“Today, those regulations happen in the water industry as well,” says Coe. “Jurisdictions across the country are requiring new construction to incorporate water reuse.” For instance, properties over a certain size in California will have to collect the water used in sinks, showers and toilets in the building, clean it on-site and reuse it to flush toilets or irrigate the land once SB 966 is implemented. (The bill was signed into law by Governor Brown in September 2018.)

A social media company in northern California ordered five underground tanks from ZCL | Xerxes to accommodate its on-site wastewater treatment system at two new buildings. The goal was to treat between 40,000 and 50,000 gallons of waste a day, which would then be used for all the company’s non-potable demands, including toilet flushing – the largest consumption of water in any business office.

“Technology firms are very progressive in their management of water, and the composites industry benefits from that because they want something that will last the life of the building,” says Coe.

ZCL | Xerxes has moved into another area where regulations are beginning to play a large role – the storm water business. “Storm water is what hits the pavement, and rainwater is what hits the roof,” says Coe. “The difference between the two is one has hydrocarbons and one does not.” Storm water runoff can include oil, grease, pesticides, nitrogen and other contaminants.

Local governments are starting to enact regulations to mandate the retrieval of storm water before the polluted water hits a stream, river, lake or other water source. Most of the focus on storm water is in regions along water, such as the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines.

“The old adage is all politics are local,” says Coe. “In water, all regulations are local.” The Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, is the primary federal law governing water pollution. However, it has never been fully enforced and continues to be a source of political friction. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in November in a case (No. 18-260, County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund) that could settle a portion of national water regulations – and greatly impact the tank industry.

The Importance of Solid Design

One unintended consequence of regulations is the tendency of designers and engineers to become conservative and over-design tanks. Lambrych encourages industry professionals to be champions of FRP and appropriate design. He cites temperature requirements as one example: “Oftentimes there is a maximum operating temperature [for tanks] and a design temperature,” he says. “There’s a struggle when engineers put a safety factor on top of a safety factor. The next thing you know, you have a design temperature that doesn’t make much sense for the FRP or the process [the customer] is running.”