Carpet Cleaning Wastewater Dumping:
Hazardous To Your Business Health
Carpet cleaners cannot afford to ignore the law! The dumping of cleaning wastewater onto the street, into the storm drain or onto open ground is environmentally unacceptable and a lot of people care where this dirty water is dumped.
We live in a time of increased awareness of how our actions affect the environment. More than ever, we are conscious of “chemicals” in our everyday lives and even the average citizen has become a self-appointed ecology cop. A whole raft of “departments” from Fish & Game to Environment Protection are showing more and more concern over our activities.
Dirty water from our cleaning operation contains detergents, soils, fibers, and all types of foreign material. Many people incorrectly believe that if they use a detergent that is “biodegradable” it is safe to put back into the environment. This is not the case.
Biodegradability simply means that the organic material will, in the presence of the right organisms, be reduced to a simpler organic substance. During the decomposition, the organisms consume oxygen from the water. As a result, the presence of too much biodegradable material in a stream can rob oxygen necessary for fish and plant life.
For purposes of this discussion, we have only scratched the surface of possible difficulties carpet cleaners may eventually suffer. Wastewater as we’ve defined is NOT considered hazardous waste. Many of the chemicals we use, however would be considered hazardous by law, if they were not diluted with many gallons of water and neutralized by contact with soils.
As acceptable method of wastewater disposal is to discharge the water into a municipal sewage treatment system after first filtering out solid material such as carpet fiber. Access to the sanitary system can be obtained through a toilet, laundry drain, car wash, R.V. dump etc.
One way to comply with the law would be to accumulate the waste water in large tanks and haul the water to an appropriate dump site. This method can be cumbersome, requiring extremely large recovery tank, and vehicles capable of carrying over 2,000 pounds of extra weight (200 gallons of water plus tank).
The preferred solution to the disposal problem is to equip yourself with what is typically referred to as an Automatic Pump-Out System. These systems are designed to remove wastewater from the extractor’s recover system and actively pump the water through hoses to a suitable disposal drain. Properly designed, the system will continuously monitor the level of wastewater and pump it out simultaneously to the cleaning operation. The hidden benefit of this process is that the operator doesn’t have to stop his cleaning to empty the recovery tank.
The penalties for non-compliance with wastewater regulations can be serious. There have been reports of substantial fines, some as high as $10,000. Always check applicable local laws and regulations and comply.
In light of what we may be required to do, we should count ourselves lucky and rush to comply with these simple, elementary wastewater disposal laws. Do it today, if for no other reason than to get caught dumping improperly, you may be put out of business tomorrow. Be a good citizen!
Kleen Kuip Supply Mart Inc.
New and Used Professional Carpet Cleaning and Restoration Equipment