NACWA - National Association of Clean Water Agencies

AMSA Delivers ‘Action Plan’ for Sewer Overflow Control to EPA

Untitled Document The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) forwarded a letter and accompanying Action Plan, attached, to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water, Benjamin Grumbles, recommending necessary Agency steps to help ensure continued progress is made with regard to combined and sanitary sewer overflow control (CSOs and SSOs). The Action Plan comes in response to EPA’s August 2004 Report to Congress on the Impacts and Controls of CSOs and SSOs, and highlights key facts from the Report while recommending next steps to further control CSOs and SSOs.

As the Action Plan discusses in greater detail, key facts contained in EPA’s report include: 1) the percentage of CSO long-term control plans that have been submitted to permitting authorities has increased from 34 to 59 percent since EPA’s last Report to Congress in 2001; 2) $6 billion has been spent by municipalities as of 2002 to control CSOs; 3) the annual CSO volume is approximately 850 billion gallons, down from over 1 trillion gallons prior to the implementation of EPA’s CSO Control Policy; 4) the number of CSO events has dropped from approximately 60,000, to around 43,000, or a reduction of 28 percent since the issuance of the CSO Control Policy; 5) EPA estimates that the annual volume of SSOs is between 3 and 10 billion gallons – a remarkable two orders of magnitude smaller than the 311 billion gallons per year figure it had estimated when developing the draft SSO Rule; and 6) an estimated $88 billion and $50.6 billion is needed over the next 20 years to control SSOs and CSOs, respectively, showing a need for increased funding via a meaningful federal-state-local partnership.

Ken Kirk, Executive Director of AMSA, said the report demonstrates that “clean water facilities have done an outstanding job in reducing sewer overflows. As the action plan recommended, it is imperative that EPA develop a flexible SSO policy that incorporates watershed planning principles and allows communities to direct resources to those areas that will best improve public health and the environment.”

AMSA will distribute its Action Plan to all members of Congress in the coming weeks to ensure that sound wet weather policies remain a national priority. The Association also looks forward to working with EPA and Congress on these critical issues.

AMSA is a national trade association representing hundreds of the nation’s publicly owned wastewater treatment utilities. AMSA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. AMSA members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation’s waters and public health.

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