Coolants (including radiator fluid) contain different types of glycol and other chemical compounds such as rust inhibitors, pH buffers and anti-foaming agents. Some of these chemical compounds can contain heavy metals such as lead and copper.
If released to the environment:
- The heavy metals in coolants can cause significant contamination of soils, groundwater and other water bodies.
- Glycols present in coolant will use an excessive amount of readily available oxygen in soil and water for their biodegradation process and this will reduce the oxygen available for plants and animals.
Store all coolant liquids collected from the vehicles in good quality containers in a secondary containment area (bunded) area, preferably under a roof, or on spill containment pallets or other self-bunded storage units. If a roof is not provided, the containers should be enclosed to ensure that rainwater is not able to get in. Collect and treat coolant separately from other liquid waste.
Transport, recycling and disposal of coolant
Contact your local water authority, regarding the ability to dispose of coolant into the sewer. If you do not have a trade waste agreement with the local water authority, then contact an appropriately permitted transporter to arrange collection, transport and disposal of the collected coolant. Coolants should never be allowed to enter stormwater systems, any other water body or dumped on the ground.
Do not allow wastewater containing coolant from parts washing areas to drain into triple interceptor traps. These units are equipped only to separate oil from water and will not remove heavy metals and other chemical compounds from water.