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      Department of Public Works Bureau of Sanitation

How to Prevent Stormwater Pollution at Printing and Publishing Facilities

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Material Handling and Storage Areas

Store containerized materials (fuels, paints, inks, solvents, etc.) in a protected, secure location away from drains. Store reactive, ignitable, or flammable liquids in compliance with the local fire code.

Identify potentially hazardous materials, their characteristics, and use. Control excessive purchasing, storage, and handling of potentially hazardous materials. Keep records to identify quantity, receipt date, service life, users, and disposal routes. Secure and carefully monitor hazardous materials to prevent theft, vandalism, and misuse of materials.

Eliminate/reduce exposure of materials to stormwater by covering storage areas or storing materials inside. Provide adequate containment for outdoor storage areas. Use temporary containment (i.e. portable drip pans) where required. Use spill troughs for drums with taps.

Maintain good integrity of all storage tanks. Inspect storage tanks to detect potential leaks and perform preventive maintenance. Inspect piping systems (pipes, pumps, flanges, couplings, hoses, valves) for failures or leaks.

Handle solvents in designated areas away from drains, ditches, and surface waters. Locate designated areas indoors or under a cover.

If spills occur,

  • stop the source of the spill immediately
  • contain the liquid until cleanup is complete
  • deploy oil containment booms if the spill may reach the water
  • cover the spill with absorbent material (i.e. use dry cleanup methods)
  • keep the area well ventilated
  • dispose of cleanup materials properly
  • do not use emulsifier or dispersant

Plate Preparation

Use aqueous-developed lithographic plates or wipe-on plates.


Use press wipes as long as possible before discarding or laundering; dirty ones for the first pass, clean ones for the second pass.

Squeeze or centrifuge solvent out of dirty rags. Set up an in-house dirty rag cleaning operation if warranted or send to approved industrial laundries.

Designate a press to be used solely for inks with hazardous pigments/solvents.

Segregate used oil from solvents or other materials.

Use water-based inks in gravure and flexographic printing process.

Clean Up

Designate special areas for draining or replacing fluids. Label sinks as to proper disposal of liquids.

Keep equipment in good condition. Use doctor blades and squeegees to remove as much ink as possible from the press prior to cleaning with solvent and rags. Control solvent use during equipment cleaning, use only what you need. Substitute nontoxic or less toxic cleaning solvents.

Centralize liquid solvent cleaning in one location. Recover waste solvents onsite with batch distillation if warranted or utilize professional solvent recyclers.

Stencil Preparation for Screen Printing

Recapture excess ink from silkscreen process before washing the screen to decrease amount of ink and cleaning emulsion used.

Numbers to Call for More Information

Department of Toxic Substances Control (hazardous waste questions) (818) 551-2800/2830 (Duty office) or (916) 324-1826

Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region (213) 266-7500

Check the phone book for your local wastewater treatment plant.

If you have questions about this fact sheet, please call (800) 974-9794

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