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Wastewater Treatment Basics

Wastewater Treatment Basics

Wastewater TreatmentWastewater is generated after human and commercial consumption of water. The domestic use produces wastewater, also called sewage, from showers, sinks, various household cleaning appliances and flush toilets. Industrial and agriculture wastewater comes from water usage for various processes and washing and cleaning of products. Wastewater is directed to a wastewater treatment plant for removing pollutants before it can be released into

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Wastewater Treatment Compliance

Wastewater Treatment Compliance and Meeting Regulatory Requirements

Wastewater Treatment ComplianceThe treatment of wastewater is essential to ensuring public health and clean water. The process involves converting the wastewater into an effluent, or an outflowing of water to a receiving body of water, which can be directly reused or returned to the water cycle with minimal impact on the environment. However, before treated wastewater can be discharged to the water cycle, it must comply with local, state, and federal regulations. So, how can wastewater treatment facilities and entities that produce wastewater remain compliant with these regulations?

Federal State and Local Regulations

The Clean Water Act (CWA) prohibits the discharging of pollutants from a point source into a water of the United States unless they have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The permit provides control for technology-based and water quality-based limits.

The national pretreatment program, a component of the NPDES program, is a cooperative effort of the federal, state, and local levels of environmental regulatory agencies that have been established to protect water quality. Local municipalities can then perform permitting, administrative, and enforcement tasks for discharges into the municipalities’ publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).

Wastewater Treatment Compliance

EEC Environmental (EEC) conducts local limits evaluations, develops industrial pretreatment ordinances and enforcement response plans, and assists in industrial user permitting. EEC also designs and builds wastewater pretreatment systems and performs pretreatment system evaluations for flows up to 2.5 millions of gallons per day (MGD).

Our team has unique expertise in developing technically based local limits and ensuring that industrial users have reasonable discharge permits. EEC has also created and conducts an operator training program for industrial wastewater dischargers and assists industries in achieving compliance with their wastewater discharge requirements.

EEC has developed a strong national reputation for helping public agencies, private industries, and commercial businesses come into complete compliance with their environmental regulations. We have experience negotiating favorable permit conditions for our clients resulting in reasonable regulations and millions of dollars in savings.

Industrial laundry washing machines in dry cleaner's workshop, PERC

Reducing PERC Contamination in Laundry and Dry Cleaning

Industrial laundry washing machines in dry cleaner's workshop, PERC ContaminationPerchloroethylene or Tetrachloroethene (PCE, PERC) has been used as an effective dry cleaning solvent in dry cleaning facilities for a number of years. Today, it is the most commonly used solvent. However, PERC can pose health hazards if exposure is not adequately controlled. So, how can one reduce PERC contamination and workplace exposure in dry cleaning and industrial laundry facilities?

Sources of PERC Contamination and Exposure

Employees in dry cleaners can be exposed to PERC while performing routine maintenance on machines and conducting various tasks such as removing clothes (especially thick items) before the drying cycle is finished or transferring solvent-laden garments into the dryer.  Working around uncontrolled “fugitive emissions” from dry cleaning machines can also expose workers to high levels of PERC.

Reducing PERC Contamination and Exposure

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented mandatory standards such as Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200); General requirements for personal protective equipment (29 CFR 1910.132); and Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) in order to reduce PERC exposure with employees. Laundry and dry cleaning facilities also must comply with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations to control the release of PERC into the environment.

Machine operation and maintenance, building design and ventilation, work practices, as well as PERC storage and disposal are ways in which these facilities comply with these regulations. Air monitoring for PERC release, recordkeeping, and PERC use reporting are also critical when reducing contamination.

Environmental Solutions for Dry Cleaners, PERC Contamination

EEC Environmental (EEC) has significant experience with the evaluation of industrial laundry facilities that have been impacted by petroleum, chlorinated solvents, and other contaminants. EEC performs a wide range of activities for the laundry industry, including Phase I Environmental Site Assessments‎ (ESAs), compliance services, Phase II subsurface investigations, insurance cost-recovery, remedial services, regulatory negotiations, and litigation support. EEC provides a broad base of general compliance services to the industrial laundry industry, including regulatory compliance, permitting, emergency business plans, emergency response, safety, Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) compliance, and state-specific compliance such as compliance with California’s SB989.

EEC prides itself on working with landowners, managers, and individual dry cleaner owners to evaluate potential contamination and provide remedies, when necessary, in a manner that allows business to continue uninterrupted so that both the landowner and dry cleaner owner do not lose essential revenue. When dealing with an operating dry cleaner, decisions cannot always be driven by environmental factors alone.

EEC’s overall project goal in supporting the dry cleaning industry is about smart, common sense decisions that meet regulatory requirements that are manageable for the client.

Contact EEC for more information.