Paint Practices

Paints, solvents, adhesives, and toxic chemicals from painting operations often make their way into stormwater drain systems and often do NOT GET TREATED before reaching local waterways. These wastes make our waters unhealthy and unsafe for people and wildlife.

Follow these practices to help prevent paint stormwater pollution…


General Business Practices
Keep all paint products and wastes away from the street, gutter, and storm drains. Reuse paint thinner by setting used thinner aside in a closed, labeled jar to settle out paint particles, and then pouring off the clear liquid for future use. Wrap dried paint residue in newspaper and dispose of it in the trash.


Water-Based Paints
Purchase water-based paints whenever possible. Look for products labeled “latex” or “clean up with water.”


Recycle or Reuse Paints
Recycle/reuse leftover paint by using it for touch-ups, or by giving it to someone who can use it, such as a theatre group, school, city or other community organization. If you’re unable to give it away, contact Northwest VT Solid Waste Management District at (802)524-5986 for information on hazardous waste pick-up.


Paint Cleanup
Avoid cleaning brushes and rinsing paint containers in a street, gutter, or storm drain. For water-based paints, brush out as much paint as possible and rinse in the sink. For oil-based paints, brush out as much paint as possible, clean with thinner, and then filter and reuse thinner or solvent.


Paint Removal
Chemical paint stripping residue, chips and dust from marine paints, and paints containing lead or tributyl tin are hazardous wastes. For disposal information, call 872-8111. Also, when stripping or cleaning building exteriors with high-pressure water, block storm drains and divert the wash water onto a designated dirt area. Check with your local wastewater treatment authority to find out if you can collect building cleaning water and discharge it to the sewer.

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