EPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe announced during the National Association of Clean Water Agencies' (NACWA) National Environmental Policy Forum on April 20 that EPA expects to propose by late spring or early summer a policy that would address overflows from sanitary sewer systems. The new policy will look at previous proposals on the topic, and consider what has been learned since that time, said Perciasepe. In the absence of a policy for controlling sanitary sewer overflows, EPA may make an announcement soon on moving forward with some sort of [sanitary sewer overflow] policy and has indicated a preference to address the issue of blending under the broader sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) policy. NACWA has threatened to petition EPA to establish a consistent policy on how sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and collection systems are treated due to concerns that EPA will view every overflow as illegal and in violation of the Clean Water Act. Perciasepe also stated during the forum that EPA is evaluating how to integrate wet weather issues, including stormwater, and is looking at stormwater “more holistically.”
The WEF Government Affairs Committee, working with other appropriate WEF Committees, has drafted a position statement on Management of Wet Weather Flows by Municipal Utilities. This position statement builds on WEF’s “Guide to Managing Peak Wet Weather Flows in Municipal Wastewater Collection and Treatment Systems” and WEF/NACWA’s “Core Attributes of Effectively Managed Collection Systems.” The WEF Board of Trustees will be considering this position statement during their April 30 meeting.