Every 100 trucks leaving a construction site track up to two cubic yards of oily dirt, sticky debris, and other waste onto surrounding roads. While many wheel-washing systems at jobsites, municipal yards, and landfills were installed to meet environmental regulations, they’re also the single best way to prevent a prime source of pollution.

“We’ve seen a rise in installations by DOTs, counties, and colleges that have to clear parking lots,” says Tris Waystack, a regional sales representative for Neptune Automated Wheel Wash Systems, a brand of Innovative Equipment Solutions Inc., Hot Springs, Ark. “The magnesium chloride that’s used to melt ice is very hard on trucks. If not washed off wheels and undercarriages within hours, equipment can rust out in one season.

“We’re also getting a lot of interest from fire departments in the Midwest and West, which don’t want to transport noxious seeds from one site to the next,” he says. “Wheel-washing is an efficient way to prevent a serious problem.”

Waystack estimates that fewer than 10,000 permanent systems are installed nationwide. The number is rising rapidly, though, as the technology matures and becomes more practical.

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