A hazardous material is any biological, chemical, or physical material with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous materials can be released to the environment in a variety of ways.
When hazardous material comes into contact with rain or snow, the pollutants are washed into the storm sewer system and, ultimately, to surface water bodies and/or ground water. Hazardous materials have negative impacts on fish habitat, ground water drinking water sources, and recreational uses of Minnesota’s lakes and streams.
A spill of only one gallon of oil can contaminate one million gallons of water. Hazardous materials associated with MS4s and their operations include, but are not limited to, oil, gasoline, antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides, and de-icing agents and additives. This fact sheet provides guidance on storage and handling of hazardous materials.
Minimizing or eliminating contact of hazardous materials with stormwater can significantly reduce pollution of downstream waters. Proper hazardous material handling and storage also contributes to employee health, an organized work place, and efficient operation.
Hotspot facilities are facilities that produce higher levels of stormwater pollutants and/or present a higher potential risk for spills, leaks or illicit discharges. Hazardous material storage and handling is of particular concern in these areas. Common MS4 owned or managed hotspot facilities are those that handle solid waste, wastewater, road and vehicle maintenance, and yard waste, such as: