Industrial Pretreatment at PCWRA

What Is Pretreatment?:

The term "Pretreatment" refers to the treatment of wastewater an industrial discharger must conduct prior to discharging to the sanitary sewer.

Pretreatment Background:

In 1972, the United States Congress passed the "Water Pollution Control Act" for the purpose to "restore and maintain" the quality of our nation's water. The Water Pollution Control Act was amended in 1977 and renamed the "Clean Water Act." Amendments to the Clean Water Act included requirements limiting the types and concentrations of pollutants that industries are allowed to discharge into sanitary sewer.

In 1978, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the "General Pretreatment Program Regulations." These regulations and amendments require States and local wastewater districts to enforce national pretreatment regulations.

Plum Creek Water Reclamation Authority Industrial Pretreatment Program:

Industrial and commercial facilities that discharge wastewater to the sanitary sewer within Plum Creek Water Reclamation Authority’s (PCWRA) service area are subject to Federal, State and Local discharge limitations known as Industrial pretreatment regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements and enforces Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations. A section of these regulations, called Industrial Pretreatment, are in place to protect PCWRA from indirect discharges that would cause treatment process interference or would pass through the wastewater plant and into Plum Creek without sufficient treatment. Indirect discharge or sewerage is defined as- wastewater drained to the sanitary sewer, treated by a wastewater treatment plant, then discharged to a river or open body of water, i.e. stream or lake.

The Pretreatment program has been established to implement federally-mandated Clean Water Act regulations. The program is also designed to protect the sewer collection system, utility workers, and the environment from harm that would result from toxic or dangerous pollutants disposed of to the sanitary sewer.

EPA delegates implementation and enforcement of the Pretreatment Regulations to either the State or local POTW authority. EPA “approves” programs to carry out the requirements of the CWA Pretreatment regulations. Once approved, the POTW must meet certain requirements to monitor, permit and enforce industrial pretreatment regulations.

When POTWs have not been approved by EPA to implement Pretreatment Regulations, EPA will then be the default regulating agency for the Pretreatment regulations within that POTW’s service area. As with all regulations there are exceptions. The Clean Water Act is no different. Even if a POTW is not approved by EPA, the POTW implement’s and enforces its own set of regulations called “Rules and Regulations” and local limits.

PCWRA is authorized by adopted Rules and Regulations to enforce local Industrial Pretreatment Requirements. Please follow the link below to PCWRA’s Rules and Regulations for answers to specific questions you may have concerning industrial wastewater discharges to the sanitary sewer.

To view PCWRA's Code of Rules Regulations with Appendices click Here.