Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits and Requirements

Along with the increasing debate about the environment and water scarcity come regulations, requirements, and discharge limits for wastewater for the industries to comply with – and there are more to come.

In this blog post, we aim to give you an overview of some of these regulations, standards, and wastewater discharge limits.

Please make certain reservations that this information can be outdated at the time of reading. LiqTech is not to be held responsible for possible mistakes, typing errors, or erratum. We recommend you keep updated about relevant wastewater discharge limits and requirements through local and national law.

Index

Wastewater Discharge Limits and Regulations in The United States of America

EU Regulations for Wastewater

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits in the United Kingdom

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits in Australia

China Wastewater Regulations and Standards

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits and Regulations in Germany

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits and Regulations in India

Wastewater Discharge Limits and Regulations in The United States of America

The industrial effluent guidelines are promulgated by EPA (The United States Environmental Protection Agency). These guidelines include the national standards for industrial wastewater discharge to surface waters and publicity-owned sewage treatment plants. The discharge limits for wastewater are divided into different industries, and you will find a selection of different industries’ wastewater discharge limits.

Were you not able to find the industry relevant for you? Or do you need more information, then read more about the EPA regulations and limitations here.

Dairy

The EPA standards depend on the amount of daily receiving of milk. The effluent limitations for existing stations receiving more than 150,000 lb/day milk equivalent.

Effluent characteristics Maximum for any 1 day (kg pr. 1,000 kg of BOD5 input)
BOD5 0.48
TSS 0.71
pH 6-9

Effluent limitations for existing stations receiving 150,000 lb/day or less of milk equivalent.

Effluent characteristics Maximum for any 1 day (kg pr. 1,000 kg of BOD5 input)
BOD5 0.63
TSS 0.94
pH 6-9

Effluent limitations for discharge by a new source.

Effluent characteristics Maximum for any 1 day (kg pr. 1,000 kg of BOD5 input)
BOD5 0.10
TSS 0.13
pH 6-9

Mining – Coal

Effluent limitation guidelines representing the degree of effluent reduction on discharge from such point source normally exhibit a pH of less than six before treatment.

Pollutant or pollutant property Maximum for any 1 day (concentration in mg/l)
Iron, total 7.00
Manganese, total 4.00
TSS 70
pH 6-9

Effluent limitation guidelines representing the degree of effluent reduction in discharge from such point source normally exhibit a pH equal to or greater than six before treatment.

Pollutant or pollutant property Maximum for any 1 day (concentration in mg/l)
Iron, total 7.00
TSS 70
pH 6-9

Effluent limitation guidelines for new sources representing the degree of effluent reduction on discharge from such point source normally exhibit a pH of less than six before treatment.

Pollutant or pollutant property Maximum for any 1 day (concentration in mg/l)
Iron, total 6.00
Manganese, total 4.00
TSS 70
pH 6-9

Effluent limitation guidelines for new sources representing the degree of effluent reduction in discharge from such point source normally exhibit a pH equal to or greater than six before treatment.

Pollutant or pollutant property Maximum for any 1 day (concentration in mg/l)
Iron, total 6.00
TSS 70
pH 6-9

Acid or Ferruginous Mine Drainage

Effluent limitation guidelines for existing sources represent the degree of effluent reduction.

Pollutant or pollutant property Maximum for any 1 day (concentration in mg/l)
Iron, total 7.00
Manganese, total 4.00
TSS 70
pH 6-9

Effluent limitation for new sources represents the degree of effluent reduction.

Pollutant or pollutant property Maximum for any 1 day (concentration in mg/l)
Iron, total 6.00
Manganese, total 4.00
TSS 70
pH 6-9

Phosphate Manufacturing

The concentration of pollutants discharged in process wastewater pursuant to the limitations of this section shall not exceed the values listed.

Effluent characteristics Maximum for any 1 day milligrams per liter
Total phosphorus (as P) 5
Fluoride (as F) 70
TSS 150
pH 6-9.5

The concentration of pollutants discharged in contaminated non-process wastewater shall not exceed the values listed:

Effluent characteristics Maximum for any 1 day milligrams per liter
Total phosphorus (as P) 105
Fluoride (as F) 75
pH 6-9.5

Iron and Steel manufacturing

Effluent limitation represents the degree of effluent discharge from any existing point source manufacturing iron or steel.

Pollutant or pollutant property Maximum for any 1 day (kg/kkg (ounds per 1,000 lb) of product)
TSS 0.25
Oil & Gas 0.03
Ammonia-N 0.27
Cyanide 0.07
Phenols (4AAP) 0.00
pH 6-9

Meat and Poultry Production

Effluent limitations for facilities that slaughter no more than 50 million pounds per year must achieve the following limitations.

Regulated parameter Maximum daily (pounds per 1,000 lbs (g/kg) LWK
BOD5 0.24
Fecal coliform Maximum of 400 mosyt probable number or colony forming units per 100 mL
O&G 0.12
TSS 0.40

The following limitations apply to the application of effluent limitations for the discharge of process wastewater associated with the processing of hides derived from animals slaughtered at off-site locations.

Regulated parameter Maximum daily (pounds per 1000 lbs (or g/kg) ELWK
BOD5 0.04
TSS 0.08

Effluent limitation for facilities that slaughter more than 50 million pounds per year must achieve the following limitations.

Regulated parameter Maximum daily (pounds per 1000 lbs (or g/kg) ELWK
Ammonia (as N) 8.00
Total Nitrogen 194

EU Regulations for Wastewater

The regulation aspects of the directive require member states to comply with the following regulations for industrial wastewater.

  • Establish systems of prior regulations or authorization for discharge of industrial wastewater into urban sewage collecting systems to ensure:
    • Treatment plant operation and sludge treatment will not be impeded.
    • No adverse effect on the environment (including receiving waters).
    • The safe disposal of sewage sludge.
    • Establish systems of prior regulation and/or specific authorization and permits for food processing industries.
Dive into the directives concerning wastewater from the European Commission

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits in the United Kingdom

Certain industries discharging biodegradable wastewater directly to receiving waters or to the ground from plants must not exceed the following wastewater discharge limits. For example, discharge-specific effluent quality numeric limits for parameters such as BOD and ammoniacal nitrogen.

Find out more about the industrial wastewater discharge limits in the United Kingdom.

Parameter Maximum permitted concentration (mg/l O2)
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5 at 20°C) without nitrification 50
Chemical oxygen demand (COD) 250

Annual mean compliance limit for phosphorus and nitrogen.

Parameter Concentration limit (annual mean) (mg/l) Minimum percentage reduction in relation to the load of the influent (annual mean)
Total phosphorus 2 80
Total nitrogen 15 70-80
Parameter Guideline value
Temperature < 38°C
pH 6-10
Grass Solids Non faecal gross solids shall have a maximum linear dimension of less than 20 mm and a quiescent settling velocity of less the 3 m/hr.
Grease & oil 200 mg/l
Beach Grease 100 mg/l
MBAS (methylene blue actives substance) 500 mg/l
Ammonia plus ammoniacal ion (measured in N) 100 mg/l
Kjeldahl Nitrogren 150 mg/l
Total phosphorus (as P) 50 mg/l
Sulphate (measured as SO4) 2,000 mg/l
Sulphite (SO2) 100 mg/l
Chlorine (Cl2) 10 mg/l
Aluminum 100 mg/l
Iron 100 mg/l
Manganese 100 mg/l

China Wastewater Regulations and Standards

In China, industrial units need to follow the national discharge standards (GB8978) to discharge wastewater.

The GB8978 standards provides the maximum allowable discharge concentrations of 69 different water pollutants. 10 different pollutants and indicators have been selected to provide insight into the industrial wastewater discharge limits in China.

The three classes of discharging standards are classified as:

  • Wastewater that is discharges into a GB3838 Class 3 water area (excluding designated protected areas and scenic areas), and wastewater that is discharged into a GB3097 class 2 marine area, must follow GB8978 Class 1 standard.
  • Wastewater that is discharged into a GB3838 Class 4 or 5 area, and wastewater that is discharged into a GB3097 Class 3 marine area, must follow GB8978 Class 2 standards.
  • Wastewater that is discharged into city and town sewage systems that have a secondary wastewater treatment plant, must follow GB8978 Class 3 standards.
  • Wastewater that is discharged into city and town sewage systems, which do not have a secondary wastewater treatment plant, should refer to Class 1, 2, and 3 standards of GB8978, according to the functional requirements of the water area which receives effluent from the sewage system.
Do you want to know more about Chinas wastewater regulations and standards?
Parameters Application Scope Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
pH All discharge work units 6-9 6-9 6-9
Colour (dilution ratio) All discharge units 50 80 -
Suspended Solids (SS) Mining, ore dressing, coal dressing industries 70 300 -
Gold-bearing vein dressing 70 400 -
Alluvial gold dressing in outlying districts 70 800 -
Municipal secondary wastewater treatment 20 30 -
Other discharging industries 70 150 400
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) Beet sugar processing, ramie degumming, wet method fibre board, dyes, fur treating industry 20 60 600
Cane sugar processing, alcohol, MSG, leather, and chemical fibre starch industries 20 100 600
Municipal secondary wastewater treatment plants 20 30 -
Other discharging industries 100 150 300
Chemical oxygen demand (COD) Beet sugar processing, syntethic fatty, acid, wet method fibre board, dyes, fur treating, and organophosphorus pesticide industries 100 200 1,000
MSG, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical raw material, ramie degumming, leather, chemical fibre starch industries 100 300 1,000
Petrochemical industry (including refining) 60 120 500
Municipal secondary wastewater treatment 100 120 -
Other discharging industries 100 150 500
Petroleum hydrocarbons All discharge work units 5 10 20
Vegetable and animal oils All discharge work units 10 15 100
Volatile phenols All discharge work units 0.5 0.5 2.0
Total cyanides All discharge work units 0.5 0.5 1.0
Sulphides (S) All discharge work units 1.0 1.0 1.0

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits and Regulations in Germany

The assessment of noxious substances and groups of noxious substances and the respective threshold values are given in the following table.

Find further information about German discharge limits and regulations.

Noxious substances and groups of noxious substances assessment Threshold values give concentration and annual volume
Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) 20 mg/l, annual volume of 250 kg
Phosphorus 0.1 mg/l, annual volume of 15 kg
Nitrogen 5 mg/l, annual volume of 125 kg
Organic halogen compounds 100 µ/l, annual volume of 10 kg
Metals and their compounds:
Merury 1 µ/l, annual volume of 100 g
Cadium 5 µ/l, annual volume of 500 g
Chomium 50 µ/l, annual volume of 2.5 kg
Nickel 50 µ/l, annual volume of 2.5 kg
Lead 50 µ/l, annual volume of 2.5 kg
Copper 100 µ/l, annual volume of 5 kg

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Limits and Regulations in India

The Government of India hands the standards for the emission or discharge of environmental pollution from various industries. It is divided into industries, and some industries have been selected to provide insight into the industrial wastewater limits in India.

Find further information about discharge standards and limits for India

Petroleum Oil Refinery

Concentration limits shall be complied with at the outlet, discharging effluent to receiving environment (surface bodies, marine systems, or public sewers).

Parameters Limiting value for concentration (mg/L except for pH)
pH 6-8.5
Oil & Grease 5
BOD5 15
COD 125
Suspended Solids 20
Phenols 0.35
Sulphides 0.5
CN 0.20
Ammonia as N 15.0
TKN 40
P 3
Pb 0.1
Hg 0.01
Zn 5
Ni 1
Cu 1

Thermal Power Plant

Parameters Standards
TPPs (units) installed before 31st December 2003
Particulate matter 100 mg/Nm3
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 600 mg/Nm3 (Units Smaller than 500MW capacity units)
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 200 mg/Nm3 (for units having capacity of 500MW and above)
Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) 600 mg/Nm3
Mercury (Hg) 0.03 mg/Nm3 (for units having capacity of 500MW and above)
TPPs (units) installed after 1st January 2003, up to 31st December 2016
Particulate matter 50 mg/Nm3
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 600 mg/Nm3 (Units smaller than 500MW capacity units)
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 200 mg/Nm3 (for units having capacity of 500 MW and above)
Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) 300 mg/Nm3
Mercury (Hg) 0.03 mg/Nm3
TPPs (units) to be installed from 1st January 2017
Particulate matter 30 mg/Nm3
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 100 mg/Nm3
Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) 100 mg/Nm3
Mercury (Hg) 0.03 mg/Nm3

Slaughterhouses, Meat Processing Units and Sea Food Industry

Industry Parameters Standards (mg/l except for pH)
Slaughterhouses or meat processing units or both pH 6.5-8.5
Slaughterhouses or meat processing units or both Biochemical Oxygen demand (BOD) 30
Slaughterhouses or meat processing units or both Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) 250
Slaughterhouses or meat processing units or both Suspended solids 50
Slaughterhouses or meat processing units or both Oil and grease 10
Sea Food Industry Biochemical Oxygen demand (BOD) 30
Sea Food Industry Suspended Solids 50
Sea Food Industry Oil and Grease 10

Dairy industry

Parameters Standards (mg/l except for pH)
pH 6.5-8.5
BOD 100
Suspended solids 150
Oil & grease 10

Onshore Oil Drilling and Gas Extraction Industry

Parameters Discharge standards (Not to exceed)
pH 5.5-9
Temperature 40°C
Suspended solids 100 mg/l
Zinc 2 mg/l
BOD 30 mg/l
COD 100 mg/l
Chlorides 600 mg/l
Sulphated 1000 mg/l
TDS 2100 mg/l
%Sodium 60 mg/l
Oil & Grease 10 mg/l
Phenolics 1.2 mg/l
Cyanides 0.2 mg/l
Fluorides 1.5 mg/l
Sulphides 2 mg/l
Chromium (Cr+6) 0.1 mg/l
Chrolium (Total 1 mg/l
Copper 0.2 mg/l
Lead 0.1 mg/l
Mercury 0.01 mg/l
Nickel 3 mg/l
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