Pretreatment program staff routinely inspect all major and minor commercial facilities with potential to impact the sewer utility. All commercial dischargers are tracked in a comprehensive database. County staff help businesses identify hazardous waste stream components and appropriate ways for handling them.
Businesses with photographic processes, including x-ray development, learn about acceptable silver recovery options that range from on-site treatment units to having silver wastes hauled away by a reputable company.
Records of treatment unit maintenance or receipts from hauled wastes are expected to be made available during follow-up inspections. Pretreatment staff also work closely with businesses to eliminate spill pathways. Businesses are strongly encouraged to permanently seal all floor drains and utilize appropriate spill containment systems.
The Permitting Process
Pretreatment staff conduct careful review of all building permits issued to customers in the sewer service area. Pierce County wants facilities to meet pretreatment requirements before they are built or remodeled. This prevents inspectors from having to require modifications upon their first inspection of the facility.
Customers are asked to complete a pretreatment review form when they apply for a building permit, to identify potential pretreatment or spill prevention concerns. Applications with possible adverse impacts to the sewer system are routed to pretreatment staff who may impose additional requirements if necessary.
Engineering reports are required for all wastewater pretreatment systems connected to the sewer, to be reviewed by county engineers and pretreatment staff. Pierce County has also entered into an agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology to perform state-required engineering reviews for businesses in the county's sewer service area.