The Dangers of a Dirty Trash Chute
Friday, June 22, 2018

Section: News

Have you ever thought about what happens when the doors of a trash chute are opened?  It’s definitely something you should be thinking about and be aware of. Recent studies have discovered the inner surface of a chute can carry more than 30 different biological and bacterial growths. If a trash chute doesn’t receive proper and timely cleaning care, all of these germs and bacteria become airborne every time the chute doors are opened. These bacteria carry all kinds of illnesses and infections throughout the building, potentially affecting occupants.

Harmful Pathogens
Trash chutes are breeding grounds for some harmful fungal pathogens; for example: E. Coli, Salmonella, Legionella, Stahylococci Aureus and Pseudomonas. According to Environmental Research & Restoration, the lack of trash chute cleaning is potentially responsible for the increase in frequency of doctor’s office visits. Many pathogenic molds have the ability to inhabit the respiratory tract and become life-threatening. Items found in trash chutes contain organic waste ingredients, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and disease-causing organisms to thrive and spread throughout the building.

Fire Hazards
Property owners and managers face building violations, odor, and fire hazard risks on a daily basis. The potential possibility for fire risks is the most dangerous. Dirty or substandard trash chutes can cause all of these conditions, although they are entirely avoidable and affordable within a community's budget. Grease, sludge, and grime build-up, faulty trash chute doors, and clogged air vents are all genuine threats.  When gooey residue builds up, it prevents the chute doors from closing and can even ignite. If, during a fire, the trash chute doors do not close properly, a wind tunnel effect is created, funneling the fire up and down the building. The risk of fire is reduced when a chute is functioning properly and the chute doors are safety-approved. Your building is in violation of fire and safety codes if your chute doors don’t close or latch automatically. In order to keep a chute functioning properly, grease and sludge and grime build-up must be removed on a regular basis; otherwise you risk damaging the components of the chute which occur from build-up, therefore preventing the doors from closing. Furthermore, the collection of goo on the inside of the chute has been proven to be flammable even at temperatures as low as 180 degrees. It’s very important to eliminate risks of a flash explosion by keeping the chute clean and properly maintained. Chute doors that don’t close automatically can create a wind tunnel and increase the severity of a fire.

Cleaning Schedule
Trash chutes should be cleaned a minimum of twice a year, preferably in the summer and winter.  It is also recommended that you clean your trash chutes before and after major holidays; tenants welcome a cleaning in anticipation of holiday entertaining and an increase of visitors. A top notch cleaning process should also include maintenance and repair services.
A properly cleaned trash chute should include the following steps listed below:

Cleaning Process
■ Pre-treat interior chute walls and doors with biodegradable enzyme solution to de-grease, disinfect and deodorize
■ Pressure wash interior chute walls and doors at up to 3,000 psi to strip away grime
■ Steam clean trash room floor and walls
■ Service options: Trash room odor control blocks and water reclamation (important for water conservation during this severe drought or when you have a lack of drainage)
A properly cleaned trash chute leads to more than just a safe and cleaner living environment, it also eliminates breeding a breeding ground for vermin, neutralizes odors, and reduces the possibility of resident complaints.
Listed below are several basic maintenance and repair services associated with a properly maintained trash chute.

Maintenance and Repair Services
■ Inspection of intake and discharge door each cleaning visit
■ Repair and replacement of worn hardware performed by trained technicians
■ Refurbish your existing trash chutes and doors to bring them up to code
The seemingly small task of cleaning and maintain a trash chute is more important than some would think and can be good for your business.  Putting forth the effort to keep your tenants healthy and happy increases the likelihood that they will stay in your building longer and reduces your liability.