Community-Based Pretreatment Tool

ORDINANCE — Developing a Local Ordinance

All Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) should have the legal authority to allow the municipality to prevent impacts to the treatment works and collection system from industry and business discharges and to protect worker health and safety. A City form of government will adopt an Ordinance; a District form of government will adopt Rules and Regulations. These are collectively referred to as the “Legal Authority.” A municipality must allow at least a 35 day public comment period (or as required by the applicable local City Council or Board process) for the legal authority that is intended to be enforceable.

The smaller municipality would not necessarily have as comprehensive of a legal authority as a DEQ or EPA approved pretreatment program. EPA has provided a model pretreatment legal authority for approved pretreatment programs (Word doc). There are many sewer use ordinances/rules to review and borrow from. Examples include:

  1. An example Sewer Use Ordinance developed by the ACWA Pretreatment Committee (Word documnet .doc; right-click to save file locally)
  2. Other local pretreatment ordinances:

It is very important that the voluntary program adopt only requirements that are needed. When looking at the EPA or other legal authorities, the POTW should ask the following questions:

  1. Is this something the municipality wants to enforce?
  2. Does the language make sense?
  3. Is there a better way to word this requirement?

Before adopting the legal authority from another municipality, a draft copy should be provided to the DEQ for informal review. Some municipalities may have language that is either outdated or inappropriate for a voluntary pretreatment program.

A typical legal authority for smaller programs would have two distinct chapters:

  • A general sewer use section (this is likely already in-place),
  • A separate section for the Pretreatment Program.

A voluntary Pretreatment Program legal authority would typically have the following sections (similar, but may have less detail than the legal authority found in an approved pretreatment program legal authority).

  1. Objectives and Applicability
  2. Definitions and Abbreviations
  3. General and Specific Prohibitions (the minimum required ones are shown in the POTWs Oregon NPDES permit)
  4. Local limits, if adopted by the municipality
  5. Sector Control Programs (FOG, dental amalgam, hauled waste, etc.). These may have methods to control discharges other than an industrial user permit (for example by letter or by notice, etc.)
  6. Dilution prohibition
  7. City’s authority to establish additional limits and BMPs
  8. Pretreatment and Monitoring Facilities
  9. Surcharging industrial users for excess strength waste (this may be in the general sewer use section)
  10. Industrial User Discharge Permits, applying for a permit and permitting procedure (primarily for large industrial users or those where pollutants are a concern)
  11. Special agreements and contracts. Discharges cannot allow or cause:

    a.  Any adverse effect to the POTW;
    b.  A violation of the POTW NPDES permit;
    c.  A violation of a General or Specific Prohibition;
    d.  A Maximum Allowable Industrial Load (MAIL) to be exceeded;
    e.  A violation of State or Federal law or regulation; or
    f.  Provide any waiver to applicable Categorical Standards)

  12. Recordkeeping
  13. Confidential Information (based upon Oregon Public Records law)
  14. Sample Collection and Analytical Procedures
  15. Right of Entry
  16. Reporting and Notification Requirements
  17. Program Cost Recovery (if adopted by municipality)
  18. Compliance and Enforcement
  19. Affirmative defenses (optional and not required)

Enforcement Response
Appropriate enforcement tools should be incorporated into the local ordinance when it is developed. Consider the appropriate steps for each type of violation that might be encountered. Some smaller communities use a combination of Notices of Violation and meetings to convince the company to come into compliance.
For example, the ordinance might be structured to require:

  • First violation, Notice of Violation and mandatory in-person meeting
  • Second violation, Notice of Violation and warning
  • Third violation, traffic ticket and court appearance that can be used to agree to fines and compliance schedules
  • Consider if the community will bill the industry for sampling and staff time costs associated with resolving the violation

Consider setting standard fines for late reports. This might provide an incentive to complete the reports on time, reducing staff time on report follow up actions.
The ordinance should outline the ‘next steps’ if reports are not received, if reports are incomplete, or if reports show that environmental standards are not being followed.

Think through the enforcement response in detail; writing Standard Operating Procedures for compliance and enforcement actions will ensure good communication within the Public Works staff and consistent approaches between different types of businesses.

The EPA Guidance for developing enforcement response plans might be a useful. The Guidance for Developing Control Authority Enforcement Response Plans is available online.

Develop a Local Ordinance to Meet DEQ/EPA Regulations

DEQ and EPA regulations have specific requirements for developing a local ordinance. Consider reviewing the DEQ and EPA requirements to ensure that if a mandatory pretreatment program is required at a later date, the local ordinance will not need to be revised.

DEQ and Federal regulations and guidance on adoption of a local ordinance are available online. Your community might consider if it would like to request a review of your ordinance by DEQ on a voluntary basis.

Allow at least 35 days for public comment prior to Council adoption to ensure federal and state equivalence, if your community is required to have a pretreatment program in the future.

Document ordinance adoption and retain for your records.



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