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Industrial Wastewater Control Program

  • Follow our inspectors as they perform the critical task of inspecting and regulating the quality of wastewater discharged by commercial and industrial customers.

One of the ways that the Public Utilities Department maintains the quality of the marine environment and protects our sewerage system is by regulating the quality of the wastewater that enters the sewers. More than 1,900 industries and business in the department's wastewater service area have been identified as potential dischargers of prohibited wastes or toxic pollutants. The job of protecting the ocean water quality begins by eliminating or pretreating contaminants at their source, before they enter the wastewater stream. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified a list of 126 priority pollutants that are either prohibited or strictly limited in discharges to the sewerage system due to their toxicity. Some of the frequently encountered priority pollutants are arsenic, benzenes, chloroform, cyanide, phenols, pesticides, and heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc.

To apply and enforce discharge limits that protect the collection system, the treatment plant, and the ocean, the Public Utilities Department operates an Industrial Wastewater Control Program. The program is a joint effort between the City of San Diego, other agencies served by the Metropolitan Sewerage System, and local industry to control contaminants before they enter the sewer system. The Program issues discharge permits, performs inspections, conducts wastewater monitoring, and enforces sewer discharge standards at businesses and industries throughout the entire Metropolitan Sewerage System service area.

Some of the types of local industry that are regulated to prevent contaminants from entering the sewerage system include aerospace manufacturing; metal forming, casting and finishing; pharmaceutical manufacturing; hospitals and medical centers; film processors; laundries and dry cleaners; and a variety of laboratories.

The Industrial Wastewater Control Program also performs water use audits and samples wastewater to obtain data used to establish sewer billing rates for industrial and commercial dischargers.

Industrial User Permits