Our government lives to regulate. Un-elected agencies make it their goal to keep us from harming ourselves or something else. 24 hours a day, everything we do, purchase, hire, drive, eat and wear is regulated. Thousands of pages or rules exist to keep us from ourselves and pressure washing is no exception.
The EPA is perhaps one of the most feared organizations in our government primarily due to their stranglehold on business and expansion. I think every business and many consumers have a pretty good idea of the reach of this group.
Pressure washing any commercial or residential property is of course subject to very strict rules, many with pretty severe penalties and it is vital that any property owner or manager be aware of the consequences of having their dirt removed.
Maybe the first thing to understand is that even though you may be hiring a power washing company to clean your building, that does not remove any liability for any environmental damage that might occur. Since the property is under your care, it is your responsibility not to pollute and the definition of pollution may be much narrower than you think.
Let’s assume the entrance sidewalks to your restaurant need to be cleaned. No problem for most power washing companies or your nephew that just bought a pressure washer at Home Depot, right? So out goes Bobby or Chuck with a Truck, the walks are pressure cleaned, sort of, and the dirt is washed down the drain, problem solved. But, what they didn’t know is the law regarding waste water disposal. All the water used and the dirt and gum removed cannot be legally diverted to or washed down the storm sewer. Yikes! That’s the easiest, cheapest way to get it done.
And what happens when the dirt is not removed with just pressure? Some cleaning agents must be included. This is a whole new set of issues with contaminates, pH levels and neutralization requirements arise. This leads the un-professional to ask, “How do I do this job if I have to follow the rules?”
Commercial property managers need to shop carefully for cleaning services. Ask questions regarding waste water removal, products used, experience, proper insurance for spills and negligence. Ask for a washing protocol for any job that could possibly contaminate the groundwater, local rivers and streams or lakes and be aware of where even the rain water goes after a storm.
Professional, experienced pressure washing companies have the answers and the equipment to safely and legally clean your properties. Perhaps it is a matter of collecting all the waste water and transporting it to a treatment facility after proper neutralizing of the cleaning compounds. In some states and locations, the waste water can be diverted to a permeable surface such as a grassy area or gravel parking lot. Oil separators and filtration systems can be an acceptable way of pre-treating wastewater or even pumping the material directly into a local sanitary sewer system.
Whatever the solution is, as complicated or expensive it may be, in order to avoid expensive fines and bad publicity, it is your responsibility to do it right. The EPA does not have a sense of humor and assumes you are guilty of willfully violating the Clean Water Act long before you can prove ignorance. Ask the right questions and hire the right people. Yup, it will cost more in the short run but could save thousands in fines. Your choice!
Please give us a call or fill out a form if you would like to learn more about our waste water removal process and pressure washing services.