Pretreatment Program

Water Division - Permits Branch

Allen Gilliam, Engineer II - (501) 682-0625

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Pretreatment Program

Industrial wastewater can damage sewage collection systems, interfere with or upset the operation of publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Toxic discharges can pass through a system untreated, contaminating receiving streams and water bodies, increasing costs and jeopardize the environmental benefit of biosolids' land application. Using proven pollution control technologies, most industries must pretreat their wastewater removing pollutants to acceptable levels before discharging into a City’s system. Discharging or proposing to discharge industrial wastewater into a collection system connected to a POTW may require a permit. In Arkansas, 24 municipalities implement U.S. EPA /State approved Pretreatment Programs and issue their own industrial indirect discharge permits:

List of the pretreatment cities

If you are discharging to, or planning to discharge to a POTW other than those listed above, you may have to submit an industrial discharge permit application so it can be determined whether a permit is required. Contact one of ADEQ’s Pretreatment Coordinators for this determination and to begin the permitting process as necessary.

Partial list of "non-pretreatment" cities


Q. What is the National Pretreatment Program?
A. Program objectives are:

  • To prevent industrial facilities' pollutant discharges from passing through municipal wastewater treatment plants untreated;
  • To protect treatment plants from the threat posed by untreated industrial wastewater, including explosion, fire, and interference with the treatment process
  • To improve the quality of effluents and sludges so that they can be used for beneficial purposes.
Q. Under what Statutory Authority is the Pretreatment Program Administered
A. The National Pretreatment Program's authority comes from section 307 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (more commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act). The federal government's role in pretreatment began with the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. The Act called for EPA to develop national pretreatment standards to control industrial discharges into sewerage systems.
Q. Where can I find regulations governing pretreatment program requirements
A. The General Pretreatment Regulations were originally published in 1978, and have been updated several times (the latest changes were made on October 14, 2005) and can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations in 40 CFR Part 403.
Q. Are there any prescribed National Standards for Pretreatment
A. There are two sets of standards: "categorical Pretreatment Standards" and "Prohibited Discharge Standards." These are uniform national requirements which restrict the level of pollutants that may be discharged by nondomestic sources to sanitary sewer systems. All POTWs that are required to implement a Pretreatment Program must enforce the federal standards.
Q. What are Categorical Pretreatment Standards
A. These are technology-based limitations on pollutant discharges to POTWs promulgated by EPA in accordance with Section 307 of the Clean Water Act that apply to specified process wastewaters of particular industrial categories [see 40 CFR 403.6 and 40 CFR Parts 405- 471]. Go to and NPDES Regulations for more information.
Q. What are Prohibited Discharge Standards
A. These are standards that prohibit the discharge of wastes that pass through or interfere with POTW operations (including sludge management). These are the general prohibitions. There are also specific prohibitions that prohibit the discharge from all nondomestic sources certain types of wastes that 1) create a fire or explosion hazard in the collection system or treatment plant, 2) are corrosive , including any discharge with a pH less than 5.0, unless the POTW is specifically designed to handle such wastes, 3) are solid or viscous pollutants in amounts that will obstruct the flow in the collection system and treatment plant, resulting in interference with operations, 4) any pollutant discharged in quantities sufficient to interfere with POTW operations, and 5) discharges with temperatures above 140 F (40 C) when they reach the treatment plant, or hot enough to interfere with biological processes.


Allen Gilliam
Phone: (501) 682-0625