New Guidance Offers Advice on Nonpoint Source Pollution Control

EPA recently release a new guidance document to control nonpoint source pollution from urban areas.

Jan 1st, 2006

EPA recently release a new guidance document to control nonpoint source pollution from urban areas. The guidance is designed to help citizens and municipalities protect bodies of water from polluted runoff that can result from everyday activities.

The “National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Urban Areas” guidance will also help states to implement their nonpoint source control programs and municipalities to implement their Phase II Storm Water Permit Programs.

This guidance document is intended to provide technical assistance to state and local program managers and other practitioners on the best available, most economically achievable means of managing urban runoff and reducing nonpoint source pollution of surface and ground waters from urban sources.

It describes how to develop a comprehensive runoff management program that deals with all phases of development - from predevelopment watershed planning and site design, through the construction phase of development, to the operation and maintenance of structural controls. It also provides information for other situations such as retrofitting existing development, implementing nonstructural controls, and reevaluating the runoff management program.

The document is intended to provide guidance for all urban areas, not just those covered by National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) phase II requirements. While the document can serve as a resource for meeting NPDES phase II requirements, there are still a number of smaller jurisdictions that are not regulated by the NPDES program and that can benefit from guidance in developing an urban runoff program.

Use of the management measures and practices in the guidance is strictly voluntary. Many of the practices identified, however, could be used by municipalities to develop and implement their NPDES Storm Water Management Plans.

Copies of the Guidance can be downloaded at http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/urbanmm/.

Florida Wastewater Disposal Rule Issued

EPA has issued a Florida wastewater disposal rule that it said would improve protection for underground sources of drinking water and potentially lower costs for wastewater treatment facilities. It said for more than 20 years, some Florida municipalities have been using underground injection as an alternative to surface disposal of treated domestic wastewater.

The agency said Class I wastewater injection wells have been drilled 1,000-3,000 feet deep but there is evidence that some of the wastewater has been migrating into underground sources of drinking water.

The agency said the Underground Injection Control (UIC) rule sharply reduces the possibility of contamination from wastewater injected into deep wells. Facilities using the UIC method must have industrial pretreatment so that major contaminants are removed before the water enters the wastewater treatment plant. Those plants, in turn, add a secondary level of treatment and high-level disinfection to inactivate pathogenic organisms.

EPA said the rule would result in water that meets the same standard as the state of Florida requires for reuse water applied on lawns, golf courses and similar applications.

EPA said the UIC rule provides wastewater treatment facilities with a solution that brings them into compliance with the SDWA. And it said treatment facilities may find markets for the treated water, which could reduce the need for injection.

EPA Anniversary

EPA observed its 35th anniversary December 2 by citing its achievements in reducing pollution and improving the environment.

Administrator Stephen Johnson said, “While at 35, EPA may still be one of the newer kids on the block, the results we have delivered to the American people can stack up next to any of our federal partners in the government.”

EPA said between 1970 and 2004, total emissions of the six major air pollutants dropped by 54% while the gross domestic product increased 187%, energy consumption increased 47%, and the U.S. population grew by 40%. It said 600,000 acres of contaminated land have been restored and now provide ecological, economic, and recreational benefits. WW

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