EPA Could Update Wet-Weather Regulations for WWTPs

EPA Could Update Wet-Weather Regulations for WWTPs

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will reach out to states, local communities and stakeholders as it begins a new rulemaking process to provide certainty surrounding the use of “blending” by wastewater treatment plants. 

“EPA is taking action on a new rule that will give municipalities much-needed clarity on blending at wastewater treatment plants,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We look forward to engaging with partners at the state and local levels as we work to design a rule that offers a commonsense approach to protecting public health and safely managing our nation’s wastewater.” 

Through this effort, the EPA seeks to provide regulatory clarity and certainty with respect to the use of blending so that facilities can optimize wastewater treatment during wet weather, which will protect both water quality and public health in the communities they serve, according to Pruitt.

The EPA will conduct robust stakeholder outreach during the coming months to gather critical input prior to issuing a proposed rulemaking.

Background

Rain and snowmelt can take wastewater treatment plants offline when excess water enters the wastewater collections system and exceeds the plant’s capacity to treat all incoming wastewater. The plants often manage excess wet weather flow by routing some of the incoming water around the secondary treatment units and then “blending” it back in with secondary treatment effluent for disinfection prior to discharge. Blending allows an operator to avoid a possible shutdown or damage to the water treatment plant.



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