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Household Hazardous Waste
Phosphorus and Nitrates
Sewer Lateral Repair
City Hall Annex Room 227
800 Center Street
Racine, WI 53403
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The purpose of the mercury minimization program is to serve as an outreach into the Racine community to better inform the public of activities that can reduce mercury releases into the environment. Mercury reduction is considered a priority in the Great Lakes Region, and therefore the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has required that the Utility prepare a Mercury Minimization Plan specific to Racine.
The City of Racine through the Wastewater Utility operates a successful Household Hazardous Waste collection program with mercury collection as one of its goals. Local residents are encouraged to bring mercury thermometers, thermostats and fluorescent lights for collection and recycling to the 7 annual collection events. These common household products all contain mercury. The Racine Wastewater Utility also has a dental amalgam management program involving area dental offices that place or remove dental amalgam. Dental facilities are inspected or surveyed yearly. Records are generated at each location tracking proper dental amalgam recycling and disposal.
The program continues to work towards education and reducing the current uses of mercury in four sectors identified by the DNR. These sectors are Medical, Dental, School, and Industry. The Utility submits an annual Mercury Pollution Minimization Plan status report to the DNR each September, measuring progress towards reducing the mercury in the environment, and lowering the level of mercury discharged into the lake from the wastewater plant.
The Utility is eager to work with organizations that have similar goals. Please contact the Utility if you or your organization is looking to conduct or be part of an environmentally beneficial project. The DNR is interested in all forms of mercury release, not just those that involve discharge to the wastewater treatment plant. The wastewater treatment plant staff may be of assistance to you in your efforts to remove or reduce mercury. You could also gain recognition for your accomplishments through inclusion in the Utility’s Mercury Minimization Plan.
Projects that your organization may be interested in could include sponsoring public outreach programs, organizing recycling drives, and producing promotional or educational products.
Common household products that contain hazardous materials pose a safety problem when used or disposed of incorrectly. Improper handling of hazardous products may cause extreme danger to you, your family, your property, public workers, wildlife and the environment.
Products classified as "hazardous" have become so commonplace in most homes that many times we don't realize they can be dangerous to use and/or dispose of. Read the product's label. Key words like DANGER, CAUTION, WARNING, FLAMMABLE, or POISON indicate the product is potentially hazardous and requires special attention.
There are several ways you can dispose of hazardous household products. Options include using the entire supply, recycling unused portions, taking unused supplies to a household collection event or donating unused supplies to a local group or organization that may have a need for them.
For more information on Household Hazardous Waste Collection events, contact the Racine Wastewater Utility at 262-636-9520 or use the link on this website for information.
In compliance with the City of Racine Municipal Code, the Racine Wastewater Utility has developed a policy regarding residential and commercial discharge of fats, oils and grease (FOG) to the sewer system flowing to the Racine Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Fats, oils and grease (FOG) are found in food scraps, meat fats, lard, oil, margarine, butter, sauces and dairy products. FOG is commonly associated with fried foods and baked goods prepared at home or in a food establishment. When FOG is not disposed of properly, it can clog plumbing as well as city sewers. FOG is also associated with automobile repair shop discharge.
Residential Discharge: Residents of the City of Racine are governed by the City of Racine Municipal Code which prohibits the discharge of any pollutant or wastewater that will negatively affect the sewer collection system and/or Racine Wastewater Treatment Plant and its receiving waters. Homeowners can follow these simple practices to reduce FOG in the sewers:
Food Service Establishments (FSE) or Commercial Discharge: FSEs which discharge any fats, oils, and grease associated with food preparation, food service, and kitchen clean-up are also governed the City of Racine Municipal Code. The code also requires that commercial establishments follow Best Management Practices to minimize FOG discharge and requires that they install and maintain grease removal devices (separators, traps and interceptors) to minimize or eliminate the discharge of fats, oils, and greases.
Auto Repair Shop Discharge: Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed to help automotive repair shops reduce contaminants discharged to the sewer system and environment, to comply with local regulations and to improve their operations. Automotive repair shops can save money by applying pollution prevention principles including employee education, cleaning floors, mopping up spills, installing oil/water separators, maintaining repair shop floor drains, recycling antifreeze and used oil, and properly disposing of used oil, transmission and fuel filters.
The Wisconsin DNR's Pretreatment Program is a requirement of the federal Clean Water Act law outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 40 in various sections and subsections. The term "industrial pretreatment discharger" refers to facilities that do not discharge their wastewater directly to the waters of the state. Instead, the industrial discharge flows into a municipal sewage treatment plant (also called a POTW or publicly owned treatment works) and mixes with other sewage for treatment before it is discharged to the waters of the state. The US EPA has designated the State of Wisconsin DNR to administer this federal code within the state. In response to this designation, the State has adopted several State Administrative Codes that describe the requirements for pretreatment discharges. These are contained in Wis. Admin. Codes NR 211, and NR 220-297. The State of Wisconsin has delegated the Racine Wastewater Utility to act as the local control authority for permitting industries that discharge to the Racine Wastewater Utility.
Muni Code section 98-150
Industrial pretreatment dischargers are issued permits also known as control documents from the Racine Wastewater Utility. The industrial users must abide by federal, state and local requirements through a permit system. Permits have an expiration date of four years, but may be modified as needed during this period. The discharge limitations are grouped by categories of industrial and commercial dischargers. Some industries have discharge limitations based upon local discharge limits found in the Racine Municipal Code. The Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit outlines and references the requirements necessary to comply with all applicable wastewater regulations.
Industrial users are monitored in order to control the pollutants discharged into the sewer system and into our treatment facility. The Racine Wastewater Utility tracks compliance and performs sampling, inspections and, if necessary, enforcement. A report is sent to the Wisconsin DNR twice per year summarizing all pretreatment activities.
Each industrial user’s facility is inspected annually by Racine wastewater Utility staff. As part of these inspections, operations that use and/or discharge process water are reviewed, including any pretreatment systems. Some industries must treat their industrial wastewater before discharge in order to meet their permitted limits.
The Racine Wastewater Utility staff is proud of the effort it makes to control the discharge of pollutants into the sewer system. Our goal is to reduce our environmental footprint and improve our local environment.
WPDES Permit available here
Through the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit program, the DNR regulates municipal, industrial, and animal waste operations discharging water to surface waters (such as lakes, rivers, or streams) or ground waters. Each permit contains monitoring, reporting, and operational requirements needed to ensure protection of Wisconsin's water resources.
The WPDES Wastewater Permit Program controls:
The Racine Wastewater Utility is allowed to discharge treated wastewater into Lake Michigan under the guidance and conditions of its WPDES permit. This permit is renewable every five years and sets the stringent conditions and requirements that determine the degree of treatment that must be provided in order to comply with the regulations of the state.
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