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EPA dose a surprise visit....

As most of you may know, I have been compliant here in California for the last 16 years. I have seen companies get little filters to do a garage, only to get fined and out of business because their filter was more for show than functionability for the job at hand.

This last weekend it was our turn for a surprise visit at 3 am. They came unannounced and in plan clothes in a unmarked personal vehicle. They took several of samples. ( Pre treatment, during treatment at two locations on the filter, and the treated Class II waste).

They tested for the following:

Caustic,
PH balance,
Heavy metals
Mercury
chromium
copper
thallium
TTO
Phenol
Selenium
Plus 130 more elements

We past, however the total test cost for the lab work was $1,000 more or less. Bill to come next month.

Though this was our first visit that we had in the last 3 years, I find that they are becoming more frequent, I am told that the fines alone this past year was in the 190k for one county alone. This is added monies that the Gov needs desperately, so beware.

It is not a problem for us, in fact we welcome it since we know the routine so well. I was told by the EPA that as far as permits go, we hold 78% of all the garage cleaning permits in N. California and out of the 100% of the permits ever issued for garage cleaning since 1992, we are the only ones who have not been written up or fined as far as they can tell.

I also was advised that we maybe the first company in all of California to reclaim the class II waste for Parking Garage Cleaning for proper discharge according to those same permit records.


( 1992 was when we built our 24 ft filtration unit for a cost of $72,000. Since no finance company would loan us the money to make it, we had to pay cash. The specs are 40 GPM's and require a generator of 15,000 watts to drive the (4) 2.5 to 3.0 hp pumps. It is a 240 volt system and requires the whole 15kw Kubota Diesel 4 Cyl 2.2 litter generator to run it). Unit weighs in at 9,235 lbs or so. To build it today, we are estimating 90 to 100k.

Take a look at the picture below on the right. You will see that we have several dikes / dams. This also has an 8 inch oil collective sock. what you don't see is the other 4 dam system including our water filled 8 inch thick rubber dike. It is not that lite blue dike. This is made for us by a hose company and weighs a ton. 25 ft weighs in at 90-100 lbs. with no water. Note that we have not started yet. This was just a pre set up photo that we submit with our report that is required in the permit process.
 

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Just a note here guys....

There are allot of filters out there and most are above par. But one thing that everyone should realize.

Equipment is usually made for a specific purpose. Thats why there are so many makes and models. Not 1 machine is good for every situation.

I also use this analogy.

Someone has a Mercedes 500SL and another has a mountain bike. Both will get you down the road The Mercedes will get you there faster and hopefully a better ride. However the mountain bike will get you there, just at a slower pace.

On the other hand, you are on a trail in the woods... The bike will get you down the trail, the mercedes.... well YOUR STUCK.


When looking for a filter, you must look at the job at hand and the jobs you want to achieve in the future. If you are doing a Parking Garage for example... I would not get a Ice box size of a filter to filter it. You need room for all the sludge. we usually get up to 1,000 gallons. If your are getting less than 1,000 Gallons, then the garage was not as dirty as you thought or you did not pull up as much oil from the cement.
 
Yes. The price for doing business in Parking Garage Cleaning.

We have to pay for any lab work done that was collected from the job site. It is in the permit that you sign and agree to here in California.

And thats not just for California. Other states will follow. States, if they are smart enough, will always find ways to follow the money.

But in this case, the state is not charging me. It is the independent lab that I get to choose from the list of 20 or so labs. Just so happens the lab never has a sale.
 
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RMedbery

New member
Aint the government great? I think cops should follow the same line. Charge EVERYONE they point their radar gun at 50 bucks, doesnt mater you werent speeding.
 

Russ Spence

New member
I guess its a good thing we just clean a ton of sidewalks and buildings. They dont get that dirty, I hate gas stations as well, too much oil and grease for our taste. We used to do a bunch before we found our home in shopping centers and building washes.

woo hoo Shopping centers and buildings rule!

Hey Jim, before you were able to get the best of the best how did you manage?

I am sure these guys would love to hear how you did it before you learned so much and had so much .... you know what did you do when you were a crumb snatcher like the rest of us.
 
You will find out that by following the clean water act, you will have the possibilities of making even more money, stop dead the low ballers in your area, and able to ask a premium, over time, instead of doing nothing but busy work.

You will stand out from the low ballers as a company who cares for the environment that our children play in.

These are all selling tools of which I use everyday in our sale pitch.

Granted, it won't happen over night, but it will happen and your on your way.
 
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Tony Shelton

Environmental Consultant / Past Director
Russ, Saw your rig on PWI. Good starter up. This has came a long ways since that first stern email to me a year ago. I am glad to see you on board.

You will find out that by following the clean water act, you will have the possibilities of making even more money, stop dead the low ballers in your area, and able to ask a premium, over time, instead of doing nothing but busy work.

You will stand out from the low ballers as a company who cares for the environment that our children play in.

These are all selling tools of which I use everyday in our sale pitch.

Granted, it won't happen over night, but it will happen and your on your way.

Jim, we all follow the clean water act. At least every contractor I know does.

What we're up against now is overbearing LOCAL ordinances that, as you well know, eclipse the clean water act.

Russ asked you what did you do for reclamation BEFORE you were in the position of designing the high end equipment you have now. I'd like to hear the answer to that too, since I appear to possibly be one of those "low ballers" who can't afford what you've got.

And Chris is out tonight cleaning the front of a local Pawn shop with NO reclamation and no soap. Nothing but heat. I'd let Fayth play in the runoff. It's just a little dirty water from a sidewalk. I let her drink from the water hose in the back yard. One day she ate dirt. Should I expect a call from social services?

A lot of oil from where hundreds of cars are parked for years on end is a far cry from the dirty feet of shoppers at the mall. Let's not get the two confused.
 

Russ Spence

New member
Gee thanks for the response, I am sure the rest of these guys feel really bad since most power wash start up begain with less than 7500 dollars. My little "starter" rig only has around 40k worth of stuff on it, funny my Mother and father (who are bankers) only paid that for our first home! Guess we have come a long way.

My story was a simple one, at one point in my life I had gone so far the other way that I had no running water when I first started because I had invested everything I had into buying a business, I had (1) 6x12 trailer with (1) hot water washer a 525 gallon tank and (1) hose reel, I could not afford 2 hose reels, I lived in 14X70 that was not even tied down, no running water or heat, I bathed with warm water from the washer and I had a little space heater and the stove to keep me warm, also I had to buy bleach by the jug and drop in the injector, if the injector had gone bad I would have been in trouble brcause I couldnt have afforded one to replace it with.

That is how I started, no insurance, no clue, no internet, no one to help, only a dream. So that being said I am off with my "starter rig" to make some money. Good luck

And that is me exposed the real story of where I came from and how I arrived.

Go UaMCC:clap:
 

topcoat

Contributing Member
Russ

I'm still living off of apple fields and old cigars. I wear the same clothes every single day, and rarely sleep.

Do we ever really arrive and if so how do we know when we have arrived?
 

Russ Spence

New member
Russ

I'm still living off of apple fields and old cigars. I wear the same clothes every single day, and rarely sleep.

Do we ever really arrive and if so how do we know when we have arrived?
you arrive when you are happy and content with you and where you are in life, we always want more but dont necessiarly need it.:rolleyes:
 

topcoat

Contributing Member
you arrive when you are happy and content with you and where you are in life, we always want more but dont necessiarly need it.:rolleyes:
Russ

I like your perspective. On a personal level, happiness and contentment are a given. I won't live any other way.

Professionally, those same goals are elusive at best. On good days, I love my business and would not trade it for anything. In general though, and I think we all probably battle this to an extent, no matter how well my business is doing (in all ways), I only see the things that could be improved. My wife thinks it is a character flaw. Or OCD.

I don't think I will ever arrive professionally. If I did, there would be no reason to get out of bed in the morning. For me, its not even about having more equipment or making more money, its about tweaking on the thing until its operating at max efficiency in every possible way.

I will never arrive. :saai:
 

Mike Schoeben

New member
I was told by the EPA that as far as permits go, we hold 78% of all the garage cleaning permits in N. California and out of the 100% of the permits ever issued for garage cleaning since 1992, we are the only ones who have not been written up or fined as far as they can tell.

I also was advised that we maybe the first company in all of California to reclaim the class II waste for Parking Garage Cleaning for proper discharge according to those same permit records.


( 1992 was when we built our 24 ft filtration unit for a cost of $72,000. Since no finance company would loan us the money to make it, we had to pay cash. The specs are 40 GPM's and require a generator of 15,000 watts to drive the (4) 2.5 to 3.0 hp pumps. It is a 240 volt system and requires the whole 15kw Kubota Diesel 4 Cyl 2.2 litter generator to run it). Unit weighs in at 9,235 lbs or so. To build it today, we are estimating 90 to 100k.
Evidently this company is the only one in the USA that can perform ramp cleaning properly. I better take that off of my list of services so the EPA won't fine me out of business. Anyone want to buy my crappy little reclaim setup? Gimme a break :pukey:
 

Tony Shelton

Environmental Consultant / Past Director
As most of you may know, I have been compliant here in California for the last 16 years. I have seen companies get little filters to do a garage, only to get fined and out of business because their filter was more for show than functionability for the job at hand.

This last weekend it was our turn for a surprise visit at 3 am. They came unannounced and in plan clothes in a unmarked personal vehicle. They took several of samples. ( Pre treatment, during treatment at two locations on the filter, and the treated Class II waste).

They tested for the following:

Caustic,
PH balance,
Heavy metals
Mercury
chromium
copper
thallium
TTO
Phenol
Selenium
Plus 130 more elements

We past, however the total test cost for the lab work was $1,000 more or less. Bill to come next month.

Though this was our first visit that we had in the last 3 years, I find that they are becoming more frequent, I am told that the fines alone this past year was in the 190k for one county alone. This is added monies that the Gov needs desperately, so beware.

It is not a problem for us, in fact we welcome it since we know the routine so well. I was told by the EPA that as far as permits go, we hold 78% of all the garage cleaning permits in N. California and out of the 100% of the permits ever issued for garage cleaning since 1992, we are the only ones who have not been written up or fined as far as they can tell.

I also was advised that we maybe the first company in all of California to reclaim the class II waste for Parking Garage Cleaning for proper discharge according to those same permit records.


( 1992 was when we built our 24 ft filtration unit for a cost of $72,000. Since no finance company would loan us the money to make it, we had to pay cash. The specs are 40 GPM's and require a generator of 15,000 watts to drive the (4) 2.5 to 3.0 hp pumps. It is a 240 volt system and requires the whole 15kw Kubota Diesel 4 Cyl 2.2 litter generator to run it). Unit weighs in at 9,235 lbs or so. To build it today, we are estimating 90 to 100k.

Take a look at the picture below on the right. You will see that we have several dikes / dams. This also has an 8 inch oil collective sock. what you don't see is the other 4 dam system including our water filled 8 inch thick rubber dike. It is not that lite blue dike. This is made for us by a hose company and weighs a ton. 25 ft weighs in at 90-100 lbs. with no water. Note that we have not started yet. This was just a pre set up photo that we submit with our report that is required in the permit process.

Just so everyone knows, two months ago, in Primm Nevada, I met one of the keynote speakers at the 2011 Tristate Seminar. His name is Tim and he is the head of enforcement for Contra Costa County, where Jim works. He stated that they discontinued all contractor paid testing in 2006 and prior to that Jim was only asked to pay once for testing. There are no other regulators in the area that test at all. I asked him if he was certain it ended in 1996 and he confirmed. He is very familiar with Jim.

Jim may very well have been tested in 1999, but according to the regulator in charge he never had to pay for it.

These are the leaders of the other org.

Buyer beware.
 
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