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Accidental Chemical Releases

This includes leaks and spills in various facilities. The EPA has established regulations under the Clean Air Act to utilize risk management programs to prevent this type of problem and if it occurs, special techniques to clean up the chemicals.

Best Practices for Accidental Chemical Releases (See Best Practices for the Chemical Industry)

Auto Body and Repair Shops

(See endnote 78)

Auto body shops and garages repair and/or replace various parts of vehicles, and activities may include welding, paint stripping, and painting. Degreasers are commonly used in the shops as well as in other small and large industrial processes. Degreasers remove old oil and other fluids from vehicle parts. The operations can be very dusty, producing a variety of particulates, and can also be the source of a series of hazardous air pollutants including: VOCs, lead, chromium, cadmium, etc. The shops also produce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, which can lead to increased ground-level ozone.

Of special significance may be aboveground storage tanks, below ground storage tanks, use and disposal of absorbent material, disposal of waste antifreeze, used batteries, brakes, catalytic converters, repairs from accidents, floor drains, fuel, hazardous wastes, painting operations, cleaning of parts, use and disposal of shop rags and towels, tires, used oil and oil filters, untreated wastewater, and stormwater management.

Best Practices for Auto Body and Repair Shops

  • • Prepare and implement spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plans.
  • • Use aqueous cleaning processes where possible in auto shops in place of solvent cleaning.
  • • Use large spray cabinets and ultrasonic units to clean vehicles and parts.
  • • Place all solvents in leak-proof containers.
  • • Capture old oil and solvents in leak-proof containers for recycling.
  • • Absorbents used to clean up spills may be considered to be hazardous and must be disposed of appropriately.
  • • Waste antifreeze not only is toxic but also may contain lead, cadmium, and chromium in high levels and must therefore be disposed of as a hazardous waste.
  • • Batteries contain lead and other substances which are toxic, must be considered to be a hazardous waste and therefore should be either recycled or sent to special hazardous waste facilities for disposal.
  • • When working on brakes, if they contain asbestos fibers the technicians should wear special respirators and the used material should be disposed of as a hazardous waste.
  • • Catalytic converters, which reduce sharply emissions to the air, must be serviced by specially trained technicians on a regular basis.
  • • Repair of vehicles involved in collisions includes removal of fluids for appropriate disposal and removal of body parts which may be hazardous for appropriate disposal. It may also include sanding, grinding, paint stripping, and painting, which may contribute a variety of air pollutants and therefore must be carried out in special facilities with appropriate ventilation systems.
  • • Floor drains must be cleaned on a regular basis to remove engine oil, solvents, and other materials.
  • • If the garage provides fuel for vehicles, it must follow the recommendations under Gas Stations and Gasoline Distribution Systems.
  • • Solvents from parts cleaning, shop rags, and towels are also considered to be hazardous wastes and therefore must be disposed of in an appropriate manner.
  • • Stacked tires must be protected from the elements, either emptied of all water or treated for potential mosquito breeding.
  • • Used tires should be recycled instead of left on land where they can become mosquito breeding places or potentially catch fire and release toxic substances into the air.
  • • Used oil and oil filters must be treated as hazardous waste and removed to appropriate facilities for either recycling or disposal.
  • • Underground storage tank use and maintenance, etc., must be carried out according to the applicable rules and regulations (See Chapter 14, “Water Quality and Water Pollution”).
  • • Stormwater should not be permitted to cross land on which washing, fueling, painting, changing oil, or any work done on vehicles has occurred to prevent contamination of the ground or surface water supply.
  • • Wastewater from any automobile repair activities must be separately collected and treated before being released to surface or groundwater areas.
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