When it comes to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concrete washout regulations, following the letter of the law is the best thing to do — both for our shared environment and for our common business interests.
This is especially important to us at Columbia Precast Products. We’re proud of our commitment to eco-friendly manufacturing processes. And we’re doubly proud of how those processes combine to ensure our status as a Platinum-level SMaRT-certified company. (We were, in fact, the first precast plant in the buried infrastructure industry to earn SMaRT certification.)
Our precast concrete arrives at the job site ready to be installed. Still, we think it’s a good idea to encourage our industry partners to follow EPA concrete washout regulations. Especially if and when they use pour-in-place applications. This will protect the environment and help set the stage for the possibility of eco-friendly business recognition.
Concrete washout takes place after concrete has been poured on-site.
The EPA’s Rules
“The chutes of ready mixed concrete trucks and hoppers of concrete pump trucks must be washed out to remove the remaining concrete before it hardens,” the EPA writes. “Equipment such as wheelbarrows and hand tools also need to be washed down. At the end of each work day, the drums of concrete trucks must be washed out. This is customarily done at the ready mixed batch plants, which are usually off-site facilities, however large or rural construction projects may have on-site batch plants. Cementitious (having the properties of cement) washwater and solids also come from using such construction materials as mortar, plaster, stucco, and grout.”
We recommend reviewing the EPA’s fact sheets on this topic regularly with colleagues.
The EPA recommends collecting the washout in leak-proof containers and then recycled. That’s perhaps the best part of this process: The washout can be reused to make precast concrete!
Construction sites often have concrete washout facilities of their own as part of their management practices. The goal is to reuse the washout and keep it out of our storm drains.
The EPA’s concrete washout regulations help keep builders in the know regarding the best methods to manage their concrete waste. Paying attention to these details helps our industry remain in good standing with government agencies, developers, and the people whose communities we serve.