Floor Cleaning & Wash Water


When good housekeeping is not practiced, wash water may contain heavy metals and grease that need to be treated before discharging to the sewer. Remember, most exterior drains and some interior drains are not connected to a sanitary sewer system but instead are storm drains that lead directly to a ditch, stream, lake or drywell. Discharging contaminated wash water into a drain could contaminate groundwater.

  • practice good housekeeping by minimizing the number of times that floors are washed
  • catch leaks before they spill onto the floor and dispose of the residue in the appropriate waste container
  • check with the local sewer utility or city engineering department to verify that your drains are connected to a sanitary sewer system
  • use a non-toxic floor cleaner that meets local sewer facility standards. Be sure to receive permission from your local sewer utility for your floor cleaning wastes to enter the sanitary sewer system
  • clean small, non-chlorinated spills immediately with absorbent. Collect and reuse absorbent material until absorbing ability is gone. See DO's and DON'Ts for Absorbents
  • use an oil/water separation system and maintain it regularly, any sludges accumulated in it need to be HW tested before disposal
  • allow floor cleaning waste water to flow into a septic tank or drain (inside or outside) leading to a ditch, stream, lake or dry well.

For more information concerning the proper handling of floor cleaner, contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/shw/default.htm) or the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management (http://Hinkleycenter.org). This information is offered only as guidance. Specific requirements may vary with individual processes and/or businesses.