Department of Public Utilities

Trash Disposal & Recycling

Wastewater Discharge Permitting

Regulating Industrial Wastewater Discharge with our Pretreatment Program

The City of Fresno operates a Pretreatment Program that regulates industrial wastewater discharge at the source. This is a joint effort between the City of Fresno and companies to control the levels of industrial contaminants entering the sewer system through permitting, inspections, monitoring, and enforcement. The industrial/commercial component of the wastewater flow has been estimated to be approximately 15% of the total flow.

Wastewater Discharge Permits

Preliminary inspections and other guidelines such as the amount of flow, impacting characteristics of the wastewater, type of process, and federal regulations are taken into consideration to determine if a business is required to have a Wastewater Discharge Permit.

Fresno is a city with a variety of industries and diverse discharge characteristics.

Wastewater Discharge Permits are issued to:

  • Packing Houses
  • Industrial Laundries
  • Rendering Facilities
  • Tortilla Manufacturers
  • Poultry Processors
  • Bottling Companies
  • Food Processors
  • Electroplaters
  • Metal Finishers
  • Hospitals
  • Slaughter Houses
  • Industrial Bakeries

Permits to discharge into the sewer contain a series of administrative requirements and discharge conditions that the users must comply with at all times. Permits are given for a specific time and are tailored to each user. Monitoring of industrial users is established depending on their impact to the RWRF.

Keeping Harmful Substances Out

The goal of all pretreatment programs is to keep harmful substances out that could:

  • Damage sewer systems and treatment plant structures
  • Interfere with treatment operations
  • Jeopardize worker safety by exposure to chemical hazards
  • Reduce reclamation options due to contaminated effluent and biosolids
  • Result in violations of the treatment facilities’ own Waste Discharge Requirements
  • Add maintenance, repair, operational and disposal costs to the treatment of wastewater

Program Evaluation

Introduction of metals to the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF) has decreased since the implementation of the Pretreatment Program. Implementation in 1983, the Pretreatment Program has successfully reduced regulated pollutants discharged to the RWRF by more than 50%.

The ability to use the effluent to irrigate non-food crops, and the use of biosolids as a compost ingredient is a clear indication of the effectiveness of the Program. The most recent audit by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board commended the Pretreatment Program as effective and consistent with federal requirements.

The City of Fresno’s Pretreatment Program will continue to meet the challenges of improving performance, promoting pollution prevention, educating dischargers, and enforcing regulations to keep pollutants from impacting the RWRF performance.

Enforcement Actions

Regulations are enforced through actions that could escalate from simple Warning Notices to Cease and Desist Orders if discharges constitute a public health and safety issue. Compliance through pollution prevention measures instead of enforcement actions is highly preferred. Increasing facility inspections have played an active role in improving communication with industries and the overall compliance rate in the last five years. The protection of the RWRF and the environment is achieved through a partnership between government and industry.

Enforcement Response Plan