How to keep your business in the EPA's good light

What Your Business Needs To Know About Wash Water & EPA Regulations

Every company on earth uses water in some fashion. One of the more common areas that a business uses water is on their wash rack. The wash rack is one of those areas that can be incredibly productive and contribute greatly to a business’s productivity depending on the industry or can be one of those areas that is disregarded, not invested in and can be a potential liability if not addressed or looked after. Most businesses of any size really need to pay attention to what they are doing when it comes to washing. The laws are such now that there are severe penalties for not complying and making sure that your facility is in compliance with local state, federal and municipal regulations.

I’ve compiled some information for you below based on my extensive experience in this area:

Common Applications for Wash Water Recycling

  • Heavy Equipment Dealerships
  • Rental Yards
  • Military
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Golf Course Maintenance Facilities
  • Municipalities
  • Oil & Gas
  • Aviation
  • Or anyone that needs to recycle wash water…

What You’re Allowed To Do

  • You can discharge your water to the local sanitary sewer with a permit. In almost all cases you need to have a three stage interceptor in place/line before discharging out to the local sewer line.
  • You can get an NPDES permit that requires you to go through hoops to discharge water out to a lined pond or septic tank.
  • Pay to have your water hauled off.
  • Recycle your water with the closed loop wash water recycling system.
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What You’re Not Allowed To Do

  • Discharge any processed or treated water into a storm drain. Only rainwater can go into a storm drain.
  • You cannot wash any vehicles or equipment on a dirt lot, parking lot or any other area that does not have a contained wash rack or pad area that collects the water and discharges it into the sewer or into recycling system.
  • The Clean Water Act, summary form here, , is a federal law that protects not only our national waters but also our watersheds including groundwater.

Why Recycle Water?

  • Conserve water, our most precious resource.
  • You don’t have a sewer connection and its illegal discharge on to the ground.
  • You do have a sewer connection but can’t discharge your waste stream.
  • Stay in compliance with federal (Clean Water Act), state and local regulations.
  • Increases the value of your facility and saves money in the future from the costs associated with possible clean up and remediation issues by having a closed loop system.
  • More productive. Closed loop systems are designed to handle solids and wash faster and more efficiently.

One of the things personally I find the most incredible is the amount of water that we could save by using wash water recycling systems in industrial applications. The case study below demonstrates what one pressure washer, which uses literally half the water of a garden hose or manual method, can save in one years’ time. Start adding that up in just your city or town and think about the numbers. Its staggering. It’s also exciting. In our stores in Phoenix and San Diego we practice what we preach and have close loop systems in both of our stores.

EX: Case Study of Heavy Equipment Yard Washing 8 hours a day with a 6 gpm pressure washer switching from sewer discharge or discharging on the ground to a closed loop SCE Bio Wash Water Recycling System.

  • Customer has a 6 gpm pressure washer that puts out 360 gallons per hour.
  • Customer washes 8 hours a day that equals 2,880 gallons of water used per day. (Trigger gun helps conserve)
  • One week washing five days generates 14,440 gallons of water a week.
  • In a year using a closed loop recycling system you would save 750,880 gallons of water. That is with one pressure washer.
  • If just 100 more businesses switched to recycling their wash water. 75,000,000 million gallons of water could be saved.

* You do need to drain the system of water and fill with new at least once possibly twice a year. Most systems store an average of 3,000 to 6,000 gallons of water. So this can be deducted from the top comparison.

Calculate Your Potential Water Savings

Pressure Washer GPM

Hours washing in a day

Days washing in a week

Weekly Savings: Gallons

Annual Savings: Gallons

Technologies For Wash Water Recycling

  • Bioremediation
  • Mechanical Filtration
  • Chemical Treatment & Coagulation
  • Ozonation
  • Oil Coalescing and Skimming
  • Gravity Separation

Water Recycling Components & options for business

Videos Of Our Work


What I have found not only in my own business and my facilities but in working with companies all over the US, is that they want to protect their property, comply with regulations and make sure that their wash rack is safe for their employees. The majority of companies that we do business with, fortunately, are companies that want to do the right thing for the environment as well as make the wash rack as productive as possible. What was once an area that customers had to have but was not a place of investment or significance is now an area that gets much more attention and investment. Most customers find that the return on investment is very good in terms of productivity, safety and liability and find that after building a close loop wash rack with the proper equipment that the amount of washing goes up as well as the efficiency and doing so. It’s a matter of the right tools for the right job.

About the Author: Greg Sprunk is the President of Superior Cleaning Equipment Inc. ( with offices in Phoenix, AZ and San Diego, CA. For the past 25 years, SCE has been a leading dealership for Water Maze ( and Landa ( He has designed, built and serviced over 300 closed loop wash racks in the US. SCE is the only factory authorized Water Maze Dealer in Arizona and Southern California. If you have any questions or would like to talk further you can reach him at (800) 635-4903.