According to Section 64.30 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, Industrial Waste Control Ordinance, industrial facilities and certain commercial facilities which plan to discharge industrial wastewater to the City's sewage collection and treatment system are required to first obtain an industrial wastewater permit. The permit provides a means for the City of Los Angeles to protect its sewer collection and treatment systems and to prevent regulated toxic wastewater constituents from passing through to receiving waters and recovered bio-solids.
Industrial Wastewater is any water carrying waste other than domestic wastewater. Wastewater generated from household type operations performed at commercial establishments for or to support commercial purposes is industrial wastewater.
The Industrial Waste Management Division should be contacted to determine if a permit is required. Building permits, plumbing permits, and sewer connection permits do not constitute industrial wastewater permits and must be obtained separately from the Department of Building and Safety. An industrial wastewater permit is not required for the following dischargers or discharges to the collection system:
- A Food Service Establishment that does not potentially generate waste FOG (Fats, Oil, and Grease) during food preparation processes, and does not significantly affect the sewage collection and treatment system, does not need a permit, provided that the FSE has implemented and demonstrates compliance with Best Management Practices requirements as specified in the Rules and Regulations Governing the Discharge of Industrial Wastewater.
- Bleed off or blow down from cooling towers, evaporation condensers or other recirculating water devices with rated capacity of 25 tons or less doesn't need a permit
- Self-service laundries with washing machines of 20 pounds maximum capacity, don't need a permit, with further allowance that individual self service laundries may have a maximum of two machines with maximum of 50 pound capacity.
- Discharges from establishments where the industrial wastewater discharge is less than 200 gallons per day and treatment of this waste is not required before its discharge to the sewer, do not need a permit.
To obtain an industrial wastewater permit it is necessary to submit a completed application and pay the associated application fee. Upon receipt of the permit application, an industrial waste inspector will inspect the facility, verify that the information provided in the permit application is complete and accurate, and identify all wastewater generating processes, methods of wastewater conveyance, and pretreatment systems. Permit applications are reviewed and processed by IWMD staff to establish discharge limitations, monitoring and reporting requirements.
Industrial wastewater permits are not transferable. Whenever a change in ownership of a business occurs, the new company must submit a new permit application.
The permit conveys the conditions, obligations, and responsibilities under which an industrial user is permitted to discharge industrial wastewater to the sewer system. The industrial user should read and fully understand the permit requirements. Permit requirements are determined based on the type and volume of industrial wastewater discharged. For example, some facilities are required to periodically sample and monitor the wastewater and submit reports, which may include technical reports, notification of discharges, and periodic compliance reports.
Certain businesses, which are classified as Significant Industrial Users (SIUs), have more stringent requirements than other types of businesses. A Significant Industrial User (SIU) is a discharger that is either subject to Federal Categorical Pretreatment Standards, or discharges 25,000 gallons or more per day of process wastewater, or is designated to have a reasonable potential to adversely affect the operation of the City's wastewater treatment plants. SIUs are further classified as Categorical Industrial Users (CIUs) if subject to federal discharge limitations developed by the EPA for different industrial categories. EPA has developed regulations for over twenty industrial categories. Examples of facilities classified as CIUs include electroplating shops, steam electric power plants, and pharmaceutical facilities. In addition to the federal discharge limitation, CIUs are subject to the City's local limits. All other SIUs are classified as Non-Categorical Significant Industrial Users (NCSIUs) and are subject to the City's local limits only. All SIUs are subject to monitoring and reporting requirements to assess and assure compliance with the applicable discharge limitations.
All permitted facilities not classified as SIUs are defined as Local Industrial Users (LIUs). LIUs are subject to the City's local limits and the permit requirements are not as extensive as the SIUs. Examples of facilities classified as LIUs include automotive repair and maintenance shops, laboratories, medical and dental offices, and restaurants.
As mentioned above, there are two types of discharge limitations by which industrial users of the City sewer system must comply - Local Limits and Federal Limits. Local limits as specified in the Industrial Waste Control Ordinance are established specifically to protect the City's treatment plants and are applied to all types of industries. Federal limits apply only to facilities with federally regulated processes and are implemented uniformly throughout the nation. Federal limits may be more stringent than those imposed by the City's local limits.
In addition to the local and federal limitations, the Industrial Waste Control Ordinance and the 40 CFR 403 Federal Pretreatment Regulations contain a list of prohibited wastes, which must not be discharged to the sewer in any amount. Examples of prohibited wastes include flammable, reactive, explosive, corrosive, toxic, infectious, noxious, solid, or radioactive substances. A complete list of prohibited wastes is included in the Industrial Wastewater permit.