Preventing Pollution by Controlling Sediment and Material Track-Out

Track-out is dirt, mud, or other debris tracked out of a facility or onto a paved roadway by a vehicle or material handling equipment such as a forklift. When it rains, this sediment can mix with rainwater and cause pollution. Prevent pollution from track-out with these best management practices.
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The City's Role

The federal Clean Water Act requires cities to set rules and regulations to protect the city's sewer and stormwater systems and its watersheds. Environmental Services works with business and industry to meet these requirements.

Many storm drains in Portland flow directly to a river or stream without treatment. When it rains, sediment and pollutants in the track-out from a facility or site may wash into the stormwater system and into a river or stream. Polluted stormwater hurts water quality and harms fish and other aquatic life.

Rules and Regulations

Portland City Code 17.39 prohibits the discharge of sediment into the stormwater system. Track-out entering the street, sidewalk, curbline gutter, or other right-of-way from a site or facility has the potential to discharge sediment into the stormwater system. This is a violation of city code and may result in investigations, issuance of penalties, and required corrective actions.  

Portland City Code Title 10, Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations are requirements to control the off-site discharge of sediment related to ground-disturbing activities. The Bureau of Development Services’ Erosion and Sediment Control Manual provides best management practices on how to control erosion and sediment. If the project has an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, as required by the Manual, it must be followed.

Prevent Pollution through Best Management Practices

  • Pave or install a rock pad in the exit area of the facility to reduce the amount of material that could be carried into the road by vehicles and equipment. The Erosion Control Manual describes best management practices for capturing sediment across an exit area. 
  • Only use clean rock material. Larger rock will be more effective than smaller rock. Consider using rock over 2-inches in diameter.
  • Conduct routine sweeping with a vacuum sweeper or manually sweep sediment and debris.
  • Do not hose down track-out areas. Washing track-out debris into the stormwater or drainage system or roadway is prohibited. Any wash water must be captured and disposed of in the sanitary sewer.
  • Install a track-out control device, such as rumble grates. Various products are available online.
  • Pave traffic routes.
  • Limit traffic in unpaved areas and consider alternative traffic routes.
  • Train employees and contractors on how to minimize track-out and clean sediment if it reaches the roadway.
  • Inspect the facility egresses and adjacent roadways regularly.
  • Inspect the rock pad for sediment accumulation regularly.
  • Remove accumulated sediment and add or replace rock as needed.

Failure to implement applicable best management practices may result in the discharge of pollutants which is a violation of Portland City Code. The City will issue enforcement action in the form of a civil penalty if pollutants are discharged from your facility. Appropriate measures to prevent the discharge of pollutants are required.