Wastewater Discharge Permits
To protect our environment and communities, our construction permits require pollution prevention as well as pretreatment.
What is Pretreatment?
Wastewater from non-domestic (i.e., industrial and commercial) sources can contain pollutants, such as fats, oils and grease, heavy metals (such as lead and mercury), or low pH. These pollutants can damage sewers, interfere with the operation of wastewater treatment plants, end up in the receiving waters or in the sludge removed at the plants, or jeopardize the health and safety of plant staff or field crews and the general public. The practice of removing pollutants from industrial and commercial wastewaters before they are discharged into sewer systems is known as "pretreatment." Pretreatment differs from pollution prevention, which focuses on procedures to reduce or eliminate the introduction of pollutants into wastewaters from residential, commercial and industrial sources.
We enforce the Pretreatment Program by regulating discharges from non-domestic sources into the City's sewer system. Regulations governing these discharges are contained in the City's sewer use ordinance - Article 4.1, Chapter X, Part II of the San Francisco Municipal Code. Additional wastewater pollutant limitations are contained in the City's Department of Public Works Order No. 158170.
Industrial User Permits
In San Francisco, we issue Industrial User Permits for regular or continuous discharges that result from commercial or industrial operations, such as laundries, food processors, hospitals, and dental offices.
- Industrial User (IU) Permit Application Form
- Industrial User (IU) Permit Application Instruction
- Significant Industrial User Wastewater Discharge Permit Application Form and Slug Discharge Control Plan
Batch Wastewater Discharge Permits
We also issue Batch Wastewater Discharge permits for non-routine, occasional, or other temporary discharges, such as dewatering of construction sites or wells drilled to investigate or mitigate a suspected contaminated site; power-washing of buildings or parking lots and; any other activity that generates wastewater, other than from industrial processes.
The permits specify the conditions under which wastewater may be discharged into the sewer system. Permits are issued for a specified duration and are tailored to each user.
More Permits and Resources
- Waste Hauler Permit Application (revised 4/2023)
- San Francisco Department of Public Works Order No. 158170 Industrial Waste Discharge Limits into City's Sewerage System
- Sewer Use Ordinance
Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits issued to the City and County of San Francisco (City) to operate the Southeast and Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plants, the City is required to implement a Pretreatment Program. This Program is required to comply with the regulations incorporated in the Clean Water Act (33 United States Code [U.S.C] section 1251 et seq.) and the General Pretreatment Regulations (Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 403).