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April 20, 2009

Re: Vehicle-Washing Requirements under Municipal Stormwater Permits

Dear Mayor:

The New Jersey Department of Protection would like to remind you of what is and is not required under the stormwater rules concerning vehicle washing. Understanding the exceptions to the rules during the design of your facilities could potentially reduce the size and cost of truck wash facilities.

The municipal permits contained a 3 1/2 year implementation schedule to implement measures to properly manage the discharge from washing or rinsing municipally owned or operated trucks, cars or other equipment.  That implementation schedule ended 2/28/09.

To properly manage the discharge a permittee could implement any of the following measures:

- install a vehicle wash reclaim system;
- capture and haul the wastewater for proper disposal;
- connect to the sanitary sewer (where applicable and approved by local authorities);
- cease the activity; and/or
- apply for and obtaining a separate NJPDES permit.

The Department has always allowed certain exceptions in order to maintain equipment and vehicles from exposure to de-icing material and beach sand.  These exceptions remain in the permits even though the implementation date has passed.  In addition certain exceptions exist, and continue to exist, for washing municipally owned fire fighting equipment and vehicles (including ambulances).  The exceptions are as follows and can be found in Part I, Section A.2.C of the municipal permits:

The permit authorizes the following new and existing non-stormwater discharges:

Flows from fire fighting activities including the washing of fire fighting vehicles;

Flows from rinsing of the following equipment with clean water:

Beach maintenance equipment immediately following their use for their intended purposes; and Equipment used in the application of salt and de-icing materials immediately following salt and de-icing material applications.  Prior to rinsing with clean water, all residual salt and de-icing materials must be removed from equipment and vehicles to the maximum extent practicable using dry cleaning methods (e.g., shoveling and sweeping).  Recovered materials are to be returned to storage for reuse or properly discarded.

Rinsing of equipment in the above situations is limited to exterior, undercarriage, and exposed parts and does not apply to engines or other enclosed machinery. If you have any questions, please contact:

Bruce Friedman, Supervisor
Municipal / General Stormwater Permitting Unit
Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
(609) 633-7021 Fax (609) 984-2147

Very truly yours,


William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director


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