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Water: Transportation Equipment Cleaning

Effluent Guidelines: Transportation Equipment Cleaning

examples of Transportation equipment cleaners

The Transportation Equipment Cleaning effluent guidelines (40 CFR 442) were promulgated in 2000. The regulation covers the interior cleaning of tank containers on trucks, rail cars, barges and ships. EPA estimates there are approximately 2,400 facilities performing these cleaning operations and discharging directly to surface waters or indirectly through publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). The TEC effluent guidelines are incorporated into NPDES permits for direct dischargers or permits or other control mechanisms for indirect dischargers (see Pretreatment Program).


What is Transportation Equipment Cleaning?

Transportation Equipment Cleaning is the cleaning of the interiors of:

  • tank trucks
  • rail tank cars
  • intermodal tank containers (containers with over 3,000 liter capacity)
  • tank barges
  • closed-top hopper barges, and
  • ocean/sea tankers used to transport materials or cargos that come into direct contact with the tank or container interior.

Facilities Covered

The TEC regulation applies to facilities organized into four subcategories:

  1. Subpart A: Tank Trucks and Intermodal Tank Containers Transporting Chemical and Petroleum Cargos
  2. Subpart B: Rail Tank Cars Transporting Chemical and Petroleum Cargos
  3. Subpart C: Tank Barges and Ocean/Sea Tankers Transporting Chemical and Petroleum Cargos
  4. Subpart D: Tanks Transporting Food Grade Cargos (direct discharging facilities only)

These activities are included within the following U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) groups:

  • SIC 4491, Marine Cargo Handling
  • SIC 4741, Railroad Car Cleaning
  • SIC 7699, Repair Shops and Related Services

The TEC rule excludes:

  • Facilities that do not clean the interiors of tanks.
  • Facilities that clean tank interiors solely for the purposes of repair and maintenance. These facilities may be subject to the Metal Products & Machinery (MP&M) rule (40 CFR Part 438)
  • Wastewaters associated with tank cleanings operated in conjunction with other industrial, commercial, or POTW operations, provided that the cleaning is limited to tanks that previously contained raw materials, byproducts, or finished products that are associated with the facility’s on-site processes.
  • Facilities that discharge less than 100,000 gallons per year of TEC process wastewater (only wastewater generated from a regulated TEC subcategory).
  • Wastewater generated from cleaning the interiors of drums, intermediate bulk containers (portable containers, also called “totes,” with 450 to 3,000 liter capacity), or closed-top hoppers.

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Final Rule

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The regulation is published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR Part 442: Transportation Equipment Cleaning. The TEC rule was promulgated on August 14, 2000 and a typographical correction was published on February 1, 2005.

Guidance and Background Documents

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Contact Information

Please contact our subject matter expert if you have any questions or comments.


Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Proposed Rule and Support Documents

For additional information regarding TEC effluent guidelines, please contact our subject matter expert.

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