Making a Washing Company “Green”
Everyone wants to “be green” these days. What does that mean for a company that creates wastewater full of cleaners and dirt from truck cleaning? How can a company that intentionally creates waste be environmentally conscientious?
Part of the answer is that it is the law.
Companies that create wastewater must follow laws in the Clean Water Act, which regulates “storm water run-off” (rain water, snow melt, sprinkler water, water from cleaning and other water that exits property) and is enforced by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems Permit is required to dispose of wastewater as long as water runs off the property being serviced and discharges into a storm drain. Some states administer these permits, setting limits to what the city can discharge into state waters. However, if a company stops the wastewater from entering the storm drain, then it doesn’t need a NPDES permit.
When these regulations first went into effect in 1993, the city of Fort Worth 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 wash bay. In addition, Many Steamaway® customers were considering installing wash bays, a highly expensive alternative to using our services.
Instead of closing up shop, Michael Hinderliter, president of Steamaway®, focused on avoiding NPDES permit and saw an opportunity. Under his direction and vision, Steamaway® developed proprietary methodology to perform power washing services while keeping the wash water from leaving the property – including capturing, transporting and disposing recovered wash water.
Once developed, 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 an official letter from the city stating that their wash procedure is “environmentally correct.”
Later, Steamaway® assisted Rahsco Cleaning Systems of Fort Worth in sponsoring Mobile Power Washing Environmental Protection and Compliance Conference on July 17, 1995, as part of a public comment period for a Fort Worth cosmetic cleaning ordinance. About 40 federal, state, regional, and municipal environmental regulators and 100 contract cleaner and industry representatives attended. From everyone’s input, the Cosmetic Cleaning Ordinance was passed by the 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.
Not stopping with his own company, Hinderliter is a founding board member of Power Washers of North America, established in 1992. At the time the association was formed, environmental concerns were a very important issue for the industry. Hinderliter assisted with the development of PWNA’s Environmental Certification program to help contractors throughout the country understand and become compliant with environmental laws that affect them and their customers.
Steamaway® broke new ground in keeping with the Clean Water Act, but that is only part of the reason it is a “green” company. We at Steamaway® care about the environment as much as we do your clean truck, and we talk every precaution to ensure that our work is good for your company and good for the planet.
You can trust Steamaway® to protect the environment. Call us at 1-888-397-8326. We are ready to clean your fleet!