Guide Nonresidential Septic System Users

Septic systems (conventional septic systems, I/A technologies, and cesspools) also serve a variety of nonresidential groups such as beauty shops, drycleaners, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and funeral homes. These groups have specific issues that need to be addressed.

Table of Contents

Beauty Parlors

Toilet waste and regular shampoo water can go to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. However, the wastewater from chemical discharges (for example; perms and coloring) needs to be stored in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP. Dischargers have the choice to either direct all their sinks to a holding tank or have all of the chemical wastewater go to a special sink that is separately plumbed to a holding tank, with staff educated to ensure they only use that one sink for these processes.

If a discharge of industrial wastewater to a septic system is being discontinued, then in addition to complying with requirements for holding tanks, a beauty parlor that has been discharging industrial wastewater must notify MassDEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program that the discharge is being closed.

Additional Resources for Beauty Parlors

Car Washes

Toilet waste and water from sinks is sanitary wastewater and can go to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Wastewater of any volume from washing cars is industrial wastewater and must be stored in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP. It can also be treated and discharged to the ground under a Groundwater Discharge Permit.

If a discharge of industrial wastewater to a septic system is being discontinued, then in addition to complying with requirements for holding tanks, a car wash that has been discharging industrial wastewater must notify MassDEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program that the discharge is being closed.

Additional Resources for Car Washes

Dry Cleaners

Toilet waste and water from sinks is sanitary wastewater and can go to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Process wastewater is non-sanitary wastewater that must go to a holding tank that is certified by MassDEP (perc and resulting residue) under the Environmental Results Program.

Funeral Homes

Toilet waste and water from sinks is sanitary wastewater and can go to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Process wastewater is non-sanitary (formaldehyde and resulting residue) and must be stored in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP.

If a discharge of industrial wastewater to a septic system is being discontinued, in addition to complying with requirements for holding tanks, a funeral home that has been discharging industrial wastewater must notify MassDEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program that the discharge is being closed.

Key Actions for Funeral Homes

Additional Resources for Funeral Homes

Hospitals

Toilet waste and water from sinks and showers is sanitary wastewater and can go to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. However, it is unlikely that a hospital would discharge less than 10,000 gallons per day. Any lab wastewater generated needs to be stored in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP.

Hospitals are required to install grease traps to handle wastewater from food preparation areas. Grease traps should be inspected monthly and must be cleaned by a licensed septage hauler whenever the level of grease is 25% of the effective depth of the trap, or at least every three months, whichever is sooner.

Contact your local Board of Health for a listing of licensed septage haulers able to pump out grease traps. Click here for the Title 5 regulatory requirements as they relate to grease traps (310 CMR 15.230).

If a discharge of industrial wastewater to a septic system is being discontinued, in addition to complying with requirements for holding tanks, a hospital that has been discharging industrial wastewater must notify MassDEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program that the discharge is being closed.

Additional Resources for Hospitals

Laundromats or Laundries

Toilet waste and water from sinks and showers is sanitary wastewater and can go to an on-site system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Laundry wastewater of any volume is industrial wastewater and must be stored in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP. It can also be treated and discharged to the ground under a Groundwater Discharge Permit. This category does not include combination laundromat/drycleaners.

If you have a combined Laundromat/Dry Cleaning facility, you are regulated as a Dry Cleaner and should refer to that section.

If a discharge of industrial wastewater to a septic system is being discontinued, in addition to complying with requirements for holding tanks, a laundromat that has been discharging industrial wastewater must notify MassDEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program that the discharge is being closed.

Office Buildings

Toilet waste and water from sinks and showers is sanitary wastewater and can be discharged to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day.

Photo Processing/Printing Shops

Toilet waste and water from sinks is sanitary wastewater and can be discharged to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Process wastewater discharged is non-sanitary wastewater that must go to a holding tank that is certified under the Environmental Results Program.

Key Actions for Photo Processing/Printing Shops

Restaurants/Supermarkets

Toilet waste and sink wastewater can be discharged to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Restaurants are required to install grease traps to handle wastewater from food preparation areas. Grease traps should be inspected monthly, and must be cleaned by a licensed septage hauler whenever the level of grease is 25% of the effective depth of the trap, or at least every three months, whichever is sooner. Contact your local Board of Health for a listing of licensed septage haulers able to pump out grease traps.

Additional Resources for Restaurants/Supermarkets

Schools

Toilet waste and water from sinks, showers, and laundry is sanitary wastewater and can be discharged to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. However, lab wastewater needs to be collected in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP.

School Cafeterias are required to install grease traps to handle wastewater from food preparation areas. Grease traps should be inspected monthly and must be cleaned by a licensed septage hauler whenever the level of grease is 25% of the effective depth of the trap, or at least every three months, whichever is sooner.

Contact your local Board of Health for a listing of licensed septage haulers able to pump out grease traps. See the Title 5 regulatory requirements as they relate to grease traps (310 CMR 15.230).

If a discharge of industrial wastewater to a septic system is being discontinued, in addition to complying with requirements for holding tanks, a school that has been discharging industrial wastewater must notify MassDEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program that the discharge is being closed.

Key Actions for Schools

Additional Resources for Schools

Taxidermy Shops

Toilet and sink wastewater is sanitary wastewater and can be discharged to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Process wastewater is non-sanitary, and must be collected in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP.

If a discharge of industrial wastewater to a septic system is being discontinued, in addition to complying with requirements for holding tanks, a taxidermy shop that has been discharging industrial wastewater must notify MassDEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program that the discharge is being closed.

Carpet Cleaning Washwater (SIC Code 7217)

Toilet waste and water from sinks is sanitary wastewater and can go to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Wastewater of any volume from carpet and upholstery cleaning businesses is industrial wastewater and must be either stored in an industrial wastewater holding tank certified by MassDEP or disposed of at a wastewater treatment facility.

If the carpet cleaning business transfers the wastewater from a mobile tank to a holding tank prior to transferring it to a treatment facility, that holding tank needs to be certified by MassDEP per 314 CMR 18.10(1).

If the carpet cleaning business stores the wastewater in a mobile tank and transports it directly to a treatment facility for disposal the mobile tank does not need to be certified by MassDEP per 314 CMR 18.10(2).

Key Actions for Carpet Cleaning Washwater (SIC Code 7217)

Additional Resources for Carpet Cleaning Washwater (SIC Code 7217)

Water Treatment Units

Toilet waste and water from sinks is sanitary wastewater and can go to a septic system as long as it's less than 10,000 gallons per day. Backwash wastewater from water purification and filtration devices cannot be discharged to a septic system per 310 CMR 15.004(8).

The back wash can be discharged to a dry well registered through the UIC program.

Key Actions for Water Treatment Units

Additional Resources for Water Treatment Units

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