Broad Municipal Coalition Urges EPA to Finalize Blending Guidance

Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - January 24, 2005

For Immediate Release: January 24, 2005
Contact: Adam Krantz: 202/833-4651, AMSA

Broad Municipal Coalition Urges EPA to Finalize Blending Guidance
A broad coalition of over 20 national and state organizations representing municipal interests, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Towns and Townships and AMSA, joined together to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) to finalize its November 7, 2003 blending policy (see attached coalition letter, PDF).

The coalition letter comes in response to mischaracterizations of EPA’s blending policy. Contrary to such mischaracterizations, which often tout the policy as an “environmental rollback”, blending has been an accepted, environmentally sound, practice used by the nation’s public treatment utilities for over 30 years. Municipalities use blending as a component of their wet weather management strategies to ensure that excess flows from heavy rains and snowmelt receive the greatest treatment possible under extreme wet weather conditions.

Blended effluent fully meets Clean Water Act permit requirements, protects public utility infrastructure from “washout”, 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.

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

Also attached is AMSA’s Fact-Fiction one-pager (PDF). This one-pager is intended to set the record straight on the need for blending and the environmental and public health safeguards that this long-standing practice provides.

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