I have a question about:

Industrial Waste (Pretreatment) Plan Review 

How do I get an Industrial Waste Plan Review?

Industrial Waste Plan Reviews are conducted via Commercial Plan Review as concurrent reviews. Commercial Plan Review is in the Planning and Development Center (PDC), located at 6310 Wilhelmina Delco Drive

Industrial Waste Plan review staff are available at the PDC, Monday to Friday (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) via appointments.

To learn more about the Industrial Waste Plan Review process, click here.

How do I get an Industrial Waste Approval Letter?

Please see “How do I get an Industrial Waste Plan Review?” above.

Parking Garage Sand/Oil Interceptors

Do I need a Sand/Oil Interceptor for my parking garage?  What size do I need and where should it be routed (Sanitary or Storm)?

Sand/Oil Interceptors (SOI) are required for parking garages in the City of Austin.  SOIs are sized based on the total number of drains discharging to them within enclosed parking garage structures and where the SOI should be routed is determined by if the garage is considered “closed” or “open”.  “Closed” would be routed to sanitary and “open” would be routed to storm.  For additional details, refer to the Sizing Criteria for Parking Garage Sand/Oil Interceptors document.  This document is also available on the  Industrial Waste Plan Review (Pretreatment Plan Review) webpage.

How do I know if my parking garage is considered “closed” or “open”?

Closed garages will not receive any rain/stormwater runoff per the City of Austin’s wastewater regulations §15-10-22 (26).  Open garages will receive rain/stormwater as defined by the City of Austin’s wastewater regulations §15-10-11 (19).  For additional information, refer to the Sizing Criteria for Parking Garage Sand/Oil Interceptors document.

 Grease Traps/Grease Interceptors

What is a grease trap/grease interceptor?

Grease Traps, also known as Grease Interceptors, are pretreatment devices designed to separate the Fats, Oil and Grease along with solids normally found in food preparation waste from being discharged as wastewater to the City's sanitary sewer system. This helps protect the City from sanitary sewer overflows.

What is the difference between a grease trap and a grease interceptor?

Grease traps and grease interceptors are both plumbing devices for grease removal from industrial wastewater discharge streams. Grease traps are designed based on a septic tank diagram to allow retention time in compartments, which creates separation between solids, grease and water. Grease traps are generally a large pre-cast concrete tank, typically with a liquid holding capacity anywhere from 250 to 10,000 gallons and designed with two separate compartments to allow separation and retention time.  Treated wastewater is then discharged to the sanitary sewer.  There are also engineered grease traps which contain baffles to create the retention time and are made of thermoplastic, fiberglass, polyethylene and stainless steel.

Hydromechanical grease interceptors (HGI) use gravity separation aided by vented flow control to create separation. HGIs may be made of fiberglass or polyethylene typically consisting of a single compartment with baffle arrangements. Vented flow control devices must be installed upstream of HGIs to control the wastewater flow to match the certified flow rate of the HGI.

For further information on what is allowed in the City of Austin, please see Design Criteria for Grease Interceptors.

When is a grease trap required?

In the City of Austin, all commercial and institutional food preparation businesses must have a grease interceptor approved by Austin Water.

Certain facilities may request to operate without a grease trap or grease interceptor. Facilities such as those serving pre-packaged foods in the original unopened container, providing drinks only or cutting fruits. Those facilities need to submit a completed Grease Interceptor Installation Variance Request Form to Industrial Waste when submitting a new Plan Review.

Please see the Projects Requiring Building Plan Review by Industrial Waste document for further information.

How do I schedule a grease trap inspection?

An Industrial Waste staff member must be present at the time of service to perform the grease trap inspection while it is empty. Please coordinate a date/time that works with your Liquid Waste Hauler and Industrial Waste staff to schedule a mutually agreed time to service the trap. 

Please refer to the contact information on the Industrial Waste Plan Review (Pretreatment Plan Review) webpage or contact the Industrial Waste Specialist who referred you for the grease trap inspection.

What size grease trap will I need?

Industrial Waste will provide an Approval Letter as part of the building plan approval process that specifies the size and design of the interceptor that will be required. In no case will a grease trap with a liquid holding capacity of less than 100 gallons be approved for installation.

For more information, refer to the Grease Trap Sizing Criteria webpage.  Alternatively, for sizing criteria for car wash grit traps, click here.

How often must my grease trap be cleaned?

The Austin City Code Code (§ 15-10-197) specifies all grease traps must be completely emptied and cleaned by a permitted liquid waste hauler at least once every three (3) months or more frequently if, before three (3) months, the grease and solids in the trap’s final compartment accumulate to 50% or more of the wetted height of the trap. The perfect clean-out frequency will vary for each business.

Ask your grease trap maintenance service provider to take periodic grease and sludge layer measurements to determine the right frequency for your business. To learn more about grease trap maintenance and a list of permitted liquid waste haulers, click here.

How do I dispose of grease trap waste?

Grease trap waste must be transported to an approved receiving station by a liquid waste hauler licensed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and permitted by the City of Austin. Trip ticket manifest (also known as a liquid waste hauler manifest) documentation procedures must be followed in accordance with applicable regulations (§ 15-10-197).

The Austin City Code (§ 15-10-165 (B)) specifies that grease trap waste manifest records must be made available for up to the past three (3) years in which the facility has been in business.

Sample Ports 

What is an industrial waste sample port?

A sample port is an access point on the wastewater service line that allows periodic compliance monitoring via wastewater sampling by Austin Water staff. A sample port is required for any facility discharging wastewater regulated under Chapter 15-10 of the Austin City Code.

Where should my industrial waste sample port be?

Due to surcharge requirements, industrial waste sample ports within the City of Austin (and its jurisdictions) must be downstream of where the pretreatment device effluent and sanitary waste lines combine.

Please refer to the Sample Port Requirements webpage.

Wastewater Discharge Permits

Do I need a Wastewater Discharge Permit?

A permit is required for any discharge of industrial wastewater into the City of Austin's wastewater collection system. Each separately permitted source is considered to be an industrial user. Several different types of permits are issued based on the nature of the business and the volume and characteristics of the wastewater to be discharged. Our program is also involved in the approval of discharges of hauled liquid waste at the city's approved receiving station.

The process for obtaining a discharge permit and the type of permit application that is required vary for different classes of industrial users. You can find more information about the permitting process on the Obtaining & Renewing a Discharge Permit webpage.

How do I obtain or renew a Wastewater Discharge Permit?

Refer to the Obtaining & Renewing a Discharge Permit webpage.

What is my Wastewater Discharge Permit number?

Refer to the list of Active Wastewater Discharge Permits.  This is also sometimes referred to as a Central Prep Kitchen Permit number.

How do I change the name on my Wastewater Discharge Permit?

The permittee name on the Wastewater Discharge Permit matches the utility bill for the permittee. The Austin Water Special Services Division cannot process name changes. Name change requests must be handled through the permittees utility bill. For more information, visit the City of Austin Utilities Online Customer Care webpage.

What happens if I am late paying my permit fee?

The failure to pay a permit fee on time is considered the same as discharging without a valid permit.  Such a violation can result in water service termination and/or a potential maximum fine of $2,000 for each day on which a discharge occurs without the valid permit.

Wastewater Surcharge Fees

What is the wastewater surcharge and why am I being charged this fee?

Wastewater Surcharges Fees are charged to businesses that discharge wastewater exceeding “normal” wastewater standards.  This is to help cover the cost of treatment and is required by federal regulations. The surcharge fee differs for each food establishment based on wastewater sampling from each establishment.  The surcharge fee can be reduced with water conservation techniques and proper grease trap maintenance if there is a grease trap on site.

For more information, visit the Pretreatment Surcharge Program webpage.

Where can I find the wastewater surcharge fee on my utility bill?

If subject to this fee, these charges would be itemized in the Austin Water section of the details portion of the bill. This is usually located on the backside of the bill. See an example bill here (note the highlighted section on the bill).

How can I lower my wastewater bill?

Conserving water is the most direct way to lower your wastewater bill.  Paying careful attention to the wastewater surcharge component of the utility bill is also strongly encouraged. For more information, refer to these water saving tips from the Water Conservation Department and review the Tips to Reduce Your Surcharge on the Pretreatment Surcharge Program webpage.

Liquid Waste Haulers

Where can I find a list of active industrial users with grease or grit trap pollution control devices within the City of Austin (and its jurisdictions)?

Please refer to the Austin Water Industrial Waste Control / Pretreatment Pollution Control Devices report.

How do I schedule my LWH vehicle inspection?

To schedule a liquid waste hauler vehicle inspection, call the Special Services Division at (512) 972-1090 or email awlwh@austintexas.gov.

Where do I go to get my LWH vehicle inspection?

Inspections for liquid waste haulers with a single vehicle will be held at the Special Services Division (SSD) office at 3907 South Industrial Drive, Austin, TX 78744. Inspections scheduled for haulers with multiple vehicles will be held on the 4000 block of Commercial Center Drive, Austin, TX 78744 (which is about a quarter of a mile from the SSD office).

Where can I purchase manifest books and disposal credit?

To make a request to purchase manifest books and disposal credit, call the Special Services Division (SSD) at (512) 972-1090 or email awlwh@austintexas.gov.  The SSD will initiate a transaction which then needs to be paid over the phone by calling (512) 972-0009 or in person at the Austin Water Cashier’s Office (625 E. 10th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78701-2612).

Manifest books can be picked up from the SSD office at 3907 South Industrial Drive, Austin, TX 78744.

What are the Austin Water Cashier’s Office hours?

The Austin Water Cashier's Office (625 E. 10th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78701-2612) is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 AM to Noon and 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (unless it is a City holiday). Any voicemails left on Tuesdays and Thursdays, will be responded to by the Cashier’s Office staff the next day.

The Cashier’s Office is available for in-person transactions or via phone at (512) 972-0009

Can I request the receiving station extend their hours of operation as needed?

Any permitted hauler may make an online request to extend the receiving station hours of operation. The request should be made at least two (2) weeks in advance, and, if approved, payment of all applicable fees must be made before the additional hours will be scheduled.


Please refer to the step by step instructions for submitting an After-Hours Request and a list of applicable rates and fees.

 Formaldehyde or Formalin Disposal

Why is Formaldehyde or Formalin used? 

Formaldehyde or Formalin are commonly used for the preservation of human/animal cadavers or tissue within biological testing, research or educational purposes. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and is monitored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) due to multiple acute and chronic exposure concerns, including low level exposures.1  Formalin contains formaldehyde and methyl alcohol in an aqueous solution; it has similar health risks.2 

Resources cited:

How to safely dispose of Formalin/Formaldehyde?

There are several options to dispose of formaldehyde or formalin, and users should consider their individual circumstances or availability. Please note that it is ultimately the responsibility of the generator/user to make a determination on their wastes and may be subject to further state or federal regulations. For additional guidance on waste disposal options, categories, etc., please contact the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Small Business & Local Government Assistance Program at 1-800-447-2827.

  1. Using a Neutralizing Agent:

    Consumers of formaldehyde or formalin may consider purchasing a commercially-available product to neutralize the active ingredients. Depending on the product purchased by the consumer, upon neutralization, the waste product can be disposed of either in a wastebin or the sink. Carefully follow all the manufacturer's directions and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for proper disposal, handling and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure human health, the sanitary sewer and the environment are protected.

    Never dispose of un-neutralized formaldehyde or formalin down the drain (§15-10-22). 

  2. Hazardous Waste Collection Haul-off:

    Another option is to use hazardous waste collection by a licensed waste collector. Ensure you are properly storing your waste in a compatible and labeled container in a designated area at your facility, while you await haul-off. The City cannot provide referrals, but multiple licensed waste collector which service the Austin area were found online. Not all waste collectors will accept formalin/formaldehyde, so consumers should contact the waste collector directly to confirm the are authorized to transport this waste.

  3. List on Austin Materials Marketplace

    Consumers can list items of beneficial reuse, unused or surplus material onto the Austin Materials Marketplace. Ensure you are properly storing your waste in a compatible and labeled container in a designated area at your facility, while you await haul-off. 


Where can I have my commercial kitchen grease waste hauled and legally disposed of?

Liquid waste from a grease trap or other commercial kitchen, such as a mobile food vendor, must be disposed of using a permitted liquid waste hauler that transports the waste to a facility permitted by the TCEQ to accept that type of waste.