The Clean Water Act of 1977 required wastewater treatment facilities with design flows greater than five million gallons per day to implement a non-domestic wastewater pretreatment program. The City of Ames treatment plant meets this criteria. The pretreatment program is a shield that prevents compounds from entering the sanitary sewer that could potentially harm the municipal sanitary sewer, sanitary sewer workers, the treatment facility, or the receiving environment.

Regulations require that Iowa State University monitor and report the quality and quantity of their discharge. The City of Ames is also required to independently sample and analyze each waste discharge to verify compliance with the pretreatment limitations. For frequently asked questions, go to City of Ames - High-Strength Surcharge Program.

Pretreatment Program / Slug Plan

Iowa State University (ISU) is required to maintain a Slug Discharge Plan as part of the nondomestic wastewater pretreatment agreement with the City of Ames’ Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW). Slug Discharge Plan requirements are codified at 40 CFR 403 and are incorporated by reference in the permits. In 2006, the EPA issued a Pretreatment Streamlining Rule to reduce the regulatory burden without adversely affecting environmental protection. ISU implements many programs and requirements related to those typically found in a Slug Discharge Plan. These have been collected into the following related descriptions and documents.

ISU currently maintains four pretreatment agreements: Central Campus (Permit No. 4093-15), Environmental Health and Safety Services Building (EHSSB; Permit No. 3075-9), Veterinary Medicine Complex (Vet Med; Permit No. 4093-10), and Veterinary Medicine Research Institute (VMRI; Permit No. 5093-10). The characteristics of each site differ slightly, but the overall spill response is maintained and monitored in the same manner for each site. The primary function of ISU is research and instruction. The majority of buildings and activities support this function. Other support and associated areas/activities are located on campus including residence housing, grounds keeping operations, vehicle fueling operations, and power/steam generation.

ISU utilizes a wide variety of chemicals. ISU uses and stores large quantities of petroleum distillates, corrosives, and toxics. There is limited central control over lab chemical purchases. ISU EH&S assists in the tracking of laboratory inventory for laboratory. Chemical releases to drains on campus must be reported to EH&S immediately so that appropriate measures can be taken to manage it.

If you believe there was a spill on campus, utilize the Spill Prevention page: https://www.ehs.iastate.edu/services/environmental/spill-prevention--control-and-countermeasure.

Furthermore, the following Standard Operating Procedures and Flyers are available for related activities on campus:

Please send any questions, comments, or concerns to the EH&S Environmental Programs team at ehs_envprog@ehs.iastate.edu.