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Environmental Regulations & Inspection Programs

Permitted Facilities Are Inspected Regularly
Generally, each facility is inspected two to four times per year, depending on the nature of the industry or type of discharge. The Pretreatment Program conducts the following types of inspections:
  • Permit Inspection – a special inspection conducted when a facility is initially permitted or the permit is renewed
  • Compliance Inspection – a routine inspection to determine compliance status and to identify practices which may lead to noncompliance
  • Sampling Inspection – a routine inspection performed during City sampling
  • Enforcement Inspection – a non-routine inspection completed to investigate the cause of or response to violations
  • Closure Inspection – a special inspection conducted when a discharger is in the process of closing or is removing a regulated process

Is the Facility in Compliance?
Inspectors determine if a facility is in compliance with their permit by reviewing: 
  • Production processes
  • Wastewater treatment processes
  • Monitoring equipment
  • Hazardous material and waste storage areas
  • Documentation and records
  • Housekeeping

How to Prepare for an Inspection
  • Ensure appropriate personnel are onsite during all shifts to meet with an inspector.
  • Keep all required records, documents, and procedures up-to-date and ready for review.
  • Ensure all monitoring equipment (pH meters, pH chart recorders, flow meters, etc.) is working properly.

Sanitary Sewer Program Overview
The City of San José is responsible for administering pretreatment programs for eight tributary agencies: the cities of San José, Santa Clara and Milpitas; Cupertino Sanitary District; West Valley Sanitation District including Campbell, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga; County Sanitation Districts 2-3; and Burbank Sanitary District whose sanitary sewer systems discharge to the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility.

The City of San José monitors and inspects a variety of facilities (businesses discharging wastewater to the sanitary sewer system) to ensure that wastewater discharges are within legal limits, and to minimize pollutants of concern entering the sanitary sewer system, helping protect the quality of the San Francisco Bay. Typical businesses that are subject to inspection include restaurants, car washes, metal finishers, semiconductor manufacturers, print shops, dental facilities, and photo processors. How frequently a business is inspected depends on its potential for contributing pollutants as determined by its Wastewater Discharge Permit and previous inspection results.

Stormwater Management Program Overview
The City of San José regularly inspects a variety of businesses to ensure that they are complying with the policies and regulations to protect storm drains and creeks. Typical businesses that are subject to stormwater inspections include restaurants, transportation facilities, recycling facilities, metal plating facilities, auto repair shops, construction sites, and a variety of other types of manufacturing and service related businesses that have the potential to pollute stormwater runoff. Pollutants that enter storm drains can flow directly to local creeks and the San Francisco Bay without treatment.

Per the City’s Stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES), the City is responsible for protecting the storm drains, creeks, and the Bay from polluted discharges originating from industrial and commercial facilities. The Industrial/Commercial Facility stormwater inspection program serves the City of San José, and Title 15 of the San José Municipal Code gives authority to administer a successful program.