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Home > City Departments > Buffalo Sewer Authority > Industrial Waste Section

Industrial Waste Section

The Industrial Waste Section’s primary objective is to manage the Authority’s Pretreatment Program. The Pretreatment Program administers local, state and federal regulations that affect what businesses and industries are allowed to discharge into the Authority’s wastewater treatment system. Below are links to aid users of the system and provide additional information that may be helpful.

What is the Pretreatment Program?

The Pretreatment Program administers local, state, and federal regulations that affect what businesses and industries are allowed to discharge into the Authorities wastewater treatment system. The primary objective of the Pretreatment Program is to reduce the discharge of pollutants into the Authority's wastewater treatment system. Reduction of the pollutants discharged also:

  • Protects the health and safety of the public and the Authority’s employees;
  • Protects the physical integrity of the Authority’s sewer system and treatment plant facilities;
  • Prevents pollutants that can upset or interfere with the treatment plant’s ability to process wastewater;
  • Prevents pollutants from passing through the treatment plant’s process and being discharged into the Niagara River; and
  • Prevents limitations on sludge and ash disposal options;

The Authority’s Pretreatment Program was developed and initiated in 1976 and finally approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1984. The 1972 Clean Water Act and the 1978 Federal General Pretreatment Regulations required the formation of the program. The General Pretreatment Regulations can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Part 403 or the US EPA’s website.

The EPA’s General Pretreatment Regulations apply to all businesses and industries, which introduce pollutants into the sewer system. The EPA recognized that by regulating the businesses and industries that were known to have pollutants in their wastewater, the Pretreatment Program would have greater impact on reducing pollutants in the sewer system. The EPA developed four criteria that a business or industry could fall under, that would designate them as a business or industry that is required to be regulated. These businesses or industries are known as Significant Industrial Users. The four criteria are:

  • An industrial user that discharges an average of 25,000 gallons per day or more of process wastewater;
  • An industrial User that contributes a process waste stream making up to 5% or more of the average dry weather flow or organic capacity of the sewage treatment plant;
  • An Industrial User designated by the Pretreatment Program to reasonably cause an adverse affect on the sewage treatment plant or violate any pretreatment standard or requirement; or
  • An Industrial User that is subject to Federal Categorical Pretreatment Standards, these industries are known as Categorical Industrial Users.

In addition to these four criteria, the Authority has established additional criteria that would be used to regulate a business or industry:

  • An Industrial User that has above normal strength sewage. Normal strength sewage is considered sewage with any of the following pollutant loadings: 250 mg/l Biochemical Oxygen Demand {BOD}, 250 mg/l Total Suspended Solids {TSS} and 15.0 mg/l Total Phosphates {TPO4}. Industries discharging greater than normal strength sewage are called Surchargeable Industries, and
  • An Industrial User that has the potential for a spill of a substance of concern (pollutant) to enter the sewer system.

Based on these criteria of Significant Industrial User, the Authority accomplishes the objectives of the Pretreatment Program by permitting the affected businesses and industries. The Authority issues wastewater discharge permits, which are called Buffalo Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permits (BPDES Permit). Through the BPDES Permit the Authority is better able to control the wastewater it receives. To obtain a permit please see Control Program for Buffalo Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit.