Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells (MVWDs) EPA Well Code—5K:
Utah Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program

What are Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells and Why are they Regulated?

A motor vehicle waste disposal well is a type of Class V injection well. Typically they are shallow disposal systems that receive or have received fluids from vehicular repair or maintenance activities, such as an auto body repair shop, automotive repair shop, new and used car dealership, specialty repair shop (e.g., transmission and muffler repair shop), or any area where vehicular repair work is performed. During normal vehicle repair and maintenance activities, vehicle fluids may drip or spill or otherwise enter floor drains or sinks in service areas. These fluids may include: engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, antifreeze, chlorinated or non-chlorinated parts-cleaning solvents and degreasers. If your facility has an onsite disposal system (e.g., a drywell or septic system), these fluids can introduce various toxic chemicals into sources of drinking water.

Please Read

A motor vehicle waste disposal well is classified by the waste it receives (fluids from vehicular repair) and NOT by the construction of the shallow disposal system that receives the waste.

Examples of Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells

Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well

 

Generally, motor vehicle waste disposal wells are floor drains or sinks in service bays that are tied into a shallow disposal system. Most commonly, these shallow disposal systems are septic systems or drywells, but any underground system that receives motor vehicle waste would be considered a motor vehicle waste disposal well. A variety of names are used to describe shallow disposal systems including: cesspools, catch basins, sink holes, underground vaults, or drain tanks to name a few.

Where are Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells in Operation?

In general, some of the potentially regulated businesses include:

  • automotive service stations
  • new and used car dealers
  • auto body shops
  • muffler repair shops
  • truck stops
  • boat yards
  • vehicle repair home businesses
  • transmission repair shops
  • car and truck rental agencies
  • light airplane maintenance facilities
  • farm machinery dealers
  • railroad maintenance facilities
How Do I Know If I Have a Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well?

Answer the following questions to determine if you have a motor vehicle waste disposal well and if the new rule applies to you.

Questions If Your Answer is Yes If Your Answer is No
1. Does your facility service motor vehicles?
Examples: cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, powerboats, all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, farm tractors and other machinery, construction machinery, trains, helicopters, jet skis, and other vehicles.
Go to Question 2. You are not affected by the new rule.
Stop here.
2. Does your facility have floor drains or sinks in the vehicle service area? Go to Question 3. You are not affected by the new rule.
Stop here.
3. Are all of your floor drains and sinks connected to a municipal sewer? *(See note below) You are not affected by the new rule. Stop here. Go to Question 4.
4. Are all of your floor drains and sinks connected to a holding tank, and is the waste in the holding tank disposed of off-site? *(See note below) You are not affected by the new rule. Stop here. (However, you may be subject to other State or Federal disposal requirements.) Go to Question 5.
5. Are you discharging all of your motor vehicle service wastewater directly to surface water or onto land? *(See note below) You are not affected by the new rule. Stop here. (However, you may be subject to other State or Federal disposal requirements.) You may be disposing of motor vehicle service wastewater into a shallow disposal system such as a septic system or drywell and thus have a motor vehicle waste disposal well.

*Note:Any building plans showing wastewater flow may reflect the intent of the architect and not necessarily the results of the builder. Also, they probably do not include any renovations since your shop was built. To be sure where your wastewater goes, use dye or smoke tests to help locate the discharge points for your floor drains and sinks. Your local health department or a plumber may be able to help you determine where your drain goes.

Source: EPA: Class V Wells

The 1999 Class V Rule Requirements for Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells?

The following discussion references the Utah Administrative Rules for the UIC Program and various sections of 40 CFR.

Construction of new motor vehicle waste disposal wells was banned nationwide as of April 5, 2000 (See 40CFR (§§) 144.84(b)(2), 144.85(c) and 144.88(b)(2)).

Existing motor vehicle waste disposal wells are banned statewide in Utah (R317-7-6.5(C)) and must be closed.

What are the Closure Requirements for Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells?

In Utah, you must close your MVWD well in a “… manner that prevents the movement of fluid containing any contaminant into an underground sources of drinking water, if the presence of that contaminant may cause a violation of any primary drinking water regulation under 40CFR Part 141 or Utah Public Drinking Water Rules R309-100, or may otherwise adversely affect the health of persons.” (R317-7-6.6(A)) (See also 40 CFR § 144.12).”

In closing your MVWD well, the owner or operator must:

  • Notify the Utah UIC Program of the intent to close the MVWD well at least 30 days prior to closure (R317-7-6.6(C)) (See also 40 CFR § 144.88(a)(1)(ii)). Contact the Utah UIC Program and ask if they want you to fill out a pre-closure notification form, a Utah UIC inventory information form or write a letter.Send this notification at least 30 days before physically closing the MVWD well. Closure may not commence until a letter from the Utah UIC Program, approving the closure plan, is received.
  • Permanently plug or otherwise close the MVWD well in a way that ensures underground sources of drinking water are protected and is approved by the Utah UIC Program (40 CFR §§ 144.89(a) and 146.10(c)(1)).
  • Dispose of or otherwise manage any soil, gravel, sludge, liquids, or other materials removed from or adjacent to the MVWD well according to all applicable Federal, State, and local regulations and requirements (R317-7-6.6(B)) (See also 40 CFR §§ 144.89(a) and 146.10(c)(2)).
What are the Post-Closure Alternatives for Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells?

Following well closure, consider one of the following suggestions for managing motor vehicle service wastewater:

  • The Dry Shop
    Minimize the use of water to clean service bays. Use absorbents and vacuums to pick up spills and drips. Dispose of these materials according to State guidelines and regulations. Place all used vehicle fluids in individual containers for proper off-site management.
  • Holding Tanks
    Store the motor vehicle waste in a service bay wastewater holding tank. The tank can then be periodically pumped out for proper disposal. You may minimize the amount of wastewater that has to be stored by separating out shop wastewater from sanitary and vehicle washing wastewater — and by cutting back on the amount of water used in your shop. It has been estimated that a person generates about 25 gallons of sanitary wastewater per an 8-hour workday. This would add up to about 6,000 gallons of wastewater per year, per person. Separating sanitary wastewater from shop wastewater can lower hauling and management costs.
  • Sanitary Sewer Hookup
    Contact the local sewer authority about the possibility of connecting floor drains to the sewer system. Often, system hook-up may be available even though it was not an option when the service bays were first built. Sewer hookups can be expensive. If connecting to a sanitary sewer will take time to complete, the Utah UIC Program may extend the well closure deadline for up to one year (R317-7-6.5(C)(4)). You are required to obtain special permission from the Utah UIC Program to qualify for this closure deadline extension.
  • Conversion
    In limited cases, a UIC Program may allow you to convert a motor vehicle waste disposal well to another type of Class V well (§144.89(b)). This option requires that all motor vehicle fluids be kept separated from drains using physical barriers and the waste prevented from entering the well. Also, the Utah UIC Program will examine your shop’s compliance history and waste management records to determine whether or not to allow you to convert your motor vehicle waste disposal well.

If your floor drains are connected to your septic system, you are required to clean out the drains and the pipes running to the septic tank, seal them off using cement and have a licensed or certified septic service check the content of your septic tank to see if it needs to be pumped out to get rid of any contaminated sludge. You may be required to sample surrounding soils and ground water to insure there is no contamination. After this is done, the septic system can be used to manage wastewater from bathrooms.

What are the Requirements if I Choose to Keep my Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well Open?

In Utah, you may apply for a waiver from the ban and continue using your well (R317-7-6.5(C)) (See also 40CFR §§144.84(b)(2), 144.87(a) and (c), and 144.88(b)(1)(ii)). To obtain a waiver, you must apply for a Class V UIC operating permit. All Utah Drinking Water Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), Utah Ground Water Quality Standards, and EPA Adult Lifetime Health Advisories must be met at the point of injection while the permit application is under review. (R317-7-6.5(C)(5)) Issuance of a permit will constitute a waiver of the MVWD well ban. Of course, if no waiver is granted, you must close the well.

If the Utah UIC Program grants you a waiver, your operating permit will require that (R317-7-6.5(C)(5))(See also 40CFR §144.88(b)(1)(iv)):

  • Waste fluids must meet Utah Primary Drinking Water Standards (Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs)), Utah Ground Water Quality Standards, and EPA Adult Lifetime Health Advisories at the point of injection (§§ 144.3 and 146.3). This means that shop wastewater, before it is discharged into the ground, must not exceed any Utah Primary Drinking Water Standards (Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs)), Utah Ground Water Quality Standards, and EPA Adult Lifetime Health Advisories. See EPA’s MCL Web page.
  • You must implement best management practices, as outlined in your permit, to minimize the discharge of contaminants into your shop wastewater.(R317-7-6.5(C)(5))
  • You must conduct monitoring to characterize the quality of the injectate (wastewater being discharged into the ground) and sludge, both initially and on an ongoing basis, to ensure continued compliance with MCLs (R317-7-6.5(C)(5)). Your Utah UIC operating permit will include the frequency of monitoring.

If your wastewater does not meet drinking water standards, you have two options:

  • Install new pretreatment equipment. Obtain permission from the Utah UIC Program to extend a compliance deadline if it will take extra time to meet this requirement.
  • Close the well in accordance with the requirements of the Utah UIC Program.

This Web page represents a modification of an EPA Website to reflect Utah UIC Administrative Rules and Requirements.

Contact Candace Cady with questions or comments.