Frequent Questions

When does the domestic sewage exclusion apply? Does it apply to wastes removed from a sewer system or if the waste goes to a private sewer system?

The domestic sewage exclusion in 40 CFR Section 261.4(a)(1) applies to domestic sewage and any mixture of domestic sewage and other wastes that pass through a sewer system to a POTW for treatment. Waste falls within the domestic sewage exclusion when it first enters a sewer system that will mix it with sanitary wastes prior to storage or treatment by a POTW. 

The domestic sewage mixture must pass through a sewer system to a POTW. The domestic sewage exclusion does not extend to wastes which are transported to the POTW by truck, rail, or dedicated pipe and which do not mix with domestic sewage sludge. 

Sludge removed from a sewer line is not excluded because it does not pass through a sewer system to a POTW. Domestic sewage sludge loses excluded status upon removal from the sewer system.
The domestic sewage sludge exclusion does not extend to private or other non-municipal treatment works. Thus, a mixture of sewage with other wastes en route to a non-municipal treatment works does not cease to be a solid waste. Furthermore, although RCRA does not define sewer systems, it is not EPA's intent to include private sewers or wastewater treatment units up-stream from the point where pre-treatment standards (Section 307(b) of CWA) would apply to wastes going by a sewer to a POTW.
Materials in domestic sewage that pass through a federally owned treatment works (FOTW) are excluded from the definition of solid waste if FOTW meets criteria in Section 106 of FFCA.
References: 40 CFR Section 261.4(a)(1); 45 FR 33084, 33097; May 19, 1980
Monthly Call Center Report Question, July 1987 (RCRA Online #12963)
52 FR 23477, 23478, June 22, 1987
Memo, Williams to Stringham, November 30, 1986 (RCRA Online #12789)
Memo, Bussard to Warren, March 10, 1997 (RCRA Online #14068)
Memo, Lowrance to Corbett, February 12, 1990 (RCRA Online #11490)
Memo, Clay to Schafer, June 7, 1991 (RCRA Online #14322)
Monthly Call Center Report Question, October 1982 (RCRA Online #12066)
Monthly Call Center Report Question, January 1988 (RCRA Online #14169)

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