Industrial Pretreatment of Wastewater & Pollution Prevention

Wastewater flow at Deer Island Treatment Plant, Boston, MA

Before certain businesses and industries can discharge wastewater to a sewer system, they must pretreat their wastes, removing potentially harmful chemicals, to ensure they will not harm the local wastewater treatment process, the cleaned water, and the wastewater solids (which, when treated, can become biosolids or other residuals used on land). 

Industrial pretreatment is a form of Pollution Prevention (“P2”), also known as “source reduction."  P2 is any activity that stops or reduces the initial release of pollution to the environment.  P2 is the very first step in ensuring a clean environment: if you can stop pollution at the source, then you don’t have to worry about recycling, clean-up, or treatment. 

Formal P2 programs have been a part of the environmental movement and federal and state regulatory structures since the 1970s.  Pollution prevention efforts in homes, businesses, and communities help reduce the levels of potentially harmful contaminants in wastewater.  And “cleaner” wastewater means cleaner biosolids. 

Together, Industrial Pretreatment and Pollution Prevention reduce the levels of potentially harmful elements and chemicals in biosolids.