Carry Out Pollution Prevention
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is
a federal permit program under the Clean Water Act that is administered
in the Bay Area by the
San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB),
a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
An important element of CMSA’s NPDES permit is a requirement for two programs
to regulate discharges into the sanitary sewers, a Pretreatment Program and a Pollution
Prevention Program. Other important CMSA source control activities are regulation of septic tank,
portable toilet, and grease trap wastes trucked to CMSA and regulation of
contaminated groundwater discharged to CMSA. CMSA staff also participate in
efforts to prevent pollution of storm water.
Part of the original Clean Water Act, passed during the 1970's,
was a requirement for most “publicly owned treatment works”
(POTWs) in the U.S. to establish a “pretreatment program” to
greatly reduce the pollutants discharged into the sanitary sewers by
industries. The CMSA Pretreatment Program is in conformance with detailed
federal regulations and is monitored by the RWQCB. CMSA submits a Pretreatment
Program Annual Report to the RWQCB, the California State Water Resources
Control Board, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The RWQCB performs
an annual inspection to verify compliance with the federal regulations.
Pollution Prevention Program
In the early 1990's the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB)
required most Bay Area treatment plants to develop and implement “pollution
prevention programs.” The intent was for each POTW to develop a program to
“go beyond the pretreatment program” in reducing discharge of problem
pollutants to the sanitary sewer. The RWQCB guidelines were more flexible than the
pretreatment program regulations, allowing each facility to design a program
tailored to its particular service area, treatment process, and NPDES permit limits.
The primary elements of CMSA Pollution Prevention Program are regulation of
automobile repair facilities and public education. The auto program involves
permits for more than 200 facilities.