Oct 31, 2011

U.S. Mayors Welcome EPA's Guidance to Support Clean Water Goals

Policy addresses EPA enforcement actions on wet weather overflows

U.S. Mayors Welcome EPA's Guidance to Support Clean Water Goals

The nation's mayors have thanked U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Bob Perciaseppe for unveiling the new integrated planning policy at the 2011 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Water Summit in Washington, D.C.

The new policy directly addresses many concerns raised by mayors involving EPA enforcement actions on wet weather overflows involving wastewater utilities and combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows (CSO/SSO).

"The EPA has been a strong partner for cities regarding storm water management, and this policy created through collaboration with USCM will guide cities as we strive to create sustainable, healthy and efficient systems," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, vice president of the USCM. "Through this partnership, federal, state and municipal governments will more effectively manage the immediate and long-term effects of storm water in our communities throughout the nation."

Over the past year, EPA officials listened to local government concerns, conducted an internal review of the consent negotiation process and determined that the process could be improved by simultaneously considering how to best focus local investment to get superior environmental protection results.

EPA issued the new policy using a guidance memorandum to their regional offices, titled "Achieving Water Quality Through Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Plans."

The USCM requested the EPA issue such guidance in a report entitled "Local Government Recommendations to Increase CSO/SSO Flexibility in Achieving Clean Water Goals," which was sent to the EPA on Oct. 28, 2010.

The EPA has responded with a policy framework that provides the flexibility local governments need to continue progress in the clean water vision for America but prevents relaxation of water quality standards and goals.