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Does My Business Need to Treat Wastewater?

Any business that produces wastewater as a by-product of manufacturing activities needs to treat wastewater. The industries that most commonly need to treat wastewater are:

  • Breweries – waste coming from malt production, wort production, and beer production.
  • Complex Organic Chemicals –  include pesticides, pharmaceuticals, paints and dyes, petro-chemicals, detergents, plastics, paper pollution, etc.
  • Dairy industry – turning milk into consumer products using processes such as chilling, pasteurization, and homogenization.
  • Food industry – contaminants are mostly food particles but in such large amounts that they cause a high oxygen demand on bodies of water.
  • Iron and Steel industry – powerful reduction reactions in blast furnaces produce contaminants such as ammonia and cyanide along with other chemicals.
  • Mines and quarries – produce contaminants in water such as fine particles and hydraulic oils.
  • Nuclear Industry – Produces radioactive wastes.
  • Pharmaceutical industry – produces chemicals and biological wastes.
  • Pulp and paper industry

The Clean Water Act , along with the EPA, sets the federal regulations for industrial wastewater  however, state POTWs (publicly operated treatment works) may have stricter regulations. As a business owner, you will need to check with your state POTW  to determine which category your business falls under. Business owners need to be aware of the proper way to treat wastewater for their specific industry.


So, What is the First Step I Need to Take?

The first step that a business owner or manager needs to take is to figure out what regulations their industry falls under. Every industry that needs to treat wastewater is given a set of limits, the type of pollution and the amount, that is allowed to be put back into the sewage system or directly output to a body of water.

Figuring out the limits is as simple as applying for a permit. To apply for a state permit in Massachusetts, click here to begin the process.


What Laws Do I Need to Know?

The laws that are most important for business owners to be aware of in Massachusetts are

  • 314 CMR 12: Operation, Maintenance and Pretreatment Standards for Wastewater Treatment Works and
  • 314 CMR 18.00: Industrial wastewater holding tank and container construction, operation, and record keeping requirements
  • 257 CMR 2.00: Certification of Operators of Wastewater Treatment Facilities

These laws set a clear set of instructions on the practice(s) of treating wastewater.


Who is Responsible for Treating Wastewater in my Facility?

Once you’ve applied for a permit, the next step is to hire a wastewater operator. Hiring a wastewater operator to oversee your facility is the easiest way to make sure that your company is staying in compliance. To learn more about wastewater operators, click here.

Lastly, treating wastewater does not need to be a difficult process. For more information or help in getting your facility in compliance, reach out to our water and wastewater services team by clicking here.