Forklift Battery Wastewater for the Green Warehouse

When you run electric forklifts, you have to wash the batteries, and that leads to the problem of forklift battery wastewater.

To be sure, choosing electric forklifts over internal combustion ones offers a multitude of environmental and economic benefits for warehouses. A smaller carbon footprint, lower fueling costs, and less maintenance are just a handful of the many benefits of using battery power. But making your fleet greener doesn't stop with investing in electric.

To get the most life and best performance out of lead-acid batteries, staff must occasionally wash them. This periodic washing creates wastewater that can contain dangerous pollutants that include:

  • Lead, copper, and other heavy metals
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Rust (iron oxide) particles

Because of this, the EPA classifies battery wastewater as hazardous waste and regulates its treatment and disposal. Managers of green warehouses must carefully choose how to treat this wastewater for many reasons, including:

  • Guaranteed compliance with local, state, and federal laws.
  • Ensuring that hazardous waste does not pollute groundwater.
  • Keeping costs down to maintain profitability.

With that in mind, managers generally have two choices for wastewater treatment: use a third-party disposal service or treat wastewater in-house.

Often, the size of an operation will dictate which treatment option managers choose.


Smaller operations that accrue wastewater slowly may find it more economical to hire a service provider to cart away wastewater for treatment. Some forklift or battery providers will offer this service as part of a larger maintenance package, which makes it especially attractive.

Managers who outsource wastewater treatment should ensure that their service provider designates itself as the sole generator of the waste. This is a legal way of saying that the service provider takes responsibility for the proper treatment and disposal of the wastewater. This is important because the penalties of improper disposal are harsh, including large fines and even prison time in extreme cases.

On-site recycling systems reduce outsourcing costs and carbon footprints.

In-house treatment can be a greener alternative to outsourcing, and we mean that in two ways. First, it's an environmentally sound practice that effectively treats and disposes wastewater without the unnecessary transportation of hundreds of gallons of water.

Secondly, investing in a wastewater treatment system can be economically beneficial. That's because companies save on the high costs of service providers while guaranteeing that they are in compliance with regulations. Managers that choose automated wash equipment, like the Wastewater Recycling System, may even choose to become wastewater treatment service providers to make extra money. That's exactly what one large supplier of industrial batteries did to become even more profitable.

Whichever route you take, compliance with EPA rules protects your operation.

On-site Wastewater Recycling Systems ensure compliance with laws and effective cleaning of hazardous waste. Responsible service providers also take the necessary steps to clean wastewater and comply with the EPA. Choosing either one of these strategies makes your warehouse greener and protects the environment and residents in your area.


Hazardous Waste Management System: Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste, and Interim Status Standards for Owners and Operators of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities; Final, Interim, and Proposed Regulations.” 45 Fed. Reg 212 (30 Oct. 1980.) Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the United States. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.

Lagana, Kelly. “7 RCRA Violations That Will Send You to Jail.Envirodailyadvisor. BLR, 3 August 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.

Categories: Environmental, Forklifts, Wastewater

Tags: Forklift battery wastewater, green warehousing, Wastewater Recycling System, battery wash equipment