By Terri Perrin / Published January 2023
Main Contributor: Jimmy Welch, Vice President of Engineering, American Pressure Inc.;
Additional support: Ron W. Robarge, P.E., Director of Engineering, Spartan Manufacturing Corporation; and Aaron Auger, Water Treatment Division Manager, Mi-T-M Corporation
Editor’s Note: Part I can be found in the November 2022 issue, Part II is in the December 2022 issue, and both parts can be read online at www.cleanertimes.com.
There are a number of ways to ensure you have sufficient knowledge to address environmental concerns. Joining an industry association is always beneficial—there really is strength in numbers! Most trade associations host regular online and/or in-person training/certification programs as well as host annual conventions that provide amazing training, networking opportunities, and a chance to meet face-to-face with manufacturers, suppliers, and fellow contractors.
The PowerClean Convention, for example, is a joint venture of CETA and the PWNA. It is held annually in October. At the 2022 event in Orlando, FL, Michael Draper, a trainer for Expert Safety Services and Director of Education and Compliance for the PWNA, offered an Environmental Certification presentation. The class covered the dos and don’ts for mobile contractors with regard to run-off water going into storm drains, the laws governing such, and what equipment is available to help contractors stay in compliance. The PWNA is working closely with the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP). The organization has reviewed the contents of the class and will be working with the PWNA to establish an official certification used by the PWNA.
Depending on the focus of your business, some options for memberships include the following:
Most manufacturers also offer guidance on the proper care and use of their equipment. “Regular maintenance is essential to keep equipment performing at its best,” adds Aaron Auger with Mi-T-M. “It’s also imperative to have the right equipment for the application. Our Mi-T-M training sessions, whether at our facility or on site at distributor locations, always include questions to ask and steps to take to determine the right equipment and accessories for customers’ needs. Knowledge is key in these projects … and knowing what questions to ask ensures that the install and setup is done right.”
Now that you are more focused on operating an environmentally sound business, you’d like to share your
commitment with current and potential customers. Social media and other cost-effective forms of advertising make this easy to do. But you must ask yourself if you are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
Some businesses and manufacturers—in all industries, not necessarily power washing—are using our global environmental consciousness in a bad way. False claims relating to environmental efforts are now so rampant that this form of marketing has been labeled as “Greenwashing.”
False advertising relating to environmental efforts can have a huge impact on your business. For example, in July 2022, environmental groups filed the first “greenwashing” lawsuit against an airline company. In their 2019 “Fly Responsibly” advertising campaign KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France KLM, promoted themselves as a “sustainable choice” compared to other airlines. (One of their claims put some of the onus on air passengers to help lower greenhouse gas emissions by carrying less luggage!) But the company is now accused of overselling its sustainability in their ads—to the point of potentially misleading consumers. When the case gets to court, it is anticipated that the airline will not come out the winner.
So, just as we advise consumers to be “buyer beware,” we now have to apply similar principles to our advertising. Feel free to promote the fact that you are making efforts to operate a “greener” company, but don’t exaggerate. Not only does it affect your reputation, but also it could result in heavy fines. Honesty will always be the best policy!
The bottom line is that all facets of the power washing industry—service providers, manufacturers, and distributors—must work with environmental regulators. Power washers have a responsibility for any substance used or released in the operation of their business. The BMPs that contractors develop and use will go a long way toward ensuring that every possibility has been considered and dealt with appropriately. Working without the BMPs and a focus on environmental impact is like walking the high wire without a net. It’s taking a very big, unnecessary, and imprudent risk.