Industrial Waste Unit
Groundwater Discharge Permit
A groundwater discharge permit must be obtained prior to discharge for any project that will be discharging groundwater or accumulated stormwater from a project site to a City sewer. Projects that often require groundwater discharge permits include, but are not limited to, construction or environmental site remediation projects.
It is illegal to make discharges to City sewer without permission from the Water Department. Discharges without a permit or any other violation of PWD's Wastewater Control Regulations are subject to fines of up to $25,000 per violation per day. Unpermitted discharges to inlets, manholes or separate storm sewers are prohibited.
Projects needing to discharge accumulated groundwater and stormwater to the City sewers must apply for and be issued a Groundwater Discharge Permit prior to any discharge. The application should be submitted by the person directly responsible for the discharge; for larger projects, the on-site subcontractor may need to apply instead of the general contractor.
Please allow at least two weeks for IWU review of permit applications prior to permit issuance and any project discharge. Missing or insufficient information may cause a delay in permit issuance
Applications must include the following documents:
It is recommended that the following information also be included with the permit application:
- Analytical Results of Groundwater Sampling (strongly recommended) -- If there is no prior knowledge of potential contaminants, IWU recommends a groundwater sample be taken and analyzed for EPA Priority Pollutants.
- Treatment System Diagram (if treatment will be necessary to meet PWD local limits found in Wastewater Control Regulations Section 501.3(b))
- Phase I and/or Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (if available)
It is important for the applicant to provide as much information as possible about the project site and the expected conditions of the groundwater to be discharged. IWU bases its permit limits, monitoring and sampling requirements on the permit application and will err on the side of caution when drafting a permit to ensure the protection of the City's workers and wastewater treatment plants.
When seeking renewal of an existing permit, the permittee must send a letter requesting extension of the permit along with a copy of the existing permit and the permit fee ($1000) at least 30 days prior to expiration of the existing permit.
After a permit application has been reviewed, a permit may be issued outlining the specific conditions under which a discharge to the City sewer is authorized. General permit requirements are as follows:
These conditions limit the location or manner in which a discharge is permitted. Conditions may include, but are not limited to, discharge location and any necessary treatment prior to discharge.
This section contains numerical and/or narrative limits on discharge parameters and may include specific pollutant as well as flow limitations. Any limitations stipulated in this section will have specific monitoring and reporting requirements.
To ensure compliance with permit discharge limits this permit section identifies requirements for monitoring flow as well as any pollutants of concern. Permits typically require sampling at a minimum frequency of once per month.
Permits specify a reporting frequency for each project. Reporting frequencies for groundwater permits are typically quarterly, as determined by IWU. Reports are required to include flow monitoring information, discharge quantities and the results of any required sample analyses as specified by the permit and must be mailed to the Industrial Waste Unit.
It is the permittee's responsibility to report any violation of permit limitations (see Wastewater Control Regulations Section 501.6(h)) to IWU within 24 hours of becoming aware and to submit to the City within five (5) business days, unless otherwise specified, a detailed written report describing the discharge and the measures taken to prevent similar future occurrences. User shall also repeat the sampling and analysis and submit the results of the repeat analysis to the City within thirty (30) days of becoming aware of the violation. There may be a monetary fine assessed for failing to promptly notify IWU of any violation (see "Permit Violations" below).
Upon completion of the permitted project it is the discharger's responsibility to submit a closure statement. The closure statement must include the following information:
- Name and address of the permitted project
- Name and telephone number of company contact person
- Final date of discharge
- List of discharges that will continue to operate at the same location
- A certification statement signed and dated by an authorized representative of the permittee. (see Wastewater Control Regulations Section 501.6(k)
This Groundwater Permit Closure Form may be, but does not need to be, used for providing this notification to the City.
Violations of any permit requirements including reporting, sampling and permit limits are subject to monetary fines. Fines range from $300-$25,000 per violation per day based upon the severity of the violation. The City's Civil Penalty Assessment Policy can be found in Section 501.16 of the Wastewater Control Regulations. Violations of permit conditions also trigger specific reporting requirements. Please see the "Reporting Requirements" section above for more information.
Billing of Permittees
In addition to the permit fee, the permittee will be billed for the quantity of the groundwater discharged according to the applicable rate in the PWD regulations Section 307.1 Sewer Charges for Groundwater.