Greenkeeping Washdown Area
Effluent and run-off from vehicle washing and cleaning activities can:
- Damage the environment
- Pollute rivers, streams, burns and groundwater
Regular cleaning of maintenance equipment is essential to ensure the long life of expensive equipment. In addition, chemical sprayers require washing and flushing out after applying pesticides and fungicides.
The wash-off water potentially contains a range of serious contaminants including:
- Fungicides, etc.
Dirty water or run-off from vehicle washing and cleaning carried out as a business or business activity is called trade effluent. Whether cleaning just one vehicle or responsible for a number of vehicles, employers must arrange for collection and disposal of effluent to prevent pollution.
It is illegal to discharge trade effluent to the environment or into drains without permission of the local water company/authority.
The initial step in ascertaining what is needed to do to stop any potential pollution is to find out the type of drainage systems and get a drainage plan. Understanding the drainage system is the key to preventing pollution.
Most areas have what is known as a separate drainage system where there are two types of drain:
- Surface water or clean water drains. These should only carry uncontaminated rainwater. They can lead directly to ditches, streams, burns, rivers and soakaways. Roof water, car park, road and some yard drainage is usually connected to the surface water drainage system.
- Foul water drains which carry contaminated water (sewage and/or trade effluent) safely to a sewage treatment facility. This is either owned privately or by the local sewage treatment provider. Any system designed to carry foul water is called a foul water drainage system.
Techniques called “Sustainable Drainage Systems” (SUDS) are now used as a better way of dealing with surface water run-off rather than using piped outfalls to rivers, streams or burns.
In Scotland, the use of SUDS is a legal requirement for surface water disposal. These systems must be protected from contamination in the same way as piped surface water drainage systems.
To prevent pollution, do not allow washing or cleaning effluent, runoff or cleaning chemicals to enter oil separators, drains or gullies connected to the surface water drainage system.
There needs to be a good, up-to-date drainage plan of the whole site. This should include areas where vehicle washing and cleaning will take place.
If the golf club does not have a plan, there is no guarantee that the drainage is connected to the right system. If there is no in-house expertise to do this, use a reputable drainage consultant or consulting engineering company.
General Requirements for Vehicle Washing and Cleaning Activities
Activities that produce run-off from the vehicle onto the ground and use cleaning and valeting products should be carried out in areas that are clearly marked and isolated from surface water drainage systems, unmade ground and porous surfaces.
These areas are called designated washing bays.
A designated washing bay should be designed so that run-off is:
- Isolated using channels, gullies, gradient (fall on the surface) and kerbs.
- Directed to a silt trap or settlement tank to remove larger particles of silt and sediment.
- Either collected in a sealed system for reuse, discharged to the public foul sewer with prior permission of the local sewer provider or collected in a sealed system for authorised disposal.
A golf club should also:
- Have procedures for everyone, including any potential contractors, that cover where and how vehicle washing and cleaning should be carried out and what to do in a spillage emergency.
- Consider whether a fence or barrier is required to prevent spray or wind drift out of the designated area.
- Have procedures and equipment which minimises water use and solid waste production.
Typical Examples of purpose built washdown pads include:
- A reedbed system.
- A Waste 2 Water system.
Please note that for a washdown pad to be compliant it does not require to be one of the above purpose built systems but does need to meet the requirements mentioned in the designated washing bays paragraph.
The main requirements of managing a Greenkeeping wash-down area are:
- Completion of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
- Providing information, instruction and training to staff.
- To protect staff, members and visitors from exposure to any hazardous materials.
- Having a suitable hard standing washdown area.
- Ensuring that waste water is either recycled, treated or disposed of by an approved waste contractor.
Questions to Consider
- Is machinery being washed on a bunded washpad?
- Are all staff trained on the safe usage of hazardous substances being used?
- Are RCD's being used where pressure washers are being used?
- Are you aware of pollutant legal limits of the materials you are using?
- Do you have a permit in place allowing to carry out your discharge practices?
- Have you considered a reedbed system to recycle your waste water?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.