Monday, September 15, 2014

Pollution Prevention Week: Local Source Control

By Andrew Wineke, communications, Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Sept. 15-21 is Pollution Prevention Week, and we’re taking the week to explore some of the ways Ecology is working to keep our air clean, our waters pure, and our communities safe from toxic chemicals.

Today, we’re looking at the Local Source Control Partnership.

Local Source Control Specialist Jason Hart
inspects a storm drain in Port Angeles.
The Local Source Control Partnership is a joint program between Ecology and a number of local governments across Puget Sound and in the Spokane River watershed. Ecology’s partners include city and county governments and health districts. Through the program, Local Source Control Specialists visit businesses in their communities and provide onsite advice and assistance to help them prevent spills, comply with environmental regulations, and improve waste handling and employee safety.

Because Local Source Control Specialists work in their own communities, they can tailor their focus to local needs. The City of Redmond, for instance, gets its drinking water from a series of shallow wells, so protecting these wellheads from groundwater contamination is vitally important. Other communities may emphasize working with restaurants, or auto repair shops, or drycleaners.

Most small business owners want to do the right thing for the environment and their communities, but they aren’t experts in environmental regulations. A spill or a chemical accident can be expensive for a business, both directly from cleanup costs and fines, and indirectly from the damage to the company’s reputation.

A Local Source Control Specialist’s mission is to help businesses understand regulations and implement best management practices. Although some specialists do have enforcement authority, their goal is to work with business owners to fix issues before they become problems.

A typical visit

A Local Source Control Specialist will walk through a business with the owner or a manager. He or she will look to see that chemicals are properly stored, that secondary containment of projects or wastes is in place to collect spills, that pipes and drains don’t lead to storm sewers, and that containers of hazardous materials are properly labeled.

Specialists can provide spill kits, posters, and sometimes vouchers to buy secondary containment systems to contain potential leaks. The specialist can also help businesses locate recycling resources or find the right place to send hazardous waste.

More information

No comments: