How a commercial property is maintained affects the waterways around it.  Click below to see suggestions for your specific type of business.

All businesses should be following these steps to reduce or eliminate polluted runoff:

General Cleaning

  • Whenever possible, purchase water-based cleaning products. Look for products labeled “non-toxic,” “non-petroleum based,” “ammonia-free,” “phosphate-free,” “dye and perfume-free,” or “readily biodegradable.”
  • Never pour wash water or chemicals down a storm drain. Use a mop and bucket, and dispose of wash water down a mop sink, floor drain, or sanitary sewer (sink or toilet).
  • Sweep shop floors, materials processing and storage areas, access roads, parking lots, and sidewalks on a regular basis.  Do not use a hose to wash down these areas.
  • Properly contain and dispose of wash water, sweepings, and sediments.


  • Keep a spill kit appropriate for the materials you use handy and stocked, ready for use.
  • Any excess chemical spills, especially outdoors, should be swept up immediately.
  • Use absorbent material (such as granular clay or kitty litter) or containment berms for liquid spills.
  • Always use dry methods to clean spills (sweeping) and never hose down the area.
  • Report any chemical spill to the local hazardous waste cleanup team. They’ll know the best way to keep spills from harming the environment.
  • Collect wastes for recycling or proper disposal.

Outdoor Best Management Practices

Be sure to share this information with your landscaping company or anyone who does work on your property.

Parking Lots & Dumpsters

  • Dry sweep paved areas on a regular basis, especially around storm drains. This includes parking lots, patios, sidewalks & dumpster areas. Do not use a hose to wash down pavement.
  • Collect and dispose of debris in waste containers.  Do not sweep into the gutter or storm drain.
  • Cover dumpsters and keep them clean to avoid leaks.
  • Make sure a plug is installed in the container’s drain opening, which is usually near one of the back corners of the container. Without a plug, liquid wastes in the container are allowed to discharge freely.
  • Check regularly for leaks, particularly in the lower corners of the container where rust is common, and replace if necessary.
  • Never wash down dumpsters with a hose. If cleaning is needed, contact the leasing company.
  • Schedule regular waste pick-ups.


  • Use organic fertilizer whenever possible.  Organic or slow-release nitrogen fertilizer lessens the chance that excess nutrients will run off your lawn during rainstorms.
  • Be sure to use fertilizer with no phosphorus unless you have a soil test saying it’s needed—phosphorus causes algae growth in water.
  • Limit the use of lawn chemicals and always follow directions.  Use the smallest amount necessary.
  • If you are having problems with your grass, don’t keep adding chemicals.  Have your soil tested by UMass Extension.
  • Use permeable materials, like pavers or crushed stone for any “hardscape” projects, such as patios or walkways. Permeable systems allow rain and snow melt to soak through the material, thereby decreasing stormwater runoff.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use and disposal of any lawn products.
  • Apply products only at optimal times for the specific application, which are defined on the product’s label.


  • Hire a WaterSense Certified Landscape Irrigation Professional to review your system at the beginning of each irrigation season.  This will help reduce your water consumption, save money, and maximize the efficiency of your system.
  • Avoid over-watering to prevent excess runoff.  A lawn needs just 1″ of water per week to be green. Be sure to check weather reports.
  • Upgrade to a moisture sensor to ensure irrigating only when needed, and avoid using old-fashioned irrigation timers.
  • Don’t irrigate in the middle of the day or when it’s windy, in order to prevent evaporation and runoff.
  • Make sure that sprinkler heads are pointed at the lawn and not the pavement – adjust and fix heads as necessary.
  • Comply with any watering restrictions adopted by your town. These restrictions are in place to prevent excess water consumption during times of drought.

Redirect Rainwater

  • Build a rain garden or grassy swale, which is a simple, specially designed area planted with native plants that capture runoff from parking areas, driveways, walkways, and roofs and filters it through the soil, rather than allow it to flow directly into storm drains, ponds or lakes.
  • Install a vegetated filter strip of native grass or plants along roadways or near streams. They trap the pollutants stormwater picks up as it flows across driveways and streets.
  • Place a rain barrel under your downspout to easily capture rain for use around your property.
  • Redirect downspouts so that water flows into grass or shrubs instead of onto a driveway or sidewalk.
  • Install a dry well on the property to capture excess runoff.

Snow/Ice Removal

  • Avoid over-salting in the winter, and sweep up any excess or spills.
  • Store salt in a covered area.
  • Use a product that is non-toxic to vegetation and wildlife.
  • Do not dump snow into a body of water.

Materials Storage (Gasoline, Oil, Salts, etc.)

  • Store all chemicals in appropriate containers that don’t leak.
  • Close and secure any opened containers.
  • If storing outdoors, be sure to place all containers/materials under cover to protect from rain and snow.