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TITLE 30ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
PART 1TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
CHAPTER 309DOMESTIC WASTEWATER EFFLUENT LIMITATION AND PLANT SITING
SUBCHAPTER AEFFLUENT LIMITATIONS
RULE §309.3Application of Effluent Sets

(a) Discharges into effluent limited segments.

  (1) All discharges into effluent limited segments shall, at a minimum, achieve secondary treatment. An effluent limited segment is any segment which is presently meeting or will meet applicable water quality criteria following incorporation of secondary treatment for domestic sewage treatment plants and/or best practicable treatment for industries.

  (2) New or increased discharges into effluent limited segments shall achieve that level of treatment deemed necessary by the commission, based on the assimilative capacity and uses of the receiving stream.

(b) Discharges into water quality limited segments.

  (1) All discharges into water quality limited segments for which evaluations have been developed shall, at a minimum, achieve the treatment level specified in the recommendations of the evaluation for that discharge. A water quality limited segment is a surface water segment classified by the commission as water quality limited where conventional treatment of waste discharged to the segment is not stringent enough for the segment to meet applicable water quality standards; monitoring data have shown significant violations of water quality standards; advanced waste treatment for point sources is required to protect existing exceptional water quality; or the segment is a domestic water supply reservoir used to supply drinking water.

  (2) Discharges into water quality limited segments for which wasteload evaluations or total maximum daily loads have not been developed shall, at a minimum, achieve secondary treatment as provided by §309.1 of this title (relating to Scope and Applicability).

(c) Discharges into certain reservoirs. Any discharge made within five miles upstream of a reservoir or lake which is subject to on-site/private sewage facility regulation adopted under Texas Water Code, Chapter 26 or Texas Civil Statutes, Article 4477-7e, or which may be used as a source for public drinking water supply shall achieve, at a minimum, Effluent Set 2 in §309.4 of this title (relating to Table 1, Effluent Limitations for Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plants). Five miles shall be measured in stream miles from the normal conservation pool elevation. The commission may grant exceptions to this requirement where it can be demonstrated that the exception would not adversely impact water quality.

(d) Discharges from stabilization ponds. Effluent Set 3 in §309.4 of this title shall apply to stabilization pond facilities in which stabilization ponds are the primary process used for secondary treatment and in which the ponds have been designed and constructed in accordance with applicable design criteria. Effluent Set 3 in §309.4 of this title is considered equivalent to secondary treatment for stabilization pond systems.

(e) Discharge to an evaporation pond. Effluent discharged to evaporation ponds must receive, at a minimum, primary treatment, be within the pH limits of 6.0 - 9.0 standard units, and have a quality of 100 milligrams per liter five-day biochemical oxygen demand or less on a grab sample. For the purpose of this subsection, primary treatment means solids separation which is typically accomplished by primary clarifiers, Imhoff tanks, facultative lagoons, septic tanks, and other such units.

(f) Land disposal of treated effluent. The commission may authorize land disposal of treated effluent when the applicant demonstrates that the quality of ground or surface waters in the state will not be adversely affected. Each project must be consistent with laws relating to water rights. The primary purpose of such a project must be to dispose of treated effluent and/or to further enhance the quality of effluent prior to discharge.

  (1) When irrigation systems ultimately dispose of effluent on land to which the public has access, Effluent Set 4 in §309.4 of this title, at a minimum, shall apply. The pH shall be within the limits of 6.0 - 9.0 standard units unless a specific variance is provided in the permit based upon site-specific conditions. When lands to which the public does not have access are to be used for ultimate disposal of effluent, the effluent must, at a minimum, receive primary treatment. Effluent Set 5 in §309.4 of this title shall apply and the pH shall be within the limits of 6.0 - 9.0 standard units unless a specific variance is provided in the permit based upon site-specific conditions. For irrigation systems, primary treatment is the same as described in subsection (e) of this section. Effluent may be used for irrigation only when consistent with Subchapters B and C of this chapter (relating to Location Standards and Land Disposal of Sewage Effluent).

  (2) When overland flow systems are utilized for effluent treatment, the public shall not have access to the treatment area. Primary treated effluent meeting Effluent Set 6 in §309.4 of this title, within the pH limits of 6.0 - 9.0 standard units may be used consistent with environmental safeguards and protection of ground and surface waters. For overland flow systems, primary treatment is the same as described in subsection (e) of this section. At a minimum, Effluent Set 1 in §309.4 of this title shall apply to discharges from overland flow facilities except where more stringent treatment levels are required to meet water quality standards.

  (3) When evapotranspiration beds, low pressure dosing, or similar soil absorption systems are utilized for on-site land disposal, the effluent shall, at a minimum, receive primary treatment and meet Effluent Set 7 in §309.4 of this title. Use of these on-site systems shall be consistent with environmental safeguards and the protection of ground and surface waters. Primary treatment is the same as described in subsection (e) of this section.

  (4) When subsurface area drip dispersal systems, or similar soil absorption systems ultimately dispose of effluent on land where there is the significant potential for public contact, as defined in §222.5 of this title (relating to Definitions), Effluent Set 4 in §309.4 of this title, at a minimum, shall apply. The pH shall be within the limits of 6.0 - 9.0 standard units unless a specific variance is provided in the permit based upon site-specific conditions.

  (5) When subsurface area drip dispersal systems, or similar soil absorption systems ultimately dispose of effluent on land where there is the minimal potential for public contact, as defined in §222.5 of this title, Effluent Set 5 in §309.4 of this title, at a minimum, shall apply. The pH shall be within the limits of 6.0 - 9.0 standard units unless a specific variance is provided in the permit based upon site-specific conditions.

  (6) Treated effluent may be land applied only when consistent with Subchapters B and C of this chapter. Use of subsurface area drip dispersal systems shall be consistent with environmental safeguards and the protection of ground and surface waters.

  (7) For the purpose of this subsection, primary treatment means solids separation which is typically accomplished by primary clarifiers, Imhoff tanks, facultative lagoons, septic tanks, and other such units.

(g) Disinfection.

  (1) Except as provided in this subsection, disinfection in a manner conducive to the protection of both public health and aquatic life shall be achieved on all domestic wastewater which discharges into waters in the state. Any appropriate process may be considered and approved on a case-by-case basis.

  (2) Where chlorination is utilized, any combination of detention time and chlorine residual where the product of chlorine (Cl2 mg/l) X Time (T minutes) equals or exceeds 20 is satisfactory provided that the minimum detention time is at least 20 minutes and the minimum residual is at least 0.5 mg/l. The maximum chlorine residual in any discharge shall in no event be greater than four mg/l per grab sample, or that necessary to protect aquatic life.

  (3) On a case-by-case basis, the commission will allow chlorination or disinfection alternatives to the specific criteria of time and detention described in paragraph (2) of this subsection that achieve equivalent water quality protection. These alternatives will be considered and their performance standards determined based upon supporting data submitted in an engineering report, prepared and sealed by a registered, professional engineer. The report should include supporting data, performance data, or field tracer studies, as appropriate. The commission will establish effluent limitations as necessary to verify disinfection is adequate, including chlorine residual testing, other chemical testing, and bacteria testing as specified in subsections (h) or (i) of this section.

  (4) Except as provided herein, disinfection of domestic wastewater which is discharged by means of land disposal or evaporation pond shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine the need for disinfection. All effluent discharged to land to which the public has access must be disinfected and if the effluent is to be transferred to a holding pond or tank, the effluent shall be rechlorinated to a trace chlorine residual at the point of irrigation application. All effluent discharged to land via a subsurface area drip dispersal system to which there is a potential for public contact shall be disinfected and shall comply with an Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria effluent limitation of 126 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water or a fecal coliform effluent limitation of 200 colony forming units per 100 milliliters water, per grab sample, in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection.

  (5) Unless otherwise specified in a permit, chemical disinfection is not required for stabilization ponds when the total retention time in the free-water-surface ponds (based on design flow) is at least 21 days.

(h) Effluent limitations for bacteria.

  (1) To demonstrate the disinfection level in effluent discharged into water in the state by its wastewater treatment facility, a permittee shall measure the amount of bacteria in the effluent.

    (A) To demonstrate disinfection, Escherichia coli (E. coli) must be the indicator bacteria measured for discharges to fresh water.

    (B) To demonstrate disinfection, Enterococci must be the indicator bacteria measured for discharges to salt water.

  (2) The monthly average bacteria effluent limitation in a Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permit must be the applicable geometric mean for the most stringent contact recreation category as specified in Chapter 307 of this title (relating to Texas Surface Water Quality Standards).

  (3) The daily maximum bacteria effluent limitation in a TPDES permit must be the applicable single grab sample for the most stringent contact recreation category in Chapter 307 of this title.

(i) More stringent requirements. The commission may impose more stringent requirements in permits than those specified in subsections (a) - (h) of this section, on a case-by-case basis, where appropriate to maintain desired water quality levels or protect human health.


Source Note: The provisions of this §309.3 adopted to be effective March 19, 1990, 15 TexReg 1160; amended to be effective June 5, 1998, 23 TexReg 5723; amended to be effective July 5, 2006, 31 TexReg 5336; amended to be effective November 26, 2009, 34 TexReg 8327

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