Automotive Repair

Automotive maintenance facilities are considered stormwater "hot spots" because of the significant amount of waste that is produced at these facilities. Wastes generated from automobile manintenance include:

*Solvents (paints and paint thinners)


*Brake fluid and brake lining


*Motor Oil

*Fuels (gasoline, kerosene, diesel)

*Lubricating grease

Best Management Practices for Automobile Repair Facilities

Waste Reduction

*Minimize the number of solvents used.
*Minimize the amout of solvents and detergents used when cleaning parts and engines.
*Locate drip pans and draining boards to direct solvents into a holding tank or solvent sink for reuse.
*Conduct all liquid cleaning at a specific location so that solvents and residues are located in one place.
*Use a bin to collect metal fillings under part grinders. Uncontaminated filings can be sent to a scrap metal dealer for recycling.


*Use non-toxic cleaners.
*Purchase recycled products whenever feasible. Engine oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and hydraulic fluid can all be purchased recycled.
*Use non-chlorinated organic solvents (kerosene, mineral spirits).

Spill Clean Up

*Use a dry absorbant material to soak up large spills. For small spills or drips, a towel or cloth could be used.
*Use as little water as possible to clean up spills.

Good Housekeeping

*Cover drains with drain mats.
*Never pour liquid waste down floor drains, sinks, or outdoor storm drains.
*Have a designated waste storage area with a secondary containment system. Promptly transfer used fluids to recycling drums or hazardous waste containers. Keep wastes separate to simplify disposal and maximize disposal options. 
*Develop a spill prevention plan and train all employees on proper disposal practices and spill prevention. Make sure all employees know to contact the NYSDEC 24 hour spill hotline (1-800-457-7362) in the event of a spill.
*Maintain an inventory of all materials used at the facility, with Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) sheets outlining proper use and disposal practices available at all times.
*Inspect facility vehicles and any other vehicles on site for leaks. If a leak is found, either place a drip pan under the leak or drain the fluids from the vehicle.
*Perform all vehicle maintenance indoors and on an impervious surface.
*Install barriers to direct any accidental releases to impervious areas and away from storm drains.
*Avoid hosing down work areas, use a mop if you have to use a wet method. Never dump mop water outside, it will end up in a storm drain.

Cleaning Parts

*Use detergent-based or water-based cleaning systems, instead of organic solvent degreasers
*Use steam cleaning and pressure washing instead of cleaning parts with solvent.

For more information, visit the USEPA's webpage on automobile maintenance.