Contact Us

Address: 900 E. Broad St.,
                 Room 115
                 Richmond, VA 23219

Phone:     (804) 646-4646
                 For gas leaks, leave the area and call 911

 

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Pretreatment

Collecting waste and stormwater from more than 1,500 miles of sanitary and combined sewer lines, the City of Richmond's wastewater treatment plant sanitizes and removes many of the pollutants typically found in sewer and stormwater before it enters the James River. The city's Pretreatment Program works to protect the wastewater treatment plant from harmful chemicals, petroleum products and other materials, which may pass through or upset the treatment process. In order to do this, the Pretreatment Program issues permits, monitors wastewater discharges from industrial users and waste haulers and investigates unlawful discharges into the city's sewer system and waterways.

Local Limits

According to the Code of the City of Richmond, Users shall not discharge, cause to be discharged or permit to be discharged any prohibited substance into the municipal sewer system. The general local limits are listed below; industrial permits may vary according to specific facility operations.

Parameter Daily Maximum (mg/L)
Arsenic 4.45
Cadmium 0.05
Chromium 4.2
Copper 3.2
Cyanide 1.00
Lead 2.7
Mercury 0.0034
Molybdenum 1.5
Nickel 2.0
Selenium 1.8
Silver 1.9
Zinc 1.5
Oil and Grease (Total) 300
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon 100
pH * 5.0 – 11.5 s.u.

*This is a range of values. The pH of the discharged wastewater shall not be below 5.0 standard units or exceed 12.5 standard units.

Permitted Industrial Users

Online resources for our permitted industrial users.

Permit Application Process

In order to begin the processing procedures for a user discharge permit, please complete all portions of the Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit application. Completed applications should be submitted to:

Pretreatment Program
1801 Commerce Road
Richmond, VA 23224

Please allow approximately 30 days for the application to be processed.

To download a permit application, click here .

For assistance in completing a permit application, click here .

Need to find out if your business needs to apply for a permit? Click here.

Spill Notification Process*

Call the City of Richmond's Pretreatment Program immediately to report any accidental releases / slug loads / pretreatment bypasses at (804)646-3000. Notification must be received within 24 hours of a known release. In addition to providing notification within 24 hours of known spill or slug, a written report must be submitted within 5 business days. Complete an Industry Accidental Release / Pretreatment Bypass Form and submit the completed form via fax to (804)646-0081 or by mail to:

Pretreatment Program
1801 Commerce Road
Richmond, VA 23224

*If an accidental release, slug load or pretreatment bypass constitutes an emergency, please contact emergency services at 9-1-1.

Septic Receiving Station Hours

The City of Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant's septic receiving station is located at 1400 Brander Street in Richmond, Virginia 23224 and is available for use by permitted septic haulers during the following hours, unless otherwise noted:

Days Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.*
Saturday and Sunday Closed
Holidays Closed

*Septic receiving station operation times are subject to change.

Septic Receiving Station Rate

The current rate per gallon for discharging septic waste at the City of Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant's septic receiving station is: $0.110 per gallon.

The minimum charge for discharging a waste load less than 600 gallons at the City of Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant's septic receiving station is: $66.00

Septic Receiving Station Rules
  • Any commercial or industrial waste that may cause pass through of pollutants or interfere with the wastewater treatment plant operations or that violates federal, state, or local restrictions shall not be discharged to the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Violation of any of these rules or terms specifically referenced in the hauled waste permit mayresults in termination of service and/or further enforcement action under the Code of the City of Richmond's Sewer Use Ordinance.
  • Any waste transported from an industry subject to categorical pretreatment standards must meet the applicable Federal, State and local pretreatment standards and requirements including categorical standards developed for the waste generator's industrial category. Authorization by the City of Richmond prior to pumping must be obtained for the hauling of categorical wastes.
  • Each vehicle transporting waste in the City of Richmond must maintain a current Sewage Handling Permit issued by the Department of Health.
  • The discharge of all hauled waste must be performed at the following designated area: Septic Receiving Station which is located at the Brander Street Pumping Station south of the Maury Street Exit off of Interstate 95. Discharge to the City of Richmond sewer system at any other location is prohibited.
  • At all times, the permitted hauler shall maintain in good working order and operate as efficiently as possible, the vehicle and all equipment used by the Permitted hauler necessary to achieve compliance with the terms and conditions of their discharge permit.
  • Only those waste haulers who are currently permitted and approved by the City of Richmond may utilize the septic receiving station.
  • Each waste hauler is responsible for understanding and implementing all permit requirements specified in their discharge permit.
  • Use of the septic receiving station must only occur during operation hours listed above.
  • The approval of an authorized City of Richmond employee is required prior to each discharge at the septic receiving station.
  • Signed waste manifests certifying that the hauled load is in compliance with local limits must be provided for all septic loads which are to be discharged to the septic receiving station.
  • The permitted hauler shall provide at the request of the City, samples and measurements of all hauled wastes which are to be discharged to the City's Treatment System. Samples and measurements required herein shall be taken by such methods so as to be representative of the volume and nature of the load and to ensure compliance with applicable pretreatment standards.
  • The City of Richmond reserves the right to deny waste haulers the use of the septic receiving based on septic load characterization and/or infraction of permit requirements.
  • Illicit or illegal discharge to the septic receiving station is strictly prohibited and subject to enforcement actions.
  • Each waste hauler is responsible for understanding and implementing all safety procedures required by the City of Richmond while performing discharge activities. Additionally, the permitted hauler must carry liability insurance and provide satisfactory evidence of it to the City of Richmond upon requests, in such amounts and form as determined by the City of Richmond. Such insurance shall afford compensation for taking corrective action and for bodily injury, and for property damage to third persons caused by accidental releases.
  • The Permitted hauler is responsible for the clean-up of any spills at the discharge site attributable to the process of discharging hauled waste.
  • Septic receiving access cards issued by the City of Richmond are non-transferable and must only be utilized by the hauler to which the card was originally issued.
Permit Application Process

In order to begin the processing procedures for a hauler discharge permit, please complete all portions of the permit application. Completed applications should be submitted to:

Pretreatment Program
1801 Commerce Road
Richmond, VA 23224

Please allow approximately 30 days for the application to be processed.

To download a permit application, click here.

To download a waste manifest, click here.

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Pretreatment Program is currently conducting inspections on commercial and industrial facilities located within the City of Richmond in order to characterize strong waste water discharges and determine potential eligibility for inclusion in the Strong Waste Surcharge Program. The treatment of strong wastewaters constitutes a significant expense for DPU. Section 29-326 of the Code of the City of Richmond grants DPU the authority to recover some of the costs associated with treating strong wastewater from industrial users through the Strong Waste Surcharge Program. This program has existed for a number of years and many Richmond businesses are already enrolled. If you would like more detailed information on the Strong Waste Surcharge Program, click here to review a list of frequently asked questions. 

Strong Waste Surcharge parameters:

Surcharge Parameter Daily Concentration (mg/L)
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) > 250
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) > 275
Total Nitrogen (TN) > 30
Total Phosphorous (TP) > 12

The formula to calculate the Monthly Surcharge amount is:

(BOD Conc. - 250) * Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) * $0.41 = Monthly Charge
(TSS Conc. - 275) * Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) * $0.43 = Monthly Charge
(TN Conc. - 30) * Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) * $1.73 = Monthly Charge
(TP Conc. - 12) * Monthly Water Consumption (CCF) * $2.44 = Monthly Charge

Quite often stormwater and other materials which enter a storm drain end up in a stream or creek. In many areas of the city, stormwater runoff is collected in a system which is completely separate from the sewer system. This system is called the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System or MS4 for short. These storm drains discharge directly to local waterways such as the James River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The city of Richmond's Pretreatment Program is committed to improving the health of our local waterways. One way in which we are working toward that goal is through the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Program.

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge into a storm drain system that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated ground water. However, water entering the MS4 as a result of private residential car washing activities, lawn watering or air conditioning condensation drains is not generally a concern and are not considered illicit discharges. Sources of illicit discharges can be spills or dumping of lawn or garden chemicals, pet waste, vehicle fluids, leaky vehicles or machinery, leaking gas and oil tanks, leaking sanitary sewer lines, failing septic systems, floor drains and basement sumps.

Illicit discharges enter the storm sewer system without being treated and results in high levels of pollutants that go directly into local waterways. These pollutants can cause unpleasant odors, public health concerns and harm aquatic life.

DPU Stormwater Utility staff are actively working to eliminate the sources of pollutants impacting our local waterways and could use your help. A few simple ways you can help include:

  • Properly disposing of solvents, paints, fuel, automobile fluids, propane tanks and car batteries
  • Picking up or properly disposing of litter
  • Storing chemicals and petroleum-containing products so that they are not exposed to rainfall
  • Picking up after pets

Remember, if it goes on the ground, it goes in the water.

If you have any information about any incident which you believe may be an illicit discharge or connection to the City of Richmond's storm or municipal sewer, you may contact the Pretreatment Program by calling (804) 646-4646 or by sending an email to RID@Richmondgov.com. You can also file a report on RVA311.com: Report an illicit discharge, disposal, or spill.

    n Richmond, household hazardous waste can be disposed of at the East Richmond Road Convenience Center at 3800 E. Richmond Road which accepts household hazardous waste from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays and 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays.

    Household hazardous waste items accepted at the facility include:

    • Solvents: mineral spirits, paint thinner, turpentine, acetone
    • Paints: oil/latex, polyurethane, tung oil, stains, varnish, shellac, tints, lacquer thinners, paint reducers, primers, varsol
    • Fuels: gasoline, gasoline additives, #2 fuel oil, kerosene, diesel, chain saw fuel, motor boat fuel, oil additives
    • Propane tanks
    • Automobile fluids: motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant
    • Automobile batteries (lead-acid batteries only)
    • Cooking oil

    Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) discharged by commercial, institutional and industrial users present a significant problem to the City of Richmond’s wastewater collection and treatment system. The accumulation of fats, oils and grease in the sewer system can cause can cause sewer blockages and back-ups. To address this problem, the City of Richmond's Pretreatment Program has established a FOG Program to regulate Food Service Establishments (FSEs) which discharge fats, oils and grease into the public sewer system. Revisar en español, haga clic aquí.

    Definition of a Food Service Establishment

    A food service establishment is any commercial facility which discharges wastewater from food preparation to the City of Richmond. Examples of food service establishments include, but are not limited to the following:

    Restaurants Nightclubs
    Motels Schools
    Hotels Delictessens
    Gas stations In-house cafeterias
    Taverns Hospitals
    Bakeries Bagel shops
    Coffee shops Grocery stores
    Meat cutting or preparation Misc.
    FOG Program Objectives
    • Reduce commercial, industrial and institutional FOG discharges into the public sewer system
    • Prevent sewer blockages which could result in sewage overflows
    • Protect public health and the environment from hazards presented by sanitary sewer overflows
    Types of Fats, Oils and Grease in Food Service Establishments

    While fats, oils, and grease are most commonly associated with fried foods, they can be generated in significant quantities in many other types of commercial food preparation. Examples of alternate sources of FOG include:

    • Cooking meats
    • Butter, ice cream and other dairy products
    • Sauces and salad dressings
    • Coffee and other kinds of prepared drinks
    • Cooking meats
    Requirements of the City of Richmond’s FOG Program

    Grease interceptors are required for:

    • Newly constructed food service establishments
    • Food service establishments that undergo remodeling or a major change in operations
    • Food service establishments which have caused or contributed to FOG-related blockage(s) in the sewer system; have sewer laterals connected to trouble areas; that have been determined to contribute significant FOG to the sewer system based on inspection or sampling.

    FSEs are required to pretreat their wastewater using grease interceptors to remove FOG prior to discharge to the public sewer system.

    Some FSEs may be required to fill out an Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit Application and all are required to fill out a Pretreatment Questionnaire.

    FSEs requiring a grease interceptor will be given a sizing criteria based on City of Richmond plumbing code to determine the appropriate interceptor size required to properly pretreat their wastewater discharge.

    All FSEs are required to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) in their operations to minimize the discharge of FOG to the sewer system.

    All FSEs installing grease interceptors or equivalent devices are required to properly operate and maintain these pretreatment systems. FSEs are required to document maintenance to grease interceptors and maintain this documentation onsite. The FSE must also have the documentation available for review upon request.

    Exceptions

    A waiver may be issued to limited food service establishments whose activities do not produce wastewater- containing FOG, as determined by the Pretreatment Program staff. A limited food preparation establishment typically does not include any operation that changes the form, flavor, or consistency of food and does not have any utensils or dishes other than disposable. These activities include:

    • reheating
    • hot holding
    • assembly of ready-to-eat food products

    Temporary variances may be issued by the Environmental Compliance Officer to allow alternative pretreatment technology that is equally effective in controlling the FOG discharge in lieu of grease interceptors.

    Homeowners

    A few simple ways you can help avoid sewer backups and/or expensive repair of damaged property at home include:

    • Dry wiping all pots, pans and plates prior to washing them
    • Using strainers in sinks to catch food scrapes and other solids
    • Properly collect and dispose of fats, oils and grease in your regular waste receptacle

    Restaurant and Business Owners

    A few simple ways you can help avoid sewer backups and/or expensive repair of damaged property include the following:

    Education
    • Properly educate existing employees on the importance of proper grease disposal.
    • Train new employees to properly dispose of fats, oils and grease.
    • Post signage around sinks reminding employees to properly dispose of grease.
    • Create a spill plan which details how employees should handle spills which are unmanageable.
    Operation
    • Dry wipe all pots, pans and plates prior to washing them
    • Use strainers in sinks to catch food scrapes and other solids
    • Wash floor mats in a sink which is plumbed to a grease retention device
    • Never clean equipment or mats in an area where the wash water could impact a street, gutter or storm drain.
    • Secure outdoor grease receptacles to prevent accidental releases, vandalism or unauthorized use.
    • Regularly inspect and service grease interceptors or receptacles to ensure they are functioning as designed. Many businesses opt to service interceptors every three months.
    In Case of Spills
    • Never clean up spills using a hose, degreasers or detergents to flush released material into the streets, gutters or storm drains.
    • If possible, utilize dry clean-up techniques incorporating dry absorbent material disposed of in a waste receptacle.
    • If necessary, contact a clean-up contractor
    Proper Disposal
    • A licensed fats, oils and grease recycling company.
    • A licensed waste hauler who transports fats, oils and grease from interceptors or receptacles to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
    • Properly contained in a regular waste receptacle.
    Documents