ECAR Fact Sheet for California
Best Management Practices
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following fact sheet was prepared by the ECAR Center staff. Once
prepared, each ECAR Center fact sheet undergoes a review process
with the applicable state environmental agency(ies). You can check
on the status of the review process here.
Please read the disclaimer on the status page. While we have tried
to present a summary of the essential information on this topic,
you should be aware that other items, such as local regulations,
may apply to you.
What You Need to Know
Various methods are used to clean
oil and grease from auto parts before sale. This fact sheet covers
the environmental issues associated with solvent cleaning methods
such as parts washers containing mineral spirits. Aqueous
cleaning (e.g., pressure washers,
enclosed spray washers, steam cleaning) is covered under a separate
Mineral spirits is a solvent commonly
used for part cleaning because of its ability to quickly dissolve
oil, grease, dirt, grime, burnt-on carbon and heavy lubricants.
Although it is effective for cleaning, the state of California is
concerned about the following environmental and health impacts:
- Mineral spirits contains volatile
organic compounds (VOC) that contribute to smog formation and
may be toxic when inhaled.
- Mineral spirits evaporate quickly,
making worker exposure difficult to control.
- Spent mineral spirits is a hazardous
waste and the shop owner is responsible for proper disposal of
all hazardous wastes.
- Some areas of the country have
already restricted use of solvents in parts cleaning operations.
In California, many other types of
cleaning solvents have already been restricted because they have
shown to be toxic. More information on what types of solvent are
permitted and how they must be handled is contained below.
The regulations applicable to solvent
cleaning operations have recently changed. Effective June 20, 2002,
the sale or distribution of any automotive products (brake
cleaners, carburetor cleaners, engine degreaser and general degreasers)
that contain chlorine (referred to as halogenated solvents) is prohibited.
Examples of halogenated solvents include trichlorethlyene (TCE),
methylene chloride, and perchlorethylene (PCE or PERC). As of December
31, 2002, the use of any automotive products containing these
materials is prohibited.
All other spent cleaning solvents,
such as mineral spirits, must be treated as hazardous
waste. Hazardous wastes must be
handled, stored and disposed of according to specific rules. For
more information, see the Auto
Recycling Plain Language Guide to Solid/Hazardous Waste Management.
Waste Management and Disposal/Recovery
Options. In California, all spent parts washer solvents are
considered hazardous wastes. The waste solvents must be stored in
containers that are in good condition and made of materials or lined
with materials that are compatible with the stored wastes. The container
must always be closed during storage, except when it is necessary
to add or remove wastes. It also cannot be opened, handled, or stored
in a manner that may cause it to rupture or leak. Containers holding
hazardous waste must be clearly marked with the words "hazardous
waste" and the date on which accumulation of the waste began.
A company registered with California's
Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) must transport hazardous
waste, including waste solvent, and be sent off-site. The transporter
must have a hazardous waste ID number issued by EPA. The wastes
must be sent to a facility that is authorized to accept spent solvent.
This may include a treatment, storage, or disposal facility, a recycler,
or a boiler or industrial furnace.
Links to the Regulations. Use
the following links to view the regulations pertaining to solvents.
Hazardous Waste regulations Part 261 - Identification and Listing
of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous Waste regulations Part 262 - Standards Applicable to Generators
of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous Materials Guidance Manual
Health and Safety Code
When an inspector comes to your facility,
there are certain things he or she checks to see if you are in compliance
with environmental regulations. It makes good sense for you to perform
a "self-audit" and catch and correct problems before they result
in penalties. Also, there are some compliance incentives associated
with self-audits (see Audit
Use the following list to audit your
solvent cleaning operations.
- Are spent solvents stored in
drums, tanks or other containers that are in good condition? Open
containers, and rusting or leaking containers cannot be used for
- Are solvent storage containers
and tanks properly labeled? All used antifreeze storage containers
must be labeled "hazardous waste."
- Is the area around the solvent
storage containers free of releases? Releases must be stopped
and the released material cleaned up and managed properly.
- Is spent solvent transported
to a recovery facility by a certified transporter? Check your
records and verify that all shipments of spent solvent were removed
from your property by a state certified transporter. The California
Department of Toxic Substances Control maintains a Registered
Hazardous Waste Transporter Database.
Management Practices (BMPs)
Most regulations tell you what you
have to do to be in compliance, but they don't explain how to do
it. That's where "best management practices" come into play.
BMPs are proven methods that help you to get into compliance and
stay there. The following BMPs are recommended for solvent cleaning.
- Reduce the quantity of solvent
used by implementing a two-stage cleaning system. The first stage
should clean the dirtiest parts. The second stage uses cleaner
solvent for final cleaning and rinsing. When the cleaning solution
in the second stage is no longer effective, it can then be used
to replace the solvent in the first stage. Fresh solvent is then
used to replace the second stage.
- Parts washers should have a recirculating
feature with built-in filtration to continuously remove dirt and
contaminants. This will extend the life of the solvent.
- Drip racks or trays can help increase
drainage from parts to minimize solvent loss.
- When not in use, lids on parts
washers should be kept closed to reduce evaporative solvent loss.
- Do not dispose of used solvent
on the ground or in a storm drain
- Do not combine spent solvent with
- Contract with a solvent management
company to supply and recycle solvent.
- Keep accurate records of solvent,
wash water, sludge processing and disposal for 3 years.
- California Department of Toxic
Substances Control Regional Offices: 800-728-6942.
ECAR Fact Sheets
in the Solution Guidance Manual (Developed by the State of
California Auto Demantlers Assn)
Department of Toxic Substances Control Aqueous Parts Cleaning Fact
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