EPA Offers Tools for Public Health Protection

EPA celebrated the second anniversary of the revised Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) by issuing a variety of documents and notices mandated under the act, which had set an Aug. 6, 1998, deadline for agency action.

EPA celebrated the second anniversary of the revised Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) by issuing a variety of documents and notices mandated under the act, which had set an Aug. 6, 1998, deadline for agency action.

Included in the flurry of activity was the final rule on Consumer Confidence Reports. This important right-to-know rule will require water systems to provide annual water quality reports to their customers beginning in 1999.

Other items published on or before the Aug. 6 deadline included:

  • Small system technology lists: These lists provide information to small water systems on alternative water treatments they can use to provide safe drinking water.
  • Capacity Development guidance: With the help of this guidance, states will implement strategies to help their water systems acquire and maintain the technical, managerial, and financial capacity they need to provide safe drinking water.
  • Review of monitoring requirements: EPA has reviewed the monitoring requirements for a number of chemical contaminants and will conduct further analysis before deciding if changes are needed.
  • Water conservation guidelines: These voluntary guidelines will encourage conservation by water systems, particularly small systems, thereby extending the life of water treatment infrastructure and reducing costs.
  • PWS definition: SDWA broadened the definition of a “public water system”, and this guidance explains how EPA will implement this new definition.
  • Waterborne disease: EPA and the Centers for Disease Control have agreed to undertake a study of waterborne disease in the United States to determine future health protection needs.

Find copies of the rules and guidance at the EPA Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water Internet site: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/new.html, or contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

EPA Water Program Gets New Manager

President Clinton has named J. Charles Fox to be Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), replacing Robert Perciasepe who has been nominated as Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.

EPA Water Program Gets New Manager

“EPA is fortunate to have in its ranks leaders like Bob Perciasepe and Chuck Fox to continue the progress made by the Clinton Administration in improving the nation’s air and water,” said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. “They are proven leaders who are committed to protecting public health and the environment. Their vision and expertise will benefit the work of the agency.”

EPA Water Program Gets New Manager

Perciasepe has managed the Agency’s water program, with a budget of $2.6 billion and 2,680 employees, since October 1993. In that period, there have been significant water quality protection milestones, including the reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Perciasepe also spearheaded the development of the Clinton Administration’s Clean Water Action Plan which has refocused the national water program toward watershed management in its effort to finish the job of cleaning up the nation’s rivers, lakes and streams

EPA Water Program Gets New Manager

Fox has been Associate Administrator for EPA’s Office of Reinvention since February 1997. Fox helped lead EPA’s efforts to make environmental regulation less burdensome and more protective through common-sense, cost-effective reforms. Through these efforts, EPA has streamlined paperwork to save the regulated community more than 20 million hours in reporting requirements. At the same time, the Agency has pioneered new programs like the Common Sense Initiative and Project XL, which involve working with various stakeholders to find better ways to protect public health and the environment at less cost.

EPA Water Program Gets New Manager

Fox served as Chief of Staff for the Agency’s Office of Water and as a Special Assistant to Administrator Browner from 1993 to 1995, when he became Assistant Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Department of the Environment, with responsibilities for air and water pollution control, wetlands protection, waste management and mining. Fox has served on the boards of directors of several environmental organizations. He is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Committee Recommends Changes To Clean Water Act TMDL Program

A Federal Advisory Committee on the Clean Water Act’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, has sent a report to EPA’s Administrator with 170 recommendations for improving the program.

Committee Recommends Changes To Clean Water Act TMDL Program

The recommendations suggest new policy directions in some areas, while endorsing approaches consistent with current practice in other areas. EPA is in the process of developing proposed revisions to existing TMDL regulations and guidance, and as part of the process will consider the committee’s recommendations.

Committee Recommends Changes To Clean Water Act TMDL Program

According to the committee, to achieve water quality standards the TMDL development/implementation planning process must produce seven components: 1) target identification; 2) identification of needed pollution reduction; 3) source identification; 4) allocation of pollution loads; 5) an implementation plan; 6) monitoring and evaluation; and 7) procedures for any needed revision based on evaluation.

Committee Recommends Changes To Clean Water Act TMDL Program

The committee felt that restoring impaired waters must be a high priority for all responsible agencies and sources, and that implementing TMDLs is the key to program success. Stakeholder involvement in the program development and communicating with the public are important steps toward a successful program, committee members said in their report.

Committee Recommends Changes To Clean Water Act TMDL Program

A copy of a fact sheet and the full report is available on the Internet at: http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/advisory.html, or by calling EPA’s Watershed Branch at 202-260-7074.

EPA Proposes Revisions To Class V Well Regulations

EPA has proposed revisions to the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Regulations for Class V Wells, which are typically shallow disposal systems used to place a variety of fluids below the land surface, into or above underground sources of drinking water.

EPA Proposes Revisions To Class V Well Regulations

EPA’s proposal expands upon regulatory requirements that prohibit the endangerment of underground sources of drinking water and requires Class V well owners and operators to submit basic inventory information. The proposal covers wells in Source Water Protection Areas (SWPA) because waste disposal wells in these areas pose the greatest risk to public health.

EPA Proposes Revisions To Class V Well Regulations

Under the proposal, new large-capacity cesspools associated with the wells would be prohibited and existing cesspools would be phased out over 5 years. Industrial waste disposal wells would be prohibited from exceeding drinking water standards or other health-based limits at the point of injection. Also, motor vehicle waste disposal wells would be banned completely or would be prohibited from exceeding drinking water standards or other health-based limits at the point of injection.

EPA Settles Lawsuits Over WET Testing

EPA has agreed to conduct more research on whole effluent toxicity (WET) test methods as part of a settlement designed to end a lawsuit with the Western Coalition of Arid States (WestCAS) and Edison Electric Institute (EEI).

EPA Settles Lawsuits Over WET Testing

EPA still strongly supports the standardized WET test procedures, but agency officials felt the complex problems associated with the test procedures should be addressed by scientists, rather than courts, a spokesman said.

EPA Settles Lawsuits Over WET Testing

The settlement agreement consists of three major components: multi-laboratory evaluation of 12 WET toxicity tests; development of guidance for NPDES permit writers describing how to take analytic variability associated with WET testing into account, and minor clarifications to recommendations and requirements included in the WET test methods manuals.

EPA Settles Lawsuits Over WET Testing

After evaluation of the results of the multi-laboratory testing (and other relevant information), the Agency will propose either to ratify or withdraw each of the WET test methods. In addition, the Agency may later propose modifications to improve any of the WET methods.

EPA Settles Lawsuits Over WET Testing

The WET test methods initially promulgated by the Agency in 1995 will remain in full force until further testing is completed, an EPA spokesman said.

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