Protecting Oregon's Environment
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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Water Quality

Water Quality Permit Program


Deminimis Activities Allowed by the Wash Water Permit - March 1998

The following washing activities are considered to have a deminimis impact on the environment and are allowed without obtaining a permit.  Wherever practicable the best management practices listed in the DEQs guidance document titled Recommended Best Management Practices for Washing Activities should be implemented.  Any facility found to be adversely affecting water quality will be required to obtain a permit.  Such a facility would then be subject to all terms and conditions of the 1700A or 1700B wash water permit.

Note that the permit does not cover hydroblasting activities.  Hydroblasting is defined as the use of high pressure to remove paint or oxidized metal from a surface.  Typically, pressures of 2000 psi and greater are used to remove paint or oxidized metal, however, lower pressures may also remove paint or oxidized metal.

Activities with no discharge to surface waters, storm sewers or dry wells

The use of acids, bases, metal brighteners, steam, or heated water is prohibited.  The use of biodegradable, phosphate-free cleaners with cold water is allowed. However, cleaning only with cold water is recommended. Chemicals, soaps or detergents shall be used sparingly.

  • The washing of buildings is permitted provided there is no runoff off-site or discharge to surface waters, storm sewer or dry wells.
  • The washing of roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and other paved surfaces is permitted provided surfaces are swept prior to washing and there is no runoff off-site or discharge to surface waters, storm sewer or dry wells.
  • The rinsing of the chute and exterior of ready-mix concrete trucks at the construction site is permitted provided there is no runoff off-site or discharge to surface waters, storm sewer or dry wells.
  • The washing of construction equipment and vehicles at construction sites, logging equipment and vehicles at the logging site, or farming equipment and vehicles at the agricultural or silvicultural site for the removal of accumulated dirt is permitted provided there is no runoff off-site or discharge to surface waters, storm sewer or dry wells.  Cleaning shall be restricted to the exterior of the vehicle or equipment (no engines, transmissions, undercarriages, interior surfaces of pesticide containers, or spray solution tanks).
  • The washing of golf carts and mowing machines is permitted provided there is no runoff off-site or discharge to surface waters, storm sewer or dry wells.
  • The washing of new or used vehicles or equipment awaiting sale, lease or delivery is permitted provided cleaning is restricted to the exterior of the vehicle or piece of equipment (no engines, transmissions, or undercarriages) and there is no runoff off-site or discharge to surface waters, storm sewer or dry wells.  Rental vehicles and rented equipment are not included in this exemption.
  • Businesses that wash less than 8 vehicles or pieces of equipment per week are permitted provided there is no runoff off-site or discharge to surface waters, storm sewer or dry wells.  Cleaning is restricted to the exterior of the vehicle or equipment (no engines, transmissions, or undercarriages).  When washing large trucks, the tractor and trailer are counted as separate pieces.

    For facilities that do not discharge to surface waters or storm sewers, the Department may allow 8 or more vehicles or pieces of equipment per week to be washed if the operator demonstrates that this activity will not impact the soils and the groundwater at the site.  This approval shall be obtained in writing from the Department.

Activities with discharge to surface waters and storm sewers

The use of any chemicals, soaps, detergents, steam, or heated water in the following activities is prohibited.

  • The washing of buildings is permitted provided chemicals, soaps, detergents, steam, or heated water are not used.
  • The washing of roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and other paved surfaces is permitted provided chemicals, soaps, detergents, steam, or heated water are not used, and surfaces are swept prior to washing.
  • The washing of new or used vehicles or equipment awaiting sale, lease or delivery is permitted provided chemicals, soaps, detergents, steam, or heated water are not used, and cleaning is restricted to the outside of the vehicle or piece of equipment (no engines, transmissions, or undercarriages).  Rental vehicles and rented equipment are not included in this exemption.
  • Businesses that wash less than 8 vehicles or pieces of equipment per week are permitted provided chemicals, soaps, detergents, steam, or heated water are not used.  Cleaning shall be restricted to the exterior of the vehicle or equipment (no engines, transmissions, or undercarriages).  When washing large trucks, the tractor and trailer are counted as separate pieces.

Non-Profit activities

Vehicle washing by private citizens and fund-raising groups such as schools, churches, boy scouts, girl scouts, etc. is permitted.  Fund-raising groups shall employ the best management practices outlined in the Department's guide for non-profit activities.

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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204-1390
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
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The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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