"Dear Business Owner/Manager:
The Thurston County Business Pollution Prevention Program is currently conducting a Technical Assistance Campaign for businesses in your
sector. The purpose of our campaign is to provide the industry with updated information regarding hazardous
materials management. In addition, we will also suggest Best Management Practices (BMPs) as they pertain to waste reduction and recycling."
A technical assistance visit may stem from a single
industry technical assistance campaign, a geographic-based pollution prevention campaign, or a community complaint.
Participation in a technical assistance campaign is voluntary, although businesses that choose not to participate
may receive a drop-in compliance audit at a later date. Businesses are typically invited to
participate in a technical assistance campaign through an introductory letter. Businesses that are visited as a result of a complaint receive a technical
assistance visit as part of the complaint investigation. In this case, the invitation for technical assistance is extended in person.
Hazardous waste and environmental health specialists are always willing to help a business look carefully at current hazardous material and waste storage
practices, and make suggestions for changes when necessary.
Waste Reduction Techniques
“Although this used to be the most appropriate method of managing used solvents, we now require businesses to…”
“Your waste reduction techniques are exactly those we hope to see…”
Our philosophy about technical assistance is relatively simple. We
recognize that businesses want to do the right thing when it comes to storing, handling, and disposing of hazardous materials and wastes. Many have the
knowledge and resources within their organizations to correctly store and dispose of hazardous materials and wastes. However, not all businesses
have the up-to-date knowledge or resources that can help them work with these materials most effectively.
At the end of a technical assistance visit, each business will receive a checklist of non-regulatory best management practices. Specialists will note
which BMPs are currently in place at the business, as well as which ones are recommended.
“Once this drum of used oil is moved into secondary containment, you’ll be all set. What is a reasonable amount of time to complete this project?”
working with a business, our goal is to bring the business into compliance with the Thurston County's
Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance (Article
VI [PDF] of the Sanitary Code), and provide them with the appropriate resources
for correctly managing their waste streams in the future. If we observe practices or physical handling and storage methods that need to be changed,
we'll set up a time to have changes made, and return for a follow up. Formal enforcement action is not our preferred method for bringing businesses into compliance with the ordinance.
When a business is determined to be in compliance with the county ordinance, they are given a Notice of Compliance (NOC), describing their general waste
stream managed, the amount managed per month, and how they have chosen to manage the waste.
If a business is not in compliance with the ordinance at the conclusion of the initial visit, they are provided a Notice of Non-compliance (NONC), which
describes what wastes or products need to be addressed in order to be in compliance.
Resources ― Fact Sheets & Newsletters
“We hope that the information we have provided during this visit helps you manage your hazardous wastes more efficiently and less expensively.”
“This fact sheet on spill plans provides a good model to follow when developing your own custom spill plan for this facility.”
Most businesses that we work with are pleased with the outcome of our visits. Though some businesses may have to invest in pollution prevention equipment or
supplies to satisfy the requirements of the Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance, many are already in compliance before our visit, or are able to make simple
changes to properly manage their waste streams.
We also provide resources, such as waste management fact sheets, that can be a reference to answer future questions or clarifications. Our program also publishes
a newsletter three to four times per year, which describes recent technical assistance campaigns,
common waste streams, or new regulations or recommendations for waste management. This newsletter is sent to all the businesses we work with, as well as program partners and stakeholders.
We strive to help businesses meet the requirements of the Nonpoint Source Pollution ordinance in the most efficient and least expensive manner possible.