Concrete Washout Containers and EPA Compliance

We don’t believe in cutting corners, risking safety regulations, or the old-fashioned hay-bail concrete washout solutions that weren’t, well, solutions. Here’s what we do believe in: a job done right. When you choose CWS for your concrete washout in New Jersey and the area around Philadelphia, you’re choosing a concrete washout that is done right, meets regulations, and saves you time and money. 

Be sure to check out our ramped and rampless concrete washout containers and keep reading to learn more about EPA regulations regarding concrete washout.

What’s in Concrete Washwater? 

Let’s cover this first: Concrete washout is not just water. It’s a slurry of toxic metals caused by the chemical reaction known as hydration. Here are some of those toxic metals and chemicals:

  • Aluminum
  • Barium
  • Chromium
  • Chromium 6
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Nickel
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Vanadium
  • Zinc

In addition to the toxic chemicals listed above, concrete washwater also contains trace elements of petroleum products, suspended solids, and sediment.

So What’s the Big Deal? 

Concrete washwater has a pH level around 12. For comparison, Drano’s pH level is 13.5 — that’s not a pH level you want to be spreading on the ground at your job site. In addition to being bad for the environment, high pH levels also increase the toxicity of other substances already in water and soil. Not done properly, concrete washout can harm four major categories: 

  • Human Life: It’s caustic and corrosive and can even find its way back into the water supply.
  • Aquatic Life: It harms fish’s gills and eyes, interferes with reproduction, and causes death.
  • Vegetation: It inhibits growth, damages soil, and alters soil and plant chemical composition.
  • Groundwater: It pollutes water, which seeps into the soil and ultimately into the watershed.

What Are the EPA Regulations?

Concrete washout is discussed in the Clean Water Act from the EPA (MS4 Regulation 122.34 9(b)(3); Construction General Permit (CGP); Part 1.2.1). Concrete washout is considered part of industrial waste and must be taken care of through best management practices. 

Best Management Practices

  • The concrete washout facility must be as far away from storm drains, bodies of water, and ditches as possible. 
  • Do not add anything to your wash water, such as solvents or acid. 
  • Handle concrete in a safe manner.
  • Use as little water as possible.

What Are the Punishments?

  • Citations can be issued to both the driver and the business owner
  • It’s a Class 1 Misdemeanor — punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.
  • The person(s) convicted would have a criminal record

Concrete Washout Solutions Is Here for You

Gone are the days of hay-bail concrete washouts gone bad. We’re here to make sure you’re EPA-compliant, you have the concrete catch basins and concrete washout containers you need, and that your community, business, and more are protected. Concrete waste management is what we do best — and we’ll make sure that it’s done right for your next project. Don’t leave your site vulnerable to spills and leaks; it’s not good for business, your bottom line, or the environment. Instead, work with Concrete Washout Solutions for a job done right — every time.