The City of Covina is required, by mandate, to protect the health and safety of the public while ensuring that the wastewater collection systems and treatment plants are not unduly impacted by discharges from industrial users.
An industrial user is a discharger of any water bearing waste other than domestic wastewater or of wastewater generated from household type operations performed at commercial establishments for or to support commercial purposes.
Businesses that are industrial users are generally required to obtain a Non-Domestic Wastewater Disposal Permit.
Existing and new businesses in the City of Covina are required to review the requirements set forth in the Industrial Waste Program Ordinance as specified by Ordinance No. 08-1953 and amended with Ordinance No. 10-1982 in Title 13 of the Covina Municipal Code and determine if they are required to comply with the ordinance. Examples of businesses that are required to apply for an industrial wastewater discharge permit are (but not limited to) metal finishing and plating shops, car washes, food service establishments, (restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, etc.) laundries and printed circuit board manufacturers.
Please contact Environmental Services Division of the Public Works Department if you have questions or are not sure if you are required to apply for a permit.
Laws and Regulations
On May 2, 2006, the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) adopted Order No. 2006-0003-DWQ (the Order) entitled, “Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR’s) for Sanitary Sewer Systems.” The specific emphasis of the Order is the elimination of sanitary sewer overflows (SSO’s). To facilitate compliance with the Order, every agency responsible for the operation and maintenance of a sanitary sewer system was required to develop and implement a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP), in compliance with the direction of the SWRCB. The City completed this state-mandated planning process with the City Council’s adoption of the City’s SSMP in July 2009.
The City’s industrial waste program, which is the front-line defense against fats, oils, and grease (FOG) related blockages and main line degradation, was virtually non-existent prior to the City Council adoption of Ordinance No. 08-1953 In May 2008. In April 2010, the City further amended Title 13 of the Covina Municipal Code pertaining to sanitary sewers, industrial wastes and the control of fats oils and grease in the sanitary sewer system by adopting Ordinance No. 10-1982, which strengthen and clarified the existing regulations.
For further understanding of County and State regulations regarding industrial waste, please find the information directly on the websites below.
Los Angeles County laws/regulations in relation to IWP:
California state laws/regulations in relation to IWP:
Click here to view FAQs about the City's industrial waste program
According to Section 13.50 of the Covina Municipal Code, Adoption of the Sanitary Sewer and Industrial Waste Code of the County of Los Angeles, industrial facilities and certain commercial facilities which plan to discharge industrial wastewater to the City's sewage collection and treatment system are required to first obtain an industrial wastewater permit. The permit provides a means for the City of Covina to protect its sewer collection and treatment systemsand to prevent regulated toxic wastewater constituents from passing through to receiving waters and recovered bio-solids.
Industrial Wastewater is any water carrying waste other than domestic wastewater. Wastewater generated from household type operations performed at commercial establishments for or to support commercial purposes is industrial wastewater. Various illicit discharges include storm water, surface drainage, chemicals, flammables, corrosive substances, oil, grease, solids, debris, etc., that might cause damage, clog, obstruct, necessitate, or require excessive repair or cleaning of the sanitary sewer system.
To obtain an industrial wastewater permit, you must submit a completed application and pay the associated application fee of $15. Building permits, plumbing permits, and sewer connection permits do not constitute industrial wastewater permits and must be obtained separately from the Building Department. Contact the Building Department for further inquiry or application assistance at 626-384-5460. An industrial wastewater permit is not required for the following dischargers or discharges to the collection system:
- A Food Service Establishment that does not potentially generate waste FOG (Fats, Oil, and Grease) during food preparation processes, and does not significantly affect the sewage collection and treatment system, does not need a permit, provided that the FSE has implemented and demonstrates compliance with Best Management Practices requirements as specified in the Rules and Regulations Governing the Discharge of Industrial Wastewater.
- Bleed off or blow down from cooling towers, evaporation condensers or other recirculating water devices with rated capacity of 25 tons or less doesn't need a permit
- Self-service laundries with washing machines of 20 pounds maximum capacity, don't need a permit, with further allowance that individual self service laundries may have a maximum of two machines with maximum of 50 pound capacity.
- Discharges from establishments where the industrial wastewater discharge is less than 200 gallons per day and treatment of this waste is not required before its discharge to the sewer, do not need a permit.
Dry Cleaners/Laundry Service Centers
Uniforms worn by manufacturing personnel, hospital employees, and meat packers; shop towels used by service stations, printing companies, and bakers; and floor mats from offices, stores and schools are all items that are washed on a daily basis by industrial laundries.
The wastewater generated from industrial washers contains sand and grit, lint, free and emulsified oil and grease, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). This program has been developed to ensure that no perchloroethylene (PERC) is discharged to the sewer, storm drain, or ground. All wastewater containing PERC or other solvent contaminated liquids should be properly disposed of by evaporation, or removed from the facility by a certified waste hauler.
Clothing treated with spotting agents containing TCE or PERC prior to wet cleaning or laundering can result in these chemicals being discharged with your wastewater. If even small amounts of TCE or PERC are discharged to a septic system, groundwater and nearby drinking water supplies may be contaminated. Therefore, it is very important that you avoid using spotting agents that contain PERC or TCE, especially if your wet cleaning or laundry machines discharge to a septic system. To minimize the potential to contaminate groundwater through wet cleaning or laundry discharge, you should use the following Best Management Practices:
- Ask your suppliers and trade associations about non-toxic or less toxic substitutes for the dry spotting agents that contain TCE, PERC, and other toxic chemicals.
- Minimize the amount of spotting agent that remains on the clothing by using a vacuum pump on the spotting table to suction off excess liquid.
- If you place a towel on the spotting board to absorb excess liquid do not wet clean or launder the solvent-laden towel.
- Minimize your use of dry spotting agents by using them only on stains that really require a strong solvent. Be selective.
Any facility that has at least one industrial sized washing machine will be required to obtain an Industrial Waste Permit.
Automotive Body/Service/Repair Centers
Although that car or van of yours looks like it just has a little dirt, oil or grease on it; imagine 500 to 2500 similar vehicles with the same amount of dirt on them being washed daily. Once the soap cuts through the grime, have you ever thought where does the grime and dirt go?
Well, it just doesn't go down the drain. All car washes are required to have what are called super traps beneath ground to catch all of the solids and sludges that accumulate. The typical super trap will contain anywhere from 1000 to 1500 gallons of this sludge that has to be removed on a regular basis.
Depending upon the amount of sludge that accumulates and the volume of vehicles that are cleaned; determines how often the super traps have to be cleaned out. When the time for cleaning is determined, Progressive Environmental Services sends in a vacuum truck to suck out or remove the sludge that is accumulated. This usually takes from one to several hours and allows the car wash to continue operating.
It is important to clean these traps on a regular basis because to fail to do so would result in this sludge entering the discharge pipes of the car wash and would put the car wash in violation of the local municipal sanitary discharge limitations for environmental compliance.
Click here for information on BMPs for Auto Service Establishments.
Food Service Establishments and FOG
What is FOG?
FOG is an acronym for Fats, Oils, and Grease which is commonly found in wastewater.
Why is FOG a problem?
Fats, oils, and grease in wastewater can clog pipes and cause unsanitary spills or overflows to occur in food preparation areas, around a food preparation or automotive facility, or out on the street near a manhole or sewer access point. Spills and overflows are costly to clean up for BOTH business and the City, which means less profit to your establishment and possible fines and other penalties from the City.
A number of guides and informational materials are available here outlining ways to reduce FOG, proper maintenance of grease traps and interceptors, and information on vendors who specialize in grease hauling and interceptor maintenance that can help save you money. We encourage you to share this information with your management personnel and staff. Also included are posters detailing best management practices for the proper disposal of grease. Please display these posters in kitchen areas where easily viewable by your employees – preferably above sinks or drains.
What can be done to Stop FOG?
Control FOG at the source. Keep it from entering the sewer system.
- Best management practices (BMPs) can go a long way toward reducing FOG in the sanitary sewer system. Please see FOG Documents for further information.
- Use pretreatment like grease traps or interceptors, skimmers, separators, and process flow treatment systems, such as carbon filtration or coagulation units.
Simple Tips and Tricks to Stop FOG and Save Money
- Train kitchen staff and other employees about how they can help ensure BMPs are implemented. People are more willing to support an effort if they understand the basis for it.
- Dry Clean-Up is the best clean-up when dealing with FOG. “Wet” clean-up results in waste materials clinging to the walls of drains and forming clogs. “Dry” methods would reduce, if not eliminate this problem. The use of rubber scrapers to remove FOG from cookware, utensils, chafing dishes and serving ware is one alternative method. Using towels runs the risk of grease accumulation which eventually gets washed away in laundry machine drains. Instead, using paper towels to clean work areas is a simple solution for “dry” clean-up
- Signs such as “No Grease” constantly remind employees help minimize the amount of material going down the drain and will reduce the cost of cleaning and disposal.
- Water Temperature kept less than 140°F in all sinks not only reduces the risk of clogging up your sewer lateral but also reduces the costs of heating the water, and the potential cost of hiring someone to clean out your pipes as well as being fined or penalized by the City.
Understanding Grease Traps and Interceptors
A grease trap is designed to prevent grease, oil, solids, and other debris from entering the water stream, where it becomes a problem by clogging sewers and disrupting the water flow in the system.
A grease trap should be checked and frequently maintained to ensure it is working properly. Backups, odors, and drainage problems are signs that the grease trap is not functioning as it should.
Grease interceptors are larger than grease traps and are generally below-ground units located immediately outside of food preparation areas. These require less maintenance and are normally the preferred grease removal device.
Penalties may be incurred when overflows or other problems occur. The charge for pumping out a grease trap or interceptor is considerably more than the service fee charged by a renderer of segregated material. Furthermore, with dry cleanup and other source reduction techniques, many restaurants are reducing their water consumption and grease-related plumbing problems. Rendering also helps restaurants avoid discharge penalty charges.
Click here for information on BMPs for Grease Traps-Interceptors.
City of Covina Fee Schedule
To find the most recent fee schedule for the City of Covina, click here.