Fact Sheet for California
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.
to VIRTUAL TOUR
You Need to Know
If your wastewater,
also referred to as non-stormwater discharge, is currently going
down an unregulated drain, you've got a problem. Even if
your activities have gone unnoticed for years, there is an increasing
chance that you will be inspected. The federal EPA and the
states are starting to look much more carefully at sources of
water pollution that have so far remained unidentified, and they
have (rightly or wrongly) decided that auto recyclers are a significant
There are a few basic
rules to keep in mind. The first is that wastewater from
industrial discharges is usually handled by wastewater treatment
plants, but you are usually required to conduct "pretreatment"
of the discharge. The second is that the storm drains that carry
rain and snow runoff from dismantling yards, roof downspouts,
parking lots, and other surfaces typically go directly to open
waterways, and must never be used for disposal. It
is important that all the employees at your yard are aware of
these rules, and that they respect them.
You will almost certainly
need separate permits both for stormwater runoff (see the ECAR
Stormwater fact sheet)
and for any industrial wastewater that you generate. This
page will give you an overview of how to handle your industrial
The term non-storm
water discharge refers to discharges of water other than rainfall,
snow melt, or storm runoff. Authorized non-storm water discharges
include fire hydrant flushing, potable water sources, drinking
fountain water, refrigeration/air conditioning condensate, irrigation
drainage, springs, groundwater, foundation and footing drainage,
and sea water infiltration. All other non-stormwater discharges,
including process wastewater, contact or non-contact cooling water,
equipment and vehicle wash water, sanitary wastewater, and building
floor drains and sinks, must be covered under a separate permit
the operation or discharges from your property or business affects
California's surface, coastal, or groundwater, you may need to
obtain a permit to discharge waste from the appropriate Regional
Water Quality Control Board (Regional WQCB).
If you are discharging
pollutants (or proposing to) into surface waters, you must file
completed federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) permit application forms with the appropriate Regional
Board. Form 200 is to accompany the federal forms.
For other types of
discharges, such as those affecting groundwater or in a diffused
manner (e.g., erosion from soil disturbance or waste discharges
to land) you must file a Report of Waste Discharge with the appropriate
Regional Board in order to obtain Waste Discharge Requirements
(WDRs). Form 200 is the basic form to be used.
For specific situations,
the Regional WQCB may waive the requirement to obtain a WDR for
discharges to land or may determine that a proposed discharge
can be permitted more effectively through enrollment in a general
NPDES permit or general WDR.
If there is a discharge
of stormwater from your facility, you should visit our Stormwater
page to find out if you need a Stormwater Permit in addition to
any other permit. Click on the ECAR
Stormwater fact sheet for
Links to the Regulations
and Forms. Use the following
links to view the regulations and permit forms pertaining to wastewater.
Discharge Permit Application
Safe Drinking Water Act Requirements
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 wastewater management activities.
- Does your facility discharge
process wastewater? Are the discharges authorized by a permit?
Check all uses of water and steam within the industrial areas
of your facility. Determine where wastewater is generated
and discharged. You must have a permit or written authorization
- Is oil or solvent discharged
to the sewer? Federal and state laws prohibit the discharge
of oil or flammable solvents to the sewer system. These are
regulated wastes that must be properly disposed of.
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 wastewater management.
- Limit water use and the volume
of water discharged through conservation methods and by reusing
water whenever possible.
- Train employees to use water
- Don't use water for cleaning
floors and equipment unless absolutely necessary. Use dry
cleanup methods for spills.
- Post signs at all floor drains
and sinks in industrial areas of your facility to discourage
employees from using the drains to dispose of oil, other vehicle
fluids, solvent, paint or similar liquids. Review these rules
with your employees.
- Use only non-toxic soaps to
clean floors and vehicles instead of hazardous materials.
- If you have floor drains at
your facility that are not in use, consider having them capped
or plugged to prevent misuse or accidental discharges.
- Prevent drips and spills from
reaching the floor.
- Check your floor drains and
make certain you know where they discharge.
- Setup and use a maintenance
schedule for inspection and cleaning of floor drains, oil/water
separators, traps, etc.
- Never have floor drains where
hazardous materials are stored.
- If your wastewater is nonhazardous,
you may want to purchase evaporating equipment to evaporate
your wastewater. It should be noted that evaporators may require
an air permit or registration, and evaporator bottoms may
be considered a hazardous waste.
- Don't use degreaser solvents
to clean engines. Most engine degreasers are hazardous and
should not be discharged to a POTW. Even if you use nonhazardous
degreasers, the oil and grease concentration in the spent
degreaser may exceed the limit allowed by your sewer authority.
- For more information, contact
the State Water Resources Control Board at (916) 341-5250.
ECAR Fact Sheets
Tanks and Disposal Wells
in the Solution Guidance Manual (Developed by the State of
California Auto Demantlers Assn)
Quality Control Board Frequently Asked Questions Regarding
to VIRTUAL TOUR