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Vehicle Service and Maintenance

Maintenance of cars and trucks is a potentially significant source of stormwater pollution, due to the use of harmful materials and wastes involved. Engine repair and service, brake and transmission work, parts cleaning, replacement of vehicle fluids and outdoor vehicle and equipment storage can all contribute a number of contaminants to stormwater runoff, such as hydrocarbons (motor oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and greases), heavy metals (such as lead, copper and zinc), antifreeze, solvents and other toxic chemicals.

By implementing proper procedures during repair and maintenance, vehicle storage, waste handling and cleaning activities, your business or facility can help to prevent these harmful contaminants from polluting our waters.

Repair and Maintenance Activities

  • Perform all repairs and maintenance in an indoor garage or vehicle maintenance area whenever possible.
  • If it is necessary to work outdoors, always use tarps, and drip pans beneath the vehicle to catch spills and drips.
  • Always use a funnel when pouring liquids, and use a drip pan under a vehicle when unclipping hoses, unscrewing filters and removing other parts that might leak to keep splatters and drips off the shop floor.
  • Clean up vehicle fluids with rags or other absorbent materials immediately.

Vehicle and Equipment Storage

  • Store idle equipment under cover.
  • Inspect vehicles and heavy equipment for leaks on a regular basis, particularly those parked or stored long-term. Use a drip pan underneath leaking vehicles and heavy equipment.
  • Drain all fluids, including unused gasoline, engine oil, transmission and hydraulic oil, brake, and radiator fluid and air conditioning coolant, from wrecked vehicles and “part cars.”

Material and Waste Handling

  • Do not pour liquid wastes to floor drains, sinks or into any sanitary sewer connection, and do not dispose of liquid wastes to a stormwater drain, drainage ditch, or surface water.
  • Recycle greases, used oil and oil filters, antifreeze, cleaning solutions, automotive batteries, hydraulic fluids, and transmission fluids. Collect and store these recyclable materials separately and contract with a
  • recycling service for pickup.
  • Place oil filters in a funnel over a waste oil recycling drum and allow to drain for at least 24 hours before recycling or disposing.
  • Store batteries upright in a contained and covered place indoors. Place cracked or leaking batteries in a non-leaking secondary container and dispose of properly at recycling or household hazardous waste facilities.

Cleaning Activities and Good Housekeeping Practices

  • Keep work areas, tools and equipment clean and orderly. Ensure that oil and grease accumulations do not buildup.
  • Reusable cloth rags can be used to clean up small drips and spills. A permitted laundry can wash reusable cloth rags.
  • For larger spills, apply absorbent materials such as absorbent granules, socks, and pads. Absorbents should be cleaned up promptly, bagged, and placed in the trash.
  • Switch to the use of non-toxic or less toxic chemicals for maintenance and cleaning whenever possible.