Wastewater discharges from the University are regulated by the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) or the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) depending on the ultimate destination of the wastewater discharge.
Most wastewater discharges from University buildings are discharged under permits issued by the NBC. These wastewaters flow from our buildings through the Providence sewer system for treatment at NBC's Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) located at Fields Point prior to discharge to Narragansett Bay. The University has permits for the operations including but not limited to:
- Laundry rooms in residence halls
- Food Service operations
- Photographic darkrooms
- Research buildings
- Ice melt from Meehan Auditorium
- Aquatic Center
- Construction activities
These permits establish specific conditions under which wastewater can be discharged. The NBC requires monitoring or periodic sampling of wastewater discharged by the University to demonstrate compliance with applicable regulations. These permits prohibit the discharges of any chemicals or wastewater with a pH lower than 5.0 or higher than 11.0.
Wastewaters such as stormwater, non-contact cooling waters and other uncontaminated wastewaters are in some cases discharged directly to surface water through the Providence stormwater system. These discharges are regulated under RI Pollution Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permits issued by RIDEM.