Washouts: Who needs ‘em?

Florida is known for its unpredictable storms. Outdoor activities, like construction, can contribute to pollutants getting in to our conveyance systems. Construction involving homebuilding and commercial construction produce liquid and solid waste from both interior and exterior activities. These wastes can contain concrete, sediment, and stucco.


Painting the exterior is one of the later steps of vertical construction. Paints contain products that give off volatile organic compounds such as toluene, ethyl acetate and formaldehyde. Containing this waste to prevent runoff in to our conveyance systems can be tough. With subcontractor education, environmental consultation, install and maintenance of BMPs, liquid wastes like paint can be contained.


Paint is not the only liquid waste that we should be worried about, however. Keep in mind that sites should also have washouts for other manner of liquid waste. Concrete washouts, for example, are found on most sites and usually remain for the duration of construction activity. Sometimes these areas can be simply a large metal washout bin that looks like a dumpster, or it might be a sectioned off pit area lined with an impervious layer. Regardless of which type of washout area you choose, do not forget to keep your perimeter covered with silt fence or a raised berm to prevent liquid waste from washing out of the confined area.

Wet construction materials like paint and concrete need to be appropriately contained to prevent toxic runoff from leaching into the surrounding soils and, ultimately, into our waterways. This also applies to things as simple as buckets, bins, or machinery that may contain these types of liquids. These items should be placed on some type of impervious layer, such as a plywood board or a plastic sheet, which acts as a secondary containment mechanism.

Here are examples of easy washouts you can install on your sites:

  1. Bermed area with plastic liner and anchor bags
  2. Vinyl container
  3. Heavy duty box lined with thick plastic bag
  4. Specialized metal container
  5. Kiddie Pool


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