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Don’t Let Your Business Go Down the Drain: Prevent Workplace Spills

City services | December 2, 2021

Workplace spills are expensive. They can do serious damage to your business’ finances and the environment.

A spill is any release of chemicals, waste or hazardous materials into the environment. When pollutants go into catchbasins on your property, they flow through the City’s stormwater system. The pollutants go directly into creeks, rivers and Lake Ontario – our local water source. This is harmful to the environment and local wildlife.

When spills happen, they can cost thousands of dollars in clean-up fees and repairs. Spills that aren’t reported are even more costly. Failing to report a spill carries a fine under the City’s Storm Sewer By-law and the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) (Reg. 347).

Preventing Workplace Spills
Under the EPA and the City’s by-law, it’s the business owner’s responsibility to properly manage materials that could harm the environment if spilled. These materials include liquids (e.g. cooking oil, grease, ink, automotive fluids), powders (e.g. dye) or pelletized materials (e.g. tiny plastic pellets).

To help prevent a spill from happening:

  • Create a pollution prevention plan that includes how to properly handle, store and transport materials to prevent spills. Implementing a pollution prevention plan could also make your business eligible for a stormwater charge credit.
  • Train staff regularly on the pollution prevention plan and how to respond to a spill.
  • Safely store materials. Make sure they’re protected from the elements if stored outdoors.
  • Keep accurate records on where materials are stored.
  • Locate the drains on your property and keep all catchbasins clear of debris. If you have outdoor waste containers on your property, make sure they are covered, leak-free and as far away from catchbasins as possible.

Reporting Workplace Spills
Even with efforts to prevent spills, they can still happen. This year, the most common types of workplace spills reported to the City of Mississauga involved restaurant cooking oil, waste motor oil and lubricants, and fuels.

When chemicals, waste or other hazardous materials spill at your business, you must report it immediately. Prompt reporting can also reduce clean-up costs and environmental harm.

Report spill details to the Government of Ontario – Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060 or online.

Creating a spill response plan can also help ensure spills are cleaned up quickly and safely. This plan should include up-to-date information on how to report a spill and contact information for a licensed spill contractor for your business.

To learn more about how businesses can prevent and respond to workplace spills, visit mississauga.ca/stormwater.

Example of outdoor waste storage containers at a business where leaks are properly contained and prevented from accessing the catchbasins on the property
Example of outdoor waste storage containers at a business where leaks are properly contained and prevented from accessing the catchbasins on the property.
Example of outdoor waste containers that are located too close to the catchbasins on the business’ property and are leaking waste into the catchbasins
Example of outdoor waste containers that are located too close to the catchbasins on the business’ property and are leaking waste into the catchbasins.

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Media Contact:
City of Mississauga Media Relations
media@mississauga.ca
905-615-3200, ext. 5232
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