Protecting against stormwater runoff through roll-off advancements
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Protecting against stormwater runoff through roll-off advancements

Container manufacturers and users must work in conjunction to prevent harmful runoff from roll-offs.

September 14, 2021

Stormwater runoff is the No. 1 cause of stream impairment in urban areas. Excess deposits from roll-on and roll-off containers are significant contributors to the large volumes of water that end up in local streams, lakes, wetlands and rivers. This stormwater runoff can cause flooding and erosion and wash away critical habitats for organisms in local waterways.

To help protect the environment, container manufacturers must adhere to standards from various entities, such as the Department of Transportation and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. These requirements allow companies and municipalities to control how they prevent stormwater runoff. As long as the end product prevents stormwater run-off, the container remains compliant.

Why it matters

The waste industry needs due diligence to prevent stormwater runoff and protect natural resources, and it must take steps to cut dumpster water pollution that results in stormwater runoff. The real work begins with the container itself. Companies have the opportunity to be innovative with product development.

Additionally, customers can employ simple concepts, such as keeping the lid closed to prevent rain entry, positioning dumpsters away from storm drain inlets, avoiding the disposal of liquids in a dumpster, and replacing the unit when it begins to rust or crack to help prevent these issues.

Product development

Although there are steps to take to reduce the risk of contamination, the responsibility begins with the container provider’s design and engineering.

As companies launch corporate responsibility programs, developing new products to meet compliance best practices is critical.

By creating products and a standard of behavior that shows respect for the environment, container manufacturing companies can support the economy by sourcing responsibly, reducing carbon footprints, and developing more products with environmental benefits.

City and state governments also hold control to dictate product designs. Many municipalities in the Northwest, for example, don’t allow containers with inside drains. As an industry, this type of oversite continues to be a popular trend, expanding to other areas of the country, as well.

Roll-off container manufacturers adhere to local constraints during the design process and specialize in adjusting the engineering to provide a final product that suits both the client’s needs and adheres to local regulations.

Preparation and testing

When a container arrives, the customer expects it to do its job. Protection against environmental damage is part of that expectation. Containers are designed, constructed and tested in manufacturing to ensure they meet guidelines such as Carboline Protective Coatings recommendations and DOT specifications. Companies follow stringent guidelines to ensure roll-off containers position their customers to protect the environment.

Testing occurs during product development. Interior tank surfaces are inspected before coating. Engineers remove all blisters, weld splatter, sharp projections, slivers and pits. Decontamination should combine rounding, grinding, and high-pressure washing with sand injection.

After the preliminary inspection, surface preparation begins. All oil and grease should be removed from surfaces so they can be coated with a safety solvent before abrasive blasting. Additionally, manufacturers must consider the type of air compressor used to coat the exterior of the container to the anchor pattern’s depth to the tooth in the metal.

After the coating application and curing of the container, final testing begins. Before an order leaves the warehouse, containers are water tested to ensure they are liquid-tight and sift-proof.*

Meeting regulatory requirements is not just about proving compliance, it is about the owner and operator’s responsibility to protect the environment. Stormwater runoff wreaks havoc on water sources, and chemical contaminants have the potential to harm both humans and wildlife.

Beginning with a container that works to prevent stormwater runoff and insisting on ongoing maintenance and timely replacement, container users can adequately do their part to keep our waters clean and protect our planet.

*DOT terminology requires both a "sift-proof non-DOT specification cargo tank and portable tank" (173.240.b, 173.240.c) and a "non-DOT specification cargo tank and portable tank suitable for transport of liquids" (173.241.b, 173.241.c).

Brett Withers is an engineering manager at Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wastequip.