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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Pollution Prevention 101: Auto Salvage

Resources for pollution prevention (P2) technical assistance providers. Geared particularly toward those new to the P2 field.

Regulations and compliance

The primary regulatory issues at auto salvage yards are:

  • Fluid storage
  • Waste fluid storage
  • Storage tanks--above ground and under ground
  • Fugitive air emissions--evaporating fuel, refrigerants
  • Contaminated stormwater
  • Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) recovery licensure and training
  • Improper disposal
  • Tire storage and disposal

The most important regulatory issue for salvage yards is fluid management practices that contaminate stormwater. Other environmental issues such as air emissions are less significant in terms of scope and impact. If oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, windshield wiper solvent, and other fluids are improperly removed or not removed at all from the vehicle before storing, they can leak from the deteriorating vehicles and spill out onto the ground and contaminate the water and soil. 

The following are regulations that commonly apply to salvage operations. Each business practice varies and not all regulations may apply. The owner/operator is responsible for complying with all applicable requirements of the federal, state, and local government environmental laws.

Federal regulations

Regulatory information from U.S. EPA

Direct links to the Code of Federal Regulations