Category: Wastewater

GAO Recommends Significant Changes for EPA to Reach NPDES Compliance Goal

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that almost 11,000 facilities exceeded their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitted wastewater discharge limits and illegally discharged wastewater pollutants in 2018. “EPA has a goal to reduce by half significant noncompliance with individual NPDES permits by the end of FY 2022,” according to the GAO. “But the […]

Wastewater Tanks

Water Infrastructure: WIFIA and the Challenges Facing Aging Systems

The EPA announced $6.5 billion in new funding for water infrastructure projects on April 27, 2021. $5.5 billion is being made available in this round of funding under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, with another $1 billion in funding for the state infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program.

Wastewater treatment, water infrastructure

COVID-19: Enviro Managers and Water Departments Urge Public Not to Flush Wipes

Environmental protection has not proven to be a significant issue as the world grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One unexpected positive development is an improvement in air quality. At some point in the future, agencies, advocacy groups, and industrial organizations will likely make some use of data from satellite imagery showing less air pollution […]

Water discharge

EPA’s Postponement of CWA Deadlines for Energy Companies Found Legal

With the Utility Water Act Group (UWAG) at its side, the EPA successfully defended itself against allegations by environmental groups that its postponement of several deadlines in its 2015 Effluent Limitations Guidelines [ELGs] and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category (2015 Rule) violated both the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Administrative […]

EPA Affirms ‘Zero Discharge’ Rule for Unconventional O&G Facilities

After acquiring new information, the EPA has decided not to revise its June 28, 2016, Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category. That action finalized pretreatment standards for unconventional oil and gas (UOG) facilities based in part on the Agency’s understanding that no such facilities in the country […]

Wastewater treatment, water infrastructure

SPCC and Oil/Water Separators (OWSs) at Wastewater Treatment Facilities

The EPA’s SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors (Guidance) notes that the applicability of the Agency’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations (40 CFR Part 112) to oil/water separators (OWSs) depends on the “intended use of the OWS.” One intended use that exempts an OWS from the SPCC program is wastewater treatment. The exemption means […]

CWA Discharge Dispute Headed to Supreme Court

Opposing opinions by three U.S. appeals courts (two issued by the same circuit on the same day) have led to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to address the core Clean Water Act (CWA) question—Is a point source discharging pollutants to navigable water via a groundwater pathway the functional equivalent of a direct discharge […]

Wastewater Tanks

EPA Looking for Input on Potential POTW Diversion Rule

Back in April 2018, ex-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the Agency intended to begin rulemaking “to provide certainty surrounding the use of ‘blending’ by wastewater treatment plants.” The EPA has now scheduled three meetings to receive public input on how blending might be permitted to account for infiltration and inflow (I/I) into separate sanitary sewers. […]

States Take the Lead in Finding Uses for Produced Water

The EPA and several departments of the state of New Mexico recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) under which the parties will explore the opportunities, benefits, cost, and risks of making further use of wastewater from oil and gas (O&G) operations in the state. O&G wastewater, more commonly called produced water, is defined in […]

Ocean sunset

NPDES Permitting Required for Indirect Discharge, Rules 9th Circuit

The EPA recently published a request for public comment on whether pollutant discharges into groundwater that has a hydrologic connection to waters of the United States (WOTUS) are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation (February 20, 2018, FR). The CWA contains no cut-and-dried language that clarifies this issue, an absence that over the years […]