This is the equipment wash bay at Star Rentals, an equipment rental business in Ferndale, Washington. When staff pressure wash muddy machinery in this wash bay, soil and other solids wash into a catch basin in the middle of this three-sided building. When the solids fill the catch basin, they are shoveled into a 55-gallon drum. Then, a waste hauling company picks up the drum, and disposes the solids appropriately.
From the first catch basin, water is piped into the three chambered filtering system, pictured here. This is a coalescing oil/water separator. In the first chamber, any heavy grit and solids remaining in the water settle out. In the second chamber, oil gets absorbed onto a plastic filter, and in the third chamber, the filtered water collects and flows to the City of Ferndale sewage treatment plant, where it is treated and discharged, in accordance with the City of Ferndale’s wastewater treatment permit.
Every six weeks, a company called Thermal Fluids comes to install new filters in the separator, haul away the 55-gallon drums of solids, and all the used oil and antifreeze generated at this business, for re-use or recycling.
There are a lot of businesses that are located in close proximity to Silver Creek, in the industrial area along Slater Road, in Ferndale. The stormwater from all these places eventually drains into Silver Creek, and into the Nooksack River. The businesses here include, but are not limited to solid waste transfer stations, a bus company, a rendering facility, woodchips stockpiling, a sheet metal manufacturing company, a plumbing supply warehouse, and others. What do these places do to protect water quality? Is there stormwater clean? I have no idea, but I hope they’re are careful as Star Rentals is.
The steps that Star Rentals is taking to protect water quality are important because all stormwater from this area drains to Silver Creek. According to the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, Silver Creek supports coho and chum salmon, and spawning and rearing habitat steelhead and cutthroat trout.