USEPA to Update Wet Weather Regulations for Wastewater Treatment Plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recently announced it will reach out to States, local communities, and stakeholders as a new rulemaking process begins to provide certainty surrounding the use of “blending” by wastewater treatment plants.
Rain and snowmelt can take Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) offline when excess water enters the wastewater collection system and exceeds the POTW’s capacity to treat all incoming wastewater. POTWs often manage excess wet weather flow by routing some of the incoming water around the secondary (biological) treatment units and then “blending” it back in with secondary treatment effluent for disinfection prior to discharge. Blending allows operators to avoid a possible shutdown or damage to the treatment equipment.
The USEPA 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. USEPA will conduct robust stakeholder outreach during the coming months to gather critical input prior to issuing a proposed rulemaking.
“EPA is taking action on a new rule that will give municipalities much-needed clarity on blending at wastewater treatment plants,” said Scott Pruitt, USEPA Administrator. “We look forward to engaging with partners at the state and local levels as we work to design a rule that offers a common-sense approach to protecting public health and safely managing our nation’s wastewater.”