Environmental and legal obligations
When choosing a power washing contractor you should be aware of your legal obligations under the Clean Water Act and the contractor's ability to help you comply with this. Violations of this act can cause great harm to local waters and aquatic life, and you could find yourself in court facing fines of up to $25,000.
Clean Sidewalks+ is a certified contractor with the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association and can ensure you comply with the Clean Water Act.
Why do we need the Clean Water Act?
If not conducted properly, power washing can result in the discharge of wastewater to storm drains. This wastewater, which is neither treated nor cleaned to remove pollutants, flows directly into lakes, rivers, and streams, risking harm to wildlife and contamination of recreational sites and drinking water supplies.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) 33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972) was set up to protect against this. Under the act the discharge of power washing wastewater to storm drains is prohibited because it contains pollutants from the surfaces being cleaned and the cleaning compounds being used. Even cleaners labeled biodegradable and non-toxic may be harmful to aquatic life, especially after cleaning various surfaces that contain fats, oils, greases, and chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, solvents and fertilizers to name a few.
Allowing polluting substances into storm drains is prohibited in California. Both the person who discharges the pollutant and the owner of the property are liable. If a court finds a violation of the CWA it will impose a fine--a minimum of $2,500 with a maximum of $25,000 fine per day for the first offence and a maximum fine of $50,000 per day for the second offence.
Sustainable and Compliant Power Washing
At Clean Sidewalks+ LLC, we pride ourselves in being a safe choice, both environmentally and legally.
Below you can find the specification of the filtration system that we use.
Alkota 8-VFS-1 Vacuum Filtration System (VFS)
The complete process utilized in the Alkota Vacuum Filtration System (VFS) is the first of its kind and the manner in which it operates is unique and proprietary to Alkota. The first two Phases of filtration operate and flow under a vacuum or negative void to enhance flow and extended filter life. The wash water is vacuumed through the pre-filtered 14” round patent pending 4-mesh multi-tier suction head or a specifically designed surface cleaner.
The waste stream then enters the Phase I filtration chamber that contains three 100 micron screen filters and eight polymer impregnated micro-fiber filters. This process removes most solids and 99.9% of free oil and petroleum related products!
The VFS Phase II filtration continues with the patent pending Perking® Filtration process trapping any remaining fine solids with three 120 mesh screens that never need removing or replacing.
Finally, the effluent enters the Phase III filtration which is pressurized through high density string wound polishing filters of 50 and 20 micron to a discharge source of choice. The polishing filters are monitored by pressure differential gauges, making it easy to identify when filters need cleaning or replacement.