Pretreatment

In 1972 Congress passed the Clean Water Act.  Part of the Clean Water Act requires the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) to have a Pretreatment Program to control the release heavy metals, cyanide, and other toxic pollutants into the sewer system.   The NBC Pretreatment Program permits, monitors and regulates a variety of industries in order to protect NBC treatment facilities and Narragansett Bay from the discharge of harmful pollutants.  The NBC Pretreatment Program is important because wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) use biological organisms to treat sanitary sewage and are not designed to remove heavy metals, cyanide and other toxic pollutants from wastewater.  Discharging certain substances into the sewer system can have negative effects such as:

• interfere with the operation of the WWTF by upsetting the biological process and killing the microorganisms needed for proper treatment

• jeopardize the health and safety of the public and NBC personnel

• clog sewer lines

• contaminates the treatment plant biosolids, or sludge, prohibiting its reuse

• being extremely dangerous if dumped in high concentrations

• mix with other chemicals to form toxic gases

Learn about Discharge Limitations!

To date, this program has had a major positive impact on the quality of wastewater treatment and discharges from the Field's Point and Bucklin Point WWTFs and has dramatically reduced the amount of metals and toxics being dumped into the sewer system and ultimately into Narragansett Bay.  Since the NBC took control of the Field’s Point and Bucklin Point facilities, the metals and cyanide loadings to both plants have significantly decreased.  Because of these great metals and cyanide reductions, the Providence and Seekonk Rivers have been removed from the EPA 303(d) list of impaired waters for toxic pollutants. 

Be Sure to check out our Annual Reports!

 

List of Licensed Laboratories             NBC's Rules and Regulations

Pretreatment Forms

Pretreatment forms are designed to satisfy the Narragansett Bay Commission Rules & Regulations as well as applicable state and federal laws. If you have a question about which forms are appropriate for you, please consult your permit or contact the NBC at (401) 461-8848 or pretreat@narrabay.com.

Click here to view forms

Pretreatment Permit Applications

To apply for a pretreatment permit, fill out the appropriate form from the list below and mail or hand deliver to the NBC’s Pretreatment Section at 2 Ernest Street in Providence. If you have a question about which application is appropriate for you, please contact the NBC at (401) 461-8848 or pretreat@narrabay.com.

Click here to view Permit Applications

What is a Pretreatment Year?

Pretreatment Year

  • The Pretreatment Year is 15 months long and begins in October of the previous calendar year.

  • The Pretreatment Year is divided into four evaluation periods.

  • The evaluation periods are six months long and overlap each other. The beginning of an evaluation period starts midway through the previous period. For example, the first evaluation period begins in October of the previous calendar year and continues until March of the current calendar year. The second evaluation would start in January of the current calendar year and continue until June of the current calendar year, as indicated in the graphic below.

  • At the end of each evaluation period, the NBC evaluates data for SNC Criteria A and Criteria B for its industrial users (IU) for that period. If an IU is found to be in SNC during that evaluation period, then the IU is in SNC for the year and will be published in the Providence Journal at the end of the Pretreatment Year as a significant violator. All other SNC criteria is evaluated for an IU at the end of the Pretreatment Year to determine if the IU should be published as a significant violator.

Pretreatment Fees

Permit Fees 
In May 1990, the PUC issued an order requiring that the expense of the NBC’s Pretreatment Program must be paid for entirely by the permitted user. These permit fees are necessary to recover costs associated with satisfying all EPA and State mandates and to ensure the protection of the treatment facilities and Narragansett Bay. The rates charged are PUC approved and cover the cost of program, administration, facility inspection and facility sampling conducted by the NBC.

Individual permit fee rates are based on the effort necessary for the NBC to regulate a user. The level of effort depends on the size of a facility, the volume of discharge, the toxicity of the chemicals used, etc.

For a list of permit Classification Fees click here.

BOD/TSS Surcharge Fees 
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is the amount of oxygen utilized by microorganisms that decompose organic waste matter in water. BOD is calculated using a standard laboratory procedure for five days at 20°C.

Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are (1) insoluble solids that either float on the surface of or, are suspended in water, wastewater or other liquids; (2) solid organic or inorganic particles (colloidal, dispersed, coagulated, flocculated) physically held in suspension by agitation or flow or; (3) the quantity of material removed from wastewater in a laboratory test, as prescribed in ʺStandard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewaterʺ and referred to as nonfilterable residue.

Concentrations of BOD or TSS which exceed specific threshold values are billed a surcharge to cover the additional costs of treatment as determined by rates set and approved by the Public Utilities Commission. The threshold value for assessing a surcharge for BOD is 300 mg/L and for TSS is 300 mg/L.

BOD/TSS surcharge rates are:

  • $87 per 1,000 pounds of BOD with a concentration >300 mg/L
  • $87 per 1,000 pounds of TSS with a concentration >300 mg/L

At this time, the NBC has suspended collecting the surcharge fee for exceeding the BOD and TSS limitations.

Significant Non-Compliance

Federal general pretreatment program regulations require the Narragansett Bay Commission to publish annually a list of all industrial users that violate any of the NBC Significant Non-Compliance Criteria. Please note, the NBC does not want to publish the name of any firm, but we may have no choice. Firms published in the paper are billed by the NBC for reimbursement of the cost of this Public Notice. Only you can ensure that the name of your firm is not published for being in Significant Non-Compliance with NBC and EPA regulations.

The EPA requires that the NBC must review each user file every three (3) months for Significant Non-Compliance (SNC) criteria A and B, evaluating the user’s previous six (6) month compliance status. If an industrial user exceeds the compliance percentages specified in the SNC_Criteria_A or B, even for just one (1) quarterly evaluation period, the user is in SNC and must be listed in the newspaper. This SNC data evaluation method clearly shows how important it is for an industrial user to sample early and often during each quarterly data review period, especially for any parameters for which your firm may periodically experience excursions above the discharge limits. Sampling early and often in each quarterly review period will ensure that you are not listed as a violator for criteria A and B.  

The NBC reviews each user file annually to determine the user’s compliance status with EPA criteria C through H. Based upon the review, if an industrial user is found to be in SNC for any of these criteria, then the user must be listed in the newspaper. Click here to see SNC_ads.

Dental BMP

The Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) has developed a set of Environmental Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the Management of Waste Dental Amalgam to help the dental community safely and economically reduce the amount of mercury released into the environment. Dental facilities serviced by the NBC have two procedural options available to them regarding the proper management and compliant discharge of dental process wastewater to the NBC sewer system.

If you have any questions concerning this program, please give Pretreatment staff a call at (401) 461-8848 or email at pretreat@narrabay.com.