Specialist Knowledge: car repair shops

Ann Althouse is talking about a local (to-her) attempt to build housing for homeless people.

The charitable organization that is running this attempt is running into troubles related to re-building property that used to be an auto-repair shop.

Which brings up all sorts of specialized knowledge about the auto-repair world. (Caveat: I don't work in such a shop. I work for a company that sells electronic modules to automotive manufacturers. I also spent one summer as a mechanic's assistant in a City-owned vehicle repair shop, a little more than a decade ago. And I have lots of acquaintances who are shade-tree mechanics, or who have owned/run a car-repair shop in the past.)

Because the task of rehabbing an auto-repair shop requires some knowledge about what is done on the grounds, and what kinds of contaminants are most likely to be found there.

How many other repair businesses have to deal with so many EPA regulations?

Auto repair facilities have to handle ethylene glycol, motor oil, transmission fluid, sulfuric acid, lead, glycol ether-based hydraulic fluids, and refrigerants. The facility often has to meet City and State regulations for storage/disposal tanks, and also follow the EPA regulations for the same.

Anyone who wishes to purchase an old auto-repair shop and re-use the building or grounds should investigate these things. But first, they have to acquire knowledge about what is commonly done in such situations.

The charitable organization is a regional organization that is part of the national Occupy movement. However educated they were, they apparently didn't recognize a situation in which specialist knowledge is required.

Which is kind of sad.

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