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Operation and Maintenance of Sewer Collection Systems

Publicly Owned Sewer Systems (POSSs) and Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) are required to properly operate and maintain their wastewater collection system. Properly operated collection systems reduce the discharge of pollutants to treatment plants, the environment and waterbodies and are critical to the health and safety of New Yorkers.

Facility owners and operators are encouraged to become familiar with the requirements of Part 750-2 (leaves DEC website).

Annual Flow Certification Requirement

The volume and characteristics of the flow through a PTOW is indicative of the operation and performance of the collection and treatment systems.

Part 750-2.9(c) (leaves DEC website) regulations require POTW to monitor and report both flow volume and strength of the wastewater entering the treatment plant. Annually, POTWs must certify to the DEC the amount of flow and loading passing through its treatment plant attaching a Annual Flow Certification Report (PDF) form with the February DMR or through the nForm Portal where an electronic version of this form is available.

Directions on how to submit the Annual Flow Certification Report (PDF) electronically.

Model Sewer Use Law

DEC provides a Model Sewer Use Law (PDF) which is intended to aid municipalities in developing or modifying their sewer use laws. It offers ideas, language and a structure for a municipality to use in developing local sewer ordinances.

Sewer use laws establish the rules and regulations governing the discharge of sewage and industrial waste to POTWs. Many communities need to periodically examine and revisit their code, when for example, they implement a pretreatment program, revise user changes or upgrade enforcement provisions.


EPA's national pretreatment program was established to ensure that industries that discharge wastewater to POTWs do so in a manner that controls the pollutant levels such that: pass through toxics to the receiving water is prevented, interference of the wastewater treatment process is prevented, sludge generated from the treatment system is prevented from being contaminated, and the workers and treatment works are protected. The program identifies specific discharge standards and requirements that apply to sources of nondomestic wastewater discharged to a POTW.

By reducing or eliminating waste at the industries which contribute flow to the POTW, fewer toxic pollutants are discharged to and treated by the POTWs, providing benefits to the receiving waters, POTWs and the industrial users. The EPA website (leaves DEC website) provides a general overview of the national pretreatment program, including information on the regulatory history, pretreatment standards and requirements, categorical pretreatment standards and local limit development guidance. New York State has 57 approved pretreatment programs with which EPA shares the oversight responsibilities.

The Local Sewer Use Ordinance for Mini-Pretreatment Program for Industrial Discharges (PDF) , which is also listed under Important Links, discusses the objectives of the National Pretreatment Program, provides some pointers for municipalities in conducting a Headworks Analysis, and provides guidance for setting and enforcing local limits.

Other O&M Resources

The following links all leave the DEC website.

EPAs Wastewater Collection System Toolbox - Contains valuable resources related to proper O&M of POSS systems. Includes information on manhole and pipe assessments, resiliency trainings and public education materials.

Water Environment Federation's (WEF) Collection Systems - Information for both POTWs and POSSs.

New England Interstate's (NEI) Wastewater Collection Systems - Information for both POTWs and POSSs.

American Water Works Association (AWWA) Wastewater Collection Systems - Information for both POTWs and POSSs.

New York Water Environment Association's Voluntary (NYWEA) Collection System Certification - NYWEA offers a voluntary collection system certification. This program helps to assure that wastewater collection systems and equipment are operated and maintained by qualified staff who possess a high level of competence in the wastewater collection field.