The carpet cleaning sector provides an important service to local residents and businesses. As part of the normal operation of a carpet cleaning practice, liquid and solid wastes are generated. Generating waste products is not necessarily an environmental issue. However, how we manage the waste can have significant impact on our natural resources, public & private infrastructure, and human & environmental health associated with stormwater, wastewater & septic systems. The following resources are specific to the carpet cleaning sector.

Common Regulations and BMP for stormwater, wastewater and septic systems use

Waste generators are required to comply with all federal, provincial, municipal and regional regulations for proper waste disposal.

Under the Provincial Environmental Management Act and the Federal Fisheries Act, a waste generator may be held liable for any contamination or harm created as a result of the deposition or discharge of that waste. Proper disposal and management of wastes significantly reduces risks of environmental contamination and the requirement for remediation.

Avoidance of chlorinated cleaning agents whenever possible.

Proper storage, inventory of products and wastes, spills response plans and employee education on managing carpet cleaning wastes are important factors in keeping our receiving waters clean.

Requirements and BMP specific to sanitary sewer

All industrial, commercial or institutional facilities that discharge non-domestic wastewater to the sanitary sewer system operated by the CRD must follow the requirements of CRD Bylaw 2922 - Sewer Use Bylaw. The carpet cleaning sector, as with many other sectors, have specific requirements under a code of practice within the Sewer Use Bylaw.

Code of Practice for Carpet Cleaning Operations prescribes the requirements and conditions for preventing or limiting the discharge of prohibited and restricted wastes into the sanitary sewer system.

The following is a summary of the key requirements under the Bylaw and Code of Practice (Schedule "O"):

  • Carpet cleaning businesses must install a wastewater treatment screen with screen size not greater than 0.25 millimetres
  • Solids must be disposed of in the garbage
  • Written records must be completed and retained

Please submit a Waste Discharge Assessment Form if you are unsure whether this code of practice applies to your business.

Although compliance with Sewer Use Bylaw may help you meet other municipal, provincial or federal conditions, other agencies may have additional requirements. Use BizPaL to help you identify additional permits and licenses required to operate your business.

Requirements and BMP specific to septic system

Wastewater pre-treatment is not specifically required under CRD Bylaw 3479 - Onsite Sewage System Maintenance Bylaw. However, carpet cleaning waste should not discharge to a septic system as this can significantly increase maintenance costs of the septic system and reduce its useful life span.

Requirements and BMP specific to stormdrains and catch basins

Prevent stormwater contamination and protect our aquatic environment by ensuring that carpet cleaning waste does not enter the storm drain network (which includes ditches, catch basins and roadways, etc.).

  • Educate staff about spill prevention and response
  • When hosing or washing equipment or surfaces outside, do not let runoff water enter the storm drain.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain parking lot catch basins
  • Store waste products under covered areas with appropriate spill containment

Liquid waste haulers can be hired to responsibly manage any fluids associated with carpet cleaning practices. Visit the trucked liquid waste directory to find a hauler.

It is important to note that the waste generator retains ownership of the waste even after it has been turned over to a waste hauler. This means the generator can be held responsible for the consequences of a spill or improper disposal of waste.

For that reason it is important to ensure that the hauler you hire can demonstrate that they are:

  • Properly licensed;
  • Have properly trained staff and;
  • Will deal with your waste in a safe, responsible, legal and diligent manner.

Why wastes from carpet cleaning operation are a concern in our stormwater, wastewater and septic systems

Liquid waste from carpet cleaning operations can contain high concentrations of grit, heavy metals and chemicals.

Much of the waste is non-biodegradable and can accumulate in sewer pipes and collection systems, causing abrasion of pumps and obstruction of screens in septic systems and wastewater treatment plants. Once this material reaches the receiving environment, it tends to persist in the environment without biodegrading. These wastes can be harmful to our ecosystems and pose a risk to aquatic and marine species.

What is considered a carpet cleaning operation?

A carpet cleaning operation is any commercial, industrial or institutional operation or public authority engaged in the cleaning of hard and soft surfaces using liquid extraction, bonnet, absorbent compound, shampoo or dry foam method equipment and procedures.