A section of an ordinance regarding local limits for the pretreatment of solid waste was amended by the Union Board of Aldermen.

The change was made at the Monday, Feb. 10, meeting.

This ordinance is a part of the Clean Water Act that prevents the improper discharge of pollutants and chemicals that could be potentially harmful to the environment. 

According to City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann, the change to the ordinance was the result of a dispute over the methodology for the local limits from  the state and federal government. The city needed to comply with the new regulations. The city recalculated the local limits and received its new permit in January. 

Zimmermann explained that in March 2019, an ordinance for waste and water pretreatment including local limits was approved. 

A dispute followed between the federal and state governments over local limits. After it was resolved, the city had to amend the section of the ordinance that defined what the local limits were. 

Now, because of federal regulations there will be no local limits for the west plant and the east plant will have local limits.

Local Limits in Practice

Union’s local industries that discharge pollutants will be given a permit and will be assigned limits they have to meet on that pollutant. 

For those industries that are considered a categorical industry, which is an industry that has limits assigned to it by the federal government, they will have to meet the stricter of Union’s limits or the federal limits.

“Even though we have no local limits on the west side now, the categorical industries still have to meet federal limits,” Zimmermann said.

Union’s Need for Pretreatment

Zimmermann explained that to qualify for industrial pretreatment, a community has to have a treatment facility that treats over a million gallons a day or municipality that has an industry that contributes more than 5 percent  of the daily flow. Any community that is a categorical industry also has to have this program in place. 

“Union meets all of those requirements,” Zimmermann explained. “The city has to have a pretreatment program.”