Skip to main content

Wastewater technologies for carpet cleaners help to protect public health and the environment

The discharges from carpet cleaning can contain sediment, oil, grease, detergents, solvents, and other contaminants that could affect the environment.

After learning about wastewater treatment technologies for carpet cleaners, Kevin McCreary, owner of McCreary's Healthy Homes of Meridian Township in Greater Lansing, retrofitted each of his four trucks with a waste pumpout system for the recovered wastewater from his cleaning operations. The move dovetails with the company's long history of using eco-friendly products and wise management of its wastewater.

"I've attempted to use them as far back as 1997," McCreary said. "The technology wasn't perfected until about 2010 and we put them in service in all of our cleaning trucks in the fall of 2019," McCreary said.

Approximately 200 gallons of wastewater is run though each truck's system every day. The pumpout system filters out lint and nondegradable debris so the wastewater can be discharged to the ground or to an approved wastewater site. "We are in the business of protecting your indoor environment by remediating contaminants from within your home, while also being conscious of protecting the environment outside of the home. We hope our small efforts will make others aware of proper disposal and handling of wastewater and in doing so other companies will do their part of protecting the environment and consumers will demand it."

Options for handling wastewater from carpet cleaning operations include:

  • Discharging to the ground by means of an exemption, notification or permit.
  • Obtaining permission to direct the wastewater to a sanitary sewer.
  • Collecting the wastewater for proper disposal, and
  • Obtaining a permit to discharge to a surface water.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)  Water Resources Division (WRD) is responsible for regulating wastewater discharges to groundwater or surface water from carpet cleaning operations. However, many carpet cleaners fall under an exemption in the regulations. This exemption allows a carpet cleaner to discharge wastewater generated at a single location onto that location's property for groundwater infiltration if certain conditions are met. If carpet cleaning operations choose to collect wastewater from multiple locations, or wish to discharge to a surface water, they will not fall under this exemption and may need to apply for a permit in order to discharge their wastewater.

For more information on these and other environmental regulations which may apply to carpet cleaning operations, contact EGLE's Environmental Assistance Center at 1-800-662-9278.

Like this content? Follow us on Twitter at @MichiganEGLE or on

Take a short survey and let us know what you think about MI Environment.