Industrial Pretreatment of Wastewater

Written by AOS Treatment Solutions on December 4, 2018
wastewater pretreatment standards

Water is an essential substance required for many industrial processes across the country. Wastewater is water that has been contaminated from organic, inorganic pollutants produced as waste products of various physical and chemical processes in industries.

Industrial water pollution is an issue of concern to environmental regulatory authorities in the United States. Federal environmental laws, as well as local Texas regulations on wastewater management, mandate every industrial and municipal authority to treat their wastewater before disposal.

Why Wastewater Pretreatment Is Important

Industrial pretreatment is a very significant consideration because pollutants from industrial wastewater can easily seep into the soil and contaminate public supplies causing health and environmental hazards that could affect the quality of life of millions of American citizens.

Pollutants in Industrial Wastewater

Wastewater from industrial processes contains many organic, inorganic compounds and particulate matter with potential adverse effects on the immediate environment and marine ecosystem. Factors like Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and Chemical oxygen demand (COD) to name a few are relevant indexes that help us ascertain the degree of organic and inorganic impurities in water.

What Is Industrial Pretreatment?

Industrial pretreatment is the removal of conventional and toxic pollutants from industrial wastewater before discharge into a sewer system managed by a publicly owned treatment works (POTW). It aims to prevent the contamination of public systems which may seep into lakes, rivers, and other water bodies and cause widespread water pollution.

In many cases, industrial plants will use their own national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) to treat and discharge water without going to a POTW.

What is a POTW?

The POTW is usually a local treatment plant owned and operated by a U.S. government agency. There are over 16,000 POTWs scattered across the country and serving over 75% of the population.

What Is a NPDES?

A nation pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) is a permit program that regulated sources such as industrial plants that may discharge pollutants. It was created by the Clean Water Act in 1972 to permit and enforce clean water standards for industrial users.

What Is the National Pretreatment Program?

The National Pretreatment Program is a division of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). It consists of regulatory bodies at the national, state, and local government levels tasked with ensuring optimal water quality for public consumption and sustainable ecosystems.

Objectives of Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the goals of the industrial wastewater pretreatment program are:

  • To avoid interference with your industrial wastewater treatment operations
  • To prevent the influx of pollutants that could pose health and safety hazards to the general public and the environment
  • To encourage and implement reuse and recycling of industrial wastewater and sewage sludge
  • To prevent the influx of pollutants that could pass through your wastewater treatment plants undetected and contaminate the receiving environment

What Is the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES)?

On September 14th, 1988, the state of Texas assumed the authority to administer regulations of the NDPES at the state level aimed at minimizing the discharge of pollutants into surface water (excluding those from geothermal, oil and gas mining, and developmental activities) which fall under the jurisdiction of the Railroad Commission of Texas.

What Are Pretreatment Standards?

Wastewater Pretreatment Standards are a set of requirements and procedures enacted by the National Pretreatment Program of the EPA to control levels of pollutants discharged into the environment by industrial users (UIs).

industrial wastewater pretreatment

Categories of Industrial Users (IUs)

Categories of Industrial Users (IUs) According to the official website of the EPA, IUs may fall under industrial (IUs), significant (SIUs), or categorical users (CIUs). However, according to the EPA, the terms SIU and CIU can be used interchangeably.

SIUs and CIUs

Significant Industrial Users generally refer to users whose average volume of wastewater discharge is over 25,000 gallons daily while Categorical Industrial Users (CIUs) are facilities that discharge their wastewater directly to POTWs. SIUs and CIUs are described in 40 CFR 403 (Official code of federal regulations).

Pretreatment standards are intended to guide UIs to monitor their wastewater treatment processes and take active steps where necessary to ensure that their water quality is within acceptable levels.

The Pretreatment standards fall under three main categories:

  • General & specific prohibitions
  • Categorical pretreatment standards &
  • Local limits

The EPA states that a control authority should be responsible for identifying specific pretreatment standards that apply to IUs and apply the most stringent regulations for cases where multiple provisions are applicable. Industrial users are however expected to find out which of the standards apply to them and ensure compliance.

Do Local Limits Apply to Every IU?

According to the official EPA website, local limits may apply to all Industrial Users (IUs) depending on local regulations of the publicly owned treatment works (POTW) in the area and other permit provisions. This implies that local limit regulations for industrial pretreatment fall under the authority of local authorities operating under the National Pretreatment Program of the EPA.

Industrial Pretreatment with AOS Treatment Services

Industrial Users can consult AOS wastewater treatment consultants to determine the most suitable treatment for their needs in line with prevailing regulations. AOS experts will carry out water analysis services to identify pollutants in your wastewater and deliver practical solutions at the most competitive costs in the industry.

For more information, contact us online today or call: (936) 228-6539.


Posted Under: Wastewater Treatment Solutions