April 23, 1999
AMSA Weighs In on National Wet Weather Policies
AMSA has been heavily involved in advancing the Association's wet weather goals this week. AMSA representatives and EPA discussed recent developments in national sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) policy, and the Association also actively participated in an EPA combined sewer overflow (CSO) meeting held in Philadelphia, Pa. At the same time, AMSA was coordinating the finishing touches on the Urban Wet Weather Watershed Act of 1999 with other clean water stakeholders.
In a discussion this week with AMSA representatives, Mike Cook, Director of EPA's Office of Wastewater Management, outlined the Agency's current approach to developing a consistent national framework to regulating SSOs. Cook indicated that the Agency is drafting detailed regulatory language in a series of five issue papers that are under consideration at the EPA Regions. EPA headquarters and Regions plan to meet April 28-29 to come to final agreement on a set of SSO regulatory issues outlined in the papers, which will form the basis of a regulatory package for Federal Advisory Committee discussions scheduled for the end of July. The draft regulations will address the following SSO issues: 1) defining requirements for adequate operations and maintenance; 2) reporting and public notification; 3) a general prohibition on SSOs (with a description of circumstances where EPA will not take enforcement action); 4) excess flow treatment facilities; and, 5) approaches to controlling satellite collection systems. AMSA urged EPA to retain flexibility in permitting wet weather treatment facilities and to ensure that satellite collection systems are subject to Federally-enforceable requirements. EPA and AMSA also shared a concern regarding the additional information collection requirements that may be imposed as part of a national SSO approach. EPA solicited suggestions from AMSA on alternatives to streamline this process.
EPA Solicits Municipalities On CSO Policy Implementation
At the April 21 meeting in Philadelphia, EPA, AMSA and other stakeholders discussed the impediments to long-term CSO planning as they relate to water quality standards. The meeting was the first in a series of three regional meetings EPA is holding on the issue. Discussions will assist EPA in its process of developing a guidance document to facilitate the conduct of water quality and designated use reviews for CSO receiving waters. Participants identified several problems that prevent states from adjusting CSO receiving waters' designated uses including: state resources, politics, EPA enforcement office resistance and public perception. Participants also provided recommendations on how these hurdles may be overcome. Similar meetings are planned for Boston on May 6 and Chicago on May 14.
AMSA May Meeting Deadline Nears . . . The April 30 hotel deadline for AMSA's National Environmental Policy Forum & 29th Annual Meeting is rapidly approaching. Make your reservations today before all the rooms are gone. For additional information on the meeting see April's Clean Water News, visit AMSA's web site at www.amsa-cleanwater.org or contact the National Office at 202/833-AMSA.