How to Handle Toxic Substances Commonly Found on Construction Sites
Concrete, Paint, and Stucco
Concrete, Paint, and Stucco, if introduced into a waterbody, can cause serious issues with a waterbody. Some of the impacts include:
- Increased turbidity
- Increased toxicity
- High (alkaline) pH levels
- Reduced oxygen levels
If these materials are washed onto the soil, these impacts can still reach a water body or groundwater. They can also have further impacts, such as reducing infiltration of water into the soil.
Some of the most commonly required controls on the construction site are the washout. These are designed to capture the wash waters used to remove these materials from equipment. Here are some common requirements for washout points:
- Leak-proof container or leak-proof pit
- Have a posted sign
- Cleaned out before it gets too full and could possibly overflow
- All materials must be disposed of properly
Additional requirements may exist and it is generally preferable to separate waste from paint, oily materials, and stucco or concrete.
There may be one washout or many on a site, and you should check the stormwater plans to ensure you are washing your equipment correctly. Keeping these toxic waters contained is one more way to help preserve our water bodies.