Auto and Household Maintenance

The Issue

When it rains, or when water flows over pavement (driveways), urban runoff is produced, which picks up household and automotive pollutants. These pollutants are eventually washed down storm drains and flow completely untreated into our local waterways. Toxic chemicals are contained in many automotive and household products and can contribute to surface, groundwater, and stormwater contamination. Some of these chemicals include motor oil, antifreeze, battery acid, gasoline, car waxes/soap, paints, cleaners, and pool chemicals. 

Help keep our waterways clean and pollutant-free by practicing the prevention measures down below!

  1. Vehicle Maintenance
  2. Car Washing
  3. Paint Waste

Your Work Area

When you're working on your car,  place something below such as a tarp or drip pan (depending on the size of your work area) that can catch fluids or debris. If you notice that your car is leaking, place something under the leak to catch fluids and have the leak repaired as soon as possible. 

Brake Work

Most brake pads contain copper, which wears off as the brake pads wear, and contribute to stormwater pollution. Cleaning brake dust with a paper towel is recommended. You can also ask your auto parts supplier about no-copper or low-copper brake pads for your vehicle. 

Engine Cleaning and Degreasing 

Many degreasers contain highly toxic solvents that are dangerous to both human health and the environment. Do not clean your engine at home unless you can contain and properly dispose of the rinse water. Instead, take your vehicle, engine, or auto parts, to an auto business that offers cleaning services, or collects and treats engine wastewater. 

Changing Oil, Antifreeze, and Other Fluids

Changing vehicle fluids can very easily be done at home without compromising the environment. Proper use and disposal of auto fluids can prevent stormwater pollution. Remember to drain fluid into a drain pan, and use a funnel to pour any fluids. Place an absorbent (such as an old towel or absorbent pad) under the drain pan to catch any drips. Recycle any used oil and used oil filters. 

Arcata residents are eligible to receive a FREE motor oil container. Pick one up at the City of Arcata Environmental Services Department during regular business hours. 

For more information on how or where to properly dispose of hazardous materials, click here.