Industrial Pollution Prevention

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Resources to minimize pollution from your business

Local industries play a key role in protecting our natural resources, which includes ensuring responsible disposal of waste into our shared sewer system. Find resources and information to help minimize pollution in your business below.

When in doubt, contact our pretreatment coordinator about the safety or appropriateness of a given chemical to be disposed of in the sewer system.

Plan ahead for new sewer discharges

If your industrial business is planning a new discharge to the sewer system, review the required Pretreatment Program & Permits page, complete an Industrial Request to Discharge form and return it to the District at least 60 days prior to the expected date of the new discharge. Our pretreatment coordinator will review the form and determine whether the discharge is allowable.

Review the Sewer Use Ordinance

Industrial users can review the District’s Sewer Use Ordinance, which governs what can and cannot be discharged into our sewer system, as well as allowable amounts of various pollutants. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 are particularly relevant to industrial facilities. Section 5.2.3 includes specific limits for various pollutants that apply to all industrial users, permitted or not.

Minimize mercury

  • Conduct a mercury inventory of your facility to determine if mercury devices or materials are still in use or in storage.
  • Replace mercury-containing materials with mercury-free alternatives. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers a partial list of alternatives on its website.
  • Label any remaining mercury-containing materials, such as boiler switches, to help ensure they are properly disposed of when replaced.
  • Keep mercury spill kits on hand if your facility has historically used or contained mercury products. If there is a mercury spill in your facility, follow proper clean-up procedures. Never dispose of mercury down the drain or in the trash.
  • Train employees on proper mercury clean-up procedures.
  • Verify the purity of process chemicals with your supplier. Some chemicals, such as caustic soda, bleach and ferric chloride, can contain trace amounts of mercury if produced by certain processes.
  • Handle old plumbing fixtures, such as sumps and traps, as potentially mercury-containing waste when conducting renovations or demolitions. Mercury can settle in these fixtures, making them hazardous waste.

Be Salt Wise in your business

  • Reduce salt use in your industrial water softeners to minimize chloride discharges to the sewer system. The District provides incentive programs for projects that permanently reduce chloride to the sewer system.
  • Enact a winter maintenance policy for company grounds that incorporates best management practices for road salt application to parking lots, driveways and sidewalks. Find recommended practices on the Wisconsin Salt Wise website.

Check for sources of PFAS

  • Conduct an inventory of products and have your internal environmental health and safety team review the safety data sheets (SDS) for PFAS. If there is ambiguity or you are unsure, ask your supplier. If products do contain PFAS, inquire if alternative, PFAS-free products are available.
  • Properly dispose of any PFAS-containing products that are no longer being used; do not flush them or dump them down the drain. There are waste disposal contractors that can assist with the destruction of PFAS-containing products.
  • If your processes use PFAS and require discharge to the sanitary sewer, consider collecting a sample of the effluent to determine if pretreatment is required. There are systems available that can be installed to greatly reduce the PFAS load entering the municipal wastewater system.
  • Stay informed of the District’s work on PFAS.