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Industrial Floor Drains and Groundwater Quality [2009-07-31]

Floor drains in industrial and commercial settings can cause significant contamination if used improperly. While many industries have begun investing in cleaner technologies, floor drains remain an easy method of disposing of wash water that may contain small concentrations of hazardous or toxic chemicals. Floor drains may be plumbed to a municipal sewer line, or they may just lead to a subsurface disposal point. When floor drains discharge to soil, the drain, the pipes and all associated structures for conveyance of wastewater to soil are called a shallow injection well.

A shallow injection well includes any subsurface excavation, such as a drywell, seepage pit, septic system, leach field, or unlined sump, through which waste water is disposed below ground.

Used or spilled fuel, solvents, waste oil, paints, and other maintenance fluids pose a risk to the environment but may be especially harmful if they enter someone's drinking water supply. Floor drains at facilities which use these substances should be evaluated. Facility managers should know if floor drains and other drains from sinks, toilets, showers etc. lead to a municipal sewer line, to a surface discharge, or to a shallow injection well.

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