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Effluent Guidelines

Transportation Equipment Cleaning Effluent Guidelines

Photo of TEC facilitiesThe Transportation Equipment Cleaning (TEC) Effluent Guidelines and Standards (40 CFR Part 442) were promulgated in 2000. The regulations cover the interior cleaning of tank containers on trucks, rail cars, barges and ships. There are about 2,400 facilities performing these cleaning operations and discharging directly to surface waters or indirectly through publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).
The TEC Effluent Guidelines are incorporated into NPDES permits for direct dischargers, and through permits or other control mechanisms for indirect dischargers (see Pretreatment Program).
On this page:

What is Transportation Equipment Cleaning?

Transportation Equipment Cleaning is the cleaning of the interiors of:
  • tank trucks
  • rail tank cars
  • intermodal tank containers (containers with over 3,000 liter capacity)
  • tank barges
  • closed-top hopper barges, and
  • ocean/sea tankers used to transport materials or cargos that come into direct contact with the tank or container interior

Facilities Covered

The TEC regulation applies to facilities organized into four subcategories:
  1. Tank Trucks and Intermodal Tank Containers Transporting Chemical and Petroleum Cargos
  2. Rail Tank Cars Transporting Chemical and Petroleum Cargos
  3. Tank Barges and Ocean/Sea Tankers Transporting Chemical and Petroleum Cargos
  4. Tanks Transporting Food Grade Cargos (direct discharging facilities only)
These activities are included within the following U.S. SIC groups:
  • 4491, Marine Cargo Handling
  • 4741, Railroad Car Cleaning
  • 7699, Repair Shops and Related Services
The TEC rule excludes:
  • Facilities that do not clean the interiors of tanks
  • Facilities that clean tank interiors solely for the purposes of repair and maintenance; these facilities may be subject to the Metal Products & Machinery (MP&M) Effluent Guidelines (40 CFR Part 438)
  • Wastewaters associated with tank cleanings operated in conjunction with other industrial, commercial, or POTW operations, provided that the cleaning is limited to tanks that previously contained raw materials, byproducts, or finished products that are associated with the facility’s on-site processes
  • Facilities that discharge less than 100,000 gallons per year of TEC process wastewater (only wastewater generated from a regulated TEC subcategory)
  • Wastewater generated from cleaning the interiors of drums, intermediate bulk containers (portable containers, also called “totes,” with 450 to 3,000 liter capacity), or closed-top hoppers

Wastestreams Covered

  • All contact washwaters which have come into direct contact with the tank or container interior including pre-rinse cleaning solutions, chemical cleaning solutions, and final rinse solutions
  • Wastewater generated from washing vehicle exteriors, equipment and floor washings, and TEC-contaminated wastewater

Rule History

2000 Rule

  • Correction Notice (February 1, 2005)
  • Final Rule (August 14, 2000)
    • Support documents, including:
      • Fact sheet
      • Development Document
        Describes industry processes, pollutants generated, available control & treatment technologies, the technical basis for the final rule, and costs of the rule
      • Economic Analysis
      • Permit Guidance Document (2001)
        Guidance for permit and pretreatment control authorities in issuing NPDES and POTW permits and individual control mechanisms to TEC facilities
  • Notice of Data Availability (July 20, 1999)
  • Proposed Rule (June 25, 1998)

Additional Resources

For additional information regarding TEC Effluent Guidelines, please contact Jesse Pritts ( or 202-566-1038.

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