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Pretreatment Operations
Publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) collect wastewater from homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities and transport it via a series of pipes, known as the collection system, to the treatment plant. Generally, POTWs are designed to treat domestic sewage only, creating the need for a pretreatment operations program.

The typical POTW treatment process consists of primary and secondary treatment, along with some form of solids handling. Primary treatment operations include screening and settling, whereas secondary treatment removes organic contaminants using microorganisms to consume biodegradable organics.

Limitations of POTWs
As noted, POTWs are not designed to treat toxins in industrial waste. As such, discharges from both industrial and commercial sources can cause serious problems. The National Pretreatment Program, published in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 403, provides the regulatory basis to require non-domestic discharges to comply with pretreatment standards to ensure that goals are attained. The objectives of the National Pretreatment Program are to: 
  • Improve opportunities to recycle and reclaim municipal and industrial wastewaters and sludges
  • Prevent the introduction of pollutants into POTWs, which will interfere with the operation of a POTW, including the interference with its use or disposal of municipal sludge
  • Prevent the introduction of pollutants into POTWs, which will pass through the treatment works or otherwise be incompatible with such work

Contact Us
For more information regarding the Pretreatment Operations program, please contact Duane Griner, pretreatment operations coordinator, at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, (574) 372-9562.

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