Engineering Sewer Discharges

Engineering Sewer Discharges

Engineering sewer discharges goes on inside the plant.
Engineering sewer discharges cannot usually be seen from the outside.

In this blog post, we continue our series on environmental engineering for industrial wastewater.  Specifically, we discuss engineering sewer discharges for acceptance at off-site sewer plants.  On the other hand, we do not address discharges to surface waters, on-site treatment facilities, or ground water.

How do you use engineering to clean up your industrial wastewater before discharging it?  First, perform a mass balance calculation.  To explain, identify and quantify all chemicals and materials.  Basically, mass balance means what goes in must come out.  Secondly, list the waste water’s chemical properties.  Finally, determine if the discharge is acceptable to the sewer plant. And that is very important.  Why?  Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, requires it.  But the County usually enforces it.  How? By using a Sewer Use Ordinance. 

Engineering Sewer Discharges? 

There are good reasons to worry about engineering sewer discharges from your plant.  For starters, the discharge could be toxic.  As a result, it could kill micro-organisms at the treatment plant.  What’s more, the discharge might be flammable or explosive.  As a result, it could cause a fire or explosion at the plant.  Additionally, it could cause the sewer plant’s discharge to pollute surface or ground water.  Finally, it could violate the County Sewer Use Ordinance.  Consequently, your plant could get bad publicity and be fined.

Will They Know Where the Toxic Sewer Discharge is Coming from?

The County may not know where the toxic sewer discharge is coming from but they can do sewer discharge tracing to find out.  First, they inspect and test the wastewater at lift stations.  Second, they use the results to identify which lift station is causing the problem.  Third, they determine which plants discharge to that lift station.  Fourth, they decide which plant is the most likely suspect.  Fifth, they knock on your door, ask questions, and test your discharge.  It is not that difficult!

Clean Up the Sewer Discharge

So, before the County comes knocking, clean up your sewer discharge.  First, read the County Sewer Use Ordinance closely.  Second, determine if  banned chemicals could be in your discharge.  If so, test the discharge.  If the results confirm a problem, you are dead in the water, right?  No, now explore the following treatment options:

  • Change the process 
  • Substitute chemicals 
  • Remove hazardous wastes 
  • Pre-treat the sewer discharge
  • Get help from an environmental engineer or the County 

After you have fixed the problem, run a bench scale test on the sewer discharge.  Good results mean start the treatment.  Bad results mean you adjust the treatment, retest, and then start the treatment.

Environmental Safety ConsultantsSo, there is a discussion of the engineering sewer discharges of industrial wastewater! If you need any assistance, ESC ( is here. We are a Florida licensed environmental engineering firm with a P.E. on staff. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your engineering sewer discharges. Contact us today ( We strive to reply to all contacts promptly!

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)


So far, we have provided several blog posts on or related to environmental engineering, which is provided Developing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Planby environmental consulting firms like ours, Environmental Safety Consultants, Inc. (ESC). We provided information on environmental permits, then went into an overview of environmental engineering. Next, we addressed industrial wastewater and, finally, air emissions control provided by an air engineer. There was also a blog post discussing Florida NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Industrial Stormwater requirements. Now we will discuss the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

The current paper will discuss environmental engineering required for an SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan). The regulatory requirements are provided by both the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, and the FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The requirements discussed herein primarily cover manufacturing and industrial facilities with SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) Codes 21 – 39 with specific exposure to stormwater. 


The objective of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan is self-evident from its name. Basically, the plan prevents pollution of stormwater so it does not impact receiving waters. Otherwise, it can impair the biological organisms and public health. 

Components of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan

In preparing the SWPPP, the environmental engineer first identifies the facility and describes its operations, location, and receiving surface waters. Next, the engineer gathers information and data in the following areas to assess the facility’s impact to stormwater: 

  • Topography, runoff, & discharge point(s) 
  • Material inventory, quantities, & exposure 
  • Significant spills or leaks last three years 
  • Non-stormwater discharges
  • Pollutant sources & specific parameters 
  • Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control pollutants 

Based on the results of the preceding, the environmental engineer discusses the findings with the client, then prepares the SWPPP and submits it for review. It is important that the client be able to implement and use the plan to reduce or eliminate pollutants in the facility’s stormwater runoff. 


The client’s management must endorse the SWPPP and sign it as documentation. The client forms a Pollution Prevention Team (PPT) and identifies it in the SWPPP. Team members and other personnel receive training. Management commits resources to attain the plan’s objective and implements the BMPs selected. The PPT completes visual monitoring of the stormwater discharge quarterly and, possibly, laboratory analysis during the second and fourth years of the five year permit. The client keeps all records in the SWPPP and, thus, it is a living document. 

Environmental Safety ConsultantsSo there is a discussion of the preparation of an SWPPP by an environmental engineer! If you need any assistance, Environmental Safety Consultants ( is here. We are a Florida licensed environmental consulting and Florida licensed environmental engineering firm with a P.E. on staff. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your SWPPP.  Contact us today ( We strive to reply to all contacts promptly!

Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineering Defined

What is environmental engineering? Do you pick up litter?” To which you probably know the answer to the second question is a definite “NO!!!”. However, you may not know the answer to the first question.


According to Britannica (, “environmental engineering is the development of processes and infrastructure for the supply of water, the disposal of waste, and the control of pollution of all kinds.” These endeavours protect public health by preventing disease transmission, and they preserve the quality of the environment by averting the contamination and degradation of air, water, and land resources.


According to Wikipedia (, environmental engineering is “a professional engineering discipline that takes from broad scientific topics like chemistry, biology, ecology, geology, hydraulics, hydrology, microbiology, and mathematics to create solutions that will protect and also improve the health of living organisms and improve the quality of the environment.” This definition is very similar to the one above. And note that both accurately define environmental engineering.

Engineering Meets Environment

Environmental Engineering Evolution

Historically, sanitary civil engineers did environmental engineering like work. However, they be-came known as environmental engineers in the mid-1960’s with the recognition of pollution and the outcries to clean it up. As a result, scientists and engineers answered the call. Firstly, they addressed water pollution. Next, they turned to air pollution. Finally, they focused on land pollution. They followed three landmark federal laws: the Clean Water Act (1972), the Clean Air Act (1970), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, & Liability Act (1980). It is extremely impressive that the U.S. Congress passed these laws so quickly! And what they did was create the need for environmental regulations, permits, and agencies to accomplish the mission.



Agencies, you ask? Firstly, let’s start at the top – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( came out of Reorganization Plan No. 3 calling for the establishment of that agency. That was an executive order which President Richard M. Nixon signed on July 9, 1970.

The EPA began operation on December 2, 1970. Wow, things seemed to move quickly fifty years ago!

State & Local

Once the EPA began publishing regulations to clean up the environment, they worked in cooperation with states to form departments or to use existing departments to implement the regulations. And so, state environmental departments formed to clean up the environment across each state. Cities and counties formed pollution control departments and divisions. Some health departments took on the responsibility.

EPA provided funding. States, counties, and cities needed it to comply. That was critical for projects such as new wastewater treatment plants. If the states did not enforce the environmental regulations, EPA would cut funding. And that meant jobs, worsening pollution, and outcries from the public. So there were many different incentives to comply.

Environmental Engineer’s Role

Formerly known as civil or sanitary engineers, environmental engineers came to the forefront. They assisted the various governmental agencies and the private sector with the environmental regulations.

Environmental Scientists

Environmental scientists and engineers began working together both in the government and private sectors. Their job? Ultimately, their job was to clean up the environment. Processes, equipment, and testing designs occurred in the areas of water, air, and land. And they are still at it today!


So there is a discussion of environmental engineering and what the environmental engineer’s role is! For further assistance, Environmental Safety Consultants ( is here. ESC holds a Florida environmental engineering license and has a Professional Engineer (P.E.) on staff. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your environmental engineering needs. We service Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, and Fort Myers. That includes Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee, and other counties from Pensacola (Escambia County) to Key West (Monroe County). So,  Contact ESC and get a reply promptly!

Environmental Permits Overview

What Environmental Permits are there?

Environmental Permits Bradenton and Sarasota

environmental permits.  Here are just a few:


  • Wetlands
  • Endangered Species

Industry & Construction

  • Air Permits for Air Discharges from Industry
  • Wastewater Discharge, Sanitary and Industrial
  • Hazardous Wastes, Transportation, Disposal & Storage
  • Stormwater, Retention Ponds, Detention Ponds, Stormwater Runoff – Construction and Industry


  • Septic Tanks
  • Drinking Water, Private Wells and Community Supplies
  • Solid Wastes, Landfills & Incineration

Permit Needs

You have to review your planned operation to see if it will require environmental permits.  Then, you have to decide what part of the environment it may impact.  For example, will it impact air, water, or land?  To further explain, will it be changing the existing site?

Example 1

Example 1 is environmental permits for building and paving a site. As a result, that activity decreases percolation of rain water into the ground.  Because of that, more stormwater will run off the site. So, that could require a stormwater retention or detention pond permit. Further, it could require an NPDES  permit for industrial sites. Additionally, those sites may have to prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Example 2

Example 2 is environmental permits for certain industrial facilities.  In addition to the stormwater permits and plan identified in Example 1 above, there are other permits. For instance, sewer discharge permits may be required. Further, air permits may be needed.  Finally, are used oil and hazardous waste requirements.


Responsibility for acquiring the permits can fall on many different parties. For example, it can include developers and builders. Additionally, it may include banks, attorneys, architects, or engineers. Finally, it can include manufacturers, industrial facilities, hospitals, crematories, municipalities, and many more!


If you need lifelines, who should you call?  Firstly, some of the best lifelines are your associates. So, why is that true? Because their knowledge base can be a good starting point.  And so, who are your associates? To begin with, they may be your co-workers, partners, or managers. Next, outside of them, for instance, are your attorney, professional colleagues, and environmental engineering companies.  Finally, those associates may direct you to agencies or may contact the agencies themselves on your behalf.


There are several key agencies which typically administer the various types of environmental permits.  Firstly, are local agencies. For example, these may include the Water Management Districts, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), counties, and cities.  Secondly, are federal agencies. For example, these may include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  But, just be careful what you say.  Because, it is all in the presentation!

Let ESC Help

ESC Environmental Permits Overview

In conclusion, there are many permits identified in this Overview of Environmental Permits! But just remember that ESC is a Florida licensed engineering company with the experience and knowledge to help you. That is because our specialty is permits concerning air emissions, industrial discharges, NPDES stormwater, and more. We service Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, and Fort Meyers. That includes Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee and other counties from Pensacola (Escambia County) to Key West (Monroe County). So,  Contact ESC and get a reply promptly!