The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, regulates storm water run off thru the Clean Water Act by issuing National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems Permits (NPDES). The permit requires that off property discharge of Storm water to be clean. Water falling under this permit would be rain water, snow melt, sprinkler water, water from cleaning, or any other water that would exit the property. These regulations went into effect in two phases. Phase I for cities over 250,000 in population was due November 16, 1992; for cities over 100,000 in population was due October 1, 1993. A lot of cities received a one-year extension on these dates.
Applications for Phase II NPDES permits are due on March 10, 2003 from owners of all MS4s (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) located in urban areas (UA’s) with total populations of at least 50,000 and population densities of at least 1,000 persons per square mile. (These MS4s are automatically required to have permits under Phase II). Note: MS4s located in areas with populations of at least 10,000 and population densities of at least 1,000 persons per square mile may be required to obtain a Phase II NPDES permit at the discretion of the EPA or state permitting authority. MS4s located in these less populated areas will have 180 days to file an application from the time they are notified that they are required to obtain a Phase II permit. (Ref:http://www.epa.gov/npdes/regulations/phase2.pdf)
The NPDES permit is required for the state, city, and some commercial and industrial facilities. Many states have chosen to become self regulating (a designated state), meaning that the state administers the NPDES Permits. The state then sets the limits for what the city can discharge into waters of the state.
As it pertains to truck washing or mobile power washing the requirement to obtain a NPDES permit is not required if there is no off property discharge to the storm drain.
Steamaway® has been very active in developing methodology to perform power washing services that eliminate wash water from leaving the property. We have developed many different methods of capturing, transporting, and disposing of recovered wash water of which we consider to be proprietary therefore it is not publicized here on the site. Steamaway® has a long standing history of being proactive to address the environmental concerns of our customers. Power Washers Of North America in 1992, Michael Hinderliter, president of Steamaway®, was a founding board member of Power Washers of North America. At the time the association was formed, environmental concerns were a very important issue for the industry. Michael Hinderliter assisted with the development of PWNA’s Environmental Certification program. The program was set up to help other contractors throughout the country to understand and become compliant with environmental laws that affect them and their customers.
In 1993, Steamaway®, performed the first demonstration of environmentally compliant truck washing for the City of Fort Worth and was the first Mobile Power Wash Company to receive a letter stating that their wash procedure were Environmentally Correct for the City of Fort Worth. At the time, the city was at a loss as to how they would address this problem other than to just stop all truck washing that was not performed in a washbay. Steamaway® also had many customers that were seriously considering this expensive alternative of installing a washbay. As a result of working with the city, Steamaway® was able to demonstrate that on site truck washing and other mobile power washing could be performed without polluting the waters of the state. Later when the city decided to permit the industry in 1995 Steamaway® assisted Rasco Cleaning Systems of Fort Worth in Sponsoring “Mobile Power Washing Environmental Protection and Compliance Conference” on July 17, 1995. The Conference was held at the Holiday Inn North as part of a public comment period for a Fort Worth Cosmetic Cleaning ordinance. The meeting was attended by about 40 Federal EPA, State, Regional, and Municipal Environmental Regulators and 100 Contract Cleaner and Industry Representatives. The Conference resulted in the present Cosmetic Cleaning Ordinance which was passed by city council and became law on January 2, 1996. Steamaway® received the first mobile power washing permit issued, number 100, under this ordinance which is now required of all mobile power wash contractors that operate within the City of Fort Worth.