EPA Announces Plans for Wastewater Regulations and Studies

EPA Sued Over Unregulated Water Pollution EPA Building in DC

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by | Jan 21, 2023

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released ‘Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15’ (Plan 15), which lays out how the Agency will work to protect the nation’s waterways by following science-based research and the Clean Water Act to develop technology-based pollution limits and studies on wastewater discharges from industrial sources. The plan is designed to help achieve EPA’s goals while taking into account current economic conditions.

Plan 15 is intended to evaluate the extent and nature of both nutrient and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) discharges from point sources. The EPA has committed in its Strategic Roadmap to restrict PFAS discharges from industrial sources through a multi-faceted Effluent Limitations Guidelines program.

“For 50 years, EPA has implemented the Clean Water Act to protect our nation’s waters that are essential to healthy communities. This Effluent Guidelines Program Plan represents a critical next step to tackle pollutants like PFAS and nutrients at the source before they can harm our health and the environment,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “With this action, EPA continues to demonstrate our commitment to using the best available data and treatment technologies to reduce harmful industrial pollutants.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that revised effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and pretreatment standards are warranted for reducing PFAS’ in leachate discharges from landfills.

New and expanded studies as part of today’s action, including:

  • an expansion of the ongoing study of PFAS discharges from textile manufacturers;
  • a new study of publicly owned treatment works (POTW) influents to characterize the PFAS concentrations from industrial dischargers to POTWs and inform the implementation of pretreatment programs to address them; and
  • a new study on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to make an informed, reasoned decision on whether to undertake rulemaking to revise the ELGs for CAFOs.

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania joined a list of other states in passing PFAS regulations for drinking water standards. In accordance with the Pennsylvania PFAS regulation, water companies and municipalities are required to monitor their water regularly for PFAS and to treat the water if they exceed the maximum permissible levels.

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