1. #1
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    Angry Environmentalist Wackos Team Up with EPA against FDs

    Your federal tax dollars hard at work. Apparently the EPA has begun enforcing stormwater pollution laws written back in 1997. Among the regulated waste products is soapy water from vehicle washing. Protesters have picketed fire stations in East Tennessee for violating the law.

    Does anyone have a policy regarding washing vehicles inside/recovering wash water? Has anyone had to retrofit stations/build a wash facility to meet the standard? Does anyone know the CFR number for the regulation in question?

    If you can help, let me know.

    Thanks!!

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    Default Re: Environmentalist Wackos Team Up with EPA against FDs

    Originally posted by pyroknight
    Among the regulated waste products is soapy water from vehicle washing. Protesters have picketed fire stations in East Tennessee for violating the law.

    Deck Gun.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Talking Not Here......

    We're in plain sight of the EPA here in the DC suburbs, and this is news to me. Our station was built in 1992 and has an oil separator in the wastewater system, but I've never heard of soap being an issue. If it is, we will treat it fairly and equitibly, which means that we will ignore it completely, the same as all other federal regulations. Stay Safe....
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    That's not all. The Clean Water Act, which is enforced by state agencies, requires a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to discharge water during a water supply test (hydrant flow test), hydrant flush, water main flush, and possibly a 2" main drain test on the fire sprinkler system. The local authorities are responsible for the permit and are supposed to have procedures on how to discharge such water.

    Even though it's potable water, it contains chlorine, which is a pollutant - it can kill fish.

    I am researching this issue in CA to find out exactly what is involved. Water discharged on a fire is exempted (thank goodness). I don't know how they regard water discharged during fire training.

    If there is interest, I keep you posted. I should have more info within the next couple of weeks.

    One thing to keep in mind is that everyone wants clean water and although one discharge (whether it's watering lawns, washing cars, or flushing hydrants) is small, remember there are some 300 million people in this country. It really does add up.

    Jim Feld
    Fairfield, CA

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    Post Here's the short wire copy regarding this incident:

    (Knoxville-AP) -- A tip to a water quality line revealed that
    some Knoxville firefighters have been violating city and federal
    water quality laws for the last six years.
    When firefighters washed fire trucks outside stations, some of
    that water went into storm drains.
    The Environmental Protection Agency calls that soapy water a
    pollutant.
    But a memo from Knoxville Fire Chief Ed Cureton late last week
    told firefighters to stop the washing practice.
    The city adopted the same E-P-A standards in 1997 and has fined
    some car businesses for allowing soapy water to reach the street.
    Knoxville Fire Department spokesman Charlie Barker said
    firefighters usually wash trucks inside the station, where a bay
    drain sends the soapy water to the sanitary sewer system.


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    Of all the stuff that washes off roads and into storm drains during a rainstorm, they want to make a big deal about washwater!
    Luckily, no such regulation is being enforced here...yet.
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
    Vermont

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    woohoo now we have a leg to stand on when we forget, or just plain dont want to wash the trucks. I am sure the chief will love that one, what do you guys think. But really couldnt washing the trucks in the bay pose a serious safety hazard? I dont know about yours buy our bay drains never can keep all the water off the floor no matter what you do, and soapy water is awful slick.

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    Naw it just means we will have to layoff a brother or buy less gear for the voliies so we can afford the twelve dollar EPA approved soap.

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    Cool One Solution

    One solution that I came up with. One of the recommendations for reducing runoff is to wash vehicles in the yard. While we can't drive a 15 ton apparatus up on the grass, we can dike the runoff and pump it through a hose and lawn sprinkler with a small submersible. It certainly would be less expensive than building a wash bay or replumbing all the station drains.

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    Post It's Time To Stop The Stupidity....

    Anyone up to joining me on a move to stop this B...S..T? I am writing to my two US senators and seven members of the house with the information from this forum, and asking that they initiate a move to exempt the Fire/Rescue services from EPA rules such as this. IMHO, the Enviornmental Idiots are getting away with entirely too much at our expense. A few years ago, a move to remove the exemption for training burns was started here in the mid-atlantic, and we killed that pretty quick. It's time to run these kooks off before they do more harm. Stay Safe....
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    Pick your battles.

    I'd much rather fight for neccessary exemptions, like training burns, than nicety exemptions like wash water discharge, which is already regulated for other similiar users (construction companies, car washes, tool rental companies, etc.)

    The only fire company I've seen actually wash inside was one where I know the town center had a major water quality problem (shallow water table + road salt + gas contamination) so that area was watched & monitored closely by State DEP so they wash their trucks & POVs inside the station where the run-off goes into a seperation system.

    Moving forward, new stations can be constructed fairly easily to comply. If you want to wash outside, put in a driveway drain with a cover that's connected to either city sewer or your oil seperator. When washing trucks, open it up to catch the discharge before it goes in the storm water drain. When you're down, cover the wash water drain.

    The significant water discharge issue DEP has specifically warned fire departments in my state about is to be careful with foam -- based on a Class B foam drill in a FD parking lot that resulted in a fish kill in the pond behind their Town Hall. It's certainly not unreasonable rules -- don't spray foam where it'll drain into wetlands/streams, and use of Class B for training just to make foam is strongly advised against (use Class A). Using Class A on grass is fine since it'll partially evaporate, and what remains will break down on dry land much faster than when it's constantly wet by being in a water body. And while Class B isn't very toxic, Class A is still much lower in toxicity.

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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    The significant water discharge issue DEP has specifically warned fire departments in my state about is to be careful with foam -- based on a Class B foam drill in a FD parking lot that resulted in a fish kill in the pond behind their Town Hall.
    Would that be the one where the fish killed were thought to be "endangered" then they found a couple ponds on the other end of the state that had tons of these fish and they realized they weren't really endangered? Or is that another foam incident?
    IACOJ Agitator
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    It was the "W" town from the center of the state (There's so many, I can't remember which!)...

    There "fine" in the case was they had to send a letter to every fire department in the state basically outlining the above.

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    Yeah, I'm sure we are talking about the same one.
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    They're probably talking about AFFF. They get all wiggy about it. Our airport has oil separators though and the entire sanitary drainage system is on pumps so when we get a fuel spill that makes it down a drain we can shut down the pumps. Vac truck doesn't have to suck out near as much fluid that way. We do the same for AFFF down the drains. Planes can only be washed on the wash pads as they have different separators for those drains (same as at a car wash). We wash the trucks and our cars on the drive in front of our station though.

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    Talking Hey Dal................

    Thanks for the reality check. My main purpose in life is to do everything in my power to make life as miserable as possible for any enviornmentalist that I might encounter. Stay Safe....
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    I'm on the fence here...

    It would be a pain in the ***** to recover washwater.
    But next time you go fishing and find that they've all been choked out by the alge, you can thank the phosphates that washed into the river from everyone's soap!

    There are two sides to every coin, and last time I checked, most firefighters enjoyed a lot of the stuff the EPA has protected.

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    You think that the storm drains on the side of the street just dump into waterways or do you think that they go into sewage treatment plants?!?
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    Around here there is no such thing as a city sewer (just like there is no city water and no city gas).

    A storm drain dumps into the nearest low spot. Be it a hole or valley in the woods, a stream, a river, or a lake.

    As for our truck washing habits... Well, there are no storm drains within reach of our parking lot. Any wash water evaporates long before it enters fish-land.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Adze,

    Over here on the left coast, some do and some don't.

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    Smile Not on the Right Coast.......

    In my neck of the woods, Only toilets, sinks, bathtubs/showers, and washing machines can dump into a sewage treatment plant. Everything else goes into a storm drain type of system which ends up in streams, the ocean etc. Anyway, to do something about the envioronuts, can we ship 'em all to California, then make Calif. an independent nation?? If Calif. was independent, then their laws would carry the same weight as those in, say, Somalia. On second thought, send the NFPA and OSHA along as well..... Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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