Interior Washing Operations

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This Tip Sheet applies to mobile businesses that clean items inside a home or business such as mobile carpet/furniture cleaning companies and general cleaning companies.

Businesses that wash items inside (under cover) such as washing floors, carpets, and other interior items on a mobile site-to-site basis must ensure washing operations do not affect the stormwater system.  To accomplish this, the following best management practices shall be used:

  • Dirty wash water shall be discharged to the wastewater system. Discharge to the wastewater system at the site of generation is preferred as it limits the opportunity for spills.  Do not discharge to septic systems. Talk to the homeowner or onsite property manager to determine if there is a suitable on-site discharge location (location that discharges to the wastewater system).
    • Certain chemicals used in interior cleaning operations (such as certain flea and odor control chemicals) require pretreatment before disposal to the City of Tacoma wastewater system. Contact the City of Tacoma at (253) 591-5588 before discharging wastewater that may contain toxic materials.
    • Screen wash water before disposal to remove items that may cause clogging. Screened material shall be disposed of as solid waste.
  • Wastewater from interior wash activities shall not be disposed outdoors onto the ground, into a stormwater system inlet such as a catch basin, into a stormwater system ditch, into the curb line, or into surface waters such as a wetland, creek, stream, river or any part of Puget Sound. If you are unsure where a drain or inlet ultimately discharges do not dispose of wash water or other substances into that drain or inlet.
  • All employees must be trained to understand proper disposal requirements for wash water and solid waste.
  • Limit the amount of water used in the interior washing operation.
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