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Automotive Related Business Program Background and Goals

In accordance with requirements of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) TPDES General Permit TXR040000, the City of Grand Prairie has implemented a progressive Storm Water Management Program in order to ensure that stormwater that enters into the waters of the State is minimally impacted by pollutants. It is the responsibility of the Environmental Services Department to oversee the implementation of this Program.

In response to this TCEQ mandate, in 2006, the City of Grand Prairie passed an ordinance to regulate activities at more than 500 automotive businesses in the City through a unique annual inspection program.

The Automotive Related Business Program (ARB) was created to educate users, manage the environmental process, and enforce already existing guidelines for the preservation and improvement of the environment and the city aesthetics.

Any facility whose overall business is repairing, maintaining, painting, salvaging, or selling automobiles or parts is visited annually by representatives of the Environmental Quality and Code Enforcement Divisions. The goal of this program is to ensure that these automotive facilities are in compliance with local, state, and federal environmental regulations.

Code Enforcement has worked to standardize the Certificate of Occupancy approval process and to maintain an accurate listing of the number and type of automotive related businesses within the city.

The AutoWatch newsletter was developed in-house to educate all auto related businesses and property owners; seminars have been held at business sites to educate operators about the ordinance; and enforcement actions have been consistent when educational efforts failed to produce the desired results.

This section is dedicated to educating current auto related business owners and to provide valuable information to those seeking to start an auto related business in the City of Grand Prairie.

Auto-Related Businesses Ordinance


Best Management Practices and Proper Operating Procedures for ARBs

Best management practices (BMP) for the most part are common sense, good housekeeping measures that can be implemented without resulting in excessive effort and cost to the facility operator. BMPs prevent contaminants from entering Grand Prairie's streams, rivers and lakes via the storm sewer system.

Potential Pollutant Sources

There are several activities that could potentially cause the discharge of pollutants to the storm drainage system, including the following:

  • Improper facility maintenance (spill control, outdoor trash bins, litter)
  • Mechanical repair
  • Changing oil and other fluids
  • Cleaning engines and parts, and flushing radiators
  • Storage of used vehicle fluids (used oil, waste antifreeze, used filters and absorbents)

Pollutants of Concern

Some of the pollutants of concern from these facilities are:

  • Heavy metals (copper, lead, nickel, chromium, and zinc)
  • Hydrocarbons (oil and grease)
  • Toxic chemicals (solvents, chlorinated compounds, glycols)
  • Gasoline (e.g. Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE) )
  • Acids and alkalis

Facility Maintenance

  1. Construct berms around the designated work areas inside the shop to prevent runoff and only perform repairs inside. This will prevent spills (e.g. oil, antifreeze, etc.) from contaminating the ground.
  2. Avoid working on dirt floors.
  3. Sweep shop floors often to avoid accumulation of debris inside shop and cut down on the amount of water used to mop. Never discharge mop water down storm drains, gutters, streets, or anywhere outside.
  4. Park vehicles awaiting repairs inside the shop. Use drip pans underneath vehicles to catch leaking fluids. Use absorbents to clean up spilled oil on the floor immediately after the spill occurs. Once absorbed, treat the contaminated absorbent like used oil and
    place in a covered container labeled “USED ABSORBENT.” Call a registered  waste oil hauler to pick it up.
  5. Cover all floor drains so no oil or flammable material may enter it.
  6. Use non-toxic dry methods to clean your parking lot instead of a pressure washer. If you need to pressure wash, you must recapture the wash water in a vacuum and place down a sanitary sewer.
  7. Pick up all litter outside your facility daily. Keep lids on all trash receptacles and
    schedule trash pickups as frequently as necessary.
  8. Send all dirty rags to a laundry service. Never wash oily rags at your home or anywhere without an approved sand/grit or oil/water separator.
  9. Develop and maintain a spill response plan and keep spill cleanup materials readily accessible.
  10. Train all employees on proper BMP and operating procedure implementation. Document all training events (Spill Control, Facility Maintenance, and Storm Water Pollution Prevention) and keep training events in a log book.

Mechanical Repair, Oil Changing, and Dismantling Operations

Car Oil Drain 2

  1. Conduct vehicle repair or maintenance only in designated areas with spill
    containment or control measures available. Never do repairs outside.
  2. When removing or changing vehicle fluids, do so into proper drip pans with
    covers to minimize spills inside your shop. 
  3. Always use a drip pan under vehicles while unclipping hoses, unscrewing filters,
    or removing other parts. Store all drained engines and transmissions inside shop preferably off the floor with a drip pan underneath for secondary containment of residual oil.
  4. Keep workspace and equipment clean to avoid trips and falls, but to also avoid spills of hazardous materials. 
  5. Sweep up metal shavings and recycle what you can. Never store these outside exposed to stormwater.

Parts Washing Operations

  1. Clean vehicle parts without using solvents wherever possible to reduce waste. Non-caustic or water based cleaning agents should be used instead of chlorinated organic solvent degreasers and caustic agents for parts cleaning. Parts Washer
  2. If you have to use a solvent in your parts washer, keep the lid closed at all times unless in immediate use. Avoid running the washer when not in use.
  3. Collect and reuse parts cleaning solvents until no longer possible. When spent, these solvents are hazardous wastes and must be disposed of with a registered waste hauler. Manifests or disposal receipts must be kept for at least three years. 
  4. NEVER rinse parts in the sink or outside. Discharging oil and solvent rinse water into the sanitary sewer is prohibited. 
  5. If rinsing is required, rinse into the parts washer. Allow parts to dry in the closed parts washer as well.

Body Repair and Paint Operations

  1. Conduct all body repairs inside shop with doors closed.
  2. All painting and coating (including primer) must be done in an approved paint booth. You must obtain air authorization from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 
  3. When receiving damaged vehicles, inspect for leaks and use drip pans if
  4. Use dry cleanup methods such as vacuuming or sweeping to clean up dust from wet sanding activities. Allow to dry over night on the shop floor then sweep up dry dust. Liquid from wet sanding cannot be discharged to the storm drainage system.
  5. When sweeping up dust from wet or dry sanding, do not place this dust in the regular trash. It contains flammable materials and must be treated as hazardous waste. Place in a container labeled “Flammable Solids” and dispose of with a permitted hazardous waste hauler. 
  6. Minimize waste paint and thinner by carefully calculating paint needs based on surface area and mix only what you will need for that area. 
  7. Clean spray guns in a self contained gun washer. Recycle this solution until it can no longer be used. 
  8. Collect and dispose of all paint waste, used thinner, and body filler particles in labeled containers with covers through registered hazardous waste haulers and keep trip tickets for three years. 
  9. Use clear water to rinse off customer cars outside. Do not use detergents or other soap to wash cars outside. 
  10. Car washing is only allowed in approved wash bays with a drain leading to an approved sand grit trap that is connected to the sanitary sewer.

New & Used Car Sales Lots

  1. Use clear water to rinse off dust from inventory outside. Do not use
    detergents or other soap to wash cars outside.
  2. Car washing is only allowed in approved wash bays with a drain leading to an approved sand grit trap.
  3. Pressure washers are only allowed if a proper backflow prevention device has been installed on the water line. This device must be inspected by a licensed plumber.
  4. If using a Mobile Power Wash service, all soapy water must be collected and discharged to an approved sand grit trap connected to the sanitary sewer. Never allow soapy water to discharge to the storm drain system.

Waste Storage and Disposal

  1. Label all containers containing waste fluids with contents (e.g. Used Oil), name, and address of generator of waste.
  2. Keep lids on used absorbent, used oil filters, and containers with oily rags.
  3. Do not store open containers outside.
  4. DrumStore all chemicals indoors or under cover to reduce exposure to stormwater.
  5. Provide secondary containment for bulk storage of waste fluids to prevent spilling to the floor or ground outside. Keep tops of storage containers free of all oil pans, filters, and other equipment to prevent accidental spilling or overflow.
  6. Store lead acid batteries inside stacked no more than two high. Place on pallets off the floor and away from areas where accidental crushing could occur.
  7. Keep all chemicals and waste fluids away from sanitary sewer drains to prevent accidental discharge to the system.
  8. Keep storage areas clean and dry. Ensure that walls are not being breached by waste fluids that could cause stormwater contamination.
  9. Never discharge any materials to the sanitary sewer or the storm drain system.