Spring and summer are around the corner, the busiest time for the carpet cleaning industry.

And an issue all carpet cleaners must grapple with is how to dispose of wastewater.

According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, wastewater can contain several different types of bacteria, body fluids, human and animal waste, chemical compounds, oil, grease, smoke, airborne pollutants, detergents, solvents, and more - all potentially hazardous to human health and the environment

"Because of this, properly disposing of wastewater is critical and most states have a variety of rules and regulations on how it must be handled," says Doug Berjer, product manager for CFR, manufacturer of carpet extractors that recycle water.

Berjer offers the following tips on how carpet cleaning techs and all cleaning professionals can safely and properly discharge wastewater:

  • In most communities and in most carpet cleaning situations, wastewater can be discharged by pouring it into a sink, toilet, bathtub, or most other drainage systems as long as it is connected to the municipal sewer infrastructure
  • Discharge water should be filtered to remove carpet fibers and other solids in order to prevent clogging pipes
  • Filtered debris typically can be put in trash containers unless it contains hazardous materials
  • If the wastewater contains hazardous materials, it should be taken to public or private facilities that are equipped to handle such wastewater
  • Never discharge wastewater by pouring it on the ground or into storm drains
  • For safety and liability reasons, maintain a log each time carpet cleaning is performed listing the discharge water disposal method, amount, and any special handling requirements.

"Wastewater disposal has become a more serious problem in recent years in many parts of the country," adds Berjer. "A failure to properly dispose of wastewater can result in significant fines for the carpet cleaning technician and sometimes for the homeowner or building owner as well."