Hello. Sign In
Standards Store


1st Edition, November 1, 1996

Complete Document

Guidance Document for the Discharge of Petroleum Distribution Terminal Effluents to Publicly Owned Treatment Works

Detail Summary

Active, Most Current

Additional Comments:
Price (USD)
Secure PDF
Single User
In Stock
PDF + Print
In Stock
$164.90 You save 15%
Add to Cart

Product Details:

  • Revision: 1st Edition, November 1, 1996
  • Published Date: November 1996
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: American Petroleum Institute (API)
  • Page Count: 42
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


Petroleum product terminals receive bulk shipments of gasoline, middle distillates, aviation gas, lube oil, and specialty products from pipelines, tankers, barges, railcars, and trucks. The products are stored in tanks and warehouses and distributed to service stations, truck stops, and other points of use. There are approximately 1700 pipeline and petroleum product terminals in the United States.

Terminals generate wastewaters consisting primarily of tank bottom water and stormwater runoff from product transfer areas. The various wastewaters are treated by an oil/water separator to recover any free product, and the treated wastewater is discharged as terminal effluent. Often, because of geographic location, low effluent volume, or operating limitations, the most practical disposal option for terminal effluent will be discharge to the local publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Effluent discharge to a POTW usually requires a permit or agreement from the POTW, specifying conditions under which the discharge is acceptable.

In some cases, POTWs may have significant concerns regarding the acceptance of terminal effluent. Concerns include the following:

a. Terminal effluent may contain flammable liquids, creating an explosion hazard in the sewers or wastewater treatment plant.

b. Treatment effluent contaminants may harm the treatment process, hindering the treatment plant's ability to function effectively.

c. Terminal effluent contaminants may not be treatable by the treatment plant and may thus be discharged to the environment in excessive quantities.

d. Terminal effluent discharges may not be adequately controlled, leading to slugs of oil, contaminants, or volume entering the sewers.

e. Terminal effluent contaminants may exposes POTW operators to health hazards.

These are important concerns for POTWs, but terminals can successfully address them. The concerns are more logically associated with major industrial dischargers, as opposed to petroleum product terminals, which typically generate only small volumes of terminal effluents, have systems in place to prevent flammable liquid discharges, and can readily implement effective discharge controls.

This guidance document is written to assist the terminal through the negotiations of a pretreatment discharge permit or agreement with the local POTW. The document describes key systems at POTWs and terminals, explains POTW concerns, and presents reasonable methods for addressing the concerns.

This document is organized into seven sections addressing key issues involved in obtaining a pretreatment discharge permit. The sections are as follows:

a. Section I--POTW Characteristics--Explains the main components of POTWs--the sewer system and the treatment plant. POTW performance requirements are described, as well as operating limits, giving the terminal an understanding of the sources of POTW concerns regarding the acceptance of terminal effluents.

b. Section 2--Pretreatment Requirements--Discusses the pretreatment program, which is the framework for regulating industrial discharges to POTWs. It describes the constraints POTWs may impose on terminal effluent discharges.

c. Section 3--Characteristics of Terminal Effluent--Describes sources of terminal effluent and typical effluent compositions. Factors affecting effluent volume and contaminant loading are addressed.

d. Section 4--POTW Concerns--Discusses specific concerns POTWs may have about accepting terminal effluents. Measures for mitigating the concerns are described.

e. Section 5--Relations with POTW Management--Guides the reader through the discharge application process, from initial contact to securing the permit to maintaining good relations with the POTW after discharge commences.

f. Section 6--Terminal Pretreatment Options--Addresses methods to reduce terminal effluent volume and to treat the effluent to reduce contaminant levels.

g. Section 7--Associated Costs--Outlines costs associated with discharging terminal effluent to a POTW.

Two appendixes provide information that may be useful in preparing for a pretreatment permit negotiation:

a. Appendix A--Mass Balance Calculations: This appendix shows how to calculate contaminant concentrations in terminal effluent and demonstrate the insignificant impact of the contaminants on a POTW.

b. Appendix B--Petroleum Product Terminal Wastewater Characterization Data: This appendix summarizes available data on specific terminal wastewaters and composite terminal effluents.

API publications may be used by anyone desiring to do so. Every effort has been made by the Institute to assure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in them; however, the Institute makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with this publication and hereby expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state, or municipal regulation with which this publication may conflict.

Suggested revisions are invited and should be submitted to the director of the Manufacturing, Distribution and Marketing Department, American Petroleum Institute, 1220 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005.