Why Would I Need A Wastewater Discharge Permit?

Since 1972, with a passage of the federal Clean Water Act, a discharge permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, NPDES, permit is required to discharge wastes to Water of the US. An NPDES permit is required for the discharge of wastes in any amount, which is contrary to other permitting programs, such as under the Clean Air Act where a permit is required if emissions are above certain thresholds. Generally, a permit is required for facilities that:

  • Discharge wastewater to surface waters,
  • Discharge stormwater, if the facility falls with specified industrial sectors, is a construction site, or is a a larger municipality, or
  • Discharges wastewater to a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) and falls within certain categories of industries or is a “significant industrial user”.

Some POTWs will have their own approval requirements, local discharge limits and rules, and issue authorizations to discharge which may not technically be NPDES permits.

Why Do I Need A Wastewater Pretreatment Permit?

Because certain industrial dischargers have to meet discharge limits in order to discharge to the City sewer, they are required to apply for an Industrial Pretreatment Permit. These pretreatment permits are issued from the State permitting agency in most cases, however the State agency can delegate their authority to issue pretreatment permits to the local wastewater agency, if the local agency has an approved permitting program. For smaller POTWs, they may not wish to go through the approval process; in this case a discharger needing a pretreatment permit to discharge to the city sewer must apply for a permit through the State agency.

Caltha LLP assists wastewater dischargers in applying for wastewater discharge pemits, developing wastewater management programs, providing employee training and wastewater reduction / wastewater minimization consulting.

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