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Environmental Compliance, Pollution Prevention and Self-Assessment for Vehicle Maintenance Shops

Pollution Prevention Saves You Money

The following is an example of how a lack of procedures and poor employee training can impact your bottom line:

Suppose Mack Anic, who runs a garage, has all of his waste oil collected for free. He's enjoying the money savings from not having to pay for disposing of the 275 gallons of waste oil he collects in a week. Unfortunately, Mack doesn't have procedures in place for preventing the oil from getting contaminated with solvents or antifreeze, and one of his employees has poured degreaser into the oil drum because he was in a hurry. Mr. Anic gets a call from the oil collection company telling him his oil did not pass the lab tests for purity, and he now must pay $300 to dispose of this barrel of waste oil.

The Solution:

Incorporating Pollution Prevention (P2) into your everyday business can lower operating costs (purchases, labor, energy, operations, and waste disposal). Implementing P2 measures can also increase efficiency, productivity, and a facility may even find that they can operate at levels below what DEC regulates.

Common P2 Techniques:
Common P2 techniques fall into three categories:
Substituting less toxic materials;
Modifying equipment and processes to use smaller quantities of toxic materials; and
Improving operation and maintenance procedures (including employee training).

Conduct a thorough self assessment!
Do you have a system in place for inventory control?
Have you installed drip trays on your parts washers?
Do you have established procedures and trained your employees?

The "Environmental Compliance, Pollution Prevention and Self-Assessment Guide for Vehicle Maintenance Shops (PDF, 566 KB)" provides a great step-by-step checklist to help you get started.

Guide topics include:

Spill prevention and cleanup: Teach employees about spill prevention, switch to a reusable absorbent material, and ensure that all tanks and drums have containment systems for minimization of spills.

Recycle antifreeze: Consider purchasing an antifreeze recycling unit; recycling on site saves money for disposal fees. Segregate antifreeze from your other wastes and store it in a labeled container.

Plus additional tips on:
managing and burning waste oil, minimizing waste water, storing batteries and other toxics properly, spray painting smarter, degreasing more efficiently, being responsible with refrigerants, managing waste tires

Are You Meeting Basic Compliance Requirements?
Vehicle Maintenance Facilities are subject to regulations and requirements including (but not limited to) the following:

Multiple parts of section 6 of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (6NYCRR)

  • Air Pollution Control Permits or Registrations
  • SPDES Permits (wastewater + stormwater)
  • plus additional regulations for air, water, hazardous and solid waste and petroleum and chemical bulk storage

It is your responsibility to be familiar with all regulations, and it is in your business's best interest to take as many Pollution Prevention (P2) measures as possible. P2 can save you money and reduce your environmental liability.

For more information, assistance, and resources:
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