In addition to our existing program to eliminate illicit connections, this section monitors numerous points of discharge into the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). These sites are monitored during dry and wet weather conditions to locate and eliminate illicit connections. Inspections are also conducted at industrial facilities that are required to have permit coverage for storm water run-off and at commercial facilities believed to adding significant pollutants to the MS4.
This section collects representative monitoring samples from different sites located throughout Harris County
The Harris County Regulations for Storm Water Quality Management and The City of Houston Ordinance became effective October 1, 2001 and can be found
here under the heading, "Professional." The current version of the Harris County Regulations are also located at Harris County Engineering.
Another aspect of the Storm Water Program involves how chemicals from your home can affect our waterways. To learn more about proper disposal of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), go to the Harris County HHW Collection Facility website at
Clean Water Clear Choice for more information about Storm Water.
Sizing and Servicing Requirements for Grease Traps
Harris County's Recommendations
The sizing requirements for grease traps that are part of an onsite sewage facility fall under the jurisdiction of Harris County for regulation as an authorized agent of the State under the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. These requirements shall continue to follow County regulation.
The sizing requirements for grease traps that are part of an outfall into a public sewer system typically do not fall under Harris County’s jurisdiction, but rather that of the sewer system’s owner, like a Municipal Utility District. Therefore Harris County does not require, but rather recommends:
- Sizing be consistent with the City of Houston requirements. Those requirements currently state that grease traps and interceptors shall be sized according to the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), Chapter 10.
- Servicing requirements: Grease traps shall be cleaned every 90 days, or more frequently if the operating capacity is more than 25% full of solids and/or Fats, Oils, and Grease.
In Harris County there are approximately 450 municipal sewage wastewater treatment plants and 212 active industrial wastewater treatment facilities permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to discharge treated wastewater to receiving streams throughout Harris County.
Wastewater can be treated in a wastewater treatment plant or in septic systems. Treatment plants reduce pollutants in wastewater to permitted levels nature can handle, with different combinations of physical, chemical, or biological processes. Treating wastewater protects the environment and human health by removing pathogens and other contaminants before the water is discharged back into the environment.
Emerging Wastewater Concerns
Salts In Wastewater - Most types of wastewater treatment systems don't remove salts from the water it discharges. Salts can affect sensitive ecosystem and degrade our water supply. All water supplies naturally contain some salt but residential, agricultural, industrial water users often add more salt to water. Residential use of water softeners, shampoos, soaps, detergents, liquid fabric softeners, detergents and cleaning products all add salt to wastewater. Removing salt from wastewater at treatment plants is not currently feasible economically.
Contaminants Concerns – A vast array of unregulated chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, fire retardants, and insecticides ending up in our lakes and streams. Wastewater treatment plants are not capable of removing these contaminants.
Disposable Wipes Concerns - When flushed down the toilet, disposable wipes cause major problems to the wastewater collection systems. These wipes clog homeowner and municipal sewer pipes resulting in costly equipment repair and replacement.