News Brief

EPA to Modify Regulations on Sanitary Sewer Overflows

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson recently announced plans to mitigate environmental damage from sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). These overflows, which pose a variety of risks to public and environmental health, are caused when blockages, broken pipes, or excessive water hinder sanitary sewer flow, spewing untreated wastewater into waterways (see “Combined Sewer Overflow”).

EPA estimates that at least 40,000 SSOs occur each year, and is considering two potential changes to current regulations. These involve creating National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit conditions for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) seeking permits. EPA is also considering addressing peak wet weather flows at municipal wastewater treatment plant and POTWs.

The agency will coordinate public listening sessions and accept written comments on the potential rule until 60 days after publication on the Federal Register. For more information, visit EPA’s website.

Published June 21, 2010

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