January 28, 2014

Protection of the environment involves safe practices in the use of hazardous materials and proper chemical waste disposal to prevent illegal discharges to the sanitary sewer or storm drain system.

Waste Water

UCLA's Policy for preventing the discharge of hazardous materials and chemical waste to the sanitary sewer and storm drain system must be strictly followed. It is important to understand the difference between the campus sanitary sewer system and storm drain system. The campus sanitary sewer system consists of sink and floor drains, usually located inside buildings, which drain to the sanitary sewer system. The effluent from the sanitary sewer system is treated at the City of Los Angeles Hyperion Treatment plant. Most drains located outside of buildings, including drains located in loading docks and outside storage areas, are connected to the storm drain system that drains directly to the Santa Monica Bay. Storm water is not treated prior to discharge. Federal, State and City of Los Angeles laws regulate discharges both to the sanitary sewer system and storm drain system. UCLA is committed to the protection of the environment through strict compliance with these laws and regulations.

Sanitary Sewer Disposal

The drain disposal of hazardous materials or hazardous waste is prohibited. Only waste that is determined to be non-hazardous per Federal and State laws and is not prohibited by the City of Los Angeles Industrial Waste Control Ordinance can be drain disposed. Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) representatives are available to help waste generators in making waste determinations. Waste that cannot be drain disposed must be disposed of through the EH&S Chemical Waste Management Program.

Some examples of materials prohibited from drain disposal include:

  • Most laboratory chemical
  • Paints, adhesives
  • Organic Solvents
  • Oil and grease
  • Acids and bases
  • Any corrosive, reactive, ignitable or toxic substance

The drain disposal of some types of waste water, such as latex paint brush wash-water or water from cleaning operations that is non-hazardous, are allowed. Larger washing operations such as vehicle or equipment washing may require the use of a clarifier.

Storm Drains

Only clean rainwater (with the exception of some permitted discharges) can be discharged to a storm drain. All work, construction, cleaning and other operations conducted outdoors must be carried out in a way that prevents wastewater and contamination such as trash, debris, dirt, construction materials and hazardous materials from entering storm drain systems.

Examples of waste water that cannot be discharged to a storm drain include:

  • Wash water from construction operations including, but not limited to, wash water from painting, stripping, sanding, abrasion, drywall and concrete operations.
  • Building washing operations
  • Vehicle or equipment washing
  • Sidewalk, plaza and parking structure cleaning


For directions on the proper disposal of solvents, laboratory chemicals and other hazardous materials contact the Office of Environment, Health & Safety; Hazardous Waste Division at (310) 825-5689.