Dumpster deodorizing

It’s a scene reenacted over and over, pretty much everywhere…

HE:      What’s the matter?

SHE:    You don’t smell that?

HE:      I don’t smell anything.

SHE:    There’s an open window behind your head. I bet there’s a dumpster on the other side.

HE:      (Being served) Are we still sharing the minestrone?

When a diner’s first impression of your restaurant is “It stinks in here,” it’s time to take a hard look (and sniff?) at what needs attention—starting with your dumpster.

1. Power Washing

Dumpsters accumulate grime and odors. Power Washing is safe and effective. The high-powered jet stream of clean water cuts through the sticky and the icky without the use of any chemicals. Dumpsters can be professionally power washed by the hauler, or at the location itself with the hauler’s permission. Don’t forget to pull the dumpster plug before the big bath!

2. Dumpster Swaps

Most haulers will happily swap out a funky dumpster due to odors…but beware! Some may charge outrageous swap fees and take weeks to complete. Check your waste removal contract to see how many swaps are included for each year, or during the duration of the contract.

3. Super Citrus

For industrial-strength odors, SLM created our own Super Citrus Dumpster Wash a powerful dumpster deodorizing system for restaurants, hotels, schools and others who require maximum deodorizing. It’s now available online. And we’re pretty proud of it.

4. Bagging it

Keeping both the interior and exterior of a dumpster cleaner longer goes a long way toward cutting off bad odors at the source.  And it starts with basic bagging common sense:

  • Tie up bags tight
  • Sling with care
  • Double bag if leaking or ripped
  • Try not to dump liquids


It’s a cop-movie cliché: the big fight scene in a warehouse area, surrounded by trucks and trash, where, amidst the flying bullets, a scavenger is climbing into a dumpster, presumably in search of food.

Chances are, that scavenger will come up empty. Edible food, leftover or otherwise, takes up very little space in a dumpster.

“A dumpster is a terrible place to look for food,” says one SLM staffer. “But if you’re looking to take a nap, mattresses are very popular in dumpsters.”

SLM knows dumpsters. The company was founded as a waste-management firm, and eventually branched out, tackling all aspects of facilities management.  One of SLM’s most popular services is its Bulk Pickup program.

“With the Bulk Pickup program, SLM gets rid of your most awkward, heaviest and most unwieldy junk,” says the staffer. “Dumpsters are often involved.”

SLM’s Bulk Pickup crews have seen plenty of objects that might not immediately be associated with dumpsters.  From the world of transportation, bicycles are surprisingly common. Not so common are the random car parts, including old tires, seats, transmissions and engines.

Refrigerators, both consumer and commercial, have made the leap into the dumpster. So have all types of shelving, wood, metal and plastic. Worn couches and chairs from homes sometimes share space with almost brand-new office couches and chairs from start-ups that never quite got started.

There’s another item that nobody wants to find in a dumpster but often do. For the sake of delicacy, let’s just say that Lassie isn’t really romping on a farm, Timmy.

Is there such a thing as having a favorite type of junk? SLM’s thinks so. “There’s something almost poetic about a dumpster that’s filled with other dumpsters.” In this particular case, the dumped dumpsters were abandoned by servicing companies that went out of business. So they all ended up in super-dumpsters, which were removed by SLM’s Bulk Pickup.  “We tell people that we do it all so they don’t have to,” says the staffer. “Even when it involves dumpsters within dumpsters within dumpsters.”

Honoring 9/11

Honor 9/11

Here at SLM we want to take a moment to stop and honor those who were lost in the events of 9/11. From family and loved ones to first responders and rescuers, we will never forget.

Even 16 years later, there are still families in need who were affected.  If you would like to donate or sponsor a piece of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, please visit the following website, .

Your SLM Team

Hurricane Irma: Your Preparation Checklist

Hurricane Preparation

We at SLM are dedicated to the well-being and stability of your facilities and your business.  Our mission is to ensure that your business and day-to-day operations run seamlessly with or without the threat of an impending emergency.  Unfortunately, this is a time of emergency, and we want to do everything in our power to make certain you are prepared.

With each passing hour, it is becoming more and more certain that several of the southern US states will be impacted by Hurricane Irma. If you have not done so already, it is now that you should prepare yourself and your business from the possibly damaging effects of the storm and it’s aftermath.

Gather Information

Know if you live in an evacuation area.

Assess your risks and know your business’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.


Keep a list of contact information for reference.

  • Emergency Management Offices
  • County Law Enforcement
  • County Public Safety Fire/Rescue
  • State, County and City/Town Government
  • Local Hospitals
  • Local Utilities
  • Local American Red Cross
  • Local TV Stations
  • Local Radio Stations
  • Your Property Insurance Agent
  • Risk Analysis

Supplies Kit

Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Help community members do the same.  Communities are strongest when we work together.

Health & Environment

Review the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) health considerations before, during, and after a storm.

Remember to follow the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) food and water safety guidelines during disasters.

Review the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggestions for health and environmental safety in disaster preparedness.


Review the FEMA Evacuation Guidelines to allow for enough time to pack

FOLLOW instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!

Consider your protection options to decide whether to stay or evacuate if you are not ordered to evacuate.

Be alert for:

  • Tornadoes – they are often spawned by hurricanes.
  • The calm “eye” of the storm – it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.


  • Wait until an area is declared safe before returning home.
  • Remember that recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process.

Please know that no matter what you need, SLM is here for you. We are here to get you through this storm and will help you get your business back up and running as quickly as possible. All you need to do is ask. One phone call, that’s all it takes.

Always at your service,
~ Your SLM Team


How Important Sustainable Lawn Care can be


It’s hard to know if a landscaper shares your commitment to sustainability, because once they haul away the lawn waste from your facility, what happens to it is a mystery. It’s important for your sustainability-minded company to properly vet its lawn maintenance vendor, as proper lawn care has a lot of implications on the environment. NASA estimates that lawn grass, (or turfgrass) is the most irrigated crop in the United States. Other studies estimate that in the United States, 40 million acres of land is devoted to turfgrass (University of Minnesota). SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide has a strong commitment to both keeping your lawn looking tip-top, as well as doing so with a minimal impact on the environment.

Your lawn maintenance team should be selecting the grass species best suited for the land that your facility occupies for the best results. The healthier that your lawn is, the healthier your community is, as a well-kept lawn benefits the local environment and water quality.

People often overlook lawn care when they think about what practices to make more sustainable, but it sure is an important one. Small engines like those used in lawn mowers, contribute 5 to 10% of the nation’s lawn pollution. The EPA has determined that used for an hour, a gas lawn mower emits the same amount of hydrocarbons as an SUV driven 23,600 miles! Given this, it is critical that lawns are mowed as efficiently as possible to mitigate lawn care’s effect on the environment.

Not only does SLM believe in saving the environment, we also believe in saving your business money. Lawn care services are included in our single cost facility maintenance package. You can be certain to not only be happy saving money but also knowing your lawn care is constantly being checked for quality and optimal health.


Cleaning Up After America’s Biggest Stampede

Bulk Pick Up

Black Friday. You know when it’s coming, and you know what happens. (If not, here’s a reminder.)

The Friday after Thanksgiving is considered the starting gun for stampedes, hordes and, judging from the damage that often ensues, rabid elephants, buffalos, and rhinos. Some stores get it worse than others, but the bigger the store, the bigger the stampede. And the more crazed shoppers racing to find Black Friday markdowns there are, the more damage is done to each store’s stock.

When the Black Friday madness cools down, staffers mark the casualties off as a loss and take the damaged goods out to the dumpsters behind their stores. Complete bedroom sets, refrigerators, sectional couches, ovens, mattresses, dining room tables and chandeliers are dumped, eventually swamping the capacity of the store’s dumpsters.

“This is only part of the phenomenon,” notes one SLM staffer. “In January, deja vu. All sorts of damaged items are returned to the stores, and many of them wind up overloading these dumpsters. But whatever it is, one call to SLM’s Bulk Pickup service can get rid of it.”

SLM, which manages facilities across the US, began as a waste-management company, so the mountains of trash and their ultimate removal are imprinted into SLM’s DNA. “Everybody has junk,” the staffer points out. “We see huge piles of trash after stores and businesses do their fall cleanups in late August or early September. But nothing beats Black Friday for sheer volume.”

“SLM’s message to retailers is simple: get the junk into your dumpsters or behind your store, and we’ll handle the rest, no matter how much junk there is,” says the staffer. “At SLM, we do it all so you don’t have to.”

Maintaining New-Generation Plumbing


There’s a new generation of water-efficient plumbing fixtures — including flush valves, urinals, and faucets — being installed in commercial and institutional facilities at an ever-increasing rate. These fixtures curtail water use by plumbing systems, reduce utility costs and improve the organization’s overall sustainability.

Maintenance and engineering managers who are making product selections need to carefully consider the maintenance impact these products are likely to have, to make sure that these products deliver the desired benefits to the organization and the environment.

Understanding the key maintenance needs for each product is critical. With that understanding, managers will be better able to incorporate these considerations into technicians’ regular inspections and repair routines.  Technicians will be more efficient in troubleshooting potential problems, and in stopping small issues before they can become costly and cumbersome.

Common Problems

As maintenance and water costs rise, managers are increasingly tasked to monitor water flow. That means installing pressure gauges and flow meters at strategic locations in their buildings’ plumbing systems. Once managers are certain that these readings are at normal levels, the next step is to look at individual fixtures and assess their condition.

A manual toilet flush valve contains about 25 parts. The maintenance problems associated with the valves can include:

  • The valve does not operate.
  • Too much or too little water is delivered.
  • The flush time is too long or short.
  • The handle or inlet connection leaks.
  • The valve makes chattering noises.
  • The battery is low, or the valve inadvertently cycles on and off.

Disassembling and cleaning the flush handle can solve all sorts of minor problems. Other solutions might involve using repair kits to replace the control portions of the valve, or simply replacing O rings that have hardened and no longer provide a good seal.

Chattering noises could indicate wear, abuse or a diaphragm in the wrong position. The low flow of water could result from a low-flow urinal kit installed in a higher-flow toilet valve.

It’s essential that technicians match the repair kit with the valve to ensure its proper operation. Newer toilet flush valves are rated at or below 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf); older ones still in service might be rated at 4.5 gpf or higher.

Urinal flush valves manufactured after 1992 must meet the maximum flow limit of 1 gpf. But many valves that deliver higher rates are still in use. Rates as high as 3 gpf and as low as 0.5 gpf are available.

The most typical designs for manual urinal flush valves are similar to those of toilet flush valves, with about the same number of parts, functionality, and maintenance requirements. The big difference is in the lower flow rate. Since urinals flush only liquids, they need less water.

A version of this article originally appeared on Facilities Net.


How Proactive Contracting Saved A Major Restaurant Chain $33,000

How Proactive Contracting Saved A Major Restaurant Chain $33,000

A chain restaurant had been experiencing something distinctly unappetizing: constant main line backups. They were told that their sewer lateral leading up to the city main about 30 feet away had collapsed.  And the city main was under a busy major highway.

Another vendor had given the restaurant a quote of $60,000, which would include digging through the complex parking lot and connecting to a different sewer system main approximately 100 feet away.  Worse, the vendors pitching for the restaurant’s business told them the Department of Transportation would take six months to approve any repairs under the highway, and that those associated costs would be astronomical.

Those vendors sat and waited. SLM was called, and immediately stepped up. SLM contacted the agencies, and was able to work with the city and the DOT to expedite this process.  SLM had approval and permits pulled within 3 weeks, and was able to get the work done, not for $60,000, but for $26,811.11…almost $33,000 less. This price included all equipment, labor, materials, and the DOT permit assistance and allowances.

During the 3 weeks of the approval process, SLM set up a recurring (2x per week) service with a sewer machine to prevent backups, and kept the busy restaurant location open for business.  Happy customers, happy owners.

MORAL: Never be afraid to pick up the phone.

The Case of the Banging Fan


The Problem:

“We can barely hear ourselves eating over here.”

“What is that BANGING?”

“We didn’t come here for the noise.”

But noise was the dominant theme in one restaurant.  Customers described it as like eating in a metal shop, on a submarine or in a very old Pontiac.

The Restaurant’s store manager called SLM and reported that the HVAC was making such loud noises that the customers were complaining. She requested a technician be sent out, stat.

A certified HVAC technician was dispatched by SLM to inspect the HVAC unit.  As reported, the unit was making loud clanking and buzzing noises. To the tech, this was a sure sign of an unbalanced part.

The tech investigated further and discovered that the compressor had loosened over time. It also turned out that the restaurant had never done any scheduled preventive maintenance on their HVAC unit. Over time, the compressor and the fan blades worked themselves loose and shifted out of balance.

As the tech dug deeper, they discovered that the HVAC’s air filters were old and encrusted with dirt, dust, and other debris which hindered the filter for performing its job. An old filter can affect the quality of the air you breathe and should be changed quite frequently.  A/C units are designed to work with a certain amount of internal airflow. If that minimum isn’t met, the A/C could malfunction and ultimately fail as well as affect your energy bills, which could rise sharply as your system struggles to take in the air.

The Solution:

If the restaurant had been on an HVAC preventive maintenance program, the compressor and blades would have been tightened and the filters would have been changed during a scheduled maintenance visit. With an HVAC preventive maintenance program in place, there would have no rattling or banging, no upset customers, a lower monthly energy bill, and above all, there would have been no need for an emergency technician to be dispatched.

This example service call encapsulates the importance of implementing and keeping current with an HVAC preventive maintenance schedule.

Calling out an HVAC tech can cost around $85 per hour, plus possible travel charges. If parts must be replaced due to lack of maintenance, those costs can quickly skyrocket. Maintaining your HVAC system once each quarter is more cost effective than waiting for something to break down. Many companies make a large investment in an HVAC system, yet fail to properly maintain that system to guarantee peak efficiency and head off malfunctions before they begin.

A properly functioning HVAC system is one that will keep your location comfortable, cool and quiet for years to come. Most HVAC units may need emergency repairs from time to time, however, well-kept units are less likely to fail during the months of hard use. Keeping a unit up-to-date on all inspections and maintenance checks means less hassle and fewer unnecessary expenses.

BOTTOM LINE: Scheduled HVAC Preventive Maintenance results in:

    • Lower Utility Bills
    • Cleaner Air
    • Longer System Life
    • Increased Efficiency
    • Fewer Emergency Repairs

Identify Landscape Challenges in Advance


The exterior appearance of your facilities is vital in communicating the image of your business. Well-designed and properly maintained grounds can greet both visitors and occupants with a pleasing appearance, minimize the time and resources needed to keep your landscapes looking their best, and contribute to your organization’s sustainability efforts.

The role of facility managers in achieving these goals starts well before maintenance begins. Getting managers involved early in the design process can ensure the efficient and cost-effective maintenance of landscaped areas.

As a facility manager, you should get involved in the landscape design and planning process to avoid landscapes that are costly and difficult to maintain. Any landscape undergoing extensive rework typically involves designers with a promising idea of what looks good.  They might not consider long-term maintenance needs, which is where you can come in with practical advice. Involving maintenance early in the process to guide decisions helps ensure problems are minimal.

Several problems often arise because landscape construction is, seemingly, the lowest priority of subcontractors when it comes to conflicts and engineering.

By getting involved in the planning, facility managers can be proactive – in many cases, landscape architects make decisions that sometimes puts facility managers in a reactive role. The renovation of an existing building is a wonderful opportunity for the facility manager to get involved. Your common objective is to understand the cost to maintain the property and determine the right resources needed for the job. The design phase presents an ideal opportunity for managers to emphasize the project’s total cost of ownership, which includes the ongoing cost and the resources required to properly maintain the landscape. Ideally, managers want to minimize inputs such as water, fertilizer, and fuel that powers pruning equipment and trucks.

Another way that you, as a facility manager, can contribute to the design process is helping make the landscape more sustainable.  Planting at the right density is big way to make your landscape more sustainable.  Property owners want lush-looking plants, but facility managers want to plant smaller quantities at the right density to minimize future maintenance requirements and water needs, as well as the inevitable costs to prune more or to remove overcrowded plants. It’s all about putting the water where it is needed. Facility managers need to review the amount of water the landscape requires, and the way the irrigation system is designed. Large areas with high-volume, high-output spray heads for watering turf areas, shrubs and ornamentals require a drip or bubbler system to control water application.

The frequent problem of weeds interfering with the establishment of new plants is likely caused, for example, by poor planning of the watering of the plants and the landscape.  A critical solution to minimizing weed problems is getting the water right. New landscapes often feature a mixture of large plants, trees, and small specimen plants that all are trying to get established. Managers often feel as soon as they turn on the irrigation system, everything will be watered perfectly. But, trees with large root balls might not get enough water if the irrigation system is set to deliver water for plants with shallower root systems. The reverse also is true, where systems can overwater smaller plants, an unintended result of ensuring trees are well irrigated.

For example, regional differences are important in considering landscape needs. Irrigation is often the major concern in terms of management and the expense of repairs and upgrades. In markets with expensive land, not enough room for trees is an important consideration.

Facility managers might want to ask about design changes that will reduce the amount of water needed. They also want to avoid specifying plants prone to insects or disease, minimize the amount of debris generated, and rethink the use of fertilizers.

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