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Auto Body


This Industry Profile Fact Sheet is presented by the EPA Region 3 to assist state, local, and municipal agencies, and private groups in the initial planning and evaluation of sites being considered for remediation, redevelopment or reuse. It is intended to provide a general description of site conditions and contaminants which may be encountered at specific industrial facilities. This fact sheet is presented for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as a federal policy or directive.


A wide variety of materials are used in the repair of automobile and truck body parts. The process involves removing the damaged area, repairing or replacing the part, filling and sanding the affected area, and priming and repainting the repaired area. The repairs often require the use of cutting and welding equipment, cleaners, solvents, paints, epoxies and polymers. A smaller concern may also be the automotive fluids that leak from heavily damaged vehicles kept on the property.


This industry typically stores small quantities of paints, cleaners, solvents, epoxies, polymers and compressed gases. Some typical chemicals utilized in the auto body industry include:

(L) - liquid
(s) - solid
(g) - gas


There is minimal storage of waste products on site due to the use of small quantities of hazardous materials. The highest areas of contamination tend to be associated with the stripping and painting operations. Common wastes encountered at Superfund assessment and remediation projects include waste paints, corrosive liquids and sludges, metals- and solvent-contaminated soils, metals- and solvent-contaminated groundwater, and unused raw materials. The toxicity and mobility of paint mixtures and related cleaning solvents make groundwater contamination the primary environmental concern. Minor and localized soil contamination may also be encountered.

Additionally, building contamination may be a concern in the painting building and chemical/waste storage areas. Building decontamination and wipe testing of demolition materials may be required prior to off-site landfill disposal.


All raw materials and contaminated areas on site should be visually identified and confirmed using immune-assay, qualitative indicators, or wet chemistry field screening techniques. It should be noted that many of the raw materials containing corrosive and toxic compounds may represent a significant direct contact and/or inhalation hazard to assessment personnel. Visually identified contaminated areas should be characterized by collecting several samples for laboratory analysis. Surface and subsurface soil sampling should be performed from the suspected contaminated areas outward to the suspected clean areas. Once the primary contaminated areas are established, grid or random sampling may be performed to confirm the suspected clean areas. The application of non-intrusive subsurface geophysics should be evaluated to detect underground burial pits and bulk storage tanks.

On-site and local wells may be sampled if groundwater is an environmental concern. Installation of monitoring wells or other groundwater sampling techniques should be evaluated if it is necessary to fill data gaps.


Priority Pollutant Organics Analysis (volatiles, semivolatiles, pesticides/PCBs)

Priority Pollutant Metals Analysis:

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization

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