Richmond VA > Public Utilities > Pretreatment Program

Last Updated: 2014-08-18

Waste Water Treatment Plant

Collecting waste and stormwater from more than 1,500 miles of sanitary and combined sewer lines, the City of Richmond's wastewater treatment plant sanitizes and removes many of the pollutants typically found in sewer and stormwater before it enters the James River. The city's Pretreatment Program works to protect the wastewater treatment plant from harmful chemicals, petroleum products and other materials, which may pass through or upset the treatment process. In order to do this, the Pretreatment Program issues permits, monitors wastewater discharges from industrial users and waste haulers and investigates unlawful discharges into the city's sewer system and waterways.

Industrial Users

Waste Haulers

Strong Waste Surcharge Program

Illicit Discharge

Fats, Oils, & Grease

Community

Forms

Staff

Name Job Description
Eric Whitehurst Environmental Compliance Officer
Clifford Gunter Environmental Technician II
James Bell Environmental Technician II
Vincent Revene Environmental Technician II
Sarah Henrikson Environmental Inspector

Contact Information

Pretreatment Program
1400 Brander Street
Richmond, VA 23224

Phone: (804)646-3000

Fax: (804)646-0081

Industrial Pretreatment

Local Limits

According to the Code of the City of Richmond, Users shall not discharge, cause to be discharged or permit to be discharged any prohibited substance into the municipal sewer system. The general local limits are listed below; industrial permits may vary according to specific facility operations.

Parameter Daily Maximum (mg/L)
Arsenic 4.45
Cadmium 0.04
Chromium 4.17
Copper 3.19
Cyanide 1.00
Lead 0.45
Mercury 0.0034
Molybdenum Monitoring Requirement
Nickel 2.01
Selenium Monitoring Requirement
Silver 1.74
Zinc 1.53
Oil and Grease (Petroleum) 100
Oil and Grease (Animal/Vegetable) 300
BTEX 2.13
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Monitoring Requirement
pH * 5.0 – 12.5 s.u.

*This is a range of values. The pH of the discharged wastewater shall not be below 5.0 standard units or exceed 12.5 standard units.

Permitted Industrial Users

Online resources for our permitted industrial users.

Pretreatment Awards Notifications

Highlighting local industries who have achieved exemplary compliance with pretreatment requirements.

The Virginia Water Environment Association has announced the winners of the 2013 Industrial Waste and Pretreatment Environmental Excellence Award. Award winners located within the City of Richmond include:

  • Phillip Morris Manufacturing Center, winning an award in the Gold Category for Pretreatment Environmental Excellence
  • Afton Chemical Corporation, winning an award in the Platinum Category for Pretreatment Environmental Excellence

Congratulations to both of these permitted industrial users for exemplary compliance with City of Richmond's pretreatment requirements.

To review Industrial Waste and Pretreatment Environmental Excellence Award winners from 2010, click here.

Permit Application Process

In order to begin the processing procedures for a user discharge permit, please complete all portions of the Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit application. Completed applications should be submitted to:

Pretreatment Program
1400 Brander Street
Richmond, VA 23224

Please allow approximately 30 days for the application to be processed.

To download a permit application, click here .

For assistance in completing a permit application, click here .

Need to find out if your business needs to apply for a permit? Click here.

Spill Notification Process*

Call the City of Richmond's Pretreatment Program immediately to report any accidental releases / slug loads / pretreatment bypasses at (804)646-3000. Notification must be received within 24 hours of a known release. In addition to providing notification within 24 hours of known spill or slug, a written report must be submitted within 5 business days. Complete an Industry Accidental Release / Pretreatment Bypass Form and submit the completed form via fax to (804)646-0081 or by mail to:

Pretreatment Program
1400 Brander Street
Richmond, VA 23224

*If an accidental release, slug load or pretreatment bypass constitutes an emergency, please contact emergency services at 9-1-1.

WWTP 2011

Waste Haulers

Septic Receiving Station Hours

The City of Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant's septic receiving station is located at 1400 Brander Street in Richmond, Virginia 23224 and is available for use by permitted septic haulers during the following hours, unless otherwise noted:

Days Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.*
Saturday and Sunday Closed
Holidays Closed

*Septic receiving station operation times are subject to change.

Septic Receiving Station Rate

The current rate per gallon for discharging septic waste at the City of Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant's septic receiving station is: $0.095 per gallon.

Septic Receiving Station Rules
  • Any commercial or industrial waste that may cause pass through of pollutants or interfere with the wastewater treatment plant operations or that violates federal, state, or local restrictions shall not be discharged to the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Violation of any of these rules or terms specifically referenced in the hauled waste permit may results in termination of service and/or further enforcement action under the Code of the City of Richmond's Sewer Use Ordinance.
  • Any waste transported from an industry subject to categorical pretreatment standards must meet the applicable Federal, State and local pretreatment standards and requirements including categorical standards developed for the waste generator's industrial category. Authorization by the City of Richmond prior to pumping must be obtained for the hauling of categorical wastes.
  • Each vehicle transporting waste in the City of Richmond must maintain a current Sewage Handling Permit issued by the Department of Health.
  • The discharge of all hauled waste must be performed at the following designated area: Septic Receiving Station which is located at the Brander Street Pumping Station south of the Maury Street Exit off of Interstate 95. Discharge to the City of Richmond sewer system at any other location is prohibited.
  • At all times, the permitted hauler shall maintain in good working order and operate as efficiently as possible, the vehicle and all equipment used by the Permitted hauler necessary to achieve compliance with the terms and conditions of their discharge permit.
  • Only those waste haulers who are currently permitted and approved by the City of Richmond may utilize the septic receiving station.
  • Each waste hauler is responsible for understanding and implementing all permit requirements specified in their discharge permit.
  • Use of the septic receiving station must only occur during operation hours listed above.
  • The approval of an authorized City of Richmond employee is required prior to each discharge at the septic receiving station.
  • Signed waste manifests certifying that the hauled load is in compliance with local limits must be provided for all septic loads which are to be discharged to the septic receiving station.
  • The permitted hauler shall provide at the request of the City, samples and measurements of all hauled wastes which are to be discharged to the City's Treatment System. Samples and measurements required herein shall be taken by such methods so as to be representative of the volume and nature of the load and to ensure compliance with applicable pretreatment standards.
  • The City of Richmond reserves the right to deny waste haulers the use of the septic receiving based on septic load characterization and/or infraction of permit requirements.
  • Illicit or illegal discharge to the septic receiving station is strictly prohibited and subject to enforcement actions.
  • Each waste hauler is responsible for understanding and implementing all safety procedures required by the City of Richmond while performing discharge activities. Additionally, the permitted hauler must carry liability insurance and provide satisfactory evidence of it to the City of Richmond upon requests, in such amounts and form as determined by the City of Richmond. Such insurance shall afford compensation for taking corrective action and for bodily injury, and for property damage to third persons caused by accidental releases.
  • The Permitted hauler is responsible for the clean-up of any spills at the discharge site attributable to the process of discharging hauled waste.
  • Septic receiving access cards issued by the City of Richmond are non-transferable and must only be utilized by the hauler to which the card was originally issued.
Permit Application Process

In order to begin the processing procedures for a hauler discharge permit, please complete all portions of the permit application. Completed applications should be submitted to:

Pretreatment Program
1400 Brander Street
Richmond, VA 23224

Please allow approximately 30 days for the application to be processed.

To download a permit application, click here.

To download a waste manifest, click here.

Strong Waste Surcharge Program

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Pretreatment Program is currently conducting inspections on commercial and industrial facilities located within the City of Richmond in order to characterize strong waste water discharges and determine potential eligibility for inclusion in the Strong Waste Surcharge Program. The treatment of strong wastewaters constitutes a significant expense for DPU. Section 29-326 of the Code of the City of Richmond grants DPU the authority to recover some of the costs associated with treating strong wastewater from industrial users through the Strong Waste Surcharge Program. This program has existed for a number of years and many Richmond businesses are already enrolled. If you would like more detailed information on the Strong Waste Surcharge Program, click here to review a list of frequently asked questions.

Strong Waste Surcharge parameters:

Surcharge Parameter Daily Concentration (mg/L)
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) > 250
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) > 275
Total Nitrogen (TN) > 30
Total Phosphorous (TP) > 12

The formula to calculate the Monthly Surcharge amount is:
(BOD Conc. - 250) x Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) x $0.2763 = Monthly Charge
(TSS Conc. - 275) x Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) x $0.2247 = Monthly Charge
(TN Conc. - 30) x Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) x $0.969 = Monthly Charge
(TP Conc. - 12) x Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) x $1.2402 = Monthly Charge

Temporary Discharge Permit

The city of Richmond periodically issues temporary discharge permits for remediation projects who wish to discharge treated water directly to the municipal sanitary sewer. Remediation plans must be submitted and reviewed by the city's Environmental Compliance Officer. Issuance of a temporary discharge permit is not guaranteed. Temporary discharge permits are issued on a case by case basis.

Illicit Discharge

Illicit Discharge

Did you know that quite often stormwater and other materials which enter a storm drain end up in a stream or creek? It's true. In many areas of the city, stormwater runoff is collected in a system which is completely separate from the sewer system. This system is called the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System or MS4 for short. These storm drains discharge directly to local waterways such as the James River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The city of Richmond's Pretreatment Program is committed to improving the health of our local waterways. One way in which we are working toward that goal is through the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Program.

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge into a storm drain system that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated ground water. However, water entering the MS4 as a result of private residential car washing activities, lawn watering or air conditioning condensation drains is not generally a concern and are not considered illicit discharges. Sources of illicit discharges can be spills or dumping of lawn or garden chemicals, pet waste, vehicle fluids, leaky vehicles or machinery, leaking gas and oil tanks, leaking sanitary sewer lines, failing septic systems, floor drains and basement sumps.

Illicit discharges enter the storm sewer system without being treated and results in high levels of pollutants that go directly into local waterways. These pollutants can cause unpleasant odors, public health concerns and harm aquatic life.

DPU Stormwater Utility staff are actively working to eliminate the sources of pollutants impacting our local waterways and could use your help. A few simple ways you can help include:

  • Properly disposing of solvents, paints, fuel, automobile fluids, propane tanks and car batteries
  • Picking up or properly disposing of litter
  • Storing chemicals and petroleum-containing products so that they are not exposed to rainfall
  • Picking up after pets

Remember, if it goes on the ground, it goes in the water.

If you have any information about any incident which you believe may be an illicit discharge or connection to the City of Richmond's storm or municipal sewer, you may contact the Pretreatment Program by calling 3-1-1 or by sending an email to RID@Richmondgov.com.

In Richmond, household hazardous waste can be disposed of at the East Richmond Road Convenience Center at 3800 E. Richmond Road which accepts household hazardous waste from 7am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 9am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Household hazardous waste items accepted at the facility include:

  • Solvents: mineral spirits, paint thinner, turpentine, acetone
  • Paints: oil/latex, polyurethane, tung oil, stains, varnish, shellac, tints, lacquer thinners, paint reducers, primers, varsol
  • Fuels: gasoline, gasoline additives, #2 fuel oil, kerosene, diesel, chain saw fuel, motor boat fuel, oil additives
  • Propane tanks
  • Automobile fluids: motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant
  • Automobile batteries (lead-acid batteries only)
  • Cooking oil

Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Program

Fats, Oils, and Grease discharged by commercial, institutional and industrial users present a significant problem to the City of Richmond’s wastewater collection and treatment system. The accumulation of fats, oils and grease in the sewer system can cause can cause sewer blockages and back-ups. To address this problem, the City of Richmond's Pretreatment Program has established a FOG Program to regulate Food Service Establishments (FSEs) which discharge fats, oils and grease into the public sewer system. Revisar en español, haga clic aquí.

Definition of a Food Service Establishment

A food service establishment is any commercial facility which discharges wastewater from food preparation to the City of Richmond. Examples of food service establishments include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Restaurants
  • Nightclubs
  • Motels
  • Schools
  • Hotels
  • Delicatessens
  • Gas stations
  • In-house cafeterias
  • Taverns
  • Hospitals
  • Bakeries
  • Bagel shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Grocery stores
  • Meat cutting or preparation
  • Any facility which the City determines requires a grease interceptor by virtue of its operation.
FOG Program Objectives
  • Reduce commercial, industrial and institutional FOG discharges into the public sewer system
  • Prevent sewer blockages which could result in sewage overflows
  • Protect public health and the environment from hazards presented by sanitary sewer overflows
Types of Fats, Oils and Grease in Food Service Establishments

While fats, oils, and grease are most commonly associated with fried foods, they can be generated in significant quantities in many other types of commercial food preparation. Examples of alternate sources of FOG include:

  • Cooking meats
  • Butter, ice cream and other dairy products
  • Sauces and salad dressings
  • Coffee and other kinds of prepared drinks
  • Cooking meats
Requirements of the City of Richmond’s FOG Program

Grease interceptors are required for:

  • Newly constructed food service establishments
  • Food service establishments that undergo remodeling or a major change in operations
  • Food service establishments which have caused or contributed to FOG-related blockage(s) in the sewer system; have sewer laterals connected to trouble areas; that have been determined to contribute significant FOG to the sewer system based on inspection or sampling.

FSEs are required to pretreat their wastewater using grease interceptors to remove FOG prior to discharge to the public sewer system.

Some FSEs may be required to fill out an Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit Application and all are required to fill out a Pretreatment Questionnaire.

FSEs requiring a grease interceptor will be given a sizing criteria based on City of Richmond plumbing code to determine the appropriate interceptor size required to properly pretreat their wastewater discharge.

All FSEs are required to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) in their operations to minimize the discharge of FOG to the sewer system.

All FSEs installing grease interceptors or equivalent devices are required to properly operate and maintain these pretreatment systems. FSEs are required to document maintenance to grease interceptors and maintain this documentation onsite. The FSE must also have the documentation available for review upon request.

Exceptions

A waiver may be issued to limited food service establishments whose activities do not produce wastewater- containing FOG, as determined by the Pretreatment Program staff. A limited food preparation establishment typically does not include any operation that changes the form, flavor, or consistency of food and does not have any utensils or dishes other than disposable. These activities include:

  • reheating
  • hot holding
  • assembly of ready-to-eat food products

Temporary variances may be issued by the Environmental Compliance Officer to allow alternative pretreatment technology that is equally effective in controlling the FOG discharge in lieu of grease interceptors.

Homeowners

A few simple ways you can help avoid sewer backups and/or expensive repair of damaged property at home include:

  • Dry wiping all pots, pans and plates prior to washing them
  • Using strainers in sinks to catch food scrapes and other solids
  • Properly collect and dispose of fats, oils and grease in your regular waste receptacle

Restaurant and Business Owners

A few simple ways you can help avoid sewer backups and/or expensive repair of damaged property include the following:

Education
  • Properly educate existing employees on the importance of proper grease disposal.
  • Train new employees to properly dispose of fats, oils and grease.
  • Post signage around sinks reminding employees to properly dispose of grease.
  • Create a spill plan which details how employees should handle spills which are unmanageable.
Operation
  • Dry wipe all pots, pans and plates prior to washing them
  • Use strainers in sinks to catch food scrapes and other solids
  • Wash floor mats in a sink which is plumbed to a grease retention device
  • Never clean equipment or mats in an area where the wash water could impact a street, gutter or storm drain.
  • Secure outdoor grease receptacles to prevent accidental releases, vandalism or unauthorized use.
  • Regularly inspect and service grease interceptors or receptacles to ensure they are functioning as designed. Many businesses opt to service interceptors every three months.
In Case of Spills
  • Never clean up spills using a hose, degreasers or detergents to flush released material into the streets, gutters or storm drains.
  • If possible, utilize dry clean-up techniques incorporating dry absorbent material disposed of in a waste receptacle.
  • If necessary, contact a clean-up contractor
Proper Disposal
  • A licensed fats, oils and grease recycling company.
  • A licensed waste hauler who transports fats, oils and grease from interceptors or receptacles to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
  • Properly contained in a regular waste receptacle.
Fountain Lake, Byrd Park

Community

Pet Waste Management

Pet waste is not the predominant or most toxic pollutant found in local waterways, but it is one of many small sources of pollution that can cumulatively have a big impact if left unmanaged. When pet waste is washed into a local waterway, the waste decays. As the waste decays it uses up dissolved oxygen and releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and increased ammonia can kill fish. Managing pet waste properly is something that everyone can do to make a difference on the water quality of their local rivers and streams. These small, individual actions can result in significant water quality improvement when carried out by the majority. Unlike some forms of stormwater pollutants, pet waste can be easily and economically managed by all of us individually. So make sure to bag and properly dispose of all pet waste in appropriate waste receptacles. The health of our waterways depends on it and you can make a difference!

Proper Disposal of Expired or Unused Medicines

Most expired or unused medications can be properly contained and then disposed of in your household waste receptacle, however, you should take a few precautions before tossing them out. Click here to review tips for the proper disposal of prescription drugs.

Proper Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be "household hazardous waste" products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides, that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them. Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases even putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. One simple way to be environmentally responsible is to properly dispose of household hazardous wastes.

In Richmond, household hazardous waste can be disposed of at the East Richmond Road Convenience Center at 3800 E. Richmond Road which accepts household hazardous waste from 7am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 9am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Household hazardous waste items accepted at the facility include:

  • Solvents: mineral spirits, paint thinner, turpentine, acetone
  • Paints: oil/latex, polyurethane, tung oil, stains, varnish, shellac, tints, lacquer thinners, paint reducers, primers, varsol
  • Fuels: gasoline, gasoline additives, #2 fuel oil, kerosene, diesel, chain saw fuel, motor boat fuel, oil additives
  • Propane tanks
  • Automobile fluids: motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant
  • Automobile batteries (lead-acid batteries only)
  • Cooking oil

Stormwater

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces such as streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants which could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged into local waterways untreated. In many areas of the City of Richmond, stormwater runoff does discharge untreated stormwater into local waterways. For this reason, it is important for all of us to do our part to keep stormwater as clean as we can. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Slow It Down - Slowing down stormwater on your property gives it a chance to percolate through the soil which decreases the amount of stormwater runoff leaving the property and the amount of stormwater which reaches local waterways. Bayscaping, rain gardens, rain barrels/cisterns or increasing the amount of pervious area on a property are great ways to slow down stormwater! Redeveloping and reseeding areas of bare or eroded soil is also an excellent way to reduce the amount of sediment which enters our local waterways.
  • Keep It Covered - Make sure to store chemicals, petroleum products and other household hazardous waste in a covered location to ensure it will not have a negative impact on stormwater which leaves the property. If your main waste receptacle is stored outdoors, making sure the top is covered and secured is a great way to reduce stormwater pollution.
  • Pick It Up - Making sure to properly dispose of trash and picking up pet waste can help greatly in reducing the amount of pollution which ends up in our local waterways.
  • Protect Your Watershed - We all live in a watershed. A watershed is an area that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, aquifer, or even the ocean — and our individual actions can directly affect it. All of the City of Richmond's watersheds eventually drain to the Chesapeake Bay. On a local level, stormwater runoff from our neighborhood streets and residences drain to our favorite creeks and parks. If you are aware of how your neighborhood can negatively impact stormwater and make changes prevent these negative impacts, you are protecting both your neighborhood creek and the Chesapeake Bay. Remember, if it goes on the ground it goes in the water.
  • Keep an Eye Out - If you have information about an incident which you believe may be an illegal discharge or connection to a city of Richmond's storm sewer, contact the Pretreatment Program by calling 3-1-1 or by sending an email to RID@Richmondgov.com.

Want to find out more about your watershed?

Want to know what you can do to help protect your watershed? Click here.

The city is committed to being environmentally responsible and appreciates your cooperation on this very important issue. If would like to request that a "No Dumping – Drains To Waterway" marker be installed on a storm drain in your area or request information on which sub-watershed you live in or how you can help reduce stormwater pollution, please e-mail RID@Richmondgov.com. For more information about the city of Richmond's Stormwater Utility or how to receive a stormwater credit, click here.

No dumping! Drains to Waterways.

Forms

This is a print version of the webpage. The navigation of the site has been removed through the print css. If you require a printout of the page as it looks in your browser, please use screen capture.