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MWRA Permitting: 2024 Updates

This week, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) provided a notice of its intent to propose amendments to its Sewer Use Regulations, 360 CMR 10.000 . The MWRA’s Public Notice will appear in the Massachusetts Register on April 12, 2024, and public hearings will be conducted on May 3, 2024, at 10:00 am at MWRA headquarters in Chelsea.

The proposed amendments focus on updates to MWRA’s Incentive Program Charges to reflect increases in operating costs to implement its Industrial Pretreatment Program. Other proposed revisions clarify the intent of the existing regulations and/or align them with MWRA practices derived from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

The adoption of these changes will not result in any substantial changes to the implementation of the MWRA’s Industrial Pretreatment Program since they are intended to reflect current practices and procedures. For most permit holders, the only impact of the proposed revisions will be an increase in annual permitting and monitoring fees by 3% each year, beginning in fiscal year 2025.

In addition to the proposed amendments to the Sewer Use Regulations, the MWRA posted a new Sewer Use Discharge Permit Application on the TRAC website on January 26, 2024. The new application requires that wastewater analysis results for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) be included with all new and renewal applications submitted.

In situations where sampling can’t be conducted for initial permit applications such as for newly constructed buildings where there is no discharge, the MWRA has been adding a one-time sampling requirement to the permit requiring that PFAS sampling must be completed, and the analytical results submitted, within 60 days of receiving the permit.

In this case, an explanation of why PFAS sampling cannot be conducted at the time the application is submitted, and a statement indicating that it will be completed with results submitted within the timeframe required by the permit should be included in Section J. 4 of the application. The explanation should also be highlighted in the cover letter. The MWRA Industrial Coordinator (IC) for the municipality should be consulted with to confirm their specific requirements for PFAS sampling as they may be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The MWRA is applying the PFAS sampling requirement to all permit types including Low Flow/Low Pollutant Permits. They will be using the data collected to determine an appropriate wastewater discharge limit for PFAS compounds.

Fifty-seven municipalities located in Massachusetts fall under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) for industrial wastewater discharge. If your facility is within MWRA jurisdiction, please contact us for additional information on the proposed changes to the Sewer Use Regulations and for assistance preparing your MWRA permit application.


This blog was written by Beth Graham, Director of Quality, Research, and Training

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