Residential & Office Cleaning Industries

The Town of Sudbury, like many municipalities across the country, operates a “municipal separate stormwater drainage system” or MS4, which is designed to convey discharges that are composed entirely of stormwater and is separate from the wastewater sewer system that conveys discharges from individual homes or businesses. It is important to note that MS4 stormwater discharges receive no formal treatment and flow directly into our community’s stormwater drainage system and into our local waterways.

Poor training and material management practices at residential & office cleaning industry locations can cause pollutants such as detergents, cleansers, solvents, and paint waste to enter our stormwater system. These pollutants can build up in stormwater lines and cause blockages, negatively impact the operation of stormwater retention areas and drywells, or degrade the water quality of our washes and rivers. Pathways of this pollution include the direct pouring or dumping by ill-trained employees, poor cleaning habits, improper storage of chemicals and waste, and poor maintenance of waste containers.

Recommended Practices for Residential & Office Cleaning Industries

Most of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) identified below are non-structural and cost little or nothing to implement. This listing is not all-inclusive and other non-structural and structural BMPs can be implemented to further reduce the potential of contributing to stormwater pollution.

Chemical & Waste Management


  • Promptly transfer waste fluids into appropriate containers for disposal and transfer fluids in a manner that reduces the chance of spilling.
  • Dispose of carpet, upholstery, and drapery cleaning wastewater through a lint filter to the sanitary sewer or contain it for off-site disposal.
  • Empty mop bucket wastewater into a utility sink or a floor drain with an approved connection to the wastewater system.
  • Contain and properly dispose of any waste that contains solvents or other potentially hazardous or flammable additives.
  • Properly dispose of, or professionally clean, items such as rags or towels that have come in contact with any chemical or waste residue.
  • Keep waste streams separate and prevent mixing hazardous and non-hazardous wastes together.
  • Maintain an organized inventory of materials stored at the site.
  • Maintain organized disposal and recycling records of all waste products.


  • Store open waste containers where they can be knocked over or transfer waste in a manner that may create a spill.
  • Allow wastewater from carpet, upholstery, and drapery cleaning to enter the stormwater system.
  • Dump mop bucket wastewater off of a loading dock, onto landscaped areas, onto the parking lot, or directly into a storm drain.  
  • Allow any hazardous or flammable substances to enter the stormwater system or the sanitary sewer.
  • Store or pile rags and towels that have come in contact with cleaning fluids on the ground or in uncovered outdoor areas.  
  • Potentially generate larger volumes of hazardous wastes or reduce recycling opportunities by mixing waste streams.
  • Allow unnecessary inventories to build up or age such that the product containers may fail.
  • Allow the disposal of waste products to occur undocumented or without proper direction.

Cleaning Procedures


  • Wash entryway mats, interior trash containers, or other equipment in a utility sink or near floor drains with an approved connection to the sanitary sewer system.
  • Clean greasy or oily items in areas that drain to an approved sanitary sewer connection.
  • Use care adding cleaning solutions to machines or applicators to reduce the chance of spilling.
  • Inspect and maintain cleaning application equipment regularly.  
  • Check labels and purchase products that are biodegradable and / or contain no cautionary warnings.  
  • Use brooms, blowers, dry absorbent materials, and low-water use cleaning devices (without detergents) to clean outdoor areas.
  • Keep absorbent cleanup materials readily accessible in case of spills. Clean up spills promptly.  
  • Properly contain and dispose of used absorbent materials as required.


  • Wash entryway mats, interior trash containers, or other equipment in uncontained outdoor areas.  
  • Wash oily and greasy items in areas that will allow these deposits to enter the stormwater system.
  • Fill cleaning machines and applicators in a manner that may potentially causing a spill.
  • Allow cleaning supplies to leak and potentially enter the stormwater system.
  • Purchase cleaning products that contain “caution,” “danger”, “toxic,” or “poison” on the label.  
  • Clean outdoor building surfaces, sidewalks, eating areas, and parking lots using a pressure washer, a hose, and / or detergents.
  • Wait to clean up spilled materials until it is convenient or waste time searching for appropriate cleanup materials.  
  • Pile spent absorbent materials on the ground or dispose of them uncontained in a dumpster.

Staff Training


  • Train staff on proper storage, spill cleanup, filling and transfer, and reporting procedures.
  • Assist your staff in determining the proper disposal method by making MSDS sheets available.
  • Label and identify to staff all on-site stormwater inlet locations.
  • Post a listing of Best Management Practices where all staff can view for reference.


  • Assume your staff knows or will remember these procedures without the proper training.  
  • Expect your staff to “know” the proper disposal requirements for every item used in their cleaning operations.
  • Expect your staff to know which drains lead to the stormwater system.
  • Expect your staff to remember the proper ways of cleaning and handling waste.


  • It is easier and cheaper to prevent stormwater pollution than to clean it up.
  • Your facility is not “safe” from stormwater pollution regulations.
  • Most stormwater structures require regular maintenance. Taking steps to reduce pollutants in stormwater will help keep stormwater structures in good operating condition.
  • Allowing chemicals, trash, debris, sediment, and oil or grease wastes/residues to enter the stormwater system has a negative effect on the operation of stormwater structures.
  • A malfunctioning stormwater structure is the problem of everybody who uses it.