Why is wastewater generated from power-washing boats and heavy equipment often considered toxic?
One of the problems is the high concentration of heavy metals in the wastewater.
Copper is a biocide in anti-fouling paint that prevents marine life from attaching to boat bottoms.
Chromium is a metal that is in high concentration resulting from washing aircraft.
Metals, even in very low concentrations are very toxic to marine life. When a boat is power-washed, the wastewater generated contains a very high concentration of copper and other heavy metals.
Oysters, clams, and mussels bio-accumulate copper. Mollusks can take copper in but they cannot metabolize it. Reproduction and thus harvesting yields are negatively impacted.
The negative effect on the overall environment bio-magnifies, meaning the initial negative effect multiplies. For example, oysters improve water quality as they filter the water for their food. An adult oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day. They are very good at filtering and converting nitrates from fertilizer run-off into harmless insoluble pellets.
Whole bays have been cleaned by seeding oysters in lifeless waters. When heavy metals accumulate in mollusks and their filtration system is impaired, water quality diminishes because the mollusks become inefficient in filtering the water. In addition, because mollusks are primary producers on the food chain, heavy metals concentrate as they move up the food chain to other species.
With heavy-metal pollution we are killing a wonderful creature that works 24 / 7 to clean our water as well as creating a long-term economic negative impact on sea-life, boating, fishing and tourism.
A study by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality found that average marine powerwash wastewater contains 207,000 ppb (parts per billion) of copper. Under the Federal Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency sets water quality standards for all contaminants discharged to surface waters. The CWA limit for copper discharge is 3 ppb copper in wastewater discharged to surface waters.
If your facility is allowing bottom-wash wastewater to flow into waterways, you could be violating the Federal Clean Water Act copper limit by a factor of 69,000.
The EPA conducted a study of the level of toxins in the sediments around boatyards and marinas. They concluded that they were unacceptably high.
By simply recycling powerwash wastewater – your marina can have a significant positive impact on the health of marine life and waterways. Isn’t it time to go green?
Is the precipitate by product environmentally friendly way?
The metals and particulates settle to the bottom of the cone-bottomed treatment tank. The operator opens a valve and the sludge is drained through a dewatering filter. After dewatering, the sludge is set on a pad provided to dry.
The VANISH process binds the heavy metals in the dried particulate and all landfills to date have deemed it non-hazardous and they have ruled that the dried precipitate can be disposed of along with other facility trash.
We will gladly send certified sludge tests to your landfill operator.
Does Clean Marine Solutions help with environmental compliance permitting?
Yes. We may charge a fee for this service. We have a lot of experience with environmental regulating authorities. We have answers to most questions and certified test results we will share with your compliance regulators.
New environmental regulations on the table
Is it true that some recycle systems will get increased scrutiny from environmental compliance authorities because of their inability to reduce heavy metal content to acceptable levels?
Yes. There is growing concern from environmental compliance authorities that the heavy-metal concentrations in some recycling systems are too high. Some systems on the market are simply not designed to remove dissolved metals to the extent necessary for easy compliance.
Buying a treatment system that has been designed in anticipation of tougher standards is the best choice.
Environmental Watchdog Lawsuits and the High Cost of Non-Compliance
Your state and local compliance officers may look the other way when it comes to violations of the Clean Water Act. We find that they often offer compliance solutions that the EPA would consider illegal.
The Clean Water Act has a citizen lawsuit provision (33 U.S.C. 1365) that allows people to enforce its provisions if neither the state nor federal governments are doing so.
Environmental Watchdog groups are winning lawsuits that are filed directly against polluting facilities. Some of these fines have been very high. Some facility owners have been very upset to discover that advice from their state and local compliance officers were wrong!