Paint collection centers


Countywide Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program

Foam Pollution (Stormwater)


All paints, solvents and adhesives contain chemicals that are harmful to aquatic animals and other wildlife.  Toxic chemicals may come from liquid or solid products or from cleaning residues on rags. It is especially important not to clean brushes or painting equipment (buckets, pans, hoses, etc.) in an area where paint or paint cleanup water can flow to a street, gutter, storm drain, ditch or stream.

Painting Cleanup

  • Never clean brushes, rollers or other painting equipment where it will enter a street, gutter, storm drain, ditch or stream. 
  • Do not clean your brushes and rollers until the job is done.  Place brushes, rollers and trays in a sealed plastic bag and store them in a cool place to keep them fresh until you are ready to resume painting. This will greatly reduce the amount of wastewater you will need to dispose of.
  • For water-based paints, paint out brushes and rollers on scrap material to the extent possible, and rinse to the sanitary sewer.  Do not wash brushes and rollers into the sink if you are connected to a septic tank. If your sink is connected to a septic tank, you have the following options: 1) let the paint dry completely on the brush or roller and throw away in the trash, 2) collect the wash water and dispose of it at an  appropriate collection center.
  • For oil-based paints, paint out brushes to the extent possible and use thinner to finish cleaning the applicators. Recycle the used thinner by placing it in a jar until the paint particles settle. You can then use a coffee filter to strain out the paint particles, which will allow you to reuse the thinner.  The coffee filter and paint particles can be disposed of in the trash when it is completely dry. Dispose of excess paint and thinner at an appropriate collection center.
  • When they are thoroughly dry, empty paint cans, spent brushes, rags and drop cloths may be disposed of as trash. Leave the lids off paint cans so the refuse collector can see that they are empty.
  • Dispose of empty aerosol paint cans as household hazardous waste.
  • Use up excess water-based paint or give it to a neighbor or take it to an appropriate collection center.
  • Use up leftover oil-based paint if possible. Paint residue is a hazardous waste and must be taken to an appropriate collection center.
  • Dispose of reused unwanted paint (that is not recycled), thinners and sludges as hazardous waste.

    Paint Removal
    • Chemical paint stripping residue, including saturated rags, is a hazardous waste. Sweep up and dispose of at an appropriate collection facility.
    • Test old painted surfaces (pre-1978) for lead. Chips and dust from marine paints or paints containing lead or tributyl tin are hazardous wastes. Dry sweep and dispose of at an appropriate collection facility.
    • Paint chips and dust from non-hazardous dry stripping and sand blasting may be swept up and disposed of as garbage.
    • Block storm drains when stripping or cleaning building exteriors with high-pressure water. Wash water onto a dirt area and spade into soil unless the paint is lead-based or check with the local wastewater treatment authority to find out if you can collect (mop or vacuum) building cleaning water and dispose to the sanitary sewer.