Ordinance Changes at Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

July 1, 2012

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has adopted a number of amendments to the Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance. Many of the changes are clarifications of existing District policies that clean-up the "legalese" in the Ordinance. These are not major changes and will not result in widespread new obligations.

The following is a brief summary of the changes:

  • New or revised definitions, including Grab Sample, Slug Discharge, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Control Authority, and Fats, Oils and Greases.
  • Clarify requirements for self-reporting a violation, and subsequent resampling to verify compliance.
  • Clarify requirements for reporting substantial changes in wastewater volumes and characteristics.
  • Increase the minimum civil penalty from $100 to $1,000. (Very few companies end up with civil penalties.)
  • Add to the list of prohibited discharges, any pollutants (including BOD) at a volume or concentration that will cause interference with the District's treatment plants.
  • Clarify existing policies regarding compliance sampling in proportion to wastewater flow, unless specifically approved.
  • Describe specific steps to assert Confidentiality for documents submitted.
  • Revise the definitions for chronic and acute violations.

Also, we have been informed by District personnel that Significant Industrial Users (SIUs) who have not yet been requested to prepare a Spill Plan, will be required to do so in the future. The requirement will be implemented when the facility Discharge Authorization is renewed.

Paul F. Mathews
Environmental Specialist

PS: Please call if you need additional clarification, or would like to discuss how this will affect your operation and reporting. We can provide you with a copy of the amended Ordinance.

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