Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells
Informational Brochure for Alaska and Indian Country
Information for Facilities in Idaho, Oregon and Washington
National MVWDW Information
EPA banned the use of motor vehicle waste disposal wells (MVWDW) nationwide, as well as in Alaska and in Indian Country in Region 10, to help protect drinking water resources. If your facility has a motor vehicle waste disposal well, please contact EPA to assess your underground waste disposal activity and to coordinate closure activities as needed.
Why EPA is concerned During vehicle repair and maintenance activities fluids can drip, spill, or otherwise enter the floor drains or sinks in service areas. If the floor drains and/or sinks are connected to a septic system, dry well, log crib, drain tank, or any other type of underground disposal system, waste fluids may be entering your drinking water.
What is underground injection? Generally speaking, injection is any process that disposes of fluids underground. Injection wells are used to dispose of a variety of fluids underground. Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells are injection wells that receive, or have ever received, waste fluids from motor vehicles.
On this page:
Please note: Motor vehicle waste disposal wells are categorized by the type of waste received, not by the construction or shape of the well.
Click to enlarge
Examples of fluids that should NOT be disposed of into injection wells
Businesses that commonly handle these fluids
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Gasoline/Diesel/Aviation fuel
- Transmission fluid
- Hydraulic fluid
- Part cleaning solvents
- Power steering fluid
- Auto service stations
- Auto body shops
- Muffler / Transmission repair shops
- New and used car dealerships
- Airplane maintenance facilities
- Home based vehicle repair businesses
- Railroad maintenance facilities
- Boat maintenance facilities
Top of page
How to tell if you may have a Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well
Answer the following questions as a self check guide
|1. Does your facility handle motor vehicle waste fluids? |
If YES go to question 2
If NO stop here
|2. Does your facility have floor drains or sinks where these fluids are handled?|
If YES go to question 3
If NO stop here
|3. Are all of your floor drains and sinks connected to a municipal sewer or a holding tank where waste is pumped out regularly and taken off-site? |
If YES stop here. You are
probably not subject to underground
injection requirements *
If NO you may be disposing of your
waste fluids into a Motor Vehicle
Waste Disposal Well
For more information on how to tell if you are operating a Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well use EPA Region 9’s Self Evaluation Checklist (PDF) (4pp., 390K).
* You may still be subject to other local, state, and federal regulations
Top of page
What should you do if you have a Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well?
Due to the risk to human health your injection well should be permanently closed in a way that will not cause further contamination. Contact EPA to further assess your injection activity and to coordinate pre- and post-closure activities as needed.
Well Closure Guidelines
The following actions are likely to meet closure requirements for motor vehicle waste disposal wells. Please contact EPA for review prior to initiating the closure activities.
Guidance for Underground Injection Control Class V Well Closures (PDF) (2pp., 17K)
Class V Well Pre-Closure Notification Form (PDF) (2pp., 20KB)
Top of page
Proper waste fluid disposal options You can protect your drinking water and show your community and customers that you care about their health when you follow practices such as:
Sample Signs to hang by sinks:
Downloadable "Handwashing Only" Sign (PDF) (1pp, 23K)
Downloadable "This Drain is for Wash Water Only" Sign (PDF) (1pp, 31K)
For more info on proper waste fluid disposal options visit:
Run a Dry Shop:
Connect floor drains to a holding tank:
- Install drip pans and trays wherever fluids are transferred
- Use vacuums and absorbents to clean up spills and drips to minimize the use of water when cleaning service areas
- Install physical barriers preventing the waste fluids from entering the floor drains
- Keep waste fluids separate (some can be recycled for profit if they are not mixed)
- Schedule regular pump-outs using licensed and certified haulers
- Ensure your holding tank meets federal, state, and local regulations
- Monitor for leaks and drips regularly
- Educate your staff about public health consequences of improper waste disposal
- Update shop policies on proper waste fluid handling
- Post signs near sinks reminding workers not to dispose of motor vehicle waste down the sink drains
Top of page
FAQ's - Frequently asked questions about Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells
Q: What is a motor vehicle waste disposal well?
Jennifer Parker (Parker.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Anne Christopher (Christopher.Anne@epa.gov)
Or call toll-free 1-800-424-4372
1200 Sixth Ave
Suite 900, OCE-082
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 553-0151 (fax)
Q: How do I know if I have a motor vehicle waste disposal well?
Q: Do I have to register my floor drain?
Q: I have a floor drain, but I never use it. Am I required to provide inventory information?
Q: What if I need to keep my floor drain open for snow melt?
A: In some cases floor drains can remain open. EPA is likely to approve continued use of the floor drain for disposal of snow melt only if sampling confirms that chemical contamination is cleaned out and you provide evidence that the motor vehicle waste fluid discharge has permanently ended. Other options include connecting the floor drains to a holding tank (a holding tank must not have an overflow or other holes or pipes that could discharge underground) or a municipal sanitary sewer system (you may be subject to local, state, and federal regulations).
Q: What if the sanitary waste (bathroom) goes to the public sewer system, but the floor drains in the garage or maintenance/...
Q: I have an oil/water separator that the waste water from my vehicle maintenance facility runs through before it goes into ...
Q: Why do I have to close my motor vehicle waste disposal well?
Q: What gives EPA the right to require I close my motor vehicle waste disposal well?
Q: I already closed my Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well, what do I have to do?
A: You are required to notify EPA 30 days prior to the planned closure activities. However, if you have already closed your well, you still need to notify EPA about the well closure. You should fill out and sign the Pre-Closure Notification Form and send it to EPA. Cross out the "Pre-" on the top of the form, check all the boxes that apply, and include the date the disposal well was closed (instead of the proposed date of well closure). You should include some proof with the information you send to EPA. Examples of this proof could be: before & after pictures, receipts for closure supplies (such as cement) or for work done (for example, holding tank installation), copies of confirmatory sampling results.
Q: What if I only lease this facility/space?
Q: What if I have more than one facility?
Top of page
To learn more about EPA’s requirements contact: