Home Repair & Remodeling

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.

  • Take your household chemicals and toxics to a local Household Hazardous Waste Roundup or the City of Los Angeles HazMobile instead of dumping them on the ground, down the sink or into a gutter, street or storm drain.

  • Call the Los Angles county Household Hazardous Waste Hotline (800) 552-5218 to find out when a neighborhood roundup event will take place in your community.

Concrete & Masonry
Fresh concrete and mortar application materials 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 and wind, and away from gutters and storm drains.

  • Never dispose of cement washout or concrete dust into driveways, streets, gutters or storm drains.

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

Paint Cleanup

  • Never clean brushes or rinse paint containers into the street, gutter or storm drain.

  • For oil-based paints, paint out brushes to the extent possible. Clean with thinner and then filter and reuse thinner.

  • For water-based paints, paint out brushes to the extent possible, then rinse in the sink when thoroughly dry, used brushes, empty paint cans (lids off), rags and drip cloths may be disposed of as trash.

Paint removal

  • Chemical paint stripping residue, including saturated rags, is a hazardous waste and should be taken to a household hazardous waste collection event.

  • Chips and dust from marine paints or paints containing lead or tributyl tin are also hazardous wastes. Sweep them up and save them for a household hazardous waste collection event.

Paint Recycling

  • Reuse leftover paint for touch-ups or recycle it at a local 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 harm insects, poison fish and contaminate ground and ocean water.

  • 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.

  • In communities with curbside yard waste recycling, leave clippings and pruning waste for pick up in approved containers. For further information regarding curbside recycling, please contact you local City Hall.

  • 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.

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 annual and perennial grasses. These will shield and bind the soil


  • Use a crushing company to recycle cement, asphalt and porcelain rather than taking them to a landfill. Call (800) 974-9794 or (800) 303-0003 for information.