FAQ Surcharge Program

FAQ’s For Surcharge Program 

Q: What is the Surcharge program? 

A: The Surcharge Program is mandated via City Ordinance #4315, Chapter 102, Article IX, Division 5, Section 102-373 (h) https://www.municode.com/library/fl/sanford/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH102UT_ARTIXSEUSDIRE_DIV5OIGRPRPR and states that a surcharge may be assessed by the City against any user for any discharge of abnormally high strength wastes including carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (CBOD), total suspended solids (TSS), Oil and Grease (O&G) and pH (high and low ranges).  All facilities with an appropriate sampling point that are regulated under the Oil and Grease Prevention Program (O&GPP) are automatically regulated under the Surcharge Program 
  

Q: Why does the City have an Surcharge program? 

A:  The Program was created to recover the costs of treating high strength wastes directly from the facility that discharged them.  Samples are collected on a yearly basis and tested for four different parameters.  These three parameters (CBOD, TSS, O&G and pH) are very costly to remove during the wastewater treatment process which raises the costs for the Utility Department and each user of the sanitary sewer system. 
 

Q: Why exactly are the three parameters regulated under the Surcharge program and what are the sources of these parameters at a typical O&GPP facility?
A: CBOD is carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand and is a measure of the amount of oxygen depletion as a result of microbes digesting organic carbon compounds such as solids and oil and grease.  CBOD is typically suspended in the wastewater while the other two parameters (TSS and O&G) are typically trapped in the pretreatment device.  High CBOD equates to less oxygen in the wastewater and more work for the City’s pretreatment plant.   Typical sources of CBOD at a facility are solids discharged down sink drains and other fixtures as well as human waste.  The pretreatment device removes some of these solids but since CBOD is typically suspended in wastewater it is impossible for all CBOD to be removed.  The best way to maintain low CBOD levels is to prevent the discharge of solids all together by using sink strainers, floor drain covers, scraping plates/pots/pans prior to washing and using soaps that contain minimal solids/organics.  Additionally, your pretreatment device and sampling point should be cleaned on a regular scheduled basis. 

TSS is totals suspended solids and is the total suspended matter that floats on the surface or is suspended in the wastewater and Is removable by filtering at the laboratory.  Typical sources of TSS at a facility are solids discharged down sink drains and other fixtures as well as human waste.  The pretreatment device should remove most of these solids.  The best way to maintain low TSS levels is to prevent the discharge of solids all together by using sink strainers, floor drain covers, scraping plates/pots/pans prior to washing and using soaps that contain minimal solids/organics.  Additionally, your pretreatment device and sampling point should be cleaned on a regular scheduled basis.  

O&G is oil and grease and are either liquid or solid materials composed of primarily fatty matter from animal of vegetable sources or petroleum based hydrocarbons.  Typical sources of O&G at a facility are oils, greases and petroleum hydrocarbons discharged down sink drains and other fixtures as well as human waste.  The pretreatment device removes most of these oils, greases and hydrocarbons.  The best way to maintain low O&G levels is to prevent the discharge of oils and greases all together by scraping plates/pots/pans prior to washing and ensuring that your pretreatment device is cleaned on time and on a regular basis.   Additionally, your sampling point should also be cleaned on a regular scheduled basis.  

pH is a figure expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Acidic items can range from battery acid to orange soda, and alkaline items are usually cleaning items like bleach or Lysol. pH has a value that ranges from pH 1-14 with a pH 7 being neutral. A pH value below 7 is considered acidic with increasing acidity the lower the number is, and a pH above 7 is considered alkaline with increasing alkalinity the higher the number is.  Both sides of the extremes are very bad for the health of the sewer system. The City of Sanford has a pH range of 5-9. Anything above or below that range can damage the sewer system. To prevent this, chemicals should be properly disposed of, and food items shouldn’t be washed down the drain.

Q: What types of facilities are regulated under the Surcharge program?

A: Most O&GPP facilities are regulated under the program.  When an O&GPP facility with existing infrastructure is initially added to the program, the City’s Environmental Coordinator attempts to locate a representative sample point that receives flow from the pretreatment device (grease trap, grease interceptor, oil water separator) as well as all other sources of wastewater onsite.  If a new O&GP program facility is being constructed in the City, they are required to construct a representative sample point.  Typical sample point types include a sample manhole, a lift station, a cleanout, a sanitary manhole or a sample port. 
 

Q: Are there any fees associated with the Surcharge program?

A: Yes.  O&GPP customers with a representative sample point must pay sampling administrative, sampling analysis and any applicable surcharge fees.  These fees are applied directly to the Utility account. 
 

Q: How are the Surcharge program fees calculated?

A: The surcharge fees are based on the metered water usage, cost of treating the wastewater, and on the amount by which the maximum concentration level was exceeded. 
 

Q: I didn’t have to do this in my last facility?
A: The Surcharge Program is required by City Ordinance and all facilities that qualify must comply with program requirements. The City of Sanford conducts field surveys on a routine basis to ensure all facilities within City limits are in compliance with the ordinance.

Q: What happens if a facility does not comply with the Surcharge Program requirements?
A: The City makes every effort to maintain working partnerships with the regulated facilities and commercial users, valuing information and compliance over enforcement as the best way to achieve mutually beneficial economic and environmental goals. However, if a user remains non-compliant, that user will be subject to enforcement action. The City utilizes a progressive enforcement response plan, with actions ranging from Notices of Violation (NOV) and citations to sewer or water service termination.

Q: How do I know if I need to be regulated under the Surcharge program?

A: Most customers who are required to be permitted under the O&GPP must also participate in the surcharge program if a representative sample point is available.  The City’s Environmental Coordinator educates O&GPP customers on the Surcharge program when they are initially permitted and yearly thereafter.  

Q: Who should I contact if I need more information about the Surcharge program?
A: For more information please contact the Environmental Coordinator at 407 688-5000 ext. 5512