Home Repair & Remodeling

Safe Environment Practices and Procedures

  • Homeowners
  • Do-It-Yourself Remodelers
  • Do-It-Yourself Painters
  • Do-It-Yourself Landscapers

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Household toxics such as common household cleaners, paint products and motor oil can pollute the ocean and poison the groundwater if not disposed of as hazardous waste.

Dispose of your household chemicals and toxics at a local Household Hazardous Waste Roundup instead of putting them into the trash, dumping them on the ground, street, down the sink or into a gutter, or storm drain.

LA County sponsors free Household Hazardous Waste Roundups for residents. Call 1-888-Clean LA (888-253-2652) to find out when a neighborhood roundup event will take place in your community.

Concrete & Masonry

  • Fresh concrete and mortar application can wash down or blow into the street, gutter or storm drain, posing a hazard to sea life and humans.
  • Don't mix up more fresh concrete or cement than you will use.
  • Store bags of cement and plaster under cover, protected from rainfall, runoff, wind and away from gutters and storm drains.
  • Never dispose of cement washout or concrete dust onto driveways, streets, gutters or storm drains.


All painting and solvents contain chemicals that are harmful to sea life. Therefore, it is especially important to prevent these chemicals from entering storm drains. Toxic chemicals can come from liquid, solid products or cleaning residues on rags.

Paint Cleanup

  • Never clean brushes or rinse paint containers into a street, gutter or storm drain.
  • For oil-based paints, paint out brushes as much as possible. Clean with thinner and then filter and reuse thinner.
  • For water-based paints, paint out brushes as much as possible, then rinse in the sink.
  • Thoroughly dry used brushes, empty paint cans (lids off), rags and drop cloth, which may be disposed of as trash.
  • Chemical paint stripping residue, including saturated rags, is a hazardous waste and should be disposed of properly.
  • Chips and dust from marine paints or paints containing lead or tin are also hazardous wastes. Sweep them up and call the Los Angeles County Sanitation District for disposal instructions at 1-888-Clean LA (888-253-2652).

Paint Recycling

Reuse leftover paint for touch-ups or recycle at a household hazardous waste collection event, where it will be recycled or donated to a local graffiti paint-out program.

Landscaping & Gardening

Intensive gardening and landscaping increase the likelihood that garden chemicals and soil will wash into storm drains. Pesticides and herbicides not only kill garden invaders, they also contaminate ground and ocean water which will harm and poison fish. Here are some instructions you can follow:

  • Use organic or non-toxic fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Do not fertilize or use pesticides near ditches, gutters or storm drains.
  • Store pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals in a covered area to prevent runoff.
  • Do not blow, sweep or rake leaves into the street, gutter or storm drain.
  • Conserve water by using drip irrigation, soaker hoses or micro-spray systems.


Sediment from excavation and other construction projects is the most common pollutant washed from worksites. Sediment entering the ocean through storm drains harms sea life and disrupts the food chain upon which both fish and people depend upon.

General Practices

  • Keep all construction debris away from the street, gutter and storm drain. Look for and clean up material that may have traveled away from your property.
  • Keep materials out of the rain by storing them indoors, or outdoors with a secure roof or plastic sheeting.

Erosion Control

  • Schedule grading and excavation projects for dry weather.
  • Cover excavated material and stockpiles of asphalt, sand, etc., with plastic tarps.
  • Prevent erosion by planting fast-growing annuals and perennial grasses. These will shield and bind the soil.


For a list of facilities that accept construction and demolition debris, please visit Smart Business Recycling.