Stormwater and Pollution Prevention Conference for Truckers

The American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Georgia Motor Trucking Association (GMTA) hosted a workshop on stormwater and pollution prevention for trucking facilities. About 30 Georgia truck maintenance facility operators learned about stormwater pollution prevention best management practices and how to file a mandatory Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. Minimizing process wastewater discharges and general pollution prevention topics for trucking facilities were also discussed. Each person attending the conference also received a video cassette entitled “Developing Stormwater Best Management Practices.”

A stormwater permit and a formal Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan are required for most motor trucking facilities by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). William Salter of EPD discussed how to obtain a permit. The date for obtaining a stormwater permit has passed for existing facilities. If a company has not yet obtained a permit, EPD should be contacted now to begin the permitting process. Mr. Salter can be reached at 404-656-4887. A major requirement for obtaining a storm water permit is to create a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan or SWP3. SWP3s use best management practices for materials and facilities to prevent stormwater from becoming contaminated.

Steve Hensly of the ATA and Michael Stieferman of Radian Corporation presented discussions of advanced best management practices or BMPs to reduce stormwater contamination. Stormwater can become contaminated when rain mixes with oil, fuel, grease, antifreeze, metals, and many other truck-related chemicals. BMPs are developed to reduce the chance that stormwater will become contaminated. The key is prevention. If oil and other truck fluids are not spilled and they are stored away from rain, then stormwater pollution is reduced. Storing oil containers indoors is a BMP to reduce pollution. Another BMP is to build a cover over fueling islands. Curbs can also be built around covered fueling islands to prevent water from flowing through areas where spills are likely. A critical BMP is to remove or cover storm drains in areas where spills are likely. Most BMPs are very simple. Placing catch pans under trucks leaking oil and not sweeping oil absorbent into a storm drain are very simple examples. Training employees to use these simple methods can reduce pollution, save time, and save dollars.

BMPs can be developed for each location or process in a facility. Fueling areas, maintenance areas, materials storage rooms, and waste storage areas can all be sources of waste and pollution. A team of employees should locate critical areas on a map or plan of the trucking facility. Chemicals and other materials stored or used should be listed; those that are exposed to rain or water flow should be identified. Records should also be reviewed to learn of past spills; inspections should be done to learn of current leaks and spills. From this information, BMPs can be developed that are unique for the facility. Worksheets and instruction for developing BMPs and a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan were provided to those attending the conference.

Paul Crumpler of P2AD provided a discussion of process water pollution prevention practices. A number of trucking facilities wash trucks or engine components. If washing is done outside, the wash water eventually reaches a storm drain or septic drain field. Water from truck washing is process wastewater. Process wastewater should never be allowed to flow into storm drains or septic drain fields. Process wastewater can be minimized by using simple methods; attaching spring-loaded hose nozzles to hoses used for truck washing will prevent the hoses from being left running when not in use. High pressure spray units can also be used to wash trucks; they use about half as much water as a garden hose and provide better cleaning. Wash water should be disposed of in a municipal sewer system. If a facility is not connected to a sewer system, wash water can be collected and recycled. Water recycling systems are becoming more popular; facilities ranging from small self-serve carwashes to large fleet operations have installed recycling systems. Contact Paul Crumpler at 404-651-5120 or 800-685-2443 for more information on water use minimization and recycling.

Karen Medlin of the ATA discussed pollution prevention for trucking operations and the effects of BMPs on selling property. Using good pollution prevention techniques and avoiding soil and groundwater contamination by employing BMPs can help prevent problems in selling property and obtaining financing on land where trucking facilities are located. Pollution prevention can reduce cost today by reducing waste and loss of raw materials. Pollution prevention can also help maintain the value of property. When property is sold, most purchasers or banks will require a review of the land’s previous uses, conduct site inspections, and review environmental records of businesses previously located on the property. The reviews will attempt to find evidence of site contamination such as from spills, leaking or hidden underground storage tanks, and septic systems misused for process wastewater.

Ms. Medlin provides information on pollution prevention topics for the trucking industry. She can be contacted at the American Trucking Association at 703-838-1786. The video and information package (including stormwater planning worksheets) can be ordered from the ATA. Also, a limited number of videos are available by contacting Jan Bunn at P2AD. The Georgia Motor Trucking Association can also provide information on environmental issues and other topics of interest to the trucking industry. The GMTA can be contacted at 404-876-4313. We encourage all trucking facilities to take advantage of these excellent resources.