Fact Sheet for Michigan
Best Management Practices
Related ECAR Fact Sheets
Other Relevant Resources
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following fact sheet was prepared by the ECAR Center staff. Once
prepared, each ECAR Center fact sheet undergoes a review process
with the applicable state environmental agency(ies). You can check
on the status of the review process here.
Please read the disclaimer on the status page. While we have tried
to present a summary of the essential information on this topic,
you should be aware that other items, such as local regulations,
may apply to you.
What You Need to Know
are responsible for contamination caused by any waste, including
wastewater, generated from your business. Improper discharge of
wastewater can result in both soil and water contamination and potentially
cost your business a great deal of cleanup costs and fines. These
discharges may have a negative impact on fish, wildlife and drinking
fact sheet identifies wastewater types, disposal options, permitting,
and record keeping requirements.
wastewater falls into three basic categories:
wastewater This is water from your restrooms, break-rooms
and sinks. It is not wastewater from washing tools or pouring waste
auto fluids down the drain.
or industrial wastewater This is the wastewater that results
from your business activities that might contain one or more pollutants.
It includes wastewater resulting from radiator flushing, tool and
engine cleaning, discharges from aqueous cleaning, water from steam
cleaning or equipment wash down, water used for floor cleanup in
dismantling areas (e.g., mop water) or non-contact cooling water
and precipitation collected in secondary containment areas.
- Stormwater This is water from rainfall and snow melt runoff. See the ECAR Stormwater fact sheet.
Your disposal options depend on the type of wastewater your
business generates and the location of your company. These options
Owned Treatment Works (POTW, also known as municipal wastewater
treatment plants or sanitary sewer systems).
and Registered Hazardous or Liquid Industrial Waste Transporters
(for liquid waste that can not be discharged in any other fashion).
Water Discharge (includes direct discharge to a lake, river,
or stream and indirect discharge via a storm sewer, drain or ditch).
A permit is required for this type of discharge.
Discharge (includes septic systems) A permit is required for
this type of discharge.
POTWs Wastewater discharged to a POTW is regulated by the local sewer authority.
Contact your local sewer authority to determine if your waste will
be accepted by their facility. In some cases, you may be required
to conduct "pretreatment" (oil/water separation, removing
solids, chemicals, etc.) before discharging your wastewater to them.
Also review with your local sewer authority whether there are any
monitoring, record keeping, and/or sampling requirements.
Sanitary wastewater can be discharged to a municipal sewer
system. Many municipal systems also accept some non-sanitary wastewater
with prior approval. Generally, you will be required to fill out
an application detailing what wastes you are requesting permission
to discharge. Your sewer authority will review the application and
notify you if you can or cannot discharge the waste to their POTW.
Hazardous or Liquid Industrial Waste Transporters Wastewater that is not discharged
into a POTW system must be taken to a recycling or disposal facility
if you do not have a discharge permit. Before you haul wastewater
or have it hauled off-site. you must perform a hazardous waste determination.
This may involve getting it tested by a laboratory. Keep test records
or other documentation that supports your determination for at least
3 years from shipment. If the wastewater is "hazardous"
you must manage it as hazardous waste. For more information, see
the Hazardous Waste Plain Language Guide. If the wastewater is non-hazardous,
it is managed as liquid industrial waste in Michigan.
Surface Water Discharge Discharges to surface waters are regulated under
the Clean Water Act. Discharges to local storm sewers, ditches or
other conveyances are also regulated when they discharge to waters
of the state. You are required to obtain a National Pollutant Elimination
System (NPDES) permit issued by the MDEQ Water Bureau. An NPDES
permit requires you to regularly monitor your discharge and submit
reports to the Water Bureau.
Groundwater Discharge All discharges to the groundwater must be authorized
by DEQ or the local health department. Discharges that go to septic
systems or directly onto the ground are considered groundwater discharges.
Sanitary wastewater can be discharged to an approved septic tank
system authorized by the local health department. Discharges of
non-sanitary wastewater to groundwater must be authorized by the
DEQ Water Bureau. Discharge of floor drain waste is not allowed
because it is difficult, if not impossible to properly characterize
Reporting. The state of Michigan requires that businesses that meet the annual wastewater
reporting criteria to submit either an abbreviated wastewater report
or a full wastewater report.. The report includes the quantities of critical materials
used in and incidental to the businesses manufacturing processes,
including by-products and waste products. You must submit the report
by August 1 each year.
Businesses that have wastewater discharge permits also have
reporting requirements as identified in their permit.
Links to the Regulations and Forms. Use the following links to view the
regulations and permit forms pertaining to wastewater.
Annual Wastewater Reporting (AWR) Program
Michigan's Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection (Act 451), Part 121 regarding Liquid Industrial
Michigan's Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection (Act 451), Part 111 regarding Hazardous
Waste Management and administrative rules
When an inspector comes to your facility, there are certain
things he or she checks to see if you are in compliance with environmental
regulations. It makes good sense for you to perform a "self-audit"
and catch and correct problems before they result in penalties.
Also, there are some compliance incentives associated with self-audits
(see Audit Policy Page). Use the following list to audit
your wastewater management activities.
your facility discharge industrial wastewater? Are the discharges
authorized by a permit? Are you meeting monitoring and reporting
requirements identified in the permit? Check all uses of water
and steam within the industrial areas of your facility. Determine
where wastewater is generated and discharged. You must have a
permit to discharge wastewater to the waters of the state. You
must have prior approval before discharge non-sanitary wastewater
to a POTW.
oil or solvent discharged to the sewer? Federal and state
laws prohibit the discharge of oil or flammable solvents to the
sewer system. These are regulated wastes that must be properly
you filed an annual wastewater report? Under the AWR program,
most facilities that discharge wastewater must file an annual
report with MDEQ.
Management Practices (BMPs)
Most regulations tell you what you have to do to be in compliance,
but they don't explain how to do it. That's where "best
management practices" come into play. BMPs are proven methods
that help you to get into compliance and stay there. The following
BMPs are recommended for wastewater management.
water use and the volume of water discharged through conservation
methods and by reusing water whenever possible.
employees to use water efficiently.
use water for cleaning floors and equipment unless absolutely
necessary. Use dry cleanup methods for spills.
signs at all floor drains and sinks in industrial areas of your
facility to discourage employees from using the drains to dispose
of oil, other vehicle fluids, solvent, paint or similar liquids.
Review these rules with your employees.
only non-toxic soaps to clean floors and vehicles instead of hazardous
you have floor drains at your facility that are not in use, have
them capped or plugged to prevent misuse or accidental discharges.
drips and spills from reaching the floor.
your floor drains and make certain you know where they discharge.
and use a maintenance schedule for inspection and cleaning of
floor drains, oil/water separators, traps, etc.
have floor drains where hazardous materials are stored.
your wastewater is nonhazardous, you may want to purchase evaporating
equipment to evaporate your wastewater. It should be noted that
evaporators may require an air permit or registration, and evaporator
bottoms may be considered a hazardous waste.
use degreaser solvents to clean engines. Most engine degreasers
are hazardous and should not be discharged to a POTW. Even if
you use nonhazardous degreasers, the oil and grease concentration
in the spent degreaser may exceed the limit allowed by your sewer
Annual Wastewater Report (AWR) questions, contact 517-373-2461.
questions regarding the Industrial Pretreatment Program, contact
your local sewer authority or MDEQ Water
Bureau District Office.
storm water questions, contact MDEQ at 517-241-8993 or MDEQ
Water Bureau District Office.
NPDES permits, contact MDEQ
Water Bureau District Office
sanitary wastewater discharges into septic systems, contact local health department
all other wastewater groundwater discharges, including into septic
systems, contact MDEQ
Water Bureau District Office
questions about hazardous waste, liquid industrial waste, and
transporting wastewater and disposal off-site, contact Environmental
Assistance Center at 800-662-9278 or MDEQ
Waste and Hazardous Materials Division District Office
ECAR Fact Sheets
- Aqueous Cleaning
- Floor Drains
- Septic Tanks and Disposal
Asked Questions regarding Annual Wastewater Reporting, prepared
of permitted and registered waste transporters
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