By Joshua Graham—Lead Compliance Manager // 2022-08-01
Washout or other uncontained liquid material disposed of on surface soils can cause harmful effects to stormwater, leading to hazardous effects on the environment. The most prevalent of these materials on construction sites are wet concrete, stucco, and paint solutions. Properly disposing of these materials is crucial to avoiding contamination of our storm water system. Pollutants entering gutters, drains, and pipes that collect rain to stormwater run-off and can potentially be conveyed to the nearest surface water. Usually, this water is not treated to remove litter, debris, and other pollutants before reaching our waterways. These highly toxic materials can kill aquatic life such as plants, aquatic species, and their habitats.
Heavy metals found in paint have raised concerns due to their toxicity level at high exposure. To name a few: mercury, benzene, formaldehyde, glycol, and methylene chloride among several others. When cleaning with paint thinner toxins such as acetone, mineral turpentine, and true turpentine, these chemicals may compound the issue without proper disposal. Concrete, stucco, and paint washout waters not only contain toxic metals, but they are also caustic and corrosive, having PH levels from 7.5-12. This PH level is comparable to household cleaners, detergents, bleach, and liquid drain cleaner. If being properly disposed of in leak-proof containers, concrete, stucco, and paint can be recycled through wash water recycling, treatment and disposal, solids recycling, and hardened concrete recycling.