What is the National Pretreatment Program?

The national pretreatment program is a component of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. It is a cooperative effort of federal, state, and local environmental regulatory agencies established to protect water quality. Similar to how U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorizes the NPDES permit program to state, tribal, and territorial governments to perform permitting, administrative, and enforcement tasks for discharges to surface waters. The EPA and authorized NPDES state pretreatment programs approve local municipalities to perform permitting, administrative, and enforcement tasks for discharges into the municipalities’ publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). 

The program is designed to:

  • Protect POTWs infrastructure
  • Reduce conventional and toxic pollutant levels discharged by industries and other nondomestic wastewater sources into municipal sewer systems and into the environment.