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Clean Water Works in Portland

Portland is home to many businesses that depend on clean water. With a thriving seafood industry, restaurants sourcing local ingredients, and more than 10 local breweries, the importance of clean water is all around. Much of Portland’s sewer and stormwater infrastructure is deteriorating and in need of repair or replacement. The systems are designed to handle three kinds of pollution - stormwater runoff, sewage, and a combination of the two. During wet weather, the combined system is overwhelmed and pollution dumps directly into local water bodies. Without reliable infrastructure, the City cannot promote development.

To support our existing business community and encourage new development, we are investing in upgrading our water infrastructure. To maintain and upgrade our system, an equitable and dedicated funding source is needed. The City has established the Stormwater Service Charge to meet this need.

Take Action

Business owners can take steps to minimize pollution from their properties. The following are easy steps for keeping Portland's water resources clean.

Good housekeeping

Keeping your property free of sediment, debris, and spills not only helps your business look better but also minimizes the potential for polluted runoff from your property.

Activities such as parking lot sweeping, catch basin cleaning, as well as maintaining vehicles and dumpsters for leaks can help keep pollutants out of storm drains, rivers, and streams.

Spill prevention and readiness

Being ready for anything when it comes to your business is always important, especially if your business deals with chemicals or potential hazardous materials. Maintaining good storage practices and secondary containment is a great way to protect against spills.

Using less toxic products, maintaining a spill kit, and using dry methods (kitty litter or other absorbents) to handle spills is a great way to minimize pollution to waterways.

Consider soil during construction

Without appropriate planning, construction sites can often contribute pollution to our water resources. Taking time to plan accordingly can greatly minimize this potential.

Using sediment control devices (silt fence or mulch berms), keeping vegetation in place, diverting runoff away from bare soil, and creating a stabilized construction entrance can all reduce the potential for polluted runoff.

Consider stormwater

Hard surfaces (also called impervious areas), such as parking lots and roofs, don’t allow water to soak into the ground. As water flows over the land, it can pick up pollution and carry it directly to storm drains, rivers, or streams.

Incorporating rain gardens, permeable pavement, or other stormwater practices can help reduce polluted runoff from your property. Making changes to your landscaping can also reduce polluted runoff. Planting native plants and trees and reducing the use of fertilizer and weed and bug killers can help protect and improve Portland’s streams and Casco Bay.

Train employees

Maintaining high standards of training is important for any business. Being sure your employees are aware of any procedures that involve chemicals or processes that could pollute our waterways is important.

Train employees to handle toxic materials with care and ensure they understand any procedures in the event of a spill. Keep a spill kit fully stocked and readily available. Ensure employees know where it is, what is in it, and how it is used.