Best Management Practices

Construction &
Site Supervision

Safe Environmental Habits and Procedures for:

General Contractors, Construction Inspectors, Home Builders, Developers, Masons & Bricklayers, Patio Construction Workers, and Sidewalk Construction Crews

Page is under construction. For a printed copy, please call (800) 974-9794
General Constructions Problems

Sediment is the most common pollutant washed from construction work sites, creating multiple problems once it enters the ocean. It clogs the gills of fish, blocks light transmission and increases ocean water temperature, all of which harm aquatic creatures. They also disturb the food chain upon which both fish and people depend on.

Sediment also carries with it other work site pollutants such as pesticides, cleaning solvents, cement wash, asphalt and car fluids like motor oil, grease and fuel. Thus, poorly maintained vehicles and heavy equipment leaking fuel and oil on the construction site also contribute to ocean pollution.

As a contractor, site supervisor, owner or operator of a site, you may be held responsible for the environmental damage caused by your subcontractors or employees.

General Business Practices

Keep pollutants off exposed surfaces. Place trash cans and recycling receptacles around the site.

Cover and maintain dumpsters. Check frequently for leaks. Place dumpsters under a roof or cover with tarps or plastic sheeting.

Never clean a dumpster by hosing it down on-site!

Keep materials out of the rain. Cover exposed piles of soil or construction materials with plastic sheeting or temporary roofs.

Designate one area for auto parking, vehicle refueling and routine equipment maintenance. The designated area should be well away from gutters or storm drains. Make all major repairs off-site.

Make sure portable toilets are in good working order. Check frequently for leaks.

Use as little water as possible for dust control.

Cleaning Up
  • Clean up leaks, drips and other spills immediately. This will prevent contaminated soil or residue on paved surfaces.
  • Never hose down "dirty" pavement or surfaces where materials have spilled. Use dry cleanup methods whenever possible.
Advanced Planning to Prevent Pollution

An erosion control program, worked out before construction begins, prevents or minimizes most erosion and sedimentation problems.

  • Train your employees and subcontractors. Make these pamphlets available to everyone working on site. Inform subcontractors about stormwater requirements and their own responsibilities.
  • Schedule excavation and grading activities for dry weather periods.
  • Control surface runoff to reduce erosion, especially during excavation.
    Use drainage ditches to divert water flow.
  • Use gravel approaches to reduce soil compaction and limit the tracking of sediments into streets, where truck traffic is frequent.
  • Prevent erosion by planting fast-growing annual and perennial grasses. These will shield and bind the soil.
  • Do not remove trees or shrubs unnecessarily. They help decrease erosion.
Handling Materials & Wastes
  • Practice Source Reduction – minimize waste when ordering materials. Order only the amounts needed to complete the job.
  • Use recycled and recyclable materials whenever possible.
  • Never bury waste materials or leave them in the street.
  • Dispose of all waste properly. Many construction materials, including solvents, water-based paints, vehicle fluids, broken asphalt and concrete, wood, and cleared vegetation can be recycled. Non-recyclable materials must be taken to an appropriate landfill or disposed of as hazardous waste. For disposal information, call the numbers listed in this pamphlet.
Disposal Options

Use a crushing company to recycle cement, asphalt and porcelain rather than disposing of it in a landfill. For a listing of companies that accept these materials, call the:

City of Los Angeles
Department of Public Works
1 (800) 974-9794

Other Phone Numbers to:
Spill Response Agencies Recycling & Hazardous Waste Disposal To Report Illegal Dumping To Report a Clogged Catch Basin
This is one in a series of pamphlets describing storm drain protection measures. Other pamphlets include:
Back to top of page