New York Sea Grant's
Marina Pollution Prevention Web Site
Section 2: Painting
& Fiberglass Repair
Potential Environmental Impacts:
Spills of oil-based varnishes may be detrimental to the marine
and aquatic environment. Since they are petroleum-based, spills
may have similar impact as oil spills. Chemicals in varnishes
can be highly flammable and potentially harmful to human health.
disposal problem of leftover varnish by mixing only as much as
is needed for a given job. Consider sharing leftover varnishes
with customers or setting up an exchange area for customers to
swap unused items.
Use less hazardous,
water-based varnishes which pose less of a threat to human health
or the environment.
In case of
spills of varnish on land, use absorbent material to clean it
up, and collect any contaminated soils. Spills in waterways should
be contained and mopped up with booms or pads that repel water
but absorb petroleum.
Many varnishes are composed of hazardous materials. You must determine
if your waste varnish is hazardous by either having the waste
tested or utilize reliable "knowledge of process" information
for the waste (if available) [40 CFR 262.11, click
here] Such information could include testing by
haulers, or studies by industry trade groups. For more information
on New York hazardous waste testing requirements, click
here. Varnish which is hazardous waste must either
be recycled or disposed of via a permitted hazardous waste hauler.
While stored on-site, it must be managed in accordance with hazardous
waste storage requirements [40 CFR 262.11, click
here]. For more information on New York's Hazardous
Waste Regulations and storage requirements, click
If there is a stormwater discharge from your facility and you
varnish outdoors, you may have to register for a General Permit
for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated with Industrial Activity
("Storm Water General Permit"). For more information
on stormwater permitting in New York, click