Business Pollution Prevention
Thurston County 's Hazardous Waste Program provides pollution prevention assistance and regulates businesses that handle, store, or generate hazardous materials or waste. The goal of this program is to incentivize businesses to adopt best management practices that reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals.
Business Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance
Thurston County Hazardous Waste Program participates in the Pollution Prevention Partnership which is comprised of representatives from cities, counties, and health departments across Washington. The program is funded through the Department of Ecology and provides free technical assistance to businesses that generate, handle, or store hazardous materials or waste.
Our technical assistance visits are designed to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste and pollutants at the source. A local pollution prevention specialist will meet with your organization to evaluate current activities and practices. They will discuss concerns, observations, solutions, and work directly to help solve common challenges around dangerous wastes, stormwater, solid waste, and spill prevention. This collaborative process limits liability, reduces risk, and improves work environments.
To read reports on previous campaigns, see Pollution Prevention Assistance Campaigns below. Examples of businesses we visit include different types of automotive shops, commercial printers, dental offices, dry cleaners, school laboratories, auto recyclers, and paint contractors.
When working with a business, our goal is to bring the business into compliance with the Thurston County's Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance (Article VI of the Sanitary Code) and provide them with the appropriate resources for correctly managing their waste streams in the future. If we observe practices or physical handling and storage methods that need to be changed, we'll set up a time to have changes made, and return for a follow up. Formal enforcement action is not our preferred method for bringing businesses into compliance with the ordinance.
When a business is determined to be in compliance with the county ordinance, they are given a Notice of Compliance (NOC), describing their general waste stream managed, the amount managed per month, and how they have chosen to manage the waste.
If a business is not in compliance with the ordinance at the conclusion of the initial visit, they are provided a Notice of Non-Compliance (NONC), which describes what wastes or products need to be addressed in order to be in compliance.
Most businesses that we work with are pleased with the outcome of our visits. Though some businesses may have to invest in pollution prevention equipment or supplies to satisfy the requirements of the Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance. Many are already in compliance before our visit or are able to make simple changes to properly manage their waste streams.
Learn more about the Department of Ecology Pollution Prevention program.
Thurston County PHSS Environmental Health has conducted several voluntary pollution prevention industry campaigns to help Thurston County businesses understand and comply with the County's Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance,(Article VI). Our philosophy about pollution prevention is to promote the use of effective less-toxic chemicals in industry. Our program staff work with Department of Ecology to provide vouchers and financial incentives to promote chemical substitution in specific industry sectors. When we start a new incentive program, we contact every business in the county and offer all the opportunity to utilize the voucher program.
At the end of a pollution prevention visit, each business will receive a checklist of non-regulatory best management practices (BMP) that are aimed at reducing or eliminating hazardous chemicals and their impacts to human health and the environment. Specialists will note which BMPs are currently in place at the business, as well as which ones are recommended. The waste reduction techniques can go a long way in improving your business.
The automotive services campaign focused on commonly generated wastes streams, which include used oil, antifreeze, solvents, and paint-related waste. Technologies that allow for the use of non- or less-toxic cleaners were emphasized, as were proper storage, disposal or recycling of waste materials. Additionally, aqueous parts washers, spill prevention and secondary containment were highlighted. For more information, please see the following:
This campaign helped Thurston County nurseries, including tree and turf farms, become aware of environmental and public health risks from improper storage, use, or disposal of hazardous materials. The primary issues were disposal and secondary containment. To find out more, visit the links below:
This campaign helped Thurston County dentists become aware of potentially hazardous wastes that are generated by dental facilities, such as silver-containing x-ray chemicals, scrap mercury amalgam, chair-side sink traps, and vacuum pump filters that contain heavy metals that must be managed properly. Reported reduction was 21% decrease in mercury coming into LOTT after the dental campaign. To find out more, visit the links below:
This campaign helped Thurston County photo developers become aware of the various hazardous wastes photo developing products generate, which must be managed properly to protect the environment and worker health and safety. These hazardous chemicals must be disposed of by recycling or through a permitted hazardous waste management facility.
This campaign helped County furniture manufacturing, repair, and finishing businesses become aware of the hazardous materials they use, offering less-hazardous materials and processes in their operations. See the link below for more information:
This campaign worked with Thurston County marinas in providing hazardous waste collection bins along with gloves, containers, and labels so that boaters could label and deposit hazardous materials. For additional information, see the following document.
This campaign helped commercial printers in the County become aware of the wide variety of hazardous wastes their businesses generate and how to treat, recycle, or dispose of them. See the link below for more information:
This campaign helped retail businesses in the County manage and properly dispose of hazardous materials generated as a result of doing business. For additional information, see below.
- Hazardous Material Management for Retailers
This county campaign raised awareness of proper handling of silver waste from X-rays, including disposal options (drop-off and pick-up services and on-site silver treatment). Reported reduction of 34% decrease in incoming silver coming into LOTT after the X-ray and film developer campaign. To find out more, visit the following links:
This campaign helped Thurston County auto recyclers become aware of seven hazardous materials (gas, oil, antifreeze, batteries, Freon, lead tire weights, and residual liquid from crushing) contained in automobiles that should be removed from vehicles and reused, recycled, or disposed according to regulations. The County developed options for each of these hazardous wastes with an emphasis on reuse and recycling. For additional information, see the following document.
This campaign helped Thurston County small engine repair shops become aware of proper handling of hazardous wastes and modify outdoor marine engine testing to eliminate the release of environmental pollutants. To find out more, visit the following link:
This campaign focused on Thurston County school labs, emphasizing chemical management, safety, purchasing, record keeping, and removal of high-risk chemicals. To read about this campaign, visit the link below:
Thurston County PHSS Environmental Health has developed many fact sheets for local businesses to use as a reference and to answer questions that may arise.
- Antifreeze, Used Oil and Oil Filters
- Aqueous Parts Washers
- Bioremediation Parts Washers
- Category 1 Pesticides and their Unrinsed Containers
- Commercial Printing
- Does Your Business Generate Hazardous Waste?
- Doing Business in a Wellhead Protection Area
- Floor Drains
- Fluorescent Lamps
- Hazardous Materials Management for Retailers
- Hazardous Waste Disposal Program
- Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance Compliance
The Wellhead Protection Program focuses on businesses within Group A water system areas. This program is designed to evaluate businesses within these areas that could have an impact on above ground drinking water. For information on Thurston County's well head protection program, visit:
Thurston County Well Head Protection Area Map
File a Complaint
Anyone found to be illegally dumping solid waste is in violation of the Thurston County Sanitary Code can be fined and/or prosecuted. In addition, property owners are responsible for all solid waste generated and accumulated on their property and may also be fined and/or prosecuted if waste is not properly stored and removed in a timely manner.
Do you have a complaint regarding garbage dumping or accumulation?
File your complaint online: Environmental Health Issue Reporting
To the best of your ability, please be ready with the following information:
- Where is the spill?
- What spilled?
- How much spilled?
- How concentrated is the spilled material?
- Who spilled the material?
- Is anyone cleaning up the spill?
- Are there resource damages (e.g. dead fish or oiled birds)?
- Who is reporting the spill? (This can be kept confidential if you choose)
Thurston County will assist citizens and real estate agents by providing information about contaminated properties. However, if you suspect that a property is currently being used as a meth lab, please call the Thurston County Sheriff's non-emergency number at 360-704-2740.
Thurston County’s ordinance for contaminated properties from illegal drug manufacturing or storage. Title 10; Chapter 10.92
Washington State regulations for contaminated properties. TItle 64; Chapter 64.44 RCW
Washington State regulations for decontamination of illegal drug manufacturing or storage sites Title 246; Chapter 246-205 WAC