Pretreatment Roles and Responsibilities
These three entities have the role and responsibility to develop and implement the national pretreatment program:
- Approval authorities
- Director in an NPDES authorized state with an approved state pretreatment program, and the appropriate EPA regional administrator in a non-NPDES authorized state or NPDES state without an approved state pretreatment program.
- Control authorities
- The publicly owned treatment works (POTW), for a POTW with an approved pretreatment program, or the approval authority, for a POTW without an approved pretreatment program.
- Industrial users (IUs)
- A nondomestic source of indirect discharge into a POTW.
More information on each of their specific responsibilities is provided in the following sections.
In a traditional pretreatment program, EPA approves a state’s NPDES authority to regulate the pretreatment program. The state includes conditions outlining pretreatment implementation requirements in NPDES permits issued to POTWs. Currently, 36 states are approved to act as the approval authorityapproval authorityThe director in an NPDES Authorized State with an approved state pretreatment program, or the appropriate EPA regional administrator in a non-NPDES Authorized State or NPDES state without an approved state pretreatment program. [40 CFR 403.3(c)] for POTWs in their states.
For states not authorized to implement the pretreatment program, EPA serves as the approval authority. EPA regional staff fulfill approval authority responsibilities for 14 states that are not approved to implement the national pretreatment program. In addition, they oversee the states that are approved to implement the program.
- Approval Authorities' Responsibilities
- Pretreatment Program Requirements in NPDES Permits for POTWs
- Additional Information
The approval authorities:
- determine when and where POTW pretreatment programs need to be developed,
- set schedules and specific requirements for POTWs to develop pretreatment programs by including appropriate conditions in POTW NPDES permits or other applicable control mechanisms,
- review and approve requests for new or modified POTW pretreatment programs,
- provide technical guidance to control authorities,
- review and approve requests for site-specific variances to categorical pretreatment standards,
- review and receive control authority annual pretreatment reports,
- evaluate POTW pretreatment program implementation by conducting pretreatment compliance audits and inspections, and
- initiate enforcement actions against noncompliant POTWs or industries as appropriate.
The approval authority is responsible for ensuring that POTWs comply with all applicable pretreatment program requirements. The NPDES permit writing authority and the pretreatment approval authority may or may not be the same entity; both authorities need to work together to ensure good quality NPDES permits.
- Learn more about NPDES State Program Information
In an application for an NPDES permit (40 CFR Part 122.21) (PDF)(33 pp, 256 K), the POTW submits information to identify and characterize the potential pollutants it receives from:
- significant industrial users (SIUs),
- categorical industrial users (CIUs), and
- discharges received from hazardous waste generators, waste cleanup, or remediation sites.
Regardless of the mechanism of transport (including hauled waste), the POTW must submit information about all of these wastes.
During the life cycle of a POTW’s NPDES permit, the approval authority must require all POTWs to submit specific information for review by both the NPDES permit writing and pretreatment staff. POTWs must notify the NPDES and pretreatment approval authorities if they consider accepting:
- any new introduction of pollutants into the POTW from an indirect discharger, which would be subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 301 (PDF)(10 pp, 176 K) or 306 (PDF)(2 pp, 128 K) if it is directly discharging the pollutants, and
- any substantial change in the volume or character of pollutants being introduced into the POTW by a source introducing pollutants into the POTW at the time the permit was issued.
This notification must include:
- the quality and quantity of effluent introduced into the POTW, and
- any anticipated impact of the change on the quantity or quality of effluent to be discharged from the POTW.
This requirement is from 40 CFR Part 122.42(b) - Additional Conditions Applicable to Specified Categories of NPDES Permits (applicable to State NPDES programs, see §123.25) (PDF)(6 pp, 164 K).
The permit writer considers this information when determining water quality based effluent limits and monitoring requirements for the POTW.
The NPDES permit writer also includes the following ongoing requirements in the POTW’s NPDES permits:
- identify any SIUs discharging into the POTW subject to pretreatment standards under CWA Section 307(b) (PDF)(4 pp, 136 K) and 40 CFR Part 403 (PDF)(49 pp, 372 K),
- submit for approval a local program when required by the approval authority and, in accordance with 40 CFR Part 403, comply with pretreatment standards to the extent applicable under CWA Section 307(b) and implement the program upon its approval, and
- provide a written technical evaluation of the need to revise local limits under 40 CFR Part 403.5(c) (PDF)(2 pp, 164 K), following permit issuance or reissuance, if the POTW is required to develop and implement local limits.
- submit an annual report summarizing program activities, including a summary of IU compliance, enforcement actions, and changes to the POTW pretreatment program to the approval authority in accordance with 40 CFR Part 403.12(i) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K)
For more information on POTWs that are required to develop a local pretreatment program, the NPDES permit writer and pretreatment program approval authority should review:
- Requirements at 40 CFR Part 403 Section 8 - Pretreatment Program Requirements: Development and Implementation by POTW (PDF)(7 pp, 232 K).
- Control Authority responsibilities
EPA provides the following guidance for approval authorities to use in reviewing, approving, and assessing POTW pretreatment programs:
- Procedures Manual for Reviewing a POTW Pretreatment Program Submission – Guidance to EPA regions and states on how to review local POTWs’ pretreatment program submissions.
- The Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Compliance Monitoring Strategy – Specifies the frequencies at which pretreatment compliance inspections and pretreatment compliance audits should be conducted.
- Control Authority Pretreatment Audit Checklist and Instructions – Provides a sample PCA checklist with instructions identifying information approval authorities (EPA and states) can use to assess a POTW’s implementation of its approved pretreatment program. This information includes program procedures as well as state and federal policies and regulations. The approval authority should routinely review the overall performance of a POTW in monitoring IUs, identifying violations, and enforcing regulations. The Word version contains the checklist for the review; the PDF version contains the checklist and instructions.
- Control Authority Pretreatment Audit Checklist(82 pp, 1 MB)
- FY 1990 Guidance for Reporting and Evaluating POTW Noncompliance with Pretreatment Implementation Requirements – Defines criteria for determining whether a POTW should be reported on the Quarterly Noncompliance Report (QNCR) for failure to implement pretreatment requirements and which pretreatment violations meet the level of significant noncompliance (SNC). It also establishes timely and appropriate criteria for responding to noncompliance violations.
- Checklist: Pretreatment Program Legal Authority Reviews – A checklist approval authorities can use to review POTW legal authorities and in conjunction with the EPA Model Pretreatment Ordinance.
- Guidance on Preparing Compliance Schedules for Developing POTW Pretreatment Programs
- NPDES Compliance Inspection Manual
- Protocol for Conducting Environmental Compliance Audits for Municipal Facilities under U.S. EPA's Wastewater Regulations, EPA Office of Compliance
- Enforcement Policy, Guidance & Publications -- National policy, guidance and publications relating to EPA's enforcement of environmental laws
- Information on Civil Enforcement Penalty Policies
- Supplemental Environmental Project Policy
- Enforcement in Indian Country
- Enforcement and Compliance History
- Best Practices for NPDES Permit Writers and Pretreatment Coordinators to Address Toxic and Hazardous Chemical Discharges to POTWs -- Includes information on tools that can be used to inform approval and control authorities of data sources for hazardous and toxic industrial pollutant discharges, such as the Discharge Monitoring Report Pollutant Loading Tool.
- Discharge Monitoring Report Pollutant Loading Tool
Where a POTW has an approved local pretreatment program, the POTW is the control authoritycontrol authorityThe POTW, in the case of a POTW with an approved pretreatment program, or the Approval Authority, in the case of a POTW without an approved pretreatment program. [paraphrased from 40 CFR 403.3(f)]. Where a POTW has not received approval, the control authority is the approved state or, in unapproved states, the EPA.
The control authorities:
- develop legal authority for their jurisdiction, local limits, standard operating procedures, and an enforcement response plan to establish and maintain an approved pretreatment program.
- regulate IUs by:
- issuing control mechanisms,
- conducting monitoring and inspections,
- receiving and reviewing reports and notifications,
- reviewing requests for net/gross variances,
- evaluating compliance with program requirements, and
- taking enforcement as appropriate.
- submit regular reports to approval authorities to describe the implementation of their pretreatment program.
The control authority is responsible for administering and enforcing pretreatment standards and requirements. The control authority’s primary goals are:
- to prevent the discharge of pollutants into the publicly owned treatment works (POTW) that would result in interferenceinterferenceA discharge that, alone or in conjunction with a discharge or discharges from other sources, both (1) inhibits or disrupts the POTW, its treatment processes or operations, or its sludge processes, use, or disposal; and (2) therefore is a cause of a violation of any requirement of the POTW's NPDES permit (including an increase in the magnitude or duration of a violation) or of the prevention of sewage sludge use or disposal in compliance with ... [applicable] statutory provisions and regulations or permits issued thereunder (or more stringent state or local regulations). [paraphrased from 40 CFR 403.3(k)] and pass throughpass throughA discharge that exits the POTW into waters of the United States in quantities or concentrations that, alone or in conjunction with a discharge or discharges from other sources, is a cause of a violation of any requirement of the POTW's NPDES permit (including an increase in the magnitude or duration of a violation). [40 CFR 403.3(p)] at the POTW’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP); and
- to ensure that IUs comply with all applicable pretreatment program requirements.
After the approval authorityapproval authorityThe director in an NPDES Authorized State with an approved state pretreatment program, or the appropriate EPA regional administrator in a non-NPDES Authorized State or NPDES state without an approved state pretreatment program. [40 CFR 403.3(c)] - the EPA or approved state – approves a POTW’s pretreatment program, the POTW becomes the control authority. If the POTW is not required to develop an approved local pretreatment program and become the control authority, the approved pretreatment state or the EPA region (where the state is not approved), assumes responsibility as the control authority over industrial users discharging to the POTW.
The POTW submits the pretreatment program package to the approval authority for review and approval according to the requirements at 40 CFR Part 403.9 (PDF)(2 pp, 184 K). In addition to containing all the required elements, the package must also describe how the POTW will maintain the key components of its pretreatment program.
POTW pretreatment requirements at 40 CFR Part 403.8(f)(1) through (6) (PDF)(7 pp, 232 K) outline the key components of an approved POTW pretreatment program:
- Legal authority to implement the program (e.g., ordinances, multijurisdictional agreements).
- Procedures for program implementation.
- Funding adequate to implement the program.
- Local limits, including periodic reevaluations to ensure that the limits remain protective of the POTW.
- Enforcement, including development and implementation of an enforcement response plan (ERP).
- A comprehensive list of IUs.
Once the approval authority (EPA or approved state pretreatment program) approves the POTW program, the POTW becomes the control authority to implement the local program.
Periodically, the control authority must modify its approved pretreatment program. Procedures for the modification of POTW pretreatment programs are outlined at 40 CFR 403.18 (PDF)(2 pp, 184 K). Common reasons for modifications include regulation changes (federal, state, or local) and adoption of new local limits. For example, a POTW may not have previously accepted hauled waste, and later modifies its program to incorporate legal authority, standard procedures, and pretreatment standards that apply to hauled waste.
The control authority must have adequate legal authority to implement its pretreatment program, as stated in the regulations at 40 CFR Part 403.8(f)(1) (PDF)(7 pp, 232 K). A control authority regulating IUs outside of its legal jurisdiction (e.g., IUs outside of a POTW’s political boundaries) must have the necessary legal authority to ensure that the program procedures can be implemented there, too. The legal authority must enable the POTW to:
- deny or condition discharges to the POTW,
- require compliance with pretreatment standards and requirements,
- control IU discharges through permits, orders, or similar means,
- require IU compliance schedules when necessary to meet applicable pretreatment standards and/or requirements and the submission of reports to demonstrate compliance,
- inspect and monitor IUs;
- obtain remedies for IU noncompliance, and
- comply with confidentiality requirements.
Using legal authority, the control authority must develop and implement the required procedures outlined at 40 CFR Part 403.8(f)(20 (PDF)( pp, 232 K) to:
- Identify and locate all IUs subject to the pretreatment programs.
- Identify the character and volume of pollutants discharged to the POTW. The POTW will maintain an index or inventory of IUs and update the list, submitting changes to the list annually to their Approval Authorities per 40 CFR Part 403.12(i) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- Notify IUs of applicable pretreatment standards and requirements. Frequently, POTWs provide this notification by issuing a permit or control mechanism that identifies applicable limitations and reporting requirements.
- Receive and analyze reports and notices from the IUs.
- Sample and analyze IU discharges and, specifically, inspect and sample SIUs annually.
- Evaluate IUs and require measures for controlling non-routine, episodic discharges, including spills, that might cause interference or pass through or violate the POTW regulations.
- Investigate IU noncompliance, developing and using an Enforcement Response Plan (“ERP”).
- Provide sufficient funding, resources, personnel to carry out the requirements.
- Develop and enforce local limits, or demonstrate that they are not necessary.
- Submit an annual report with a summary of program activities, including a summary of IU compliance, enforcement actions, and changes to the POTW pretreatment program to the approval authority.
Learn more about requirements for controlling hauled waste.
To assist the control authority in developing and implementing its pretreatment programs, EPA provides the following guidance:
- The Guidance Manual for POTW Pretreatment Program Development – Outlines the data and information the POTW must include in an approvable pretreatment program package to be submitted to the approval authority.
- The EPA Model Pretreatment Ordinance – Provides guidance on developing municipal ordinances to implement and enforce a pretreatment program and includes sample language for incorporating the federal requirements into local regulations.
- The Checklist: Pretreatment Program Legal Authority Reviews – Allows control authorities developing or modifying their local legal authorities to compare them with federal requirements. This document references the “EPA Model Pretreatment Ordinance.”
- The Multijurisdictional Pretreatment Programs Guidance Manual – Provides information about jurisdictional issues and includes sample language for agreements and contracts.
- New Source Dates for Direct and Indirect Dischargers, memorandum dated September 28, 2006 – Summarizes EPA regulatory requirements for determining what CIUs are new sources. It includes a summary of relevant regulatory criteria and a listing of applicable new source dates.
- The Industrial User Permitting Guidance Manual – Provides guidance for control authorities to effectively develop and issue control mechanisms to IUs discharging to the POTW and covers developing and implementing control mechanisms for both SIUs and non-SIUs.
- The Pretreatment Streamlining Rule Fact Sheet 10: General Control Mechanisms Option – Describes how control authorities can issue a general control mechanism for a group of SIUs that meet certain minimum criteria for being considered substantially similar.
- The Industrial User Inspection and Sampling Manual for POTWs – Provides a detailed reference for inspection and sampling procedures and protocols.
- Control of Slug Loadings to POTWs Guidance Manual – Describes measures to prevent slug loadings from indirect users of sewer systems from impairing POTWs.
- Pretreatment Streamlining Rule Fact Sheet 8.0: Slug Control Plans – Describes the oversight actions the control authority must take to implement provisions to prevent the slug discharges from an IU.
- Guidance for Developing Control Authority Enforcement Response Plans – Walks control authority personnel through developing an ERP to remedy violations of a local pretreatment program.
- Application and Use of the Regulatory Definition of Significant Noncompliance for Industrial Users, memorandum dated September 1991 – Responds to several questions from states, POTWs, and the industry regarding application of the SNC definition, including the 6-month evaluation period.
- Determining Industrial User Significant Noncompliance - One Page Summary – Provides a diagram outlining application of the SNC definition, including application of the 6-month evaluation period.
- Revision of NPDES Significant Noncompliance (SNC) Criteria to Address Violations of Nonmonthly Average Limits, memorandum dated September 21, 1995 – Further explains criteria for violations of nonmonthly average limits.
- Oversight of SIUs Discharging to POTWs without Approved Pretreatment Programs, memorandum dated May 18, 2007 – Summarizes EPA and state responsibilities and options when acting as control authorities over SIUs discharging to POTWs without approved pretreatment programs.
- Best Practices for NPDES Permit Writers and Pretreatment Coordinators to Address Toxic and hazardous Chemical Discharges to POTWs - Includes information on tools that can be used to inform approval and control authorities of data sources for hazardous and toxic pollutant discharges, such as the Discharge Monitoring Report Pollutant Loading Tool.
- Hazardous Waste Reporting Requirements for Industrial Users under 40 CFR 403.12(p)&(j) - Control Authorites can use this factsheet to inform their industrial users of hazardous waste reporting requirements.
An industrial user (IU) must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local pretreatment standards and requirements. Some federal requirements apply to all IUs and other requirements apply only to specific types of IUs.
An IU demonstrates compliance by:
- performing self-monitoring,
- submitting reports and notifications to its control authority, and
- maintaining records of its activities.
These requirements apply to each type of IU regardless of the entity serving as the control authority. These federal requirements apply regardless of whether the IU has a control mechanism (e.g., permit or discharge authorization) from its control authority.
- Requirements for All IUs
- Additional Requirements for SIUs
- Additional Requirements for CIUs
- Requirements for Hauled Waste
- Additional information
All IUs are responsible for notifying the receiving POTW and/or control authority (if they are different entities) about the following discharges or changes to existing discharge practices:
- changes affecting potential for slug discharge (40 CFR Part 403.8(f)(2)(vi)) (PDF)(7 pp, 232 K).
- potential problems, including slug loadings (40 CFR Part 403.12(f)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- noncompliance and repeat sampling report (40 CFR Part 403.12(g)(2)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- changed discharge (40 CFR Part 403.12(j)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- changed production (for IUs with limits calculated from a production-based standard) (40 CFR Part 403.6(c)(9)) (PDF)(7 pp, 236 K).
- hazardous wastes discharge (40 CFR Part 403.12(p)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K). See also Hazardous Waste Reporting Requirements for Industrial Users under 40 CFR 403.12(p)&(j).
- bypass (40 CFR Part 403.17) (PDF)(1 pg, 184 K).
These notifications alert the POTW and/or control authority to discharges that can affect the collection system or treatment plant. In addition, the control authority may specifically require its IUs to:
- submit reports, as required (40 CFR Part 403.12) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- maintain records of pretreatment activities, as required (40 CFR Part 403.12(o)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
Because an IU can be as simple as an automated, coin-operated car wash or as complex as an automobile manufacturing plant or a synthetic chemical producer, EPA developed four criteria that define a significant industrial user (SIU):
- is subject to categorical pretreatment standards (CIUs) under 40 CFR Part 403.6 (PDF)(7 pp, 236 K) and 40 CFR chapter I, subchapter N, except those designated as NSCIUs; or
- discharges an average of 25,000 gallons per day or more of process wastewater to the POTW (excluding sanitary, noncontact cooling, and boiler blowdown wastewater); or
- contributes a process wastestream that makes up five percent or more of the average dry-weather hydraulic or organic capacity of the POTW treatment plant; or
- is designated as such by the POTW on the basis that the IU has a reasonable potential for adversely affecting the POTW’s operation or for violating any pretreatment standard or requirement [in accordance with 40 CFR Part 403.8(f)(6)] (PDF)(7 pp, 232 K).
SIUSIU(1) All users subject to categorical pretreatment standards under 40 CFR 403.6 and 40 CFR chapter I, subchapter N, except those designated as NSCIUs; and (2) Any other IU that discharges an average of 25,000 gallons per day or more of process wastewater to the POTW (excluding sanitary, noncontact cooling, and boiler blowdown wastewater); contributes a process wastestream that makes up 5 percent or more of the average dry-weather hydraulic or organic capacity of the POTW treatment plant; or is designated as such by the POTW on the basis that the IU has a reasonable potential for adversely affecting the POTW’s operation or for violating any pretreatment standard or requirement [in accordance with 40 CFR 403.8(f)(6)]. [40 CFR 403.3(v)]s must comply with additional requirements in the federal regulations that include, but are not limited to the following:
- Conduct required self-monitoring and submit periodic compliance reports every six months according to the reporting requirements for IUs not subject to categorical pretreatment standards (40 CFR Part 403.12(h)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- Develop and implement a slug control plan, if required by the control authority (40 CFR Part 403.8(f)(2)(vi)) (PDF)(7 pp, 232 K).
EPA develops national standards that are based on particular industrial processes. These standards are technology-based (i.e. they are based on the performance of treatment and control technologies); they are not based on risk or impacts upon receiving waters. These standards are found at 40 CFR Part 405-471.
Non-domestic dischargers subject to these national standards are called categorical industrial users (CIUCIUAn industrial user subject to national categorical pretreatment standards.s). CIUs must comply with additional requirements in the federal regulations that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Submit to its control authority:
- a baseline monitoring report (40 CFR Part 403.12(b)(1–7)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K),
- compliance schedule progress reports (40 CFR Part 403.12(c)(1–3)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K),
- a 90-day compliance report (40 CFR Part 403.12(d)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K), and
- a periodic compliance report (40 CFR Part 403.12(e)) (PDF).(10 pp, 216 K) (This requirement is the CIU equivalent to the SIUs reports required at 40 CFR Part 403.12(h)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- Notify the POTW and/or control authority of upset (40 CFR Part 403.16) (PDF)(2 pp, 184 K).
A CIU must comply with these federal requirements regardless of whether it has a control mechanism (e.g., permit or discharge authorization) from its control authority. These reports and notifications provide the POTW and/or control authority basic information on the industrial facility and regular reports on the facility’s compliance status with categorical and other applicable standards.
Additional requirements might apply if the CIU’s control authority implements optional pretreatment program provisions. The requirements should be specified in the CIU’s control mechanism. The CIU must notify its POTW and/or control authority (if they are different entities) about the following:
- Production level change in the equivalent limit calculation (40 CFR Part 403.6(c)(5)) (PDF)(7 pp, 236 K).
- Material/significant change in the alternative limit calculation (40 CFR Part 403.6(e)) (PDF)(7 pp, 236 K).
- Waived pollutant present (40 CFR Part 403.12(e)(2)(vi)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
- Middle-tiered categorical industrial user (40 CFR Part 403.12(e)(3)(iv)) (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K).
The term “hauled waste ” refers to the wastes’ transportation method to the POTW. Hauled waste might be sewage or domestic waste, or it might include non-domestic waste, or a combination of both types of waste. If an IU has its wastes hauled to the POTW, the waste must still comply with its applicable pretreatment standards and requirements.
- EPA’s Effluent Limitations Guidelines – CIUs are those facilities performing processes subject to pretreatment standards for existing sources or pretreatment standards for new sources found in EPA’s Effluent Limitations Guidelines. Industry-specific guidance materials, including regulatory development documents, are found with the information for each industry category.
- Compliance Assistance Centers – Access to plain-language materials and other resources on environmental compliance for various commercial and industrial sectors.
- EPA’s New Source Dates for Direct and Indirect Dischargers Memorandum – Summarizes regulatory requirements for determining application of new source standards, including a listing of applicable new source dates used in making new source determinations
- Applicability of Categorical Pretreatment Standards to Industrial Users of Non-Discharging POTWs
- Applicability of Categorical Pretreatment Standards to Zero Discharge Facilities within Letter from the United States Environmental Protection Agency dated Apr 16, 1993 to Mr. Robert F. Babcock
- Applicability of Effluent Guidelines and Categorical Pretreatment Standards to Biodiesel Manufacturing
- Applicability of Categorical Pretreatment Standards to Industrial Users Conducting Research and Development Operations