What is Eco-friendly Pressure Washing
Most people think about detergents when they talk about Eco-Friendly cleaning. A very common question from a client may be “Is your soap biodegradable?” In reality Eco Friendly Cleaning typically does not have anything to do with the type of chemicals that you use to clean a surface. As most people know the stronger the detergent the better it usually cleans. So how do you use a strong soap and still be Eco Friendly?
It’s all about waste water management. Where does all the water go when it comes off a surface being cleaned? Does it go into the storm drain, landscaping or just sit in a puddle and evaporate off? This is something every property owner should ask their pressure cleaning company. Keep in mind that as a property owner you are ultimately responsible for BMPs (Best Management Practices) on your property and no one should care more about that than you should.
This leads me to your best solution for BMP’s when hiring a pressure cleaning company. Five questions to ask:
- What do you do with your wastewater?
- Do you have a letter of authorization for discharge from any of the waste water agencies
- What type of cleaner will you be using?
- Have your employees been trained and have a procedure manual for waste water management
- If the answers are not in line with the following you may need to find another wash company to keep you in compliance.
- This is very important. Most companies may give you an answer like, “We do not need to manage our water we are not using soap.” This is FALSE. Although soaps are an issue going down a storm drain the main concern from the Department of Ecology is the other pollutants such as oil, grease, suspended solids, heavy metals, pH, soluble organics and even mildew and mold. The ultimate BMP would be for the company to seal off any storm drains in the line of waste water in addition to keeping as much of the used wash water in a contained area. Then the company should have a system designed for capturing the water and putting it back into the cleaning equipment. Essentially a mobile reclamation system is the best system for this reason and many others.
- Many cities and counties offer special permits for compliant companies. If the company you are talking to does not have a letter of authorization or just does not understand what you are looking for it is time for you to look to another vendor.
- Even though you may hire a company that recovers its waste water you want to make sure they are not using a Phosphate cleaner. Phosphates feed algae growth. Algae ends up taking oxygen away from the eco system and kills the organisms that may feed other wildlife. When a cleaning company washes an area using phosphates residual amounts may stay on the ground and wash into the drains at a later date. Doing a final rinse of the area would also be considered a BMP.
- The sales person or owner of the company can give you all the lip service they want so you believe their company is Eco Friendly. Are they going to be doing all the washing or do they have employees? In many cases untrained employees can be your week link in practicing BMP’s. It is important to get a copy of your vendors waste water management handbook ask if the employees have been trained on the content.
- As you can see there are many steps to take in being an Eco Friendly pressure washing business. Not all pressure cleaning companies are the same. The old days when you could hire a company that bought a pressure washer from Home Depot are over. A Typical investment for an Eco-Friendly cleaning system can be around $100,000. Don’t be caught off guard with unnecessary fines and be an educated environmentally contentious property owner.