Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2009 - (Page 33)

Regulatory Update BY ED THOMAS, NRWA FRWA Leads the Charge on Challenging TMDL and Nutrient Loading – On behalf of the Florida wastewater utilities, Florida Rural Water Association (FRWA) has fi led a Notice of Intent to sue the U.S. EPA if they implement stringent numeric based nutrient loading criteria that would overturn the state’s ongoing efforts to establish a science-based approach. FRWA Executive Director Gary Williams indicated that the primary reason for the EPA enforcement was being made because of a lawsuit by environmental groups. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been working on setting limits based upon water quality data and science, however if the environmentalist lawsuit had been fi led against the DEP, it would have just delayed the process, therefore the suit was brought against EPA in anticipation that they would implement stringent nutrient loading levels. To avoid litigation, EPA in fact decided to implement unachievable levels for small utilities. The small utilities lack the economies of scale to install unaffordable cutting edge treatment technologies. NRWA has been actively calling for committees in Congress to hold a hearing on alternative approaches to enforce TMDLs that would allow POTWs the opportunity to present an alternative plan to reduce nonpoint sources of pollutants into a water body. Congress established the TMDL program to allow POTWs to appeal their load allocations. We believe the law should be changed to allow POTWs to implement solutions that are more effective and more protective of the environment. We have been actively pursuing a community to implement a water quality trading program, but it has not been made available in most parts of the country and it has proven to not been an option that is embraced or easily implemented. The problem is there’s no practical place to go for an appeal for a TMDL. Preparing for H1N1 Influenza – Much effort has gone into preparing the nation for an influenza pandemic. The federal government is currently prioritizing who will be the fi rst to receive vaccinations should a pandemic become a reality, however, there are some very simple commonsense measures that utilities can consider during the flu season (the one-page Rural Water summary has been included in this edition — see page 34). The Center for Disease Control has also developed a small business guidance document that provides more detail. The guide can be downloaded at www.flu. gov/professional/business/smallbiz.html. Chemical Security Regulations – The U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have negotiated a drinking water and wastewater security/chemical security policy position and have presented their plan to the U.S. Congress. The plan calls for all water and wastewater utilities to conduct risk based vulnerability assessments, evaluate inherently safer technologies (e.g. switching from gaseous chlorine to other disinfectants) and gives the federal government review/approval authority of both measures. The joint “policy” endorses the following regulatory approach: 1. All water and wastewater utilities serving more than 3,300 people will have to complete a vulnerability assessment using a risk based approach (e.g. RAMCAP compliant), complete site security plans, and plans/actions/ timeframes to implement security procedures. The EPA will have fi nal review authority and will approve/ disapprove all plans. 2. All water and wastewater utilities serving more than 3,300 people will also have to go through the Chemical Facility Antiterrorism evaluation process. DHS will be responsible for enforcing, collecting and placing utilities in one of four risk-based tiers. EPA in concert with the state primacy agency will make the fi nal tier placement determinations. a. All tier 1 and 2 utilities will have to submit a plan for switching to an inherently safer technology (i.e. switching from gas chlorine to another disinfectant). Facilities who do not implement IST will be subject to review and approval/ disapproval by EPA. b. All tier 3 and 4 utilities will complete an IST evaluation and EPA will provide recommendations to the utility if they should switch to an IST. c. DHS and EPA will jointly develop mandatory implementation timeframes for tier 1 and 2 facilities to switch to IST. In general, we believe most small and rural utilities will fall into the tier 3 and 4 designations and will NOT be required to switch from gaseous chlorine to Fourth Quarter 2009 • 33

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2009

Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2009
From the President
Who's Telling Your Story?
Marketing Water and the Unsung Heroes of the Industry
Public Relations: Getting Along With "Aunt" Mildred
Effective PR…Even in a Downturn Economy
Regulatory Update
H20-XPO Wrap-Up
2009 Awards of Excellence
Rural Water Rally
Index to Advertisers
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2009