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The Week Ahead

EPA Hosts First Hearing On Wastewater Rule; Officials Set To Speak At ABA Conference

EPA is holding the first of three planned public hearings this week on its pending rule expected to lift restrictions on wet-weather “blending” at wastewater treatment plants. Meanwhile, the American Bar Association's (ABA) environment section is hosting its fall conference, featuring top agency officials from the agency's water and waste offices disusing EPA's agenda.

Wastewater 'Blending'

The first scheduled hearing on EPA's planned rule to rework Clean Water Act (CWA) limits on wastewater treatment plans' use of “blending” to mix partially- and fully-treated effluent during heavy storms and other wet-weather events will take place Oct. 16 at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The rule is expected to loosen or end Obama-era restrictions on blending, following a 2013 court victory for industry that held such limits unlawful within the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit but was never applied outside those borders.

ABA Conference

ABA's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources will hold its fall meeting Oct. 17-20 in San Diego, CA. Speakers on the agenda include EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross, who will discuss the “deluge” of recent Clean Water Act (CWA) legal developments, and Steven Cook, deputy assistant administrator in the Office of Land and Emergency Management, slated to speak on the agency's Superfund reform agenda.

Vehicle Emissions

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee studying available fuel-efficiency technology for light-duty vehicles is meeting Oct. 15-16 in Ann Arbor, MI, The panel's eventual report will focus on a time frame of 2025-35, and could figure into the legal fight over the Trump administration's plan to freeze Obama-era vehicle emissions standards in model year 2020.

Environmental Justice

The Environmental Law Institute is hosting an Oct. 15 panel discussion on “Threats and Opportunities” for environmental justice efforts in the 21st Century. Speakers include Charles Lee, EPA's senior policy adviser for environmental justice.

Wastewater Reuse

EPA has scheduled an Oct. 17 webinar on the reuse of wastewater, including treated municipal waste, stormwater and other forms of “collected water,” for non-potable purposes like facility cooling or irrigation. The agency is currently working with states to study reuse of wastewater produced from oil and gas extraction.

Environmental Economics

EPA's environmental economics office is hosting an Oct. 16 lecture from Carnegie Mellon University professor Akshaya Jha on a study that links environmental regulations with changes in productivity from the power sector.


The International Pittsburgh Coal Conference is running Oct. 15-18 in Xuzhou, China. The conference is organized by the University of Pittsburgh and focuses on technical and policy issues for coal-fired power plants, including greenhouse gas controls in the United States and abroad.

Chlorinated Solvents

The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), which are joint projects between EPA, the Department of Defense and Department of Energy (DOE), will host an Oct. 18 webinar highlighting decision-making practices for site characterization and remediation at sites contaminated by chlorinated solvents.

Environmental Health

The Association for Environmental Health & Sciences' International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy runs Oct. 15-18 in Amherst, MA. Speakers on the agenda include EPA Region 1 Administrator Alexandra Dunn -- currently nominated to head the agency's toxics office -- as well as EPA scientists and an array of state regulators.

The National Environmental Health Association is hosting an Oct. 16 virtual conference on water safety in private drinking water systems.


EPA's Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board (ELAB) will meet by phone Oct. 17.

Nuclear Sites

Rod Rimando, head of technology development at the Department of Energy's environmental management (EM) office, will brief an NAS panel by webinar Oct. 19 on the EM program, which is responsible for cleaning up sites contaminated by nuclear waste.


EPA will host an Aug. 17 webinar through its SmartWay program, which is designed to make freight transportation more efficient in order to reduce its environmental impact. The webinar focuses on the program's Shipper Tool, which firms can use to calculate and report “the environmental efficiency and emissions of the freight supply chain.”