Effluent guidelines establish national restrictions on the discharge of pollutants to surface waters or to publicly owned treatment works by specific categories of industries. These Centralised Waste Treatment (CWT) guidelines will address facilities that treat or recover any industrial waste, wastewater, or used material from off site.

In 1985, the EPA proposed regulations to reduce discharges to navigable waters of toxic, conventional and non-conventional pollutants in treated wastewater from centralised waste treatment (CWT) facilities.

The Agency initially proposed limitations and standards for an estimated 85 facilities in three subcategories: metal-bearing waste treatment and recovery, oily waste treatment and recovery and organic waste treatment and recovery.

In 1996, the EPA published a Notice of Data Availability, providing revised estimates of the number of facilities in the oily waste subcategory and a revised description of that subcategory.

Now, EPA is proposing to:

  subcategorise the CWT point source category into three subcategories;

  establish effluent limitations for new and existing sources discharging wastewater directly to surface waters; and

  establish pre-treatment standards for new and existing sources discharging wastewater to publicly owned treatment works.

The three subcategories are based on types of waste, wastewater and/or used material accepted for treatment or recovery:

  Subcategory A: Metal-bearing waste treatment and recovery operations;

  Subcategory B: Used/Waste Oil Treatment and Recovery Operations; and

  Subcategory C: Organic Waste Treatment.

The wastewater flows covered by the rule include all off-site generated wastewater and all on-site generated wastewater.

The EPA estimates this proposal will reduce the discharge of pollutants by at least 14.7M pounds (6.67Mkg) per year of conventional pollutants and 4.1 million pounds (1.86Mkg) per year of toxic and non-conventional pollutants. Compliance costs are projected to be $27.8 million annually, and projected benefits (health, recreational, etc.) range from $5.3 million to $15.9 million annually.

EPA is accepting comments on this proposal until March 15, 1999 and will conduct a public hearing on pre-treatment standards on February 18, 1999.

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