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. The slurry and wash water generated by sawcutting materials such as concrete, brick, tile, or granite and cleaning up from those activities must be contained to prevent pollutants from flowing to a storm drain or catch basin. Sawcutting slurry and wash water can clog drains and cause flooding. In a stream, sawcutting slurry and wash water hurts water quality and harms fish and aquatic life.
Rules and Regulations
Portland City Code 17.39 prohibits the discharge of wash water and sawcutting slurry into the stormwater system. The discharge of wash water, slurry, or materials may result in investigations, issuance of penalties, and required corrective actions.
Portland City Code 17.32 prohibits directing water from any source to run onto any City sidewalk, street, easement, or right-of-way without first obtaining authorization or approval.
Per Portland City Code 17.34 discharge to the sanitary system requires approval. Apply for a Batch Discharge Permit.
Prevent Pollution through Best Management Practices
Follow and train employees in these best management practices to prevent slurry and wash water from discharging from the work area.
Before and During
- Locate and block all nearby storm drain inlets, culverts, and catch basins through which slurry discharges or concrete wash water may occur.
- Use temporary curbs, berms, or diversion structures to contain slurry, sediment, and wash water from concrete work or sawcutting in the immediate work area.
- Divert flows or place a berm around storm drain inlets to pool water away from drains. Cover the drains for added protection.
- Prevent the tracking of slurry and concrete wash water out of the immediate work area. Use traffic control as needed.
- Collect and remove all the slurry and runoff from the sawcutting operation immediately.
- Any discharge to the street, sidewalk, curbline, or right-of-way is prohibited and must be cleaned up immediately.
- Collect and remove any slurry collected within the containment area and in or near storm drains by pumping to a collection container or using a wet/dry vacuum.
Clean Up and Disposal
- Dispose of hardened concrete waste and other solid materials with other construction-related wastes, as required.
- Contain all slurry and wash water onsite or in the immediate work area.
- Rinse and wash any remaining residue, tools, and equipment to prevent discharge into the stormwater system. Collect the wash water and rinse water.
- Slurry and wash water may be disposed of onsite by letting it soak into the ground.
- Alternatively, the slurry and wash water can be allowed to settle in a leak-proof container. The decanted water can be hauled off-site or disposed of in the sanitary sewer with approval from Environmental Services. Apply for a batch discharge.
Failure to implement applicable best management practices listed above 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.