AMSA, Municipal Groups Send Letter to EPA in Support of Blending Policy

Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - January 14, 2004

For Immediate Release: January 14, 2004
Contact: Chris Hornback, 202/833-9106, AMSA

AMSA, Municipal Groups Send Letter to EPA in Support of Blending Policy
Today a broad coalition of national and municipal organizations wrote to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA or Agency) Administrator, Michael Leavitt, offering their broad support for the Agency’s November 7, 2003 blending policy. The organizations supporting EPA’s clarification of its long-standing policy that blending is an acceptable method of addressing peak wet weather flows at publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) include the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Towns and Townships, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA), and over 20 other key municipal organizations.

The coalition letter comes in response to environmental activist efforts that are mischaracterizing EPA’s blending policy as an “environmental rollback” in an attempt to further criticize the Administration’s environmental record.

Contrary to activist reports, blended effluent fully meets Clean Water Act permit requirements. Blending protects public utility infrastructure, and prevents the release of untreated sewage into the environment and sewer backups into homes and businesses. In fact, a final blending policy will increase permitting consistency and make more information publicly available – far from a rollback. A final policy also will recognize that already scarce public resources must be used to support meaningful, environmentally beneficial water protection efforts at the local level.

Blending involves mixing partially treated and fully treated effluent during peak wet weather flows, when heavy rain or snow melt exceed the capacity of a wastewater treatment plant. Blending has been an accepted, environmentally sound, practice used by the nation’s POTWs for over 30 years as a component of their wet weather management strategies to ensure that these excess flows receive the greatest treatment possible under extreme wet weather conditions.

A final national policy affirming this critical practice is essential to the communities across the country that use blending to provide treatment for unpredictable, exceptionally heavy precipitation and prevent the discharge of untreated sewage.

AMSA is a national trade association representing hundreds of the nation's publicly owned wastewater treatment utilities. AMSA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. AMSA members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's waters and public health.

1816 Jefferson Place, Washington, DC 20036-2505 • 202.833.AMSA • 202.833.4657 FAX