Publicly Owned Water Treatment Works (POWTs, US)
In an effort to control waste water emissions, Clean Water Act rules related to POWTs allow the US EPA to establish a loan program for construction of POTWs. Industrial waste water emitters can avoid the need to obtain an emission permit from the EPA when industrial waste water is emitted into a POWT, though certain restrictions to this exemption apply.
There are more than 16,250 POTWs in the US. POTWs serve about 75% of the US population.
From 2005-2009, the US EPA conducted a study of POTW water to determine the effectiveness of POTWs in removing hazardous chemical from sewage water. Those studies focused on examining the presence of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in POTW treated water. CECs include the following general categories of chemicals: (1) Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). These are a concern because discharge of these chemical into POTW facilities through hosuehald waste water. (2) Steroids and hormones; (3) Alkylphenols and Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs), which are usually present in detergents; (4) Bisphenol A (BPA); (5) Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), common industrial ingredients in many products; and (6) pesticides. Part of the focus of that study was to determine the effectiveness of POTW treatment of waste waters, and the EPA tested chemical contaminants in water received by each facility (influent) and chemical contaminants in water emitted (effluents) by each facility. The chart below shows the results from these studies. Overall, the study indicates that POTW sewage treatment is effective for removing some, but not all hazardous waste from sewage.
|Chemical Class||# Tested||# Influent||# Effluent|
Created with the HTML Table Generator
For access to the complete study click HERE.