Paint Sludge Removal and Disposal

Whether you manufacture parts, components or finished products, you probably apply a surface coating to the products.  Eventually, you’ll need to safely remove and dispose of the paint sludge that has built up in your paint booth or manufacturing operation.

Truck cab with 4 paint surface coatings

“Paint is a surface coating our clients apply to protect against corrosion” shares Jim Brushwood, AWS Results Advisor. “And depending on the paint system, our clients might need frequent paint sludge removal.” (Photo courtesy of Jan Kubík / Wikimedia Commons)

The most widely used surface coating is paint.  Your clients might request paint as a corrosion protection, a decoration or as equipment identification. Maybe you use a solvent based paint or water based paint. Or perhaps you have a powder-coating process.

Regardless of your process you’ll likely have these 3 challenges to overcome:

  • First – Is your paint sludge or paint waste hazardous or non-hazardous?
  • Second – What disposal or recycling options are available that align with your sustainability goals?
  • Third – Who is an experienced, environmental company that can help you profile your paint waste, vacuum pump your e-coat tank, remove your paint sludge, jet your paint lines, clean your paint guns and safely dispose or recycle your paint waste?
"If the paint waste is non-hazardous and in totes, it's very easy of us to bulk up the waste for Waste to Energy," shares Oscar  Northern, AWS Driver.

“If the paint waste is non-hazardous and already stored in totes, it’s very easy of us to bulk up the waste for off-site disposal or recycling,” shares Oscar Northern, AWS Driver.

Is your paint waste hazardous or non-hazardous?

Depending on your paint application process your paint sludge could be hazardous or non-hazardous.  Even if your paint waste isn’t a listed waste, you still might have hazardous paint sludge.  If your paint waste meets any of the hazardous characteristics for flammability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity your paint sludge is hazardous.

Testing paint

“Many companies are switching to water-based paints to avoid VOCs and hazardous paint waste,” shares Bill Fowler, AWS Sr. Lab Manager.  “It also provides them the option for Waste to Energy when the paint waste is non-hazardous.”

Recycling options for paint sludge

Hazardous paint waste and paint sludge is commonly recycled in fuel blending and cement kilns.  If your paint waste is hazardous, it likely has a BTU value ideal for fuel blending, offsetting the use of fossil fuels to generate energy.

Flames burning in fuel blending kiln

“We can help clients recycle their hazardous paint waste by fuel blending,” shares Jaymes Barrera, AWS Indiana Results Advisor. (Photo by Nigel Howe from Sydney, Australia)

If your paint waste is non-hazardous, you might already be sending the waste to the landfill.  What you might not know is that Waste to Energy facilities have been recycling non-hazardous paint waste and paint sludge into electricity and steam, helping to power cities.

Paint waste

“If your company’s sustainability goals are focused on zero landfill, Waste to Energy is a perfect opportunity to get out of the landfill and Re-Invent your sustainability story,” shares Kristin Harders, AWS client specialist.

Finding an environmental company experienced with paint waste projects

When you decide to shut down production to have your e-coat tank or paint booth cleaned, your paint lines jetted or your paint guns cleaned – you’ll be on a tight deadline to get operations up again.  If you miss your deadline, you might not meet your customers’ delivery expectations or worse, you might breach customer contracts.

"If the hose becomes restricted, we are not shutting the project down," shares Tom Wendler. "We'll replace the hose and continue water blasting the paint sludge."

“This gauge will show your operating PSI,” shares Tom Wendler. “If the paint sludge removal requires it, we’ll have the ability to water blast up to 15,000 PSI.”

Because we’ve been helping manufacturing clients perform paint waste removal projects during planned and unplanned production shutdown, we know how important it is to get your project done safely and within your timeline.

It’s likely you’ll need a high pressured water blaster if the paint waste isn’t pumpable.  You’ll also need a high-powered vacuum truck and an experienced crew to operate and finish within the scheduled time.

"Simple things like not operating the blower on a vacuum truck within the correct RPM range can shut a project down immediately," shares Harry Ledsome. "You can't meet a client's paint waste removal deadline if your vacuum truck breaks."

“Simple things like not operating the blower on a vacuum truck within the correct RPM range can shut a project down immediately,” shares Harry Ledsome, AWS Industrial Services team member. “You can’t meet a client’s paint waste removal deadline if your vacuum truck breaks.”

If your project requires confined space entry, you can rest assured that Advanced Waste Services can help you. We’ve performed over 2500 confined space entry cleaning projects and are certified to teach CSE and rescue training.

But before the project even begins we’ll help you characterize your paint waste (hazardous or non-hazardous), complete your project scope, confirm disposal or recycling options and provide you with requested credentials to perform work within your facilities.

To learn more about Advanced Waste Services paint sludge removal and disposal visit our website or call us at 800-842-9792.

Advanced Waste Services | 800-842-9792


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