Even when not required by environmental regulations, the following best practices are recommended. In some instances, best practices presented here are actually required by regulations.
To assist in reducing potential impacts to the environment or worker exposure from parts cleaning, the following best practices should be followed:
- Keep the parts cleaner closed when not in use.
- Reduce solvent evaporation by increasing freeboard and placing hoods or covers on all parts cleaning tanks.
- Utilize less toxic non-chlorinated solvent cleaners or aqueous-based cleaners to reduce worker exposure and hazardous waste generation.
- Use one multi-purpose solvent instead of many different solvents to increase recycle potential of the solvent.
- Consider using a service to maintain your parts cleaning unit.
- Consider pre-cleaning parts with a rag or wire brush.
Waste Handling and Disposal
Best practices related to waste handling and disposal include the following suggested activities:
- Perform regular housekeeping activities in waste storage areas.
- Reuse or recycle materials whenever possible.
- Inspect waste management areas for spills and waste management containers for leaks.
- Track waste generated, evaluate the process generating the waste and look for ways to reduce waste generation.
- Characterize waste streams.
- Find substitutes for harmful chemicals; properly dispose of unusable chemical inventory.
- Segregate and separate wastes.
- Do not dispose of liquid wastes such as oils or hazardous materials into dumpsters.
- Maintain adequate supplies of spill response equipment and materials in accessible locations near areas where spills may be likely to occur.
- Equip waste transport vehicles with spill containment equipment.
- Perform and document in a logbook periodic inspections of hazardous and non-hazardous waste storage areas. Inspection items should include the following: external corrosion, structural failure, spills and overfills due to operator error, failure of piping system (pipes, pumps, flanges, couplings, hoses, and valves), visually inspect new tanks or containers for loose fittings, poor welds, and improper or poorly fitted gaskets, and inspect tank foundations and storage area coatings.
Training employees on proper procedures to reduce your facility's impact on the environment is a best practice. More detailed training information is provided in the regulatory requirements sections of the virtual tour. Employee training may include the following:
- Spill response training for personnel who handle hazardous material,
- Fork lift training,
- Storm water pollution prevention education,
- Right-to-know awareness training,
- Hazardous materials management,
- Emergency preparedness, and
- Awareness-level training, for example, a general overview of the school's environmental management system.
Waste Reduction and Recycling
To minimize the amount of waste generated at your facility, consider the following:
- Recycle automotive fluids, solvents, cleaners, absorbents, and wash waters when the useful life is finished.
- Use self-contained sinks and tanks when cleaning with solvents.
- Reuse water used in flushing and testing radiators.
- Automotive fluids are not acceptable for disposal to the sanitary sewer, storm drain, or garbage.
- Reduce hazardous waste generated by minimizing the potential for cross-contaminating of wastes by ensuring, for example, that parts cleaners that do not contain listed wastes are segregated from listed wastes from other sources (for example, aerosols); and that non-hazardous materials (e.g., rags, oils, etc.) are not contaminated by parts washer solvents that are listed hazardous wastes.