Stormwater Quality Management Committee
Clark County Regional Flood Control District
600 S. Grand Central Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89106

Surface Cleaning

Best Management Practices for:

Building Maintenance Departments, Property Owners, Service Stations, Fast Food Restaurants, Auto Repair Shops, Window Washing Services, Mobile Washing Services

Many common surface cleaning and washing routines contribute to environmental pollution. Washing buildings or paved surfaces into a gutter or storm drain pollutes the environment. Water runoff from buildings, streets, parking lots and driveways can pick up sediment, debris and oil. These pollutants drain into the Las Vegas Wash, harming aquatic life. Oil and grease, for example, clog fish gills and block oxygen from entering the water. If oxygen levels in the water become too low, aquatic animals die.

Pressure Washing Drive-Throughs, Driveways, Parking Garages, Service Stations  
   

With or Without Soap - Storm drains must be protected from water runoff. Sweep, collect and dispose of debris. Dry clean oil spots with absorbent and dispose of absorbent in a legal manner. Vacuum/pump wastewater to the sanitary sewer. Wastewater disposal options should be discussed with the facility's operator/site manager.

It is best to discharge the wastewater through an oil/water separator. Do not use an oil/water separator intended to capture cooking oil. Pretreatment may not be required, so contact the local wastewater treatment plant for more information.

     
Washing Painted Buildings  
 

Where Lead-Based or Mercury Additive Paints are of Concern - Storm drains must be protected from water runoff. Vacuum/pump wash water to a holding tank. Consult the local wastewater treatment plant and local hazardous waste regulators (i.e., Southern Nevada Health District and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection ).

Paint Intact (Without Soap) - Painted after 1978 (i.e., lead content of paint known and of no concern). Direct wastewater runoff to soil or landscaped areas. Seal the storm drain with a fabric filter to capture paint particles in the wastewater. Never allow direct discharge to storm drain. Dispose of all collected particles in the garbage. For buildings with paint prior 1978, please contact the Southern Nevada Health District for proper washing procedures.

To Remove Paint or Prepare Surface for Painting - Consult the local wastewater treatment plant and local hazardous waste regulators (i.e., Southern Nevada Health District and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection ). These BMPs do not address the disposal of paint.

     
Masonry Efflorescence  
 

Where Acid Wash is used to Remove Mineral Deposits on Masonry - Storm drains must be protected from water runoff. Rinse treated area with alkaline soap to neutralize acid residue. Direct rinse water to a landscaped/soil area. Collect wastewater. Neutralize wastewater to a pH between 6 and 11. Pump to a sanitary sewer clean-out at the site, into a sink or toilet, or contact the local wastewater treatment plant.

     
Washdown of Restaurant Alleys, Grocery Dumpster Areas  
 

Outdoors - No discharge from this activity is allowed to enter storm drains. Dry sweep and clean only, if possible. Use rags, absorbents or dry sweeping compound. Dry sweep first. Seal storm drain(s). Wash area then vacuum or pump wastewater to the sanitary sewer. Screen wastewater to prevent clogging the system.

     
Washdown Sidewalks, Plazas, Driveways, and Drive-Through Window Areas
 

With Soap - Wastewater must go to the sanitary sewer. Sweep, collect and dispose of debris and/or absorbent. Wash area then vacuum or pump wastewater to the sanitary sewer. The BMPs in this section do not apply if there has been oil or other hazardous material spilled on site. In case of a spill, contact the local fire department for guidance.

Without Soap - Direct wastewater runoff to soil or landscaped areas. Wastewater may go to storm drain. Sealing the storm drain with a fabric filter is recommended to capture soil in the wastewater

With Light Oil Deposits (Frequently Cleaned, Without Soap) - Sweep, collect and dispose of debris and/or absorbent. Dry sweep oil spots with absorbent and dispose of absorbent in garbage. Place oil-absorbent boom around storm drain. Wastewater may go into storm drain through oil absorbing boom. No oil sheen may be visible on the water flowing into the storm drain.

With No Oil Deposits (Without Soap) - Sweep, collect and dispose of debris. Wastewater may go to storm drain.

     
Washing Building Exteriors and Walls
 

With Soap - No storm drain disposal of wastewater permitted; must discharge wash water to sanitary sewer or soil. There may be some unavoidable evaporation from paved surfaces.

Use wash pads that capture the wastewater and discharge to the sanitary sewer. Solids separation is required before disposal. (Ideally, a separate wash area that captures the wastewater should be established, or use of temporary wash pads that can be drained to the sanitary sewer are acceptable.)

Seal storm drains. Wastewater runoff and excess soapy water must be collected and pumped or otherwise discharged as follows:

  • Pump into sanitary sewer system clean-out/sink or into an on-site private sanitary sewer manhole; verify with the facility manager that it is not a storm drain manhole. Solids separation will be required before disposal to prevent clogging the system.
  • Wastewater may be discharged into landscaped or soil areas. Discharge should be directed to an area sufficient to contain all wastewater Discuss this practice with the property owner. Acceptable for minimal discharge flows only. Repetitive use of the same area or excessive wash volume to the same area may be illegal. (Note: Be aware that soapy wastewater may adversely affect landscaping).
  • If disposal to the sanitary sewer and/or a landscaped area is not possible, then contract with a company capable of hauling the wastewater off-site to an authorized disposal site.
     
Graffiti Removal, Using Wet Sand Blasting Methods
 

Using Wet Sand Blasting Methods - Minimize quantity of water used. Runoff should be directed to landscaped or soil area. Filter runoff through boom to keep sand out of storm drains. Sweep debris and sand. Dispose of all waste to avoid future runoff contamination.

Using High-pressure Washing and Cleaning Compound - Wastewater runoff should be directed to landscaped or soil area. No runoff can go into the storm drain. Seal storm drains and vacuum/pump wastewater to the sanitary sewer. Contact local wastewater treatment plant for guidance, as harsh cleaning compounds may require pretreatment.

     
Car Lot Rinsing for Dust Removal  
 

Without Soap - If rinsing dust from exterior surfaces using water only, and no soap/solvent. The runoff may be discharged to the storm drain or to landscaped or soil areas. Prevent contamination of the runoff by not allowing it to run through oil deposits on the pavement or in the gutter.

   
 

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