Homeowners think nothing of hooking up a hose and power washing a patio or driveway, sending dirt and debris swirling off down the street. So you might think tidying up your building’s concrete entranceway or sidewalks will take nothing more than a sunny afternoon and a power washer. Think again. Yes, power washing is the perfect solution for removing dirt and stains or freshening up the concrete. But unless it’s done properly, you may find yourself answering a summons from a government agency you’d rather not receive.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Power Washing Regulations
The EPA is the federal agency created to protect the environment and, as a result, the health of American citizens. The EPA keeps a sharp eye on how businesses and individuals impact our increasingly-fragile environment. One primary function of the EPA is to enforce the Clean Water Act of 1972, which means they care very much about how power washing is handled on your property. EPA pressure washing regulations cover everything from what you spray to the wastewater reclamation system you use when the job is done.
At More Clean of Texas, we’re constantly checking the changing federal and state pressure washing regulations. We do that, in part, because we’re professionals and work at the highest standards. But we also live here in Texas, and we want to keep the Lone Star State environmentally healthy for our kids and grandkids. As a property owner, you can face fines of up to $25,000 per day if the water used for pressure washing contains certain chemicals or if it contaminates a storm drain system. And the fine is often levied against the property owner in addition to the company providing the power washing service. This means you have 25,000 reasons to call a company whose technicians are professionally trained, licensed, and insured—like those at More Clean of Texas.
Here are four things you must know about the EPA and power washing before your next power washing project:
EPA pressure washing regulations are complex.
That homeowner blasting oil stains off his driveway has no idea how many laws he’s violating. And you or an inexperienced power washing company may not realize the danger in which you’re putting your staff, the environment, and your finances.
- Every ingredient in the power wash must pass EPA standards. If they don’t, you’re risking harm to your team, property, and the local water supply.
- You must isolate affected areas. The debris, chemicals, mold, and other contaminants freed by a power wash aren’t allowed to simply float away down a drain.
If you’re cleaning the exterior of your building and sending paint chips flying, they need to be captured and disposed of properly, too. The same is true of the runoff created when washing equipment that was used at a hazardous site. Power washing jobs require careful planning and familiarity with federal, state, and local laws.
#1. The technology needed to meet evolving regulations changes often.
At More Clean of Texas, we update equipment frequently, ensuring that EPA pressure washing regulations are met with the latest and best technology.
#2Water waste management is essential.
Depending on which concrete surfaces you power wash, you’ll generate contaminants like detergents, oils, solvents, or other chemicals. Unless you make water waste management a priority, those contaminants will eventually pollute rivers, creeks, or wetlands. As far as the EPA is concerned, when you finish power washing, you’re nowhere near being done with the project. You must also figure out how to mitigate potential environmental damages by dealing with wastewater.
The good news is that, in most cities, there are two different sewer systems. Storm sewers collect runoff from streets, parking lots, and gutters that flow directly into rivers. The Sanitary Sewer System collects water from residences and commercial buildings and sends it to wastewater treatment plants. If power washing with the correct fluids and proper permissions, you can power wash with a clear conscience—no harm will come to the environment. That’s one more reason to pick a company you can trust—like More Clean of Texas—who’ll do the job responsibly and right.
#3 The EPA encourages the use of a wastewater reclamation system.
Reclaimed water not only conserves drinking water and reduces pollution; it provides needed water for irrigation and industrial purposes. Non-potable water from a wastewater reclamation system waters golf courses and landscapes along roadways. It cools power-generator equipment. It washes cars, provides water to support crops and pastureland, and contributes to cement mix.
Wastewater reclamation systems also recharge aquifers and refill artificial lakes.
Depending on your specific power washing needs, the EPA requires a wastewater reclamation system to be used. More Clean of Texas will help you stay in compliance with EPA regulations.
#4 Wastewater filters require sophisticated science.
The days of simply letting power wash runoff evaporate are over. The EPA generally forbids this, since remaining contaminants impact the environment.
Filters that deal with power washing runoff come in a dizzying array of options. Will you require an activated carbon filtration? If so, which sort—granular activated carbon or carbon block? Or do you need deionization or water softening? Perhaps distillation or reverse osmosis is required.
Unless you have a degree in water filtration tucked in your back pocket, leaving wastewater filtering to the experts is a smart move. At More Clean of Texas, we’ll assess your situation and find the simplest and most cost-effective way for you to keep the EPA and your neighbors happy.
And One Last Piece of Advice…
Give us a call. We’ll work with you to power wash your sidewalks, building front, dumpster enclosures, or any other concrete-based area quickly and in compliance with EPA regulations.
Because while the EPA may be your friend, that doesn’t mean you want it to come calling anytime soon.