attempt to block EPA from adopting sewage rule
By Bruce Geiselman
Published March 7th, 2005
March 7 -- Four Congressmen introduced a bill March 3 that
would block federal regulators from adopting guidelines
specifically allowing wastewater plant operators to blend
and discharge partially treated sewage with fully treated
sewage during periods of unusually heavy rain or snowmelt.
Reps. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; Mark Steven Kirk, R-Ill.; Frank
Pallone Jr., D-N.J.; and E. Clay Shaw Jr., R-Fla., introduced
the legislation one week after 135 bipartisan members of
Congress sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Stephen Johnson asking the agency to abandon
Stupak expressed concern about future outbreaks of waterborne
illnesses if the blending rule goes into effect. "Billions
of gallons of human waste are dumped into our Great Lakes
and other water resources each year," Stupak said.
"This sort of outbreak can happen again if we don´t
act now to prevent the EPA from rolling back our clean
Kirk said a rule legitimizing the dumping of partially
treated sewage into the Great Lakes would result in more
While the congressmen and environmentalists contend that
the rule change would endanger the environment and public
health, proponents, including the Association of Metropolitan
Sewerage Agencies, say the opposite is true.
Blending effluent, which already takes place, meets Clean
Water Act permit requirements and protects the public
health, according to the association. The new guidance
would clarify the federal government´s policy, according
to the sewerage association.
Blending effluent prevents a sewer system from "washout,"
a condition in which the sewer system is overwhelmed by
volume and untreated sewage is released, according to
the association. Blending protects the nation´s
waterways, according to the association.
While environmentalists and the sewerage association
disagree on the sewage blending proposal, they agree that
the federal government should increase funding to help
communities upgrade their wastewater treatment plants
in order to handle greater volumes during periods of heavy
rain or snowmelt.
Contact Waste News government affairs editor Bruce Geiselman
at (330) 865-6172 or firstname.lastname@example.org