Ways to Pass Commercial and Industrial Water Quality Requirements
*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation
From oil refineries to paper-making companies, manufacturers and businesses account for 22% of global water usage.1
Depending on your trade, you may already know how integral water systems are to business (hydroelectric power engineer? You’re on it). Or, it may not enter your mind until you go for a glass of tap in the lounge, take a sip, and wonder if you should’ve brought a bottle from home instead.
Regardless of how often you think about it, every business is subject to industrial water quality requirements to ensure the safety and quality of their water. The water quality standard applies to the entire water supply no matter the designated uses. If you aren’t sure how to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, this guide will show you what you need to know, and where to start.
What Should Businesses Know About Industrial Water Requirements?
Modern industrial water requirements date back to the Clean Water Act of 1972. This legislation was passed to shield the environment and humans against toxic or otherwise unsafe chemicals, whether naturally arising or caused by industrial waste.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, requires businesses to perform several or all of the following functions related to water quality, depending on the nature of their operations:2
- Managing wastewater – In the last decade, manufacturers have been the second biggest sector to contribute to wastewater pollution. Toxins like calcium carbonates or sulfuric acid are common in industrial wastewater, though a business’ requirements may differ depending on where they operate and their specific industry.3
- Pre-treatment and sanitation – Companies are required to pre-treat existing pollutants in their water to ensure they don’t contaminate local sewer systems. Because public water systems can be complex, pre-treatment is overseen by a collaboration of federal, state, and local authorities (the National Pretreatment Program)
- Stormwater systems – Among the most critical ways severe weather can disrupt our lives is by contaminating our water systems. Whatever industry you’re in, your business is responsible for building discrete storm sewer systems (called MS4s) to prevent debris, chemicals, and other materials originating in their facility from interfering with the environment or public water systems.
Additionally, certain businesses—particularly those in the agriculture sector or energy industry—must comply with local and federal standards for environmental welfare. All of the following can help protect the quality of water:
- Managing animal excrement or waste
- Actively preventing oil or toxic waste discharge through infrastructure or training
- Curbing pollutants from entering wetlands
5 Ways to Pass Commercial and Industrial Water Requirements
Whether you’re a new business or an established manufacturer thousands of customers trust, staying up to code and adhering to EPA water quality standards can seem like a tall order. Fortunately, these 6 methods can help you pass the inspections every business can expect to endure:
- Stay on top of new mandates – Regulations are continually updated or introduced, as industrial water requirements are constantly changing. Moreover, if you operate in several states or local regions, you’ll need to stay apprised of their individual regulations. You may find that some states exempt you from certain permits, while others require you to secure and renew them to stay compliant.
- Partner with a Rayne Water quality consultant – If you don’t have the bandwidth to stay on top of local and federal regulations, work with an expert. A water quality consulting service can provide you with safe, current solutions specified to your facility and your industry, ensuring you’ll pass local inspections.
- Prioritize water quality monitoring – Water quality monitoring and testing can help you meet compliance mandates and protect your employees. Once you learn how to test water quality, it should be conducted regularly, as changes in both your facilities’ conduct and the environment can cause water quality to change often.
- Invest in a commercial water filtration system – Everyone from local wineries to sprawling agricultural firms can benefit from an industrial filtration system. These will mechanically remove the impurities and potential contaminants from water, including:
- Common chemicals like chlorine
- Heavy metals like arsenic, copper, and iron
- Use an industrial water softener – Also called commercial water softeners, these systems remove “hard water” minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are known to damage pipes and threaten your infrastructure. While the EPA doesn’t test for the hardness of water, water softener can save money by helping to protect your facility’s machinery.4
What Happens If These Requirements Aren’t Met?
Curious as to why water quality standards important? If a commercial facility is found in violation of the Clean Water Act, it may face several consequences. These could be minor, like a notice requiring them to update their quality control, but depending on severity they could be fatal to a business.
In order of escalating severity, these are the most common penalties:5
- A warning letter
- Notice of violation
- Public notice (like an announcement in your local newspaper)
- Financial penalties
- Criminal charges
If protecting your employees, your business’ reputation, and your bottom line is important to you, one of the best things you can do is start with the fundamentals. And when you can find a trustworthy partner who understands modern water conditioning systems, you’ll earn the trust of your customers, employees, peers, and local community.
Rayne Water: Control Water Quality with Quality Service
Keeping up with water quality standards and Passing your next water inspection can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. When you work with Rayne Water, you’ll receive expert guidance from professionals who’ve been improving commercial water quality for nearly a century.
Whether you’re a retreat center looking to abolish hard water chemicals or a local farm in Bakersfield aiming to keep animal waste out of local water systems, our consultants want to help you find the best solution with a commercial water softener or a commercial reverse osmosis system. Let us steer you and your business in the right direction by contacting us today.
- ScienceDirect. Industrial water use–an overview. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/industrial-water-use
- EPA. Water enforcement. https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/water-enforcement
- MATEC Web of Conferences. Major Contaminants in Industrial and Domestic Wastewater. https://www.matec-conferences.org/articles/matecconf/pdf/2015/04/matecconf_tsotr2015_01041.pdf
- USGS. Do you have information about water hardness in the United States? https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/do-you-have-information-about-water-hardness-united-states
- Clean Water Services. Enforcement response plan. https://cleanwaterservices.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/enforcement-response-plan-for-sius.pdf
- CDC. Industrial water: other uses of water, healthy water. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/other/industrial/index.html
- EPA. Industrial wastewater. https://www.epa.gov/npdes/industrial-wastewater
- Medical News Today. Water pollution and human health. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/water-pollution-and-human-health
- Environmental Protection Agency. National Pretreatment Program. https://www.epa.gov/npdes/national-pretreatment-program
- EPA. Water enforcement. https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/water-enforcement