COVID-19 Best Practices: Discharges from Outdoor Handwashing Sinks Not an Issue per Maine DEP


Some companies in Maine have begun using portable hand-washing sinks outside their facilities so employees can wash their hands prior to entering and when leaving. Such sinks discharge soapy water to the ground which normally would be subject to wastewater discharge license considerations by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, the Maine DEP is allowing these portable, free-standing sinks to discharge onto the ground without having to obtain a license. A condition of this allowance is that only soap and water, and no other chemicals, should be used in the sinks. Also, it is recommended to locate the sink discharge in an area that will not contaminate, or at least minimize contamination to stormwater runoff.  Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, the sinks either need to be removed or licensed in accordance with the Maine DEP rules. The health and safety of the workers should come first and the Maine DEP is using its discretion to promote best practices to that end.

Please contact Sandy Perry at if you have questions about compliance with this or other wastewater regulations.