Guidance on New MassDEP Industrial Wastewater Toxic Reporting Program

December 11, 2009

MassBio Members:

Please review the following update concerning a new Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Industrial Wastewater Toxic Reporting program that the Department will soon announce. Some of you - but not all - are likely to receive notification from MassDEP by the end of 2009 and will have 60 days to submit industrial wastewater information to the Department. MassBio, along with our colleagues at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, have provided comments and guidance to MassDEP in developing a reporting format and approach that meets the Department's goals while trying to minimize the administrative and reporting burden on businesses in Massachusetts.  There is no fee for this program.

The guidance below provides brief, summary information about the reporting program. When the program is announced by DEP, further guidance and support will be provided.


The Purpose and Origin of this DEP Program

The toxic reporting requirement is intended to allow MassDEP to identify and address industrial wastewater discharges that have the potential to be discharged to sewers and end up in surface waters, groundwater, sludge, soil and air and pose risks to public health and/or the environment.  The first step in the development of this toxic reporting program is to initiate a one-time reporting obligation in order to create a baseline of information about state-wide toxic sewer discharges.  This will require approximately 3,800 facilities to report on up to 3,000 toxic substances that are potentially discharged to the sewer. The program will be rolled out in two phases beginning in late 2009.  This reporting program stems from the January 2007 revisions to the industrial wastewater sewer discharge regulations that required companies/facilities that discharge industrial wastewater into sewers to report to the Department on toxic substances in their discharges [314 CMR 7.05(2)(g)]. 


The Program's Scope

The toxic reporting program will be rolled out in two phases over the next few years.

Phase I:  Identify the toxics, industries, and locations of greatest potential concern in order to focus future MassDEP efforts on industrial wastewater discharges that present the highest potential for risk.

 Step 1 (Implement Reporting Requirement):  Inventory select toxic industrial wastewater sewer discharges through on-line reporting.

Step 2 (Analyze Reporting Data):  Working with the advisory workgroup, MassDEP will use the reported data and other information to identify whether any toxics, industries, or locations appear to present a high potential for risk of harm to public health and/or the environment and therefore warrant future departmental focus.

Step 3 (Develop Strategies):  MassDEP will develop necessary strategies in collaboration with an advisory workgroup to either:  (1) Find that no further action is necessary; (2) Take action on any imminent risks; (3) Develop a targeted approach to collect more specific data to further evaluate a potential issue, if appropriate; or (4) Develop discharge standards, voluntary programs, and technical assistance efforts to address an identified toxic issue, if appropriate.

Phase II: Implement the strategies identified and developed in Step 3 of Phase I. 


Affected Facilities

Roughly 3,800 facilities will be asked to report. This will include:

  • The approximately 1,200 large toxic substance users already reporting some environmental information to MassDEP (e.g., air permit "major" sources, Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) of hazardous waste, and Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA reporters), and
  • Approximately 2,600 facilities that comprise a statistically representative sample of industrial sectors that likely use toxic substances. (More than 50,000 facilities in the Commonwealth are estimated to use toxic chemicals.)


Toxic Substances

The list of reportable toxic substances includes those toxic substances already listed under MassDEP and Federal EPA regulatory programs such as Priority Water Pollutants, CERCLA chemicals, and Drinking Water Supply Maximum Contaminant Level (MCLs).  In addition, the list includes carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and persistent and bio-accumulative toxics identified by credible national and international agencies such as the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) as being chemicals of concern.  The total of about 3,000 toxic substances includes approximately 2,950 individual substances as well as 40 categories of substances in the reportable toxic substance list.


The Report

Toxic substance reports will ask for:

  • The name and CAS number of each listed chemical for which there is a reasonable potential of sewer discharge from your facility (the list of reportable toxic substances is described in question 5), and
  • The frequency of discharge, specifically whether each listed chemical is discharged (1) once a week or more often; (2) Less often than weekly, but at least once a year; or (3) Less often than annually.

Notes:  You are only required to report how often each toxic chemical is discharged.  Wastewater sampling and quantification of the amount of wastewater or chemical discharged are NOT REQUIRED AND Healthcare facilities will be asked to report general disposal methods for pharmaceuticals



There are few exclusions/exemptions under this reporting program.  Guidance on what facilities need to consider regarding the potential for discharge to the sewer via "toxic substance handling steps," sewer flows and discharge pathways will be provided in guidance developed by DEP.

Note: Facilities notified by DEP that already report to MWRA are not exempt from this state reporting obligation.


Electronic Reporting

Reports will be due within 60 days of notification. Reporting will be conducted through eDEP which is the Department's secure site for submitting environmental permits, transmittals, certifications, and reports electronically. Facilities subject to this reporting requirement can fill out the reporting form online, save their work and return to it later, and ultimately certify and submit their forms. Facilities can input toxic substances individually, or via an inventory list input mechanism that allows facilities to upload an Excel or Access spreadsheet to eDEP.


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