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City of Davis Paint Disposal and Clean-up
Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Procedures for

  • Painting Contractors
  • Do-It-Yourselfers
Pollution prevention starts with your help.

Painting Problems

Painting can generate wastes that are extremely hazardous to your health and to the environment. These wastes include excess paint, used paint thinner, cleanup water, and wastes from prep work including paint chips and scrapings. If improperly disposed of, such wastes can contaminate water running off your property.

To avoid harm to the land, plant, and animal life, use the following simple guidelines.


Best Management Practices such as handling, storing, and disposing of materials properly can prevent pollutants from entering our rivers and oceans.

Consider Prior to Painting...

  • From the very start of your project, take care to minimize painting waste by buying only as much paint and as many materials as needed. Not only will this generate less waste, but it will decrease the amount of leftover materials that will require proper disposal.
  • If possible, purchase only disposable brushes, rollers and trays to avoid the use of solvents at the conclusion of the job.
  • Don't use paints over 15 years old. They may contain toxic levels of lead.

Paint Removal

  • Avoid using chemical paint strippers. Their residue is a hazardous waste. For disposal information, contact Yolo County Landfill. Call 666-8729 or visit www.davisrecycling.org
  • Avoid generating large amounts of waste water by wet scraping rather than pressure washing.
  • If you must, pressure wash homes and buildings only if they were built after 1978. (Link to BASMAA for BMPs)
  • Chips and dust from marine paints or paints containing lead or tributyl tin are hazardous wastes. Dry clean-up only.
  • Paint chips and dust from non-hazardous dry stripping and sand blasting may be swept up and disposed of as trash.
  • When stripping or cleaning building exteriors with high-pressure water, block storm drains. Wash water onto a dirt area.

While Painting

  • Keep your work site clean. Best management practices for handling, storing, and disposing of materials properly can prevent pollutants from entering the storm drains.
  • Keep all liquid paint products and wastes away from the street, gutter, and storm drains. Liquid residues from paints, thinners, solvents, glues and cleaning fluids are hazardous wastes.
  • Brush as much paint as possible from brushes before rinsing them.
  • Avoid using oil-based paints. If possible, use latex products.
  • Never wash brushes and equipment in the gutter. Instead, dispose of latex paint wastewater by pouring it into the sanitary sewer.

Cleaning Up

  • Drain and recycle excess paint from spray equipment prior to washing equipment with water.
  • Dispose of thoroughly dry, latex paint cans, rags, drop cloths, and disposable brushes may be disposed of in the trash. Scoop excess dried latex paint out of can and the can be recycled. Avoid throwing away any items that still have wet paint on them.
  • Recycle empty spray cans using your local curbside recycling program.
  • Excess latex-based and oil based paints can be recycled. If you intend to dispose, then the paint is disposed of as hazardous waste. Household Hazardous Waste may be dropped off for no charge at the Yolo County Landfill. Call 666-8729 or visit www.davisrecycling.org
  • If possible, reuse paint thinner. Let any particles left in the thinner settle out. Then pour off the clear thinner for re-use. Dispose of contaminated thinner as you would other household hazardous wastes.
  • Reuse leftover paint for touch-ups.

Where Does the Water Go?

What happens to water from rain, lawn watering, or car washing? This water, called stormwater or urban runoff, flows in to the City’s storm drainage system through over 2500 curbside catch basins – the openings located along street gutters. The water moves through the storm drain piping below our streets to our rivers, creeks, wetlands, sloughs, the delta, the bay, and eventually the Pacific Ocean.

Initially, much of this water fills the City’s detention and wildlife ponds which support an array of wildlife species. Other water flows through drainage ditches towards the northern and eastern edges of the City.

A portion of the stormwater that is collected in the City is conveyed to the Davis Wetlands where it is used to support this constructed wetlands system and all its wild inhabitants. Tours of the Davis Wetlands are offered the first Saturday of the month. For more information contact the Yolo Basin Foundation: (530) 757-4828.

Protect our Wetlands

The Putah Creek bioregion and Yolo Bypass Wetlands near Davis comprise a delicately balanced ecosystem, home to numerous species of aquatic plants and animals crucial to the food web. These organisms can be harmed by discharges of wastes and pollutants from paint products.

To remind everyone about the importance of preventing pollution of our stormwater, be it from concrete and mortar activities, or other sources, the City of Davis has installed these storm drain inlet markers near each drain:

storm-drain-markerThese markers are easy to install. So if you, your group, or organization would like to participate in this pollution awareness program, please contact City of Davis Public Works at (530) 757-5686.
Stormwater pollution can be extremely harmful to the health of the plants and animals with which we share this planet.


Help us to protect your water resources for current and future generations.

If you see anyone dumping questionable materials, please call City of Davis Public Works at (530) 757-5686. If it is an emergency, call 911.
Please keep our watershed clean!

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