EPA Plans to Increase Chemicals to be Monitored in CWA Permits

In response to a report of its Inspector General (IG), EPA has announced plans to require wastewater treatment plants to monitor additional chemical pollutants and notify regulators when limits are exceeded. Issued September 29, the final IG report, entitled “More Action is Needed to Protect Water Resources From Unmonitored Hazardous Chemicals”, identified a gap in monitoring and reporting on over 300 chemicals that would be considered hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), but are exempted from regulation because they are discharged to wastewater treatment plants. However, most publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) do not monitor for those hazardous substances, because they are not on the list of priority pollutants. The IG found that some agency and state environmental staff erroneously believe that discharge permits cannot control or require monitoring of chemicals if they are not on the list of CWA priority pollutants. In response, EPA’s Office of Water has agreed to a number of steps to be taken by September 30, 2015. Among other steps, EPA will coordinate with EPA regions to develop a list of suggested chemicals beyond the 126 CWA priority pollutants for possible inclusion in NPDES permits and will assist permit writers and pretreatment program personnel in using Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data to identify hazardous chemicals sent to POTWs.

For more information on the management of wastewater and hazardous wastes, contact Steve O’Day or Phillip Hoover.

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