Mobile Cleaner

Wastewater Discharges Prohibited

As required by Federal and State regulations, and the City of Ripon’s local ordinances prohibit the discharge of wastewater from pressure washing/surface cleaning to the storm drain system (including storm drains, roadside ditches, gutters, streets, sidewalks, drainage channels, swales, creeks and streams), or any natural or surface waters.

It is a violation of local storm water ordinances to:

  • Discharge wastewater of any kind into the storm drain system, or

  • Manage wastewater discharge in a way that results in the potential for pollutant discharges to the storm drain system. This includes potential future pollutant discharges that may occur when it rains or when pollutants come into contact with irrigation run-off. For example, wastewater that dries on pavement doesn’t create an immediate discharge, but will likely result in residual pollutants being washed into the storm drain system by a future rain event.

Pressure Washing Wastewater Can Pose a Storm Water Problem

Pressure washing wastewater that is not properly managed creates a storm water pollution problem because:

  • Most pressure washing activities are conducted outside.

  • Pressure washing wastewater contains pollutants, such as heavy metals, chemicals, or oil and grease, associated with cleaning compounds and/or the objects or surfaces being cleaned.

  • Pressure washing wastewater discharged to the storm drain system enters storm drains and flows, without removal of pollutants, directly into lakes, rivers, and streams

  • Pollutants discharged to the storm drain system harm wildlife, fish, and aquatic organisms, contaminate drinking water supplies, and make it unsafe to swim in, or eat fish from, our waterways.

  • It is illegal to discharge wastewater to the storm drain system.

To prevent storm water pollution and potentially costly storm water violations, steps must be taken to collect and dispose of pressure washing wastewater legally. Remember: Nearly all outdoor drains are storm drains!

Water Collection and Disposal

Dry cleanup methods should be used prior to any pressure washing.  These include using absorbents (kitty litter, rags, sand, etc.) to clean up spills, sweeping, vacuuming, and scrapping off dried debris.  The waste material should be disposed of properly.

Wash water may NOT be discharged into a storm drain. If you do not use any chemicals or detergents AND are only cleaning surfaces of ambient dust, THEN you may direct the wash water to nearby landscaping OR contain it onsite and allow it to evaporate. 

When discharging to landscaping, make sure the water is being absorbed into the ground and not running off into a storm drain or paved area.

Five Easy Steps for Proper Disposal:

  1. Identify where all storm drains are located.  Storm drains may be located in the gutter at the end of the block or in landscaping – hidden from view.  Wash water must not be allowed to floe down gutters or enter storm drains.

  2. Determine where water will pool for collection.

  3. Use the following types of equipment to protect storm drains and to contain and collect wash water: vacuum pumps, booms / berms, portable containment areas, weighted storm drain covers, inflatable plumber’s plugs, oil / water separators, holding tanks, portable sump pumps, hoses, and absorbents.

  4. Once water is collected, dispose of it properly.  Collected wash water may be disposed of into a sanitary sewer drain at the job site or at the contractor’s place of business (First, ask for permission from the property owner and the City’s Public Works Department (209) 599-2151.  DO NOT dispose of waste water into a septic system)

  5. A permit may be required prior to disposal to the sanitary sewer.  Check first with the City’s Public Works Department (209) 599-2151.

Additional Guidance:

Mobile Cleaning – Surface Cleaning (CASQA) 

Mobile Cleaning – Transportation Related (CASQA) 

Tips on proper cleaning and disposal

Cleaning and disposal 

Where should wash water go? 

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