What you need to know about concrete washout waste
What is concrete washout?
After concrete is poured on a construction site, it’s important to wash out and clean machinery and equipment. Water is flushed through pump truck hoppers and ready-mix truck chutes to remove concrete residue. As the water mixes with concrete, concrete washout waste, or slurry is created. This contains toxic metals which are harmful to people and the environmental if they are disposed of improperly.
Never dump or leave of unused wet concrete on bare ground to set – concrete washout bags exist for this very reason. We’ll cover more about concrete washout bags after answering the important question…
Is concrete washout waste hazardous?
Yes, concrete washout waste is caustic and corrosive. It contains high levels of toxic metals such as chromium, lead and mercury. It is also highly alkaline with a pH level of approximately 12. All of these factors make it harmful to humans, wildlife and the environment.
When washout waste makes contact with the ground, it changes the chemistry of the soil, hindering plant growth and leaching into groundwater. Generally this occurs when waste is disposed of incorrectly, or if rain causes washout containers to overflow before the concrete has fully set.
Washout waste can also run off construction sites into stormwater systems, resulting in clogged drainpipes, flooding and contaminating waterways. This contamination causes harm to marine wildlife in rivers and lakes.
Construction workers are also at risk of skin and eye irritation from concrete dust and washout. It’s essential to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment such as waterproof safety gloves and safety eyewear. Craig Copping (pictured) is a concreter who swears by the Razorshield GFF777 safety gloves, describing them as “the best tool in my toolbox”. Read more in our article the Power of Glove.
Effectively managing concrete washout waste
One of easiest and most effective ways to manage waste is to use a Concrete Washout Bag. These heavy duty bags are specially designed to capture and contain concrete washout, and have safe working load ratings of up to 3000kg. Place bags under the concrete truck chutes and hoppers during washout. Once set, bags can be transported via forklift and concrete can be recycled or reused to;
- Crushed and reused as an aggregate for a road base;
- used as fill on a construction site;
- for retaining wall blocks;
- car park blocks
Concrete Washout Stations
As part of construction site pollution prevention, it’s best practice to designate a concrete washout station on the site to wash down equipment and contain concrete washout waste in a sealed, bunded area. Effective retention makes it easier to dispose or reuse washout waste.
When determining a concrete washout station location for your worksite, it’s important to consider:
- Ease of access for concrete trucks (i.e. near where the concrete gets poured).
- Proximity to storm drains and water sources.
- How waste will be collected and stored.
- Site size and pouring capability (i.e. larger sites can warrant multiple stations for ease of access).
- Where the waste is to be taken and treated or disposed of.
Inspect the washout station daily, particularly after heavy rain to ensure there are no leaks or damage to your equipment. The washout area should not exceed 80% of its internal capacity to prevent the washout water from overflowing and contaminating the surrounding area.
Site best practice also includes induction to brief personnel on when and how to use the washout station. For example, this area isn’t usually designed to store excess concrete, instead, it should be contained in a concrete washout bag or returned to the closest batching plant to set for reuse. Also, set concrete should be cleared frequently to ensure the station can operate to full capacity, preventing overflows. To learn more about how to improve environmental safety and compliance on your site, contact your local Stratex representative today for a free site assessment.
Razorshield Cut 5F Safety Glove – Large (12 Pack)
Razorshield F Cut 5 Resistant Safety Gloves are high performing gloves for use in all applications handling sharp objects. They have maximum abrasion, cut and tear resistance, compliant to CE EN388:2016 with a cut rating of 188.8.131.52.F. The GFF777 is Certified to Australian Standard AS/NZ 2161.3.2005
These safety gloves have an ultra-thin 18G liner for unmatched dexterity and flexibility, and are comfortable for use over long periods. Even in oily conditions, the nitrile micro foam coating ensures it has a superior grip and for increased hand protection, the thumb crotch is reinforced. The double coated palm increases glove durability and NBR Smooth 3/4 dipped sub coating helps keep hands dry. NBR Sandy Foam palm (top coating) for ultimate grip in wet and oily conditions. The leather thumb crotch provides additional protection while reducing wear and tear on the glove.
The Razorshield Cut Resistant Safety Gloves are recommended for use in applications such as:
- Handling & assembly, fine tuning & small parts handling
- Robotics & space-air & aircraft industry
- Glass & Glazing industry
- Automotive assembly
- Precise tasks & machine tooling
- Packaging & logistics
- DIY, household, farm, garden work
Fortret Safety Glasses – Smoke (Pack 12) EPL989-SPFortret Safety Glasses – Smoke (Pack 12)
The Stratex Fortret Safety Glasses are the ultimate all-day eye protection from harmful projectiles and particles. Featuring lightweight frames that stay comfortable for long periods of time and soft, flexible grip pads to keep glasses in position on the head, they are a delight to use.
No longer sacrifice looks for safety; the sports style Fortret glasses with sleek black arm don’t give the wearer the typical geeky look of safety glasses. Longer lasting and durable, the anti-scratch, hard coat lenses can withstand the toughest environments. The polycarbonate lens also offer medium impact protection in compliance with AS/NZS 1337.
The ultimate eye protection, the Fortret safety glasses will protect delicate eyes from harmful UV rays with 99.9% UV protection. Depending on the light conditions, there is a choice of 3 types of lenses; clear, smoke and amber. Each pack contains 12 pairs and a carton contains 300 pairs.
Concrete Collection Tray – 0.85cu.m
The Concrete Collection Tray is designed to limit environmental damage wherever a concrete pump is being used on site. This low profile tray fits under the concrete pump to collect spillage washout water and concrete slurry waste.
- Working Load Limit: 1500kg
- Capacity: 0.85 cu.m
- Tray Dimensions: 2070x1750x400mm
- Overall Dimensions: 2070x1765x400mm
- Unit Weight: 215kg
- Fork Pocket Size: 160x75mm / 160x95mm
- Fork Pocket Centres: 870mm
- Low profile tray bin with tapered sides
- Reinforced base and sides
- Fitted with crane lifting and up-ending lugs
- 4-way fork pockets allowing access from all sides
- Optional wheel kit available on request
- Optional disposable plastic liner (CCNDPL)
- Enamel paint finish
Concrete Washout Bag, 2470kg – 177 x 105 x 39 cm
The Stratex Concrete Washout Bag provides a quick and convenient solution to contain all concrete washout waste. The bag is simply placed under the chute or hopper and the slurry is contained in the plastic/polyethylene inner liner in the bag.
When the concrete is set, the bag is forkliftable with built in loops for safe and easy transportation to an offsite location. All bags are fully tested and compliant with Australian Standard AS3668-1989 and have safe working loads listed below.
Once set, the Concrete Washout Bag and its contents creates a versatile secondary product to use for car park walls, low retaining walls or designated compounds. The bags are perfect for use in applications such as Civil Construction, Road Construction & Commercial Construction.
Concrete Washout Filtration Unit
The CSS115 Filtration Unit is designed for the safe and convenient handling of concrete washwater by dealing with the harmful waste on site. The purpose constructed filtration bag is manufactured from a 300gsm, 900mm cube non-woven geotextile fabric inner layer with a bulk bag protective external. Sand, gravel and suspended concrete particles as fine as 80 microns are separated from the concrete slurry generated from the washout of concrete trucks and other equipment onsite and from saw cutting, core drilling, grinding and grooving concrete. Excess water passes through the filter bag and is captured in the holding tank below for testing and treatment. This unit can also be used as a dewatering station for filtering sediment laden water on sites that need to control the amount of sediment or pollution runoff.
Concrete Washout Warden – Filter Bag 400L x 400W x 500H mm
The Stratex Washout Warden provides a quick and convenient solution to contain concrete washout waste during onsite concrete mixer clean up. Gravel, sand and cement residue is contained as waste water filters through the Washout Warden.
The Washout Warden can be attached to the concrete mixer chute using the straps as pictured (optional carabiners also available).
The Washout Warden is ideal for use in Civil, Road and Commercial construction applications.
Washout Warden is suited to residential and inner city pours where washout waste must be captured and removed before leaving the site. Please note that while the filter bag will reduce contamination, concrete waste water is alkaline and should be kept away from drains and environmentally sensitive areas.
- Heavy duty geofabric construction
- High strength wrap-around poly straps
- Reinforced stitching
- Size: 400mmL x 400mmW x 500mmH
Each state and territory has its own waste guidelines. Learn more about your responsibilities below:
- Victoria – https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/waste
- New South Wales – https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/waste/waste-overview/waste-regulations/poeo-waste-reg-2014
- Queensland – https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/waste/recovery/legislation
- Tasmania – https://epa.tas.gov.au/policy/acts-regulations/empca/waste-management-regulations
- South Australia – https://www.epa.sa.gov.au/environmental_info/waste_management
- Western Australia – http://www.wasteauthority.wa.gov.au/about/legislation/