The Safe Drinking Water Act was two-fold in purpose. Besides the intent of providing a safe water to drink, it also looked at how to protect the source water(s.) The obvious place to look was the point source contributors of contamination to those waters. Wastewater treatment plants became the targets. Also in the mix was wastewater plants had to begin to assess what they received and from who. For publicly owned treatment works (POTW) that received more than 1 million gallons a day, a Pretreatment Program was established. It came from the federal level that industries could be categorized by what they do and what they could contribute to the waste stream. They became known as Categorical Industries with categorical pollutant limits. It further required a look at non-categorical contributors.
Treatment plant schemes and interference factors lead into the development of Local Limits of discharge. These limits are re-evaluated every 5 years. This forced permits to be written, sampling programs by both industry and POTW's to commence, and enforcement of pollutant limits and reporting requirements be undertaken.
Pollutants have a potential of impacting not only the receiving stream, but the treated residual solids can be impaired by pollutants, and get restricted disposal status. There is a huge monitoring program involved. Compliance monitoring and reporting is required in monthly, semi-annually, and annual increments. EPA spot checks all dischargers with their own sampling regularly.
The result of these regulations was having places like the Love Canal and other sites now on Superfund Cleanup lists. If you have any questions, please contact Wastewater Treatment.