Frequently Asked Questions About Pretreatment
For any other questions, please contact Wastewater Management Division at (559) 621-5100. What is the Pretreatment Program?Under What Statutory Authority is the Pretreatment Program Administered?What are National Standards?What are the Prohibited Discharge Standards?Who is regulated under the Pretreatment Program?If an industry is not considered a Significant Industrial User, by definition, is it exempt from the wastewater discharge permit requirements?What is the process of obtaining a wastewater discharge permit?
What is the Pretreatment Program?  
The Pretreatment Program is a cooperative effort of federal, state, and local regulatory environmental agencies established to protect water quality. The objectives of the local program are 1) to protect the Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), or the municipal sewer system and wastewater treatment facility, from pollutants that may interfere with plant operation or pass through the plant untreated and 2) to improve opportunities for the POTW to reuse treated wastewater and the biosolids that are generated.
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Under What Statutory Authority is the Pretreatment Program Administered?  
The Pretreatment Program is administered through the Clean Water Act which called for EPA to develop national pretreatment standards to control industrial discharges into sewerage systems.
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What are National Standards?  
They are uniform national requirements which restrict the level of certain pollutants in the wastewater discharged by industries. All POTWs must enforce the federal standards. National standards consist of Prohibited Discharge Standards, which apply to all industrial users, and Categorical Pretreatment Standards, which apply to specific types, or categories, of industrial user, such as electroplaters.
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What are the Prohibited Discharge Standards?  
The specific prohibitions state that pollutants shall not be introduced into a POTW that 1) create a fire or explosion hazard in the collection system or treatment plant, 2) are corrosive , including any discharge with a pH less than 5.0, unless the POTW is specifically designed to handle such wastes, 3) are solid or viscous pollutants in amounts that will obstruct the flow in the collection system and treatment plant, resulting in interference with operations, 4) include any pollutant discharged in quantities sufficient to interfere with POTW operations, and 5) are discharged with temperatures above 140 F (40 C) when they reach the treatment plant, or hot enough to interfere with biological processes.
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Who is regulated under the Pretreatment Program?  
The Pretreatment Program applies to all Significant Industrial Users. Basically, a Significant Industrial User (SIU) is a discharger of wastewater that is subject to a Categorical Pretreatment Standard (e.g., electroplater) or who discharges an average of 25,000 gallons per day or more of process wastewater (excluding sanitary, noncontact cooling and boiler blowdown wastewater). Discharges from an SIU are controlled through a wastewater discharge permit which is issued by the Wastewater Management Division of the City of Fresno.
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If an industry is not considered a Significant Industrial User, by definition, is it exempt from the wastewater discharge permit requirements?  
No. A Significant Industrial User is issued a Class I wastewater discharge permit which is good for one year; however, there are other classes of permits issued for various lengths of time depending on the type of business.
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What is the process of obtaining a wastewater discharge permit?  
Any industrial user who thinks they might be regulated can contact the Wastewater Management Division at (559) 621-5100. After a preliminary discussion, a wastewater discharge permit application will be sent asking for more detailed information concerning the type of business, the estimated volume of water used and discharged, hazardous materials information, etc. Once completed, an inspection will conducted and, if approved, a wastewater discharge permit will be issued.
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