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The Revised MWRA Regulations Are Now Effective!

In May, I had written about the proposed changes to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) Sewer Use Regulations (360 CMR 10.000) that were published in April 2019. The revised regulation has now been published and is available on the MWRA TRAC website. The changes became effective on September 6th, 2019.

During the past week, permit holders have been receiving letters from the MWRA notifying them of the changes. As expected, for most Safety Partners’ clients, the impact of the changes is relatively minor with the increase in permitting and monitoring fees being the most significant for the majority of companies. However, the letter from the WWRA has resulted in questions from clients on how the changes described in the letter will affect their company and what, if any, response is required.

Included in the letter as an attachment is a revised list of Specific Prohibitions. This is a list of 22 categories of industrial waste discharge that are prohibited from being discharged, directly or indirectly, into the MWRA sewer system. This list was included in the previous version of the standard and no additional discharge prohibitions have been added.  Only relatively minor changes have been made to several existing prohibitions. Specifically, there is no longer a distinction between discharge prohibitions for the Metropolitan Sewerage Service Area and the Clinton Sewerage Service Area.  In addition, an allowance has been added for a reclaimed water system permitted by the Mass DEP and MWRA to discharge sludge resulting from the treatment of sewage that does not require a permit from the MWRA into the sewer system. Although these changes may not affect your company, in the letter the MWRA specifies that the updated list of prohibitions should be attached to existing MWRA permits.

The letter also addresses the changes to the permitting and monitoring fees that have gone into effect immediately. All charges will increase by four percent this fiscal year.  For future fiscal years though 2024, all charges will increase by an additional three percent annually.  For companies that hold Low Flow/Low Pollutant Permits, permit charges will now be invoiced annually, with the annual fee for fiscal year 2020 being $100.00.  (LF/LP permit holders had been paying a permit fee of $244.00 every 5 years.)

In addition to the changes made to 360 CMR 10.000, changes have also been made to related MWRA regulations (Adjudicatory Proceedings, 360 CMR 1.00 and Enforcement and Administrative Penalties,360 CMR 2.00). The letter includes as an additional attachment a table that summarizes the more substantive changes to all three MWRA regulations. These changes include:


  • Provisions that give the MWRA the option to accept documents electronically. (It was not specified if this will include permit applications.)


  • New definitions for Centralized Waste Treatment Facility, Construction Site Dewatering, Dental Discharges, Food Processing, Photo Processing, Printing, and Reclaimed Water Systems.


  • Revised definitions for the Combined Permit and Group Permit to incorporate the new Dental Discharges permit category. (Previously a Combined Permit was only for Low Flow and Photo Processing and Printing Permits.)


  • Revision of the hazardous waste definition to incorporate changes to the federal definition of hazardous waste.


  • Addition of definitions for Category 10 (previously undefined) and D1 (Dental Discharges Group Permit) permits.


  • Incorporation of requirements for one time only discharges into the regulations (they were previously only documented in guidance).


  • Addition of a 9 mg/L formaldehyde limit to the local limits in the Clinton Sewerage Service Area.


  • Removal of Appendix D for the Clinton Sewerage Service Area which has been incorporated in the Total Toxic Organics List in Appendix B.


If you have any questions on the changes to the MWRA regulations or how they will affect your company, please email [email protected].

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