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Pretreatment Program 


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) facility with a total design flow greater than 5 million gallons a day (mgd) receiving pollutants from industrial users which could pass through and/or interfere with the operation of the POTW develop and implement a Pretreatment Program.


The primary purpose of the Pretreatment Program is to protect the operational performance of the wastewater treatment facility and water quality of the receiving stream through control limits on industry discharges into the sewer collection system.  Industries must meet specific wastewater constituent limits in their discharge before a permit is issued by the City.  The Pretreatment section issues permits to industrial wastewater dischargers, samples permitted dischargers, and ensures that all laws and regulations are complied with.  Sample data collected by the pretreatment section are used in the calculation of surcharge fees.

The City of Chattanooga's Pretreatment Program was approved by the EPA on July 16, 1982.  The program currently has 80 significant industrial users regulated by wastewater discharge permits and numerous other users regulated by letters and/or other control mechanisms.

The City of Chattanooga's Pretreatment Program was the first program in the southeast U.S. approved by EPA and has twice been nominated by the State of Tennessee for a National EPA Excellence Award. The program received the annual Control Authority Pretreatment Excellence Award from the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association in 2008.


The responsibility of the Industrial Pretreatment Program is to sample and inspect industrial facilities and regulate discharge of industrial waste into the sanitary sewer system.  Also to monitor and inspect food service establishments to prevent the discharge of Fats, Oils, and Grease into the sanitary sewer system.

pt2  pt3

Part of this responsibility is taking enforcement action(s) as a result of noncompliance by industrial facilities as outlined in the City Code, Chapter 31, Section 31: 72-76.   Noncompliance occurs when any discharge regulation (Chapter 31, pages 25-39) is violated.   These regulations are outlined in the City Code, Chapter 31, Section 31:51-52.    Any illegal discharges should be reported to the City of Chattanooga POTW.





Wastewater permits are issued to significant industrial users under City Code, Chapter 31, Section 31:53-54.  Permits are normally issued for a three (3) year period.  Permits contain all local, state, and federal pretreatment standards that apply (Chapter 31, page 41).

Currently, the Pretreatment Program has issued 80 permits to significant users.  Types of industries represented are food manufacturing, specialty chemicals, pharmaceutical, metal finishing, centralized waste treatment, and metal molding.

Permit Application may be printed off, filled out and mailed to City of Chattanooga, Moccasin Bend  Wastewater Treatment Plant, 455 Moccasin Bend Road, Chattanooga, TN  37405; Attention:  Pretreatment Supervisor.   Filling out a permit application does not mean a permit will be issued automatically.  The permit application is not considered approved until the applicant has received a written approval from the City of Chattanooga.


A weekly river monitoring program is conducted to determine the impact of the activities of Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant.  River samples are collected from the Tennessee River upstream and downstream from the treatment plant outfall.

  pt5  pt6

Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) Control Program

All food service establishments are inspected to ensure proper removal of Fats, Oils, and Grease wastes.The primary purpose of the FOG Program is to prevent sanitary sewer system blockages, obstructions, and overflows due to the contribution and accumulation of FOG from food service establishments, and other non-residential facilities where food is prepared or served.

 Residential FOG best practices include:
• Don't wash food scraps (solid or liquid) down the drain, don't dump them in the toilet, and don't grind them up in the garbage disposal.
• Use mesh drain strainers to catch solid food scraps for disposal in a trash can instead of washing them down the drain.
• Pour liquid food scraps such as sauces into a container and place in the trash can.
• Don't use water to "pre-wash" plates - scrape plates over the trash can or dry wipe with a paper towel.
• Don't pour used oil down the drain. Instead, pour used oil into a container with a top (the original if available) so it can be reused, recycled, or placed in the trash can for disposal.
• Don't pour hot grease (including poultry skimming) down the drain. Instead, pour cooled grease into a grease can or other container for disposal or wait until the grease cools and absorb it with paper towels or newspaper that can be thrown in the trash.City of Chattanooga Residential F.O.G. Program Graphic Logo Draft 8 18 2015pdfFOG Control Education_Commercial and Residential_Example for Chattanooga (1).pdf

The links in the table provide:

• Explanations and sources of residential FOG using visual aids;

• Problems caused by FOG, including in private sewer laterals and the WCTS;

• Public health impacts of FOG;

• Description of homeowner responsibility for maintenance of private laterals;

• Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about FOG;

• Best management practices for residential users;

CLOG Residental FOG Brochure

FOG Control Brochure



Fat Free Sewers

Drug Free Drains

 Sewer Grease Blockage Notification DoorHanger

EPA Wastewater Collection System Toolbox

Contact: City of Chattanooga Wastewater Pretreatment Dept. at (423) 757-0058 or E-Mail with your name, address, and phone number or you can contact 3-1-1 @ 311@chattanooga.gov or call 311 at 423 643-6311


Enforcement Response Plan

Part 1    Part 2   

City Ordinance Chapter 31

Industrial Awards

The City's Pretreatment Program presents an Industrial Pretreatment Excellence Award annually to an industrial user that had no violations the previous calendar year and has exhibited excellent performance in the treatment of industrial wastewater.


Alco Chemical




Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea