You are here

Frequently Asked Questions

The Spills and Complaints Response Program enforces the following:

State surface water quality rules (State statutes give cities authority to enforce state standards:

Federal guidelines

There are many closed or abandoned landfills in the Austin area. Many operated before landfills were regulated, and may pose environmental or safety risks. Their boundaries are often unknown or poorly defined. Learn more.

Oil contaminated soil caused by poor housekeeping and improper storage.

Oil contaminated soil caused by poor housekeeping and improper storage.

Dead grass and cotaminated soil caused by a gasoline spill at a residence.

Dead grass and contaminated soil caused by a gasoline spill at a residence.

Gasoline spill from above ground storage tanks at a tank farm.

Gasoline spill from above ground storage tanks at a tank farm.

Improper disposal of herbicide (weed killer) on the ground adjacent to an alleyway.

Improper disposal of herbicide (weed killer) on the ground adjacent to an alleyway.

Improper disposal of herbicide (weed killer) on the ground adjacent to an alleyway.

 

Sewage overflow from a sanitary sewer clean out at an apartment complex.

Sewage overflow from a sanitary sewer clean out at an apartment complex.

Wasteware overflow from a sanitary sewer manhole in a creek.

Wastewater overflow from a sanitary sewer manhole in a creek.

Sewage spill from a broken sanitary sewer line in a waterway.

Sewage spill from a broken sanitary sewer line in a waterway.

Overflow from a broken sludge line (untreated sewage).

Overflow from a broken sludge line (untreated sewage).

Foam in creek from an illegal detergent discharge.

Foam in creek from an illegal detergent discharge.

Soapy discharge from a poorly designed car wash facility.

Soapy discharge from a poorly designed car wash facility.

Foam accumulation in a waterway from an illegal discharge.

Foam accumulation in a waterway from an illegal discharge.

Illegal soapy discharge from a rental car facility washing operation.

Illegal soapy discharge from a rental car facility washing operation.

Illegal sediment discharge from construction site dewatering.

Illegal sediment discharge from construction site dewatering.

Sediment dischare to Lady Bird Lake.

Sediment discharge to Lady Bird Lake.

Mud discharge from aconstruction site.

Mud discharge from a construction site.

Sediment discharge to a creek from a construction site.

Sediment discharge to a creek from a construction site.

Antifreeze discharge from radiator flushing.

Antifreeze discharge from radiator flushing.

Antifreeze discharge to an alleyway.

Antifreeze discharge to an alleyway.

Spills from a cooling dispensing area.

Spills from a cooling dispensing area.

Antifreeze discharge from radiator repair at a residence.

Antifreeze discharge from radiator repair at a residence.

Blue paint discharge from washing paint equipment in residential alleyway.

Blue paint discharge from washing paint equipment in residential alleyway.

White paint discharged to a creek.

White paint discharged to a creek.

Illegal dumping of paint containers.

Illegal dumping of paint containers.

Discharging paint waste outside due to improper cleaning of paint equipment.

Discharging paint waste outside due to improper cleaning of paint equipment.

Leaking solvent drums illegally dumped in alleyway.

Leaking solvent drums illegally dumped in alleyway.

Solvent and sludge dumped on ground at a transmission shop.

Solvent and sludge dumped on ground at a transmission shop.

Leaking solvent and paint containers improperly disposed of in and around a dumpster.

Leaking solvent and paint containers improperly disposed of in and around a dumpster.

Illegal dumpiong of trash and debris in a storm drain.

Illegal dumping of trash and debris in a storm drain.

Trash and litter in a local creek.

Trash and litter in a local creek.

Bags of trash dumped in a creek from a residence.

Bags of trash dumped in a creek from a residence.

www.LetsCanItAustin.org

 

Grease spill form an overfilled restaurant grease bin.

Grease spill form an overfilled restaurant grease bin.

Difficult recovery of food grease discharged to a creek due to an overfilled restaurant grease trap.

Difficult recovery of food grease discharged to a creek due to an overfilled restaurant grease trap.

Improper maintenance of restaurant grease barrell.

Improper maintenance of restaurant grease barrel.

Grease spill in alleyway during servicing of restaurant grease bins.

Grease spill in alleyway during servicing of restaurant grease bins.

The Watershed Protection Department has a wide range of educational programs listed at:  http://austintexas.gov/department/watershed-protection/education In addition to these programs the Pollution Prevention and Reduction team has several targeted initiatives.

Austin Clean Water Partners

East Austin Environmental Initiative

The East Austin Environmental Initiative (EAEI) was created to help improve the quality of life in a targeted area of Austin, east of IH-35.

The Initiative educates the public and encourages citizen involvement to resolve environmental concerns in East Austin.

For more information, please contact us

Eastside Environmental News is a bi-annual City newsletter that reports on environmental issues in East Austin. SUBSCRIBE to receive the newsletter electronically.

Recent Past Issues

Home Eco Mechanic

Coal Tar Ban/PAH Study
On November 17, 2005 the City of Austin's City Council voted unanimously to ban the sale and use of coal tar containing pavement sealants in the city and its ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction).

Swimming Pool Maintenance

Water Quality Handbook

Service Provider Lists

Hotline phone number 512-974-2550Staff in the Spills and Complaints Response Program respond to citizen pollution complaints and spills that threaten our creeks or water bodies, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number is 512-974-2550.

What to Report
Provide:

  • A description of the potential pollution
  • The location of the problem
  • The source of pollution or the person(s) responsible
  • Your name and a number where you can be reached if the investigator needs further information (caller names and phone numbers are confidential)

When to Report
It is very important to report pollution problems while they are in progress or immediately after they are seen to ensure a rapid response and the identification of the pollution and source. Please note that 911 must be called first if there is any threat to life or property during a spill incident.
Report any pollutants that may threaten our creeks and lakes:

Report any pollutants that may threaten our creeks and lakes:

Petroleum Products: motor oil, gasoline, diesel, jet fuels, spills, leaking vehicles, use of fuel for weed control, dumping.
 
Soaps and Detergents: use in cleaning pavement, vehicles and equipment, failure to connect washing machine to wastewater line.
 
Silt, Mud and other Sediments: inadequate silt fences, excess water pumped from construction sites.
 
Antifreeze: improper flushing or draining; dumping on ground or in dumpster.
 
Latex/Oil-Based Paints & Solvents: cleaning equipment outdoors, dumping on ground, in dumpster, or down storm drain.
 
Sewage: leaking sanitary sewer lines, malfunctioning septic systems.
 
Trash and Debris: littering and dumping, household or construction waste.  (www.LetsCanItAustin.org )
 
Restaurant Grease: improper disposal.
 
Fertilizers and Pesticides: unnecessary or excessive use, application before rainfall.
 

Pollution Prevention Hotline: 512-974-2550

Photo of before and after clean-up of an area with old automobile parts, oil barrells and tires.The Stormwater Discharge Permit Program staff conduct inspections of specific commercial and industrial operations within the City of Austin limits to ensure compliance with City Codes which protect water quality. Inspectors locate, verify, and monitor plumbing connections to the City storm sewer system and receiving waterways to prevent illegal discharges of commercial or industrial wastes. Inspectors check waste storage, handling and disposal practices as well as premise maintenance activities to prevent illegal discharges. The operational condition of water quality controls (oil/grit separators, stormwater ponds, hazardous material interceptors, stormdrains) is assessed. A Stormwater Discharge Permit is issued to the facility on an annual basis. Each facility is responsible for obtaining and maintaining a current permit. Legal action is taken against Cod violators when necessary. Inspectors notify and coordinate efforts with other related agencies.

Other program activities include:

  • Providing guidance on proposed and existing non-stormwater discharges to the storm sewer system or waterways from activities such as swimming pool filter backwashing, construction work, cooling tower blowdown, and secondary tank containment releases.
  • Responding to requests from inspections owing to property assessments, remediations, proposed temporary discharges, or a change in property ownership or management.
  • Tracking and dye-tracing plumbing connections to the storm sewer system to determine the route of materials through the system.
  • Collecting samples for analysis, typically for enforcement purposes.
  • Providing guidance on regulations, pollutant testing, clean up and prevention strategies.
  • Reviewing sample plans, remediation plans and stormwater pollution prevention plans.
  • Providing records information to the public upon official request.
  • Recommending Best Management Practices (BMPs) applicable to each facility or operation. These are pollution prevention measures geared to reducing pollutants at the source and preventing the release of potential pollutants with storm water.
  • Providing education materials, such as lists informing operators how to dispose of or recycle waste materials.
  • Monitoring compliance for the Texas Pollution Discharge Elimination System to control discharges of pollutants to surface water.