW like motor oil and oil filters, anti-freeze, paints, solvents, cleaners and old batteries to a certified collection facility. Riverside County has three permanent collection centers that offer free drop-off service and safe disposal of your unwanted chemicals. The county also sponsors occasional HHW collection events. Visit their website for a list of accepted materials and hours of operation.
Keep your car—and the environment—running smoothly by following some simple automotive best practices.
- Maintain: Keep up with regular car maintenance to prevent leakage of oil, antifreeze and other fluids and save money on car repair.
- Recycle: Take your used oil, oil filters and car batteries to a Riverside County household hazardous waste collection center or automotive center. You can also buy high-quality recycled motor oil and batteries for your car.
- Clean it up: Use a drip pan to collect spills when changing car fluids. Quickly clean up any leaks or spills with an absorbent material like kitty litter and dispose of it at a collection center.
Calling all clean-water warriors! By following these 10 simple pollution prevention tips, you can help stop harmful chemicals from washing into our local waters.
#1. Pass on pesticides. Add herbicides and fertilizers to that, too. Rainwater or water from your sprinklers wash these chemicals into the storm drains and out to our creeks, rivers and lakes. Even small amounts of commercial lawn chemicals can disrupt the delicate aquatic environment.
#2. Don’t let yard waste go to waste. Leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing or trimming provide valuable nutrients that lowers your need for fertilizer. If dumped in local waters, those grass clippings can eat up the oxygen in the water, harming fish and plants.
#3. Don’t let water get dirt-y. Gardeners might like getting their hands in the dirt, but when soil gets into stormwater, it can cause our local water to become polluted. Prevent erosion by planting drought-tolerant native plants on your property and always cover dirt piles with a tarp when rain is forecast.
#4. Rain barrels to the rescue. In our drought-stricken state, every drop counts. Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater and use it to water your garden. It will also greatly reduce the amount of runoff from your property.
#5. Clamp down on car fluids. Have your oil changes done at an automotive repair shop and check for leaks frequently. Oil and antifreeze are hazardous chemicals that can cause major water pollution problems.
#6. Pick up after your pet. Did you know a single gram of pet waste contains 23 million bacteria? When left on the ground, pet waste (and its bacteria) can wash into our storm drains and into local waters, endangering people, pets and aquatic life. Visit our pet page for more tips.
#7. Lastly, litter. Every piece of litter that ends up on our streets and sidewalks could end up polluting our rivers. Don’t litter and pick up every straw, scrap and bottle cap you see.
Lower your pooch’s canine footprint and keep pollutants out of our local waterways.