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Waste Water Discharge Permit

Waste water discharge permits ensure facilities treat and safely discharge industrial wastewater. Local sanitation districts mandate permits to protect their treatment systems and the waterways to which they discharge. CDMS is an invaluable permitting partner, providing clients with sampling, monitoring, reporting, chemical inventories, and hands-on application preparation. Our regulatory insights optimize the permitting process end-to-end. CDMS also offers audits, and renewal support for ongoing compliance.

Regulatory bodies
  • State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).
  • Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs).
Who needs it

Any facility that discharges industrial wastewater to the sewer is subject to having an industrial wastewater discharge permit. CDMS will evaluate the industrial waste water to determine if an Industrial Wastewater Permit Application is required by the local POTW (Publicly Owned Treatment Works). This will include obtaining industrial waste water samples from the facility, having those samples analyzed to determine their concentration of pollutants.

Regulation reference

Clean Water Act – Federal law that regulates discharges into waters of the United States. Provides basis for NPDES permitting program.

  • California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.
  • NPDES Permitting Program.
  • Industrial General Permit.
  • Pretreatment Standards.
  • Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
What our service provides:

CDMS will evaluate the Client’s Industrial Waste Water to determine if an Industrial Waste Water Permit Application is required by the local POTW. This will include:

  • Obtaining industrial wastewater samples from the Client’s facility.
  • Having the samples analyzed by a certified laboratory to determine the contents and concentration of contents of the wastewater.
  • Comparing analysis results to the requirements of the POTW. This may include discussions with the POTW to determine requirements specific to the Client’s facility.


CDMS will prepare and submit an Industrial Waste Water Permit Application to comply with the requirements of 40 CFR 403.12. The permit will include the following:

  • Company information including name and address of company, production information, personnel information.
  • List of environmental control permits held by the facility.
  • Description of the operations related to process and waste operations.
  • Description of wastewater flow rates .
  • Description of wastewater characteristics.
  • Estimates of pollutant loading.
  • Description of methods of pretreatment.
  • Description of sampling and monitoring procedures.
  • Flow diagrams of major activities, which generate wastewater.
  • Building and plumbing layout of the facility.
  • Documentation of Spill Prevention and Chemical Management Plan.
  • List of the quantities of chemicals stored and used at the facility.
  • Description of non-discharged waste and disposal methods.

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What is an Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit?
A permit issued by wastewater authorities allowing specific industrial facilities to discharge waste water to the sewer system, containing limits on pollutants and operational conditions.

Who needs an Industrial Waste Water Discharge Permit?
Any facility that wishes to discharge waste water that results from an industrial process into the sewer system.
The sewer authority may choose to exempt certain dischargers from the requirement to obtain a permit if the quantity and quality of the wastewater will not affect the sewer system.

What does the permit entitle the discharger to do?
The permit conditions set certain limits or levels of allowable contaminants. The permittee is then required to regularly sample to ensure they are under these limits.
The permit may require the waste water to be pretreated prior to discharge or may prohibit the discharge of certain materials or contaminants altogether

When is a wastewater discharge permit required?
If a facility discharges any amount of industrial process wastewater to the sewer.

How do I apply for a wastewater discharge permit?
Submit a permit application to your local POTW documenting your operations, wastewater flow rates and characteristics, and proposed treatment.

What are the costs for a wastewater discharge permit?
Application fees vary by location but typically range from $500 to $5,000. Annual permit fees thereafter range from $1,500 to $50,000 depending on facility size.

What limits are placed on permitted dischargers?
Permits contain limits on pollutants of concern like heavy metals, pH, BOD, and TSS. Limits are based on water quality standards and treatment plant capabilities.

Are there ongoing reporting requirements?
Yes, monthly, bimonthly, quarterly or semiannual reporting of discharge volumes, concentrations, visual observations, and compliance status are usually required.

What kind of sampling is required?
Permits specify sampling locations, parameters, frequencies, and approved analytical methods based on wastewater contents.

How long does the permitting process take?
Typically 6 to 12 months is required for application review, public notice, environmental review, and permit development.

How long are wastewater permits valid?
Discharge permits are usually valid for 5 years initially. Renewal applications must be submitted at least 180 days before expiration.

Can I modify my permitted discharge or activities?
Yes, permit modifications can be approved through submitting updated applications.

What happens if my discharge violates permit conditions?
Dischargers exceeding limits may be subject to notices of violation, fines, increased monitoring, or permit termination.

What records must be kept for wastewater permits?
Monitoring data, calibration logs, maintenance records, sampling QA/QC, training logs, and manifests typically must be kept for 5 years.

Are stormwater discharges covered under wastewater permits?
No, separate stormwater permits are required for discharges to storm drains or waterways.

Can I discharge anything into the sanitary sewer?
Only discharges approved by your wastewater authority are allowed. Some substances are prohibited.

Does a permit allow discharge to groundwater or land?
No, additional permitting is required for discharges to groundwater injection wells or land application.

My facility applies for Zero Discharge Permit, what is the process for getting it and who can assist me?
The process varies by location, but generally involves submitting an application to the local permitting authority demonstrating that your facility does not discharge any wastewater. Supporting documentation and possibly a site inspection may be required. We can assist with the permitting process. Contact Us to get support or request a Zero Discharge Permit. Our skilled team of EH&S specialists is ready to assist you.

Can I transfer or sell my discharge permit?
Yes, permits can be transferred to a new owner through an ownership change process.

Can my local authority deny my permit application?
Yes, permits may be denied if discharges could cause treatment issues or violate water standards.

How do I renew my expired wastewater permit?
Submit a renewal application at least 180 days before expiration and comply with any new requirements.

Can the public review and comment on permits?
Yes, new and modified permits typically have a 30 day public notice period to receive comments.