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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Other Federal Laws and Regulations that Apply to the National Pretreatment Program

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EPA and other federal agencies have laws and regulations that affect the implementation of the pretreatment program.

On this page:

To access the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) since 1994, visit the Government Printing Office site.

Analytical Methods

Industries and municipalities must use approved analytical methods to analyze the chemical and biological components of wastewater, drinking water, sediment, and other environmental samples required by the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Safe Drinking Water Act. The regulations at 40 CFR Part 403.12 (PDF)(10 pp, 216 K) and 40 CFR Part 136 (PDF)(374 pp, 4 MB) state the sampling and analysis requirements. EPA promulgates changes to the list of approved at 40 CFR Part 136 via the Methods Update Rule.

Learn more about the CWA Analytical Methods.

Biosolids - Sewage Sludge

Biosolids are treated sewage sludge and regulated by 40 CFR Part 503 (PDF)(33 pp, 332 K). The general pretreatment regulations, 40 CFR Part 403 (PDF)(49 pp, 372 K) establish standards and mechanisms for responsible entities to control pollutants that might pass through or interfere with publicly owned treatment works (POTW) treatment processes or contaminate sewage sludge. Land-applied biosolids must meet strict regulations and quality standards.

The regulations for the use and disposal of biosolids (40 CFR Part 503) specify:

  • numerical limits for metals,
  • pathogen reduction standards,
  • site restriction,
  • crop harvesting restrictions and monitoring requirements,
  • record keeping and reporting requirements for land-applied biosolids, and
  • similar requirements for surface-disposed or incinerated biosolids

Learn more about the use and disposal of biosolids.

Cross Media Electronic Reporting Regulation

EPA's Cross Media Electronic Reporting Regulation (CROMERR) sets standards for systems that oversight authorities (e.g., EPA, states, tribes, and local governments) use to receive electronic reports from facilities they regulate under EPA-authorized programs (e.g., the National Pretreatment Program). CROMERR also requires program modifications to incorporate electronic reporting (e.g., legal authorities, standard operating procedures). In pretreatment, CROMERR governs electronic submission of required reports from:

  • regulated industrial users to control authorities and
  • control authorities to approval authorities.

Laws Affecting the NPDES Program

The regulations at 40 CFR Part 122.49 (PDF)(2 pp, 160 K) briefly discuss how certain laws relate to the NPDES program. These laws can apply to the NPDES permit program and therefore affect the national pretreatment program.

Learn more about how certain laws might affect NPDES implementation.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration Permissible Exposure Limits

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes permissible exposure limits to certain substances to ensure protection of worker health. These federal regulations at 29 CFR Part 1910.1000 (PDF)(13 pp, 268 K) address permissible exposures to toxic and hazardous air contaminants. For example, volatile organic compound (VOC) vapors can be toxic and carcinogenic, and might produce acute and chronic health effects after various periods of exposure.

Hazardous toxic gases can be produced when certain inorganic pollutants in wastewater discharges mix in the collection system. For example, acidic discharges can combine with nonvolatile substances such as sulfide and cyanide to produce toxic gases and vapors (hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen cyanide, respectively). POTWs can control this threat by establishing pretreatment standards (i.e., local limits) based on the maximum recommended levels of these VOC pollutants in air.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) authorizes EPA to control hazardous wastes, including the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also provides EPA a framework for managing of non-hazardous wastes. POTWs and industrial users that generate hazardous waste and POTWs accepting hazardous waste must comply with both CWA and RCRA requirements.

The regulations at 40 CFR Part 270.60 (PDF)(2 pp, 184 KB) establish RCRA permit-by-rule requirements for facilities that treat, store, and dispose of hazardous waste. The Domestic Sewage Exclusion provision at 40 CFR Part 261.4(a)(1) (PDF)(25 pp, 268 K) identifies certain wastes under certain conditions, such as when the wastes mix with domestic sewage in a POTW’s collection system before reaching the boundary of the treatment works’ property, that may be excluded from RCRA regulations. The discharger of the waste is, however, required by 40 CFR Part 403 (PDF)(49 pp, 379 K) to notify the POTW of the discharge.

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