Policy SY40 - APPENDIX A

References, Definitions, and Guidance on Materials Prohibited for Drain Disposal



  • The General Pretreatment Regulations (Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 403),
  • University Park campus Water Quality Permit Number 1407408 issued pursuant to the Clean Streams Law Act of June 22, 1937, P.L. 1987, as amended 35 P.S. §691.1 et seq.,
  • National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits, issued to PSU pursuant to the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. Section 1251 et seq. and Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law Act of June 22, 1937, P.L. 1987, as amended 35 P.S. §691.1 et seq.,
  • Appropriate sewer use regulation or ordinance of the local Sewer Authority providing sanitary sewer service to the campus or PSU facility, whichever is more stringent.


Unless a provision explicitly states otherwise, the following terms and phrases, as used in this Policy, shall have the meanings hereinafter designated.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand or BOD  The quantity of oxygen utilized in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter under standard laboratory procedures for five (5) days at 20 degrees centigrade, usually expressed as a concentration (e.g., mg/l).

Chemical Oxygen Demand or COD- A measure of the oxygen required to oxidize all compounds, both organic and inorganic, in water, usually expressed as a concentration (e.g., mg/l).

Pass Through- A discharge which exits the University Sanitary System into waters of the United States and the environment in quantities or concentrations which, alone or in conjunction with a discharge or discharges from other sources, is a cause of a violation of any requirement of the University Sanitary System permit, including an increase in the magnitude or duration of a violation.

Pollutant- Dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, filter backwash, sewage, garbage, food waste, sewage sludge, munitions, medical wastes, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, dirt, municipal, agricultural and industrial wastes, and certain characteristics of wastewater (e.g., pH, temperature, TSS, color, BOD, COD, toxicity, or odor).

Sewage- Human excrement and gray water (residence hall showers/sinks, dishwashing operations, etc.).

Supervisor of Water Quality- The person designated by University to supervise the operation of the University Sanitary System, and who is charged with certain duties and responsibilities by this policy. The term also means a Duly Authorized Representative of the Supervisor of Water Quality and Directors of Business Services or their designee at non-University Park locations.

Total Suspended Solids or TSS- The total suspended matter that floats on the surface of, or is suspended in, water, wastewater, or other liquid, and is removable by laboratory filtering, usually expressed as a concentration (e.g., mg/l).

University Sanitary System- A treatment works, as defined by Section 212 of the Act (33 U.S.C. section 1292), which is owned by the University.  This definition includes any devices or systems used in the collection, storage, treatment, recycling, pumping, and reclamation of wastewater. Also included in this definition are any conveyances, which convey wastewater to a treatment plant or connection to the Sewer Authority providing service to the campus.

Wastewater- Liquid and water carried wastes, pollutants, and sewage from residence halls, office/classrooms, laboratory facilities, and agricultural facilities, whether treated or untreated, which are contributed to the University Sanitary System.

Wastewater Treatment Plant or Treatment Plant- That portion of the University Sanitary System which is designed to provide treatment of wastewater.


Only wastewater that meets the requirements outlined below are permitted be drained to the University sanitary system. Introduction of tainted wastewater or pollutants that would result in violations of the University’s water quality permit, NPDES permit, or appropriate sewer use regulation or ordinance of the local Sewer Authority providing sanitary sewer service to the campus are not permitted.

Specific Prohibitions: No user shall introduce or cause to be introduced into the University Sanitary System the following pollutants, wastewater, or substances.  In addition, materials and procedures to prevent a release must be available to prepare for a potential spill.  Any questions should be directed to the Supervisor of Water Quality.

The following specific materials are prohibited from drain disposal:

  1. Pollutants
    1. which create a fire or explosive hazard in the University Sanitary System, including, but not limited to, waste streams with a closed cup flashpoint of less than 140 degrees F  (60 degrees C) using the test methods specified in 40 CFR 261.21, i.e. gasoline, diethyl ether;
    2. including oxygen demanding pollutants (BOD, COD, etc.), released in a discharge at a flow rate and/or pollutant concentration which, either singly or by interaction with other pollutants, will cause Interference with the University Sanitary System, i.e. nitrates and phosphates;
    3. which result in the presence of toxic gases, vapors, or fumes within the treatment plant in a quantity that may cause acute worker health and safety problems, i.e. hydrogen sulfide.
  2. Wastewater
    1. having a pH less than 5.0 or more than 12.5, or otherwise causing corrosive structural damage to the University Sanitary System; commercially available drain cleaners (Draino, Calci-Solve) may be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. These products should not be used at facilities served by a septic tank and drain field.
    2. having a temperature which will inhibit biological activity in the treatment plant resulting in interference. In no case wastewater which causes the temperature at the introduction into the treatment plant to exceed 104 degrees F (40 degrees C);
    3. which imparts color which cannot be removed by the treatment process, such as, but not limited to, dye wastes and vegetable tanning solutions, which consequently imparts color to the treatment plant’s effluent, thereby violating University Sanitary System permit; i.e. crystal violet, methylene blue, ethidium bromide;
    4. containing any radioactive wastes or isotopes except in compliance with applicable State or Federal regulations, and Policy SY14-Use of Radioactive Materials;
    5. causing, alone or in conjunction with other sources, the treatment plant’s effluent to fail toxicity test; Toxic wastes shall include, but not by any way of limitation, wastes containing cyanide, chromium, copper, cadmium, nickel, and/or mercury ions.
    6. containing any gasoline, benzene, naphtha, fuel oil or flammable or explosive liquid, solid or gas causing two readings on an explosion hazard meter at the point of discharge into the treatment plant, or at any point in the treatment plant, of more than five percent (5%) or any single reading over ten percent (10%) of the Lower Explosive Limit of the meter.
    7. Solid or viscous substances in amounts which will cause obstruction of the flow in the University Sanitary System resulting in interference, in no case solids greater than one half inch (1/2”) or one point two centimeters (1.2 cm) in any dimension, such as ashes, cinders, sand, mud, shavings, metal, glass, rags, cloths, feathers, tar, plastics, wood, paunch manure, whole blood, hair, fleshings, entrails, cotton, wood, or other fibers, paper dishes, cups, or milk cartons, either whole or ground by garbage grinders.
    8. Trucked, hauled, and holding tank pollutants, except at discharge points designated by Supervisor of Water Quality.
    9. Noxious or malodorous liquids, gases, solids, or other wastewater which, either singly or by interaction with other wastes, are sufficient to create a public nuisance or a hazard to life, or to prevent entry into the sewers for maintenance or repair, i.e. mercaptoethanol;
    10. Storm Water, surface water, ground water, artesian well water, roof runoff, subsurface drainage, unless specifically authorized by Supervisor of Water Quality;
    11. Sludges, screenings, or other residues from the pretreatment of pollutants;
    12. Medical Wastes, see Policy SY 29 – Infectious Waste Disposal;
    13. Detergents, surface-active agents, or other substances  that might cause excessive foaming in the University Sanitary System;
    14. Excessive fats, oils, or greases of animal or vegetable origin, containing more than 100 ppm of fats, wax, tar, oil and/or grease, weather emulsified or not or containing substances which may solidify or become viscous at temperatures between 32°F and 104°F.
  3. Storage.
    1. Pollutants, substances, or wastewater prohibited by this Section shall not be processed or stored in such a manner that they could be discharged to the University Sanitary System.
  4. Dilution. 
    1. No user shall ever increase the use of process water, or in any way attempt to dilute a discharge, as a partial or complete substitute for adequate treatment to achieve compliance with a discharge limitation.