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Water

EPA Water Study May Spur New Investment In Power Generation Following Blackout

A planned EPA study on backup power sources at sewage treatment facilities may lead large facilities to build expensive power generators, because many plants lost power due to their non-reliance on onsite generators during August's blackout, according to a water office source. Such investments could add millions of dollars in new costs to water facilities at a time when they are struggling to fund existing infrastructure needs.

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Small Water Systems Fear New Security Requirements From EPA

Small drinking water suppliers fear EPA will create new requirements for water systems that must conduct vulnerability assessments under the bioterrorism act, even though the law's accompanying conference report states that the statute does not provide that authority. The concerns arose after the agency told small systems that EPA had developed a set of six assessment review criteria, after the agency rejected assessments some small systems had completed and submitted to EPA for review.

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EPA Retreats On Expansive Trading Scheme For Water Toxins

EPA officials are backing off a far-reaching water trading idea that would have scrapped specific discharge limits for individual dischargers and instead allowed broader flexibility to determine how to bring polluted water bodies into compliance with environmental standards. But EPA -- which is considering a pollution trading scheme as part of its rule overhauling the agency's impaired waters program -- may, however, move ahead with a provision that would reduce the agency's oversight on individual trades.

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States Urge Congress To Allow Funding To Combat Stormwater Runoff Pollution

New England state water officials are calling on their congressional delegations to ensure that existing federal funds designated for runoff pollution programs can be used to address federally mandated stormwater requirements. This push comes even as EPA's Office of General Counsel (OGC) is considering whether the runoff and other nonpoint source program funding can be used to help finance regulatory stormwater efforts.

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EPA Region Proposes Unique Lead, Copper Treatment For Drinking Water

EPA Region V is proposing a unique treatment for lead and copper pollution in small drinking water systems without employing chemicals whose use is mandated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), in an effort to reduce costs and the need for technical expertise.

Regional officials say the effort will keep drinking water safe and dangerous chemicals from being misused by small systems that may not have the technical expertise to properly use them. Some sources say the proposal could be duplicated elsewhere with similar benefits.

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Major Overhaul Sought Of EPA Water Quality Strategy

Several groups -- including environmentalists and municipal officials -- are seeking substantive and conflicting changes to EPA's draft plans for a broad, long-term strategy for the agency's water quality program. The draft plan, floated in May, outlines the direction of the program through 2008, with the goal of providing significant new guidance, program clarifications and increased communications with stakeholders.

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Senate Staff Talks May Provide New Impetus For Water Funding Bill

Despite long-standing stakeholder skepticism, congressional sources say prospects for Senate passage of a major water-infrastructure funding bill remain alive as environment committee staff this week continued meetings aimed at finding compromise on contentious issues that divided lawmakers when the panel approved a bill last May.

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EPA To Move Forward With Controversial Watershed Rule

EPA has decided in favor of proposing a controversial watershed rule that would significantly revamp the Clean Water Act's impaired waters program, according to municipal, state and industry sources close to agency deliberations. EPA's decision follows a period of indecision in which environmentalists lobbied the agency to drop the watershed rule, while states, wastewater treatment officials and industry groups urged the agency to forge ahead with the plan.

Sources say that it is still unclear what regulatory language will be included in the proposed rule.

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West Virginia High Court Backs EPA Right To Set Water TMDLs

The West Virginia Supreme Court has overturned a state circuit decision that upheld the state's authority to review and even reject controversial water standards set by EPA, referred to as total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).

Industry lawyers had praised the circuit court decision, saying that it may have implications in other states where EPA is developing TMDLs. These sources explain that other states may challenge EPA's TMDLs in court, and although the West Virginia decision is not binding on other state courts, judges may look to this case for guidance.

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Bush EPA Reverses Clinton Administration Decision On Impaired Waters Listings

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Reversing a Clinton administration decision, the Bush administration is supporting a Florida rule that requires the state to impose fewer regulatory controls over discharges into impaired water bodies.

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