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Water

SUCCESS OF L.A. STORMWATER BOND MAY SPUR 2006 COPYCAT MEASURES

Voter approval of a $500-million bond to clean up stormwater in the city of Los Angeles is leading other major city and county officials to consider their own initiatives in the 2006 election. Also known as the Clean Water, Ocean, River, Beach, Bay Storm Water Clean-Up Bond, Measure O levies a $35-per-house tax on homeowners to increase funding for stormwater operations and maintenance.

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WRCB ASSERTS COURT REQUESTING UNNECESSARY STUDIES IN L.A. TMDL CASE

Alleging the court has asked the state to perform unnecessary evaluations, the water board has appealed a 2003 judgment in a lawsuit over a trash total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Los Angeles River. The allegedly unnecessary evaluations include an "assimilative capacity study" not required by law, and a cost-benefit analysis that takes into account the cost of monitoring and reporting, according to a water board lawyer's brief.

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STAKEHOLDERS DUBIOUS ABOUT WRCB PLAN TO PREVENT SEWER OVERFLOWS

Environmentalists and sewage agencies are wary for different reasons of a water board proposal mandating the reporting and prevention of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) statewide. The agencies complain the water board plan could double service rates and attract lawsuits, while environmentalists argue the plan may not go far enough to prevent overflows.

If an SSO resolution passes next week, Water Resources Control Board staffers will begin crafting a full-scale SSO regulatory proposal for consideration by November 2005, according to a WRCB staffer.

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EPA PUSHES SAN FRANCISCO WATER BOARD TO BEEF UP MERCURY TMDL

U.S. EPA officials have begun talks with the San Francisco Bay regional water board to beef up proposed mercury discharge requirements, based on claims the limits will not meet federal water quality standards. The regional board may not be able to meet short-term total maximum daily load (TMDL) goals and a long-term management strategy, according to EPA.

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Court Victory May Aid Citizen Enforcement Of Clean Water Act

A federal appeals court has for the first time clearly stated that environmental groups have standing to sue water dischargers to disclose monitoring and reporting data under the Clean Water Act. A ruling earlier this month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is "critically important" to the ability of environmentalists and other citizen groups to enforce the water act, an environmental attorney familiar with the case says, noting that the discharge permitting program is a self-monitoring system.

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Wastewater Industry Urges EPA To Consider Aquatic Life In Pesticide Reviews

The wastewater treatment industry is urging EPA to more carefully consider the aquatic life impacts of pesticides during their re-registration to ensure the compounds do not cause publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) to violate water quality standards for toxicity, industry sources say.

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RELEASE OF CALIFORNIA PERCHLORATE PLAN MAY HINDER INDUSTRY EFFORTS

The California health department's inadvertent posting of an internal draft drinking water standard for perchlorate could hinder industry efforts to weaken the 6-parts-per-billion (ppb) level set in the draft rule, environmentalists and a state water agency source say.

The department's draft standard is weaker than the 1-ppb standard EPA has suggested but is still significantly stricter than levels around 200 ppb the Defense Department (DOD) and some industry officials favor.

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NAVY RESEARCHERS CRITICIZE INTERSTATE CONTAMINATED SEDIMENTS GUIDE

The Navy is criticizing an interstate coalition's draft evaluation of methods for addressing contaminated sediments, arguing that the group is downplaying the use of monitored natural attenuation (MNA) to cleanup these sites.

The Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC), a national coalition of environmental agency personnel from 40 states, three federal agencies, tribes, activists and industry groups, is finalizing a draft guidance that lays out different options for addressing contaminated sediments.

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KEY DECISION MAY SLOW GOP SENATOR'S PUSH FOR CAFO EXEMPTIONS

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig is rethinking his legislative strategy for exempting concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from Superfund reporting requirements in light of a new federal appellate decision expected to vastly increase the number of agricultural facilities required to report hazardous emissions, Craig's staff says.

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POTWS URGE EPA TO DROP AIRPORT, DRINKING WATER EFFLUENT PLANS

NORFOLK -- Wastewater treatment industry officials are urging EPA not to move forward with plans to develop technology-based effluent limits for the airport de-icing and drinking water sectors, saying there are existing measures in place to control discharges from these sectors.

One industry official says publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) have adapted their treatment processes over the years to accommodate these wastes, using tools such as "local limits" under the pretreatment program to meet discharge limits.

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