Residents and businesses turn to power washing as an alternative to more radical restoration improvements to remove stains from buildings and surrounding property. Since power washing is typically performed outside, power washer operators must know about regulations regarding wastewater.  The same regulations also apply to mobile car washes.

Discharge into Storm Sewers Prohibited

Power washing and mobile car wash wastewater cannot be discharged into the storm sewer if it contains pollutants or cleaning compounds and is not treated prior to flowing back into the environment (applicable code that applies to the discharges into storm sewers or watercourses can be found in Article 5 of Chapter 6-5 of the Austin City Code). Please contact Austin's Watershed Protection Department at 512-974-3500 for more information.

Discharging into the Sanitary Sewer

Power washing and mobile car wash wastewater may be allowed to discharge into the sanitary sewer under certain conditions. Wastewater must be collected and transported to a private fixed site facility connected to the City’s sanitary sewer collection system. City Code applying to sanitary sewer system discharges can be found in Chapter 15-10 of the Austin City Code (Wastewater Regulations).

If you would like to establish your own private fixed site facility, you must meet certain conditions:

  • Submit a Discharge Permit Application for review; all industrial wastewater discharges must be authorized by permit.
  • The fixed site facility must have appropriate pretreatment (e.g., sand oil interceptor, grit trap).
  • Austin Water will conduct a review to determine if a wastewater flow meter will be required for discharge from the fixed site to facilitate billing for wastewater charges and, possibly, wastewater surcharges.

Other Discharge Options

Local landfills and Centralized Waste Treatment facilities may be another option for the disposing of hauled liquid waste. Please call to discuss the waste type in question with the respective facility operators to determine if it can be accepted for processing.

Prohibited Discharge Sites

Hauled industrial wastewater cannot be disposed at the City’s Approved Receiving Station. This type of wastewater also cannot be dumped down a cleanout, manhole or toilet at the site you are cleaning unless the site is permitted by Austin Water and has an appropriated sized sand/oil interceptor.

Any unauthorized discharge into the sanitary sewer system is a violation of Chapter 15-10, considered a Class C Misdemeanor and is punishable with a fine of up to $2,000 per day per violation.

Before You Start

First, contact Austin Water's Special Services Division at 512-972-1060 to ensure your power washing operation remains in compliance.