EPA regulatory news

March 14, 2003
EPA is seeking input on a strategic plan design, has awarded eight projects for arsenic research, and will soon release guidance on wet-weather flows, according to an industry report from WWEMA.

March 14, 2003 -- EPA is seeking input on a strategic plan design, has awarded eight projects for arsenic research, and will soon release guidance on wet-weather flows, according to an industry report from the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA).

EPA seeks input on strategic plan design

Comments were solicited by the Environmental Protection Agency on the general design of EPA's strategic plan for fiscal years 2003 through 2008.

A full, draft strategic plan will be posted in March, EPA said, and public comment will be sought again at that time and considered as the agency prepares a final strategic plan, which the Government Performance and Results Act requires be submitted to Congress by September 2003.

The new strategic plan would be centered on five goals or themes: clean air, clean and safe water, land preservation and restoration, health communities and ecosystems, and compliance and environmental stewardship.

As part of its safe drinking water goal, the agency proposed to ensure that 95 percent of the U.S. population served by community water systems would receive drinking water by 2008 that meets all applicable health-based drinking water standards.

Under its healthy communities and ecosystems goal, the agency proposed to prevent water pollution and protect aquatic systems in the Chesapeake Bay so that the acres of submerged aquatic vegetation would increase from 2002 baseline of 85,252 acres to 120,000 acres by 2008.

The proposed plan design is available at http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/plan/plan.htm.

Companies receive EPA awards for arsenic technology

March 14, 2003 -- The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a total of $800,000 to eight businesses to develop more cost-effective technologies to remove arsenic from drinking water.

The research projects to develop innovative technology will especially benefit systems that serve fewer than 10,000 people, which will be hardest hit by a new federal standard for arsenic in drinking water, the agency said.

More than 4,000 systems need to install new technology before the arsenic role's compliance date of 2006, EPA has said.

The contracts were awarded through EPA's Small Business Innovation Research program for commercial ventures intended to protect the environment, increase productivity and economic growth, and improve the international competitiveness of the U.S. technology industry.

More information can be found at http://es.epa.gov/ncer/sbir/awards/2003_water.html.

Wet-weather flows draft guidance expected soon

Environmental Protection Agency draft guidance to address heavy wet-weather flows that are routed around the biological treatment process and then recombined with treated wastewater may be issued as a stand-alone document by March.

The agency will probably issue the draft guidance on "blending" as a document separate from an upcoming proposal to address sanitary sewer overflows.

EPA has been working on a revised proposal to address sanitary sewer overflows with the idea of releasing it along with the blending guidance. Blending occurs when wet weather flows threaten to inundate a treatment facility.

To prevent that, a portion of these flows are routed around the secondary treatment system, which involves the removal of most of the biochemical oxygen demand compounds through a biological process.

These excess flows are then recombined with waste water that was treated to secondary standards before being discharged. The recombined discharge would have to meet secondary standards as required by the Clean Water Act.

Environmental groups have been trying to persuade the agency not to allow blending because it does not provide for adequate protection against pathogens.

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