Many people working in laboratories are astonished when they learn that the water from the safety showers in their lab space does not drain into a floor drain. These safety showers are intended to flush an individual off in the event of an exposure, but where does all of the water go?
In many labs, there are no floor drains located underneath safety showers for various reasons. There is a long-standing myth that the water is restricted from being discharged down a drain due to RCRA regulations classifying the contaminated water as hazardous waste. Local regulatory agencies having jurisdiction over your wastewater discharge will have specific prohibitions or allowances, so it is always important to determine what regulations apply to your labs.
If you are in a situation where the water from the safety showers floods the lab during use, make sure you train and re-train lab workers to still use the safety showers! There are many factors that come into play during incidents that require the use of a safety shower, so the last thing you want someone to be worrying about is the fact that the water is not draining. Making individuals aware of this fact ahead of time will hopefully save valuable time. It is equally important to discourage people from seeking out showers in rest rooms instead of using the safety showers as part of the training. Make sure everyone knows that safety showers should be used when needed, which is why they are there!