Stormwater home page City of Los Angeles home page
      Department of Public Works Bureau of Sanitation

How to Prevent Stormwater Pollution at Textile Mills, Apparel
and Other Fabric Manufacturing Facilities

PDF version

Preparation (e.g., Desizing and Scouring), Dyeing and Finishing

  • Reuse waste from typical bleach unit processing; i.e. recycle J-box or kier drain wastes to saturator. Use washer waste from scour operation for batch scouring. If possible, reuse residual portions of finish mixes to make up the next mix.
  • Return noncontact cooling water and stream condensates to either a hot water holding tank or a clear well. Segregate waste streams that do not generally require treatment from waste streams that do require treatment. Make use of countercurrent washing. Perform analysis of spent dye baths for residual materials.
  • Where feasible, obtain background information and data necessary before making product substitutions. This includes OSHA form 20 data, material safety data sheets, and technical data. Be aware of potential problem chemicals, such as aryl phenol ethoxylates, chlorinated aromatics, and metals.
  • Employ pad batch dyeing to eliminate the need for salts and specialty chemicals from the dyebath, with associated reduction in cost and pollution source reduction.
  • Use “low liquor ratio” dyeing machines where practicable. Use foam processing (mercerizing, bleaching, dyeing, finishing) where practicable as a water conservation process.

Chemical Screening and Inventory Control

  • Prescreen and evaluate chemicals on a wide range of environmental and health impact criteria. Develop and perform a routine raw material quality control program. Review and develop procedures for source reduction of metals.
  • Promptly transfer used fluids to the proper container; do not leave full open containers around the shop. Empty and clean drip pans and containers. Do not pour liquid waste down floor drains, sinks, or outdoor storm drain inlets.
  • Inspect the maintenance areas regularly for proper implementation of control measures.

Material Handling and Storage

  • Store permanent tanks in a paved area surrounded by a dike system. Use temporary containment where required by portable drip pans. Use spill troughs for drums with taps. Store containerized materials (fuels, paints, solvents, etc.) in a protected, secure location away from drains. Store reactive, ignitable, or flammable liquids in compliance with the local fire code.
  • Maintain good integrity of all storage tanks. Inspect storage tanks to detect potential leaks and perform preventive maintenance. Inspect piping systems (pipes, pumps, flanges, hoses, couplings, and valves) for failures or leaks, and repair immediately.
  • Label all materials clearly. Secure and carefully monitor materials to prevent theft, vandalism, and misuse of materials. Identify use and characteristics of hazardous materials.
  • Control excessive purchasing, storage, and handling of potentially hazardous materials. Keep records to identify quantity, receipt date, service life, users, and disposal routes.
  • Mix solvents in designated areas away from drains, ditches, and surface waters. If spills occur,
    1. stop the source of the spill immediately
    2. contain the liquid until cleanup is complete
    3. deploy oil containment booms if the spill may reach the water
    4. cover the spill with absorbent material (i.e. use dry cleanup methods)
    5. keep the area well ventilated
    6. dispose of cleanup materials properly
    7. do not use emulsifier or dispersant

Numbers to Call for More Information

Department of Toxic Substances Control (hazardous waste questions) (818) 551-2800/2830 (Duty Officer) 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

Immediately clean up spills using dry methods.
Place storage tanks in contained areas and inspect regularly.
Reuse waste and residuals from bleaching, washers, and finish mixes.
Mix solvents in designated area.
back to top of page