Owning a business in today’s economy can be rough. Aside from all of the costs and licensing associated with running your own business, there are local, state and federal laws that must be considered and adhered to in order to stay in compliance.

Beauty salons have a lot of overhead. Electricity, water, gas, beauty supplies, chairs, hair driers, tools – the list goes on and on. There are a lot of things to buy and get set up before you can even open your doors.

For Massachusetts beauty salon owners there is one more thing to think about that other salons don’t need to consider in other states. The State of Massachusetts has a regulation which states that beauty salons that use an on-site sewage or septic system must also use a separate holding tank to prevent toxic waste from reaching the environment.

Beauty Salon Chemicals and the Environment
At first glance, it may not seem as though a beauty salon would be a business associated with pollution. However, when you consider all of the chemicals used in a beauty salon each day for hair color, straightening, perms, intensive conditioning and other chemical-based treatments, it really starts to add up.

If your business is in an area where there is an on-site sewage or septic system, you’ll need to spend some time learning about the regulations imposed by the State of Massachusetts or you could be subject to some pretty hefty fines. Rather than banning or prohibiting these businesses from setting up shop in areas where there are septic systems, commercial septic system regulations have been imposed to help prevent those chemicals from harming the local environment.

What is a Holding Tank?
A holding tank is used to hold the effluent or waste apart from the primary on-site sewage or septic system for the business. The tank must be pumped out on a regular basis by a septic system pumping company that is licensed by the State of Massachusetts to properly dispose of hazardous or toxic materials.

The best way for Massachusetts beauty salon owners to comply with these commercial septic system regulations is to designate one sink in the salon to use for rinsing out chemical-based treatments into the wastewater. The sink can be plumbed directly to the holding tank, apart from the primary septic system.

There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. It is important for all business owners in every state to become familiar with any rules or regulations that govern the way they do business to ensure that they are complying with the law. The Department of Environmental Protection for the State of Massachusetts has offered a program to provide assistance by septic system experts to design an approved holding tank system that will work with the size of the salon and the daily volume of customers to ensure adequate space.

Laws Beyond the State of Massachusetts
The commercial septic system regulations imposed in Massachusetts are designed to help businesses comply with federal laws regarding hazardous waste production. Under the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) system, a beauty salon is classified within the United States as a Section 7231 “hazardous waste producer”, which requires these businesses to comply with the 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

This federal law requires beauty salons all across the country to keep records of any and all hazardous waste that is produced to help the federal government track toxic waste. A record-keeping document known as the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest is used in the State of Massachusetts and is required to be filled out by Massachusetts beauty salon owners.

In addition to adhering to holding tank regulations in Massachusetts and complying with federal law regarding record-keeping, beauty salons must apply for a receive an identification number from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Beauty salons are assigned a 12-digit number that must be provided to a licensed toxic or hazardous waste hauler before the septic holding tank can be pumped out.

This ID number must be included in the Massachusetts Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. Beauty salons are required to apply for and receive a brand new identification number from the EPA if they move to a new location. An Annual Compliance Assurance Fee has been in effect since 2004 of $525 each year for beauty salons. The government states that this fee is to help cover costs, such as notification processing, record-keeping and technical assistance.

Call a Professional
Confused? Not sure what you need to do to be in compliance? Call All-Clear Septic & Wastewater. Located in Acushnet, Massachusetts, All-Clear services commercial and residential customers throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They are licensed and certified to do Title V Inspections and can help commercial businesses get on a Preventative Maintenance Plan that will keep their septic systems running effectively and efficiently for many years to come. Call All-Clear with any questions you might have about running a beauty salon or other type of business in the State of Massachusetts and for information about how to get your shop in compliance.