Home Improvement Cleanup

Discuss with your contractor where and how they will clean up. Rinse dirty paint brushes or wash water into a utility sink and dispose of dry materials in the trash. Paint, grout, mortar, wash water or any other material should never be washed onto a driveway, street, or into a storm drain. Keep this in mind for DIY projects as well.

  • Wash water from paint brushes or other home projects should go into the sink. This water will be cleaned and treated.
  • Never wash off home improvement supplies on your driveway. If it runs into the street, it will enter a storm drain, and go to the nearest stream or park.
  • If oil or another harmful liquid falls onto an outdoor hard surface, use kitty litter to absorb it, then sweep it up.
  • Never dump wash water into a storm drain. The dirt, grime, and soap will harm fish and other wildlife.

Arlington County Code 26-5c states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge directly or indirectly into the storm sewer system or state waters, any substance likely, in the opinion of the County Manager, to have an adverse effect on the storm sewer system or state waters.”

Don't let your do-it-yourself (DIY) project become a contaminated stream investigation (CSI)
Don't let your fixer-upper become a gutter-downer
Make sure your spring cleaning doesn't turn into stream pollution
Don't let your renovation dream become a nightmare for our streams (kitchen tile debris turns stream grey)

The names have been changed, but the Arlington stream pollution is real. These Arlington homeowners washed paint, concrete, cut tile, drywall, grout, debris, and soil into storm drains. The projects resulted in an illicit discharges into our streams – Little Pimmit Run, Doctor’s Branch, Gulf Branch, Spout Run, Upper Long Branch, Four Mile Run.

Make sure you have a cleanup plan. Don’t let a home improvement project cause unsafe conditions in streams and parks. Click on each image below to learn more.

Pat's bathroom project turned the stream white(JPG, 262KB)

Meg's landscaping project turned the stream brown(JPG, 281KB)

Ken's painting project turned the stream white(JPG, 239KB)

Kay's walkway project turned the stream gray(JPG, 263KB)

Joe's retaining wall project turned the stream gray(JPG, 259KB)

Bob's kitchen project turned the stream gray(JPG, 250KB)