Waste Water

Wastewater at UConn falls into three categories – discharges to surface water, discharges to sanitary sewer and discharges that are covered by one of CT DEEP’s general permits.

Discharges to Surface Water

Surface water bodies found on the Storrs Campus include:  Swan Lake; Mirror Lake; Eagleville Brook; Roberts Brook; and several other unnamed streams and wetlands. All of the 1,000-plus catch basins found throughout the Storrs and Depot campuses discharge to these surface water bodies. The catch basins at the Avery Point campus discharge directly to the adjacent Long Island Sound. Therefore, stormwater quality is a high priority for the EHS Environmental Programs Group.

Only rain water and snow melt can be discharged to surface water or the storm sewer without a permit. No process wastewater, including wash water and utility pit pump-outs, can be discharged to surface water or the storm sewer without a permit. If you suspect or know of an activity causing a discharge to surface water or storm sewer, please contact EHS Environmental Programs so we can obtain information on the discharge, apply for a permit to cover the discharge appropriately, or find a feasible alternative that will eliminate the discharge.

Discharges to Sanitary Sewer

The Storrs and Depot campuses are served by the University’s Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF).  Wastewater at UConn’s regional campuses discharges to the local Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW).  Rural campuses and extension centers where sanitary sewer is not available maintain their own septic systems.

The Storrs WPCF operates under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit which is issued by CT DEEP.  The WPCF discharges its treated (cleaned) effluent to the Willimantic River at a location just downstream of the Eagleville Pond dam.  UConn Facilities Operations (FACOPS) operates and maintains the sewer system and the treatment plant, including all compliance monitoring.

A copy of the NPDES permit can be found here:

NPDES Permit

Any new sources of domestic wastewater that will be greater than 50,000 gallons per day must be covered under the CT DEEP domestic sewage general permit.  Any new, non-domestic discharges must be covered by a CT DEEP general permit or by an individual State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit.

Discharges Covered by General Permits

There are various General Permits available for different categories of non-domestic sewage wastewater.

Each General Permit has unique conditions and requirements, including routine testing in some cases.  If you are planning a campus project or improvement that will involve a new source of wastewater, please contact EHS Environmental Programs so we may review your plan and discuss permitting options.

In a college campus environment, the following types of wastewater are covered under CT DEEP general permits:

Water Treatment Wastewater – Laboratories often require purified water for their research. Filter systems often need to routinely backflush, and purifications systems must eject concentrated wastewater on a regular schedule.

Swimming Pool Wastewater – Public pools, including small units like our athletic department whirlpool tubs, that are repeatedly used before draining will generate wastewater from routine operations and during maintenance.  Permit conditions include annual trainings for the pool operators.

Boiler Blowdown Wastewater – Boilers discharge wastewater to maintain optimal pressure or water chemistry. Permit coverage is typically automatic, but annual water testing is needed if treatment chemicals are used.

Printing and Photographic Processing Wastewater – With digital cameras and printers more common now, photo development is not as prevalent as before. However, photo and x-ray development typically involve wastewater that need proper permit coverage. Permit conditions include having a proper silver reclamation unit and testing the wastewater for silver.

Non-Contact Cooling Water – Cooling towers and heat exchangers are common sources of wastewater covered by this general permit.

Food Processing Wastewater – Places where food is prepared typically have fats, oils, and greases (FOG) in their wastewater from sinks, dishwashers or other sources. The FOG in the wastewater can cause sewer blockages, which can lead to sewer overflows. Therefore, these establishments need to have grease traps that meet the standard of this general permit.

Vehicle Maintenance Wastewater – Car washes and repair facilities that use wash water need to have an oil/water separator to prevent oils and grit from affecting the sewer treatment plant.

Other Miscellaneous Wastewater – The other common discharges that can be expected on a college campus include:  compressor condensate/blowdown; floor wash water; and fire sprinkler test water.

The discharges listed above are all covered under the UConn’s Miscellaneous Industrial Users General Permit (MIU-GP).

DEEP General Permit