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The City of Corpus Christi Pretreatment Program operates in accordance with federal law which requires publicly owned treatment works to regulate the volume and character of non-domestic wastes treated within the wastewater system. Many industries produce wastewater from manufacturing processes that may not be compatible with normal domestic wastewater treatment technology. In these cases, the industries are required to pretreat their wastes to an acceptable level prior to discharging them into the City system.

The program regulates and issues permits to major industries defined as "Significant Industrial Users"; as well as numerous smaller industries that have a potential to impact the wastewater treatment system. In addition, all restaurants are inspected and sampled on a rotating basis to determine the strength of wastes from food preparation activities and to make sure that grease interceptor units are functioning and maintained properly. Restaurants are surcharged for the additional cost involved with treating their high strength wastes.

The Pretreatment Program operates a sampling and analysis program that looks for the presence of toxic pollutants in the treatment system. Analyses are regularly performed that indicate concentrations of dissolved metals, organic chemicals, and pesticides. Sources of these pollutants are actively investigated and source reductions or controls are implemented wherever possible. Effluent toxicity tests (also known as biomonitoring) are performed as well to reveal toxic materials that cannot be specifically identified.