The Ventura Water Environmental Compliance team monitors and inspects over 650 non-domestic discharges within the City of Ventura. Aside from industrial dischargers, commercial dischargers can also have a large impact on our collection system and Ventura Water Reclamation Facility. To protect our system, we continue to enforce and implement our fat, oils, and grease (FOG) inspection program, dental amalgam certification program, and monitor our influent for illicit discharges from other commercial facilities. Commercial dischargers can do their part by complying with these programs and following appropriate industry related best management practices for pollutant reduction.
When fats, oil, grease (FOG) is poured down kitchen drains, it accumulates inside sewer system pipes. As FOG builds up, it restricts the flow in the pipes and can cause untreated wastewater to back up into homes, businesses and streets, resulting in high costs for clean-up and restoration.
- For more information, visit the Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) webpage
Dental offices are subject to new regulations for mercury dental amalgam which were approved by the Federal EPA (40 CFR 441) and published in the Federal Register (2017-12338, Vol 82, No 113) on June 14, 2017.
- View the Environmental Protection Agency's Dental Effluent Regulations
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can have a wide range of health effects in the environment. Dental amalgam fillings contain roughly 49% mercury, 35% silver, 9%tin, 6% copper, and 1% zinc. By installing amalgam separators at the source to pre-treat the dental waste stream, the EPA believes these new regulations will reduce the discharge of metals to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) by at least 10.2 tons per year, nationwide.
New and existing dental offices in the City of Ventura are required to submit a one-time compliance report for certification with the City's pretreatment program.
According to the Brewers Association, most breweries discharge 70% of their incoming water as effluent. In many communities, breweries are the largest source of organic effluent that must be treated using physical and chemical treatment methods. The typical range of brewery untreated “end of pipe” wastewater effluent is 600-5000 ppm for BOD and 200-1500 ppm for TSS, the upper end of this range for these pollutants is very high when compared to typical domestic wastewater which is less than 400 ppm for BOD and TSS. In addition, breweries use various cleaning agents that can be very caustic or acidic resulting in an average pH range between 3 and 12.
Currently, there are no industrial user permits issued to breweries, wineries or distilleries in the City of Ventura. However, in order to assess the loading of discharged wastewater from these facilities the Environmental Compliance Division asks that all new and existing facilities complete an industrial user survey.
Automotive repair, fleet maintenance, auto body repair and paint shop activities like parts washing, surface preparation, wet and drysanding, painting, vehicle washing, floor cleaning, and product/waste storage have the ability to generate harmful pollutants that can negatively impact the Ventura Water Reclamation Plant. These pollutants include but are not limited to :
- Heavy metals like cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, and zinc from sanding operations;
- Oil, grease, and coolant removed from vehicles;
- Toxic chemicals from cleaners, strippers, solvents, and paints;
- Soaps from car washing
Business owners should be aware that any water discharged to the sanitary sewer is not treated to remove chemical contaminants and it is illegal to discharge hazardous waste to the sanitary sewer. The Ventura Water Reclamation Plant is not designed to treat these harmful chemicals and dumping these substances into the drain can harm aquatic life and sensitive ecosystems. You can protect the environment and prevent expensive violations by using dry cleaning methods and/or properly disposing of waste through a certified hazardous waste hauler.
For more information on automotive wastewater management & best management practices (BMPs) and proper disposal of automotive related waste please visit the California Department of Substance Control webpage.
Professional car wash systems create commercial wastewater that can have a significant impact on the environment if not properly managed and discharged. Contaminants in wash wastewater include the following:
- Oil and grease, which contain hazardous materials such as benzene, lead, zinc, chromium, arsenic, pesticides, herbicides, nitrates, and other metals;
- Detergents, including biodegradable detergents, that can be poisonous to fish;
- Phosphates, which are plant nutrients and can cause excessive growth of nuisance plants in water bodies;
- Chemicals, such as hydrofluoric acid and ammonium bifluoride products (ABF), and solvent-based solutions that are harmful to living organisms;
- Chemicals and oils used for the maintenance of cleaning machinery (for automatic systems)
To protect the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility from the above listed pollutants, car washes without a closed loop washing system that recycle its water, must install a clarifier for wastewater treatment before discharging to the City’s collection system.
All paints, solvents, and adhesives contain chemicals that are harmful to wildlife and humans and should never be poured down the drain. The majority of these constituents are known as “pass through” constituents which are unable to be treated effectively with our biological treatment processes at the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility. Large amounts of these chemicals can also upset our biological treatment processes and negatively impact the receiving water. While small amounts of latex paint may be able to be safely washed into the sewer system, this practice should be kept to a minimum. Limit this to brush cleaning and other minor clean-up. Alternatively, paint wash water can be collected in buckets to allow solids to settle and the water to evaporate, leaving the dry solids available for proper disposal. Do not put oil-based paint or thinner down the drain.
Residents can drop off used paint for disposal at our monthly household hazardous waste events. For more information, visit the City of Ventura's Hazardous Waste’s Reduction webpage.
Acrylic may be used as an alternative to oil-based paints by many artists. Though acrylic paints may be water based, acrylic polymers are made of plastic and can be a problematic for the waste-water treatment processes. These small plastic particles do have the ability to bypass our system and enter the environment, contributing to microplastic pollution. Please take proper care for cleaning and disposal when using acrylic paints.