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Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance and Repair

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Day-to-day maintenance and repair activities keep farm machinery and vehicles safe and reliable. Maintenance activities include oil and filter changes, battery replacement, and repairs including light metal machining.

Potential wastes generated as a result of farm machinery and vehicle maintenance and repair activities can include used oil, spent fluids, spent batteries, asbestos brake pads and linings, metal machining wastes, spent organic solvents, and tires. These wastes have the potential to be released to the environment if not handled properly, stored in secure areas with secondary containment, and/or protected from exposure to weather. If released to the environment, the impact of these releases can be contamination of surface waters, groundwater, and soils, as well as toxic releases to the air.

Related publications from the Ag Center
Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance and Repair
Ag Sector Profiles (Sector Notebooks)

Telephone assistance from EPA
RCRA Hotline at 800 424-9346 or TDD 800 553-7672

More information from EPA
Clean Agriculture USA: Clean Agriculture USA, part of the National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC), is an incentive-based, innovative program designed to help reduce diesel emissions from existing diesel engines and nonroad agricultural equipment. Nonroad diesel engines can contribute significantly to the levels of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the air. In recent years, EPA has set emission standards for engines used in most new agricultural equipment. However, since such equipment can last 25 to 30 years or more, it could take many years before existing equipment is replaced with newer, cleaner equipment. Because EPA's regulations only apply to newly manufactured diesel engines, EPA developed the Clean Agriculture USA program to help farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses reduce emissions from older engines that are in operation today.


Used Oil

The impact of oil changes can be minimized by preventing releases of used oil to the environment, and recycling or reusing used oil whenever possible.  Spills can be prevented by using containment around used oil containers, keeping floor drains closed when oil is being drained, and by training employees on spill prevention techniques.  Oil that is contained rather than released can be recycled, thus saving money, and protecting the environment.

Related publications from the Ag Center
Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance and Repair
Ag Sector Profiles (Sector Notebooks)

Related environmental requirements
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 261 (Hazardous Waste)
40 CFR Part 262 (Hazardous Waste)
40 CFR Part 279.20 -- Used Oil
Toxic Substance Control Act (Section 6) Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 61, subpart M -- Asbestos Brakes

More information from EPA
Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG) Program
Used Oil Management Program

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Spent Fluids

Farm machinery and vehicles require regular changing of fluids, including oil, coolant, and others.  To minimize releases to the environment, these fluids should be drained and replaced in areas where there are no connections to storm drains or municipal sewers.  Minor spills should be cleaned prior to reaching drains.  Used fluid should be collected and stored in separate containers.  Fluids can often be recycled. 

During the process of engine maintenance, spills of fluids are likely to occur.  The "dry shop" principle encourages spills to be cleaned immediately so that spilled fluid will not evaporate to air, be transported to soil, or be discharged to waterways or sewers.  The following techniques help prevent and minimize the impacts of spills:

Related publications from the Ag Center
Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance and Repair
Ag Sector Profiles (Sector Notebooks)

Related environmental requirements
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 261 (Hazardous Waste)
40 CFR Part 262 (Hazardous Waste)
40 CFR Part 279.20 -- Used Oil
Toxic Substance Control Act (Section 6) Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 61, subpart M -- Asbestos Brakes

More information from EPA
Antifreeze
Industrial Materials Recycling

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Batteries

Farm operators have three options for managing used batteries: recycling through a supplier, recycling directly through a battery reclamation facility, or direct disposal.  Most suppliers now accept spent batteries at the time of new battery purchase.  While some waste batteries must be handled as hazardous waste, lead acid batteries are not considered hazardous waste as long as they are recycled.  In general, recycling batteries may reduce the amount of hazardous waste stored at a farm, and thus reduce the farm's responsibilities under RCRA.

The following best management practices are recommended to prevent used batteries from impacting the environment prior to disposal:

Related publications from the Ag Center
Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance and Repair
Ag Sector Profiles (Sector Notebooks)

Related environmental requirements
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 261 (Hazardous Waste)
40 CFR Part 262 (Hazardous Waste)
Toxic Substance Control Act (Section 6) Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 273 -- Universal Waste (Batteries) Exit EPA

More information from EPA
Batteries

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Machine Shop Wastes

The major hazardous wastes from metal machining are waste cutting oils, spent machine coolant, and degreasing solvents.  Scrap metal can also be a component of hazardous waste produced at a machine shop.  Material substitution and recycling are the two best means to reduce the volume of these wastes.

The preferred method of reducing the amount of waste cutting oils and degreasing solvents is to substitute with water-soluble cutting oils.  If non-water-soluble oils must be used, recycling waste cutting oil reduces the potential environmental impact.  Machine coolant can be recycled, either by an outside recycler, or through a number of in-house systems.  Coolant recycling is most easily implemented when a standardized type of coolant is used throughout the shop.  Reuse and recycling of solvents also is easily achieved, although it is generally done by a permitted recycler. 

Most shops collect scrap metals from machining operations and sell these to metal recyclers.  Metal chips that have been removed from the coolant by filtration can be included in the scrap metal collection.  Wastes should be carefully segregated to facilitate reuse and recycling.

Related publications from the Ag Center
Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance and Repair
Ag Sector Profiles (Sector Notebooks)

Related environmental requirements
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 261 (Hazardous Waste)
40 CFR Part 262 (Hazardous Waste)
40 CFR Part 279.20 -- Used Oil
Toxic Substance Control Act (Section 6) Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 61, subpart M -- Asbestos Brakes

More information from EPA
Auto Repair and Fleet Maintenance Pollution Prevention
Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells (MVWDW)

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