Fresh Concrete & Mortar Application

Safe Environment Practices and Procedures

  • Construction Inspectors
  • Developers
  • Do-It-Yourselfers
  • Home Builders
  • Masons and Bricklayers
  • Patio Construction Crews
  • Sidewalk Construction Crews

Concrete & Mortar Application Problems

Fresh concrete and mortar activities are frequent sources of urban runoff pollution. Materials and wastes blown or washed into a street, gutter or storm drain, have a direct impact on the ocean.

Sediment is the most common pollutant washed from worksites, creating multiple problems once it enters the ocean. Sediment clogs the gills of fish, blocks light transmission and increases ocean temperature, all of which harm sea life and disrupt the food chain upon which both fish and people depend upon.

Sediment also carries with it other worksite pollutants such as: cement wash, gravel, asphalt, pesticides, cleaning solvents, motor oil, grease and fuel. Thus, poorly maintained equipment and vehicles leaking fuel and oil at the worksite, also contribute to ocean pollution.


Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as handling, storing, and disposing of materials properly can prevent pollutants from entering the storm drains.

General Business Practices

The following are some general practices to follow:

  • Schedule projects for dry weather periods.
  • Keep materials out of the rain. Store both dry and wet materials under cover, protected from rainfall and runoff. Also, protect dry materials from the wind.
  • Secure open bags of cement to keep the wind from blowing cement powder into streets, gutters, and storm drains.

Clean Up

Some suggested clean up methods are listed below:

  • When cleaning up after driveway or sidewalk construction, prevent wash water and debris from entering the street or storm drain.
  • Wash out concrete mixers and equipment only in designated wash-out areas. Use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up water from concrete cutting operations.
  • Recycle cement wash water by pumping it back into cement mixers for reuse.
  • Never dispose of cement washout into driveways, streets, gutters, storm drains or drainage ditches.

During Construction

  • Place erosion controls (i.e. berms or temporary vegetation) down-slope to capture runoff carrying mortar or cement before it reaches the storm drain.
  • Do not order or mix up more fresh concrete or cement than you will use.
  • Set up and operate small mixers on tarps or heavy drop cloths.
  • When breaking up paving (cement and asphalt), be sure to pick up all the pieces. Recycle them at a crushing company.
  • Dispose of small amounts of excess dry concrete, grout and mortar in the trash.
  • Never bury waste material. Recycle or dispose of it properly. Contact 888-Clean LA (888-253-2652) for more information or instructions.

Handling Materials & Wastes

  • Practice Source Reduction--minimize waste when ordering materials. Order only the amounts needed to complete the job.
  • Use recycled and recyclable materials whenever possible.
  • Recycle broken asphalt, concrete, wood and cleared vegetation. Un-recyclable materials must be taken to an appropriate landfill or disposed of properly.

Use a crushing company to recycle cement, asphalt and porcelain rather than taking such material to a landfill.