UMass Boston

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Sewer Use Discharge Permit

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) has issued the university a Sewer Use Discharge Permit. The permit requires the university to sample and analyze wastewater discharges from five locations on campus. The permit outlines in detail the analyses which must be conducted and includes metals, volatile organics, pH and others. The permit also places strict limits on amounts of materials that may be discharged

To view strict limits on amounts of materials, please click MWRA Discharge Limits.

In addition to the 4 semiannual samples and one annual sample that must be drawn and analyzed, the MWRA may send an inspector at any time to draw their own samples and conduct appropriate analyses.

If the university is found to be in non-compliance with MWRA regulations, the MWRA has several enforcement options (360 CMR 2.00) it may exercise, including:

  • A formal notice of non-compliance to the university requiring immediate re-sampling
  • Assessment of civil administrative penalties
  • Revocation, modification, denial, suspension, or refusal to renew a permit
  • Termination or suspension of water and/or sewer services
  • Institution of court action for: civil penalties; criminal fines and/or criminal punishment; injunctive relief; or reimbursement of costs and/or damage resulting from the violation and/or any other judicial relief.

In laboratories, the most common routes for hazardous chemicals to get into the sewer system are through sinks and floor drains. It is imperative to handle all chemicals with care. Proper chemical storage and hazardous waste accumulation and storage will help prevent any releases.

MWRA Discharge Limits

The following is the summary list of MWRA Sewer Disposal Discharge Prohibitions ( intended for the protection of MWRA sewerage system workers, facilities, and equipment) was summarized by the EHS office for laboratory personnel. None of the items on this list can be disposed of down in any sink drain or any other way that will introduce the materials into the municipal sewerage system.

Any discharge into the Metropolitan Sewerage Service Area of the following materials is prohibited:

  • Mercury (enforced at 0.001 mg/l)
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  •  Pesticides, unless the Authority determines upon request that the substance is acceptable for discharge into the sanitary sewer under the criteria for exclusion or exemption in 40 CFR parts 152 and 455, and the substance would not otherwise violate 360 CMR 10.021-10.02.
  • Hexachlorobutadiene

No discharge into the MWRA Sewerage System shall exceed the following limitations:

Material Daily Maximum Limit (mg/l)
1,1-Dichloroethylene 0.30
Acrolein 0.15
Antimony (total) 10.00
Arsenic (total) 0.5
Benzene 0.3
Cadmium (total) 0.1
Chromium (+6) 0.5
Chromium (total) 1.0
Copper (total) 1.0
Cyanide (total) 0.5
Each Toxic Organic (Unless Elsewhere Limited in 360 CMR 10.000) 1.0
Formaldehyde 9.0
Lead (total) 0.2
Nickel (total) 1.0
Phenol 5.0
Selenium (total) 5.0
Silver (total) 2.0
TTO 5.0
Vinyl Chloride 0.02
Acrolein 0.15
Vinylidene Chloride 0.02
Zinc (total) 1.0


pH must remain between 5.5 - 12.0 standard units

Total Fats, oils and grease may not exceed 300 mg/l

Reference: Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, 360 CMR 10.0 Sewer Use.