In 1972 Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the Clean Water Act (CWA), to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation's waters. The CWA established a regulatory program to address indirect discharges from industries to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) through the National Pretreatment Program, a component of the NPDES Permit Program. The National Pretreatment Program requires industrial and commercial dischargers, called industrial users (IUs), to obtain permits or other control mechanisms to discharge wastewater to the POTW.
The District Pretreatment Program officially began in 1994 as a requirement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Pretreatment Program permits, monitors and regulates a variety of industries in order to protect the District's treatment facilities and the Charles River from the discharge of harmful pollutants. The District's Pretreatment Program is important because wastewater treatment facilities use biological organisms to treat sanitary sewage and are not designed to remove heavy metals, cyanide and other toxic pollutants from wastewater.
The District's Pretreatment Program:
- Protects the health and safety of the public and environment.
- Prevents the introduction of pollutants into the sewer system that would interfere with the operation of the wastewater treatment plant.
- Prevents pass-through of pollutants from the treatment plant into the Charles River.
- Prevents contamination of treatment plant sludge.
- Protects the Town's wastewater collection system, treatment plant, and workers.
- Complies with the pretreatment regulations.
All Industrial Users shall obtain an Industrial Discharge Permit from the District for discharges to the Facility. All Industrial Users proposing to connect to or discharge into the Facility shall obtain an Industrial Discharge Permit before connecting to or discharging into the Facility. An application for said Industrial Discharge Permit shall be filed with the District, with a copy to the Town, at least ninety (90) days prior to the proposed connection or discharge to the Facility. The District has the authority to deny or condition new or increased contributions of pollutants to the Facility by Industrial Users, pursuant to 40 C.F.R. 403.8(f)(1)(i).