The Pretreatment Program and all Clean Water Act Programs are based upon the regulated community self-reporting with periodic oversight by the regulator. A voluntary pretreatment program would be no different, but the design of the program would put more focus on self-implementation and self-reporting for business and industries discharging to the sewer system.
The municipality must have comfort with allowing the discharge of non-domestic waste from commercial and industrial users. The regulated community must have comfort that the municipality will treat them with consistency and fairly. Pretreatment programs are designed to “trust but verify.” This means that the pretreatment program will establish reporting requirements for the business that are specific to the type of operations and pollutants that may be present while using inspections as a means to periodically verify the information submitted by the business. It is a better use of resources for the POTW to increase oversight for those businesses that chose to not comply or where sewer problems have occurred.
There are certain types of reports that are most common and are usually associated with specific types of business sectors.
- BMP notices for FOG programs: Municipalities will often require the food service establishment to report each time the grease interceptor is pumped. This is often quarterly for many grease interceptors.
- Annual reporting and certifications: Typically used for dry cleaners, dental offices, and other users that implement BMPs.
- Waste Haulers: Reporting for waste haulers varies. However, the Pretreatment Program would want the waste haulers to submit information (often for each load) that is brought to the treatment works for disposal or otherwise discharge to the collection system.
Ensure that all reports contain the specific signatory certification found at 40 CFR Section 403.6(a)(2)(ii), which includes:
I certify under penalty of law that this document and all attachments were prepared under my direction or supervision in accordance with a system designed to assure that qualified personnel properly gather and evaluate the information submitted. Based on my inquiry of the person or persons who manage the system, or those persons directly responsible for gathering the information, the information submitted is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, true, accurate, and complete. I am aware that there are significant penalties for submitting false information, including the possibility of fine and imprisonment for knowing violations.
Oversight of the Industries and Businesses
Voluntary pretreatment programs may use inspections less than a DEQ/EPA-approved pretreatment program. However, the ability to do an inspection is critical. The type of inspection will be driven by specific situations.
There are three types of industrial discharger inspections:
- Scheduled Inspections -These inspections are scheduled with the industrial discharger from a week to a month in advance. Notifying the industry in advance helps to ensure that a knowledgeable employee will be available to answer questions and needed records will be readily available for inspection and review.
- Unscheduled Inspections – These inspections are not scheduled in advance with the industrial discharger. Little or no prior notice is given, except when minimum notice (a call as an entry to the facility is made) is necessary to gain access to the facility or to ensure that the facility contact is present. This type of inspection is useful in determining the current compliance status of any business or industry discharging to the sewer system.
- On-Demand Inspection – On-Demand inspections are conducted in response to known or suspected violations discovered through self-monitoring reports, routine inspections, sampling events, public complaints, unusual influent conditions at the POTW, or emergency situations including plant upsets, sewer line blockages, fires, and explosions. On-demand inspections are performed immediately with no prior notice provided to the industry or business and may include others such as the local fire department, water quality or hazardous waste inspectors from Oregon DEQ, and others if their inclusion would not delay the inspection.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Review
The federal and State Community-Right-to-Know laws require all Oregon businesses and industries have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for the chemicals they use in manufacturing. These MSDSs can provide additional information for utilities on possible chemicals of concern. However, it is important to recognize that many chemical substances that are less than 1–5% of the total product are not required to be listed on an MSDS. The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office maintains a database of Community Right-to-Know information that might be useful to a local pretreatment program.
The database can be acquired from the State Fire Marshal’s office through the Oregon State Police website.
If the discharge from the commercial or industrial user is subject to numeric limits, the pretreatment program would want to perform compliance monitoring to verify the data submitted by the industrial user. It is advisable to not alert the businesses that the municipality will be doing sampling.