Pressure Washing|Power Washing

Power washing blog for new business owners and season veterans

Monday, April 6, 2009

Water reclamation and the EPA




Water reclamation has become a big issue these days concerning what we let into out waterways. For us as pressure washers, this brings on a new level of added frustration and confusion concerning what is deemed a threat to our waterways, what is allowed to flow into the sewers and what needs contained, neutralized and controlled or disposed of from a proper waste management facility. Although most of use choose to ignore these laws there getting enforced more and its only a matter of time until the EPA shows up at your job site with a hefty list of fines with your name on it.

Federal and state regulations and also local town's are forcing laws that not only forbid anything other than “precipitation” water from entering into storm drains, and will provide heavy penalties to those found violating
these rules. Pressure washer operators are likely to be the object of intense municipal scrutiny as these new regulations become enforced. Municipal Regulations Local laws identify “Storm Water Conveyance Systems,” by which it is meant any means of storm water flow into lakes, rivers, or the sea. It has become unlawful to discharge waste water into. This means that 90% of what we pressure wash we will need to contain and transport any runoff water used and dispose of it . If your waste water is deemed hazardous. You may be required to fill out a form to notify your state agency of the types of waste you create, then they will issue you a EPA ID number and you must take the hazardous waste to an RCRA treatment/ disposal center. That will require transportation of the hazardous waste to the center via a licensed hazardous waste transporter and also you will need to have a hazardous waste manifest that shows tracking of the hazardous waste. Types of wastewater that maybe deemed hazardous under the Clean Water Act are runoff from cleaning concrete if any cleaner you use contains a strong acid or solvent, oil residue or any toxin that will make its way into a storm drain. This also applies to runoff from pressure washing truck fleets, most detergents used are deemed hazardous and all runoff needs to be contained and collected and not sent down the storm drain. Paint chips from pressure washing to prep for paint also need to be collected and evaluated for lead, mercury, cadmium, or chromium all of which are classified as hazardous waste. The EPA has a list of over 500 chemical's and compounds deemed as hazardous waste in four basic category's. In this list are items we use such as chlorine bleach, cleaning agents capable of corroding metal, ammonia, paint strippers and many solvents.

The use of water reclamation/filtration systems will soon become standard in the Pressure Washing field to cut down the need and expense in transportation/disposal of wastewater and the amount of water needed to complete jobs. These systems are expensive but effective in reducing the amount of chemicals in your water with filtration and oil water separators leaving you with clean water that may enter storm drains or water without chemicals listed as hazardous letting you discharge into publicly owned wastewater treatment works. Over time the savings from using water reclamation and filtration systems would pay for themselves from prices of waste disposal and transportation, let alone one visit to your job site from your local EPA agency or water authority and getting penalized. Under section 309, EPA can issue administrative orders against violators, and seek civil or criminal penalties when necessary. For a first offense of criminal negligence, the minimum fine is $2,500, with a maximum of $25,000 fine per day of violation. A violator may also receive up to a year in jail. On a second offense, a maximum fine of $50,000 per day may be issued. For a knowing endangerment violation, i.e. placing another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, a fine may be issued up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment up to 15 years for an individual, or up to $1,000,000 for an organization. So effectively getting caught once can get your business shut down or closed. Also the business where you are doing the pressure washing for can and probably will receive fines from this happening on there property and they are included as a responsible party themselves. That alone makes the purchase of reclamation/filtration systems for pressure washing worth it.

2 comments:

  1. Great article, Aqua Clean Pressure Washing is one of only a few companies in the Houston area, with Waste Water Recovery. http://www.houstonprowash.com

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  2. Yep water reclamation is becoming more marketable with the green industry thing emerging, fortunately its focused more towards commercial cleaning and residential pressure washing should be under the radar.

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