Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

EPA Proposes New Rules for Sanitary Sewer Overflows

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

EPA Proposes New Rules for Sanitary Sewer Overflows

Article excerpt

EPA Administrator Carol Browner signed proposed new regulations for sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) on January 4th that the agency estimates will cost local governments between $93.5 million and $126.5 million a year. The proposed regulations were developed over the past seven years in consultation with a Federal Advisory Committee which included former Chief Executive Officer Jack Lynch of Butte, Montana as NLC's representative.

EPA defines a sanitary sewer overflow as a "release of sewage from a collection system, including pipes, before it reaches a municipal wastewater treatment plant." The proposed rule is intended to direct municipal wastewater treatment plant operators in developing and/or improving capacity (of the wastewater treatment plants) assurance and adequate operation and maintenance protocols intended to significantly reduce or eliminate overflows of raw sewage into lakes, rivers, streams, public or private buildings or on to beaches.

The proposal will revise requirements to include immediate notification of public health and drinking water officials and the general public of health-threatening overflows.

Current law and regulations prohibit SSOs under any circumstances. EPA proposes to "provide communities with limited protection from enforcement in cases where overflows are caused by factors beyond their reasonable control or severe natural conditions, provided there are no feasible alternatives."

The natural conditions referred to include hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis; factors beyond the reasonable control of treatment plant operators include illegal disposal of items that block sewers mains, unanticipated unpreventable power outages. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.