Preventing Pollution at Work

Pollution from business operations can harm our local creeks, streams and groundwater. For example:

Be sure to use and dispose of chemicals wisely! Never pour hazardous waste down the drain, onto the ground or into a storm drain.

Helpful Tips

To guard against pollution, businesses need to follow best management practices (BMPs), such as:

If you have a new business or want to learn more about pollution source control requirements, visit the Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington, Volume 4 Source Control BMP Library.

What is Hazardous Waste?

If your business uses, stores or disposes of these materials, you probably generate hazardous waste. Product labels may also indicate if a material is a hazardous waste. Watch for labels such as: DANGER, FLAMMABLE, WARNING, POISON or CAUTION.

These types of materials should never be thrown in the garbage.

  • Adhesives
  • Antifreeze
  • Amalgam waste
  • Batteries
  • Disinfectants
  • Fertilizers
  • Fluorescent lights
  • Oil
  • Paints and thinners
  • Pesticides
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Shop towels
  • Solvents
  • Other industry-specific wastes

Clark County Green Business Program

Check out the Clark County Green Business Program to learn more about how you can prevent pollution, create a healthier workplace for your staff and get recognized for environmental excellence.

Join the Clark County Green Business Program to assess your environmental practices, enhance sustainability and resource conservation programs, and earn recognition for your achievements. All businesses located in Clark County are eligible.

Local Business Spotlight

March 2022: Vancouver auto dealer Dick Hannah Dealerships took a big step to prevent pollution and protect its team from chemicals. It is the City’s first auto shop to take advantage of a new program from Washington’s Department of Ecology that offsets replacement costs for old degreasing equipment in favor of newer, safer cleaning systems.

Solvent-based degreasers may contain chemicals that are harmful to human health and the environment. Chemicals in solvent-based degreasers can have short-term and long-term health effects ranging from headaches and skin rashes to liver system damage. Some common solvent-based degreasers contain chemical ingredients like toluene, xylene, naphthalene and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK).

Many solvent-based degreasers are harmful to the environment and become dangerous waste once the product has been used. Dangerous waste can be costly to store and dispose of, and it may require specialty haulers or disposal services.

Dick Hannah Dealerships and its sister company, ProCaliber Motorsport, are trying to move from solvent-based degreasers to water-based products that not only are less hazardous to workers and the environment but are also typically cheaper to use, thanks to lower disposal and storage costs. These water-based products are the preferred alternatives supported by Washington’s Department of Ecology program and receive the highest levels of reimbursement because they the safest products available.

Dick Hannah has invested in properly disposing of its old equipment and upgrading three of their operations to water-based solvents. Working with the City’s pollution prevention team, Dick Hannah Dealerships took advantage of the reimbursement program to upgrade their equipment on a manageable budget.

We are working with other local auto shops and dealerships to provide technical assistance and encourage these businesses to take advantage of the funding program to upgrade their equipment too. For more information, please contact us at

Glenn Archer, Environmental Manager, Dick Hannah Dealerships says, “I feel like this is a triple-win: playing a small part in protecting the environment, using a safer product for the employees and lowering our disposal costs. Especially for aqueous cleaners that actually clean well, I don’t see a downside.”

Pollution Prevention Partnership

The Pollution Prevention Partnership provides free hands-on assistance to Small Quantity Generators (typically small businesses and organizations) who wish to improve and reduce their impacts to human health and the environment. The Partnership is comprised of representatives from cities, counties and health districts who direct funding assistance from the Department of Ecology.

Through the Partnership, we offer technical assistance visits to help you identify, reduce and eliminate hazardous waste pollutants at their source. A local pollution prevention specialist meets with your team to learn about your business activities and practices. They work with you on any concerns, solutions and problem-points, then help you solve common challenges around dangerous wastes, stormwater management, solid waste and spill prevention.

Our collaborative process limits your liability, reduces overall risk and improves your work environment. If you would like to learn more about this program, we encourage you to reach out to us at