Pocatello Water Pollution Control Frequently Asked Questions

What is industrial waste?

Industrial waste is a generic term for any waste material (solid, gas, or liquid) generated by a commercial, industrial, or nonresidential activity. This waste differs from residential household wastewater which includes domestic sewage from toilets, showers, washing machines, and other household-related activities.

What is hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste is a federal and state designation for waste material that is toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive. This kind of waste requires special handling and treatment at a licensed treatment, storage, disposal facility (TSDF). Discharging hazardous waste to the sewer system is prohibited. For information on how to manage and dispose of your hazardous waste, call the Pretreatment Office at 208-234-6256.

How does wastewater get to the treatment plant?

The sewage system includes over 250 miles of sewers, 23 pump stations and one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in Idaho. The wastewater treatment plant is located northwest of Pocatello.

What is the difference between sewage and storm sewers?

Separate from the sewage system, the storm drainage system is a small diameter, gravity flow drain line that transports stormwater to the nearest body of water without any treatment. Because of this, it is extremely important to keep contaminants out of storm drains.

How is wastewater treated?

Pocatello sewage treatment facility is designed to treat domestic sewage and other waste through a process known as Secondary Treatment. The facilities send organic material through a series of skimmers, screens, and sedimentation tanks and then subject it to microbial breakdown. Microbial breakdown uses “bugs” to convert organic material to harmless by-products which settle and are removed from the wastewater. Heavy metals and some chemicals cannot break down and may be toxic to the biological process.

What is wastewater pretreatment?

Sewage treatment plants are designed to break down and treat biological wastes. Wastewater pollutants such as heavy metals and oils will not break down in the treatment plant; therefore, certain businesses need to treat their wastewater before discharging to the sewer. The pretreatment system, such as oil / water separation, chemical precipitation, or filtration, will depend on the type and concentration of pollutants in the wastewater.

If your wastewater requires pretreatment, you are required to get an approval from the Industrial Pretreatment Program before discharging or connecting to the sewer.

What are biosolids?

Biosolids is the name for the solids produced by the wastewater treatment process. Biosolids, like the treatment plant effluent, must meet federal quality standards in order to be recycled in a beneficial manner. Pocatello currently land-applies its biosolids as a soil conditioner.