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Water

CONGRESS BOOSTS RESEARCH FUNDS FOR DEAD ZONES IN COASTAL WATER

Congress has reauthorized and expanded a 1998 statute aimed at predicting and preventing low oxygen "dead zones" in coastal waters, including the Great Lakes. Passage of the bill, S.3014, comes as EPA and other agencies are currently seeking funds to study the cause of low oxygen levels, or hypoxia, in the Gulf of Mexico.

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TRANSPORTATION BILL FOCUS COULD DELAY ACTION ON WATER FINANCING BILL

Congress' focus on passing a surface transportation bill in the early part of the 109th Congress will likely delay efforts to pass water infrastructure funding legislation in the upcoming year, water industry consultants and congressional sources say.

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INDUSTRY: HOUSE BILL TO STOP EPA BLENDING GUIDE MAY HAVE LIMITED EFFECT

House legislation that seeks to bar EPA from allowing publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) to "blend" treated and untreated wastewater may not achieve its goals, wastewater treatment officials say, because the bill bans a similar yet distinct process that is already forbidden under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The bill was introduced in the final days of the 108th Congress but is expected to be introduced again next year.

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TMDL RULING PRESERVES POTWS' FLEXIBILITY IN MEETING CSO REQUIREMENTS

A recent federal court ruling upholding EPA flexibility in setting annual, rather than daily, discharge limits for impaired waters appears likely to preserve wastewater dischargers' ability to comply with combined sewer overflow (CSO) and other wet weather requirements that allow for daily discharge spikes, EPA and wastewater industry attorneys say.

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EPA SIDESTEPS DATA ISSUE IN ADDING IMPAIRED WATERS TO ARIZONA'S LIST

EPA is continuing its approach of bypassing criticism of controversial state data standards that environmentalists say limit the addition of impaired waters to state lists even though a federal appeals court recently faulted the agency's review of Florida's impaired waters list.

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LANDMARK MONTANA PACT REQUIRES EPA STUDY FOR DELISTED WATERS

EPA and Montana environmentalists have signed a landmark agreement requiring the agency for the first time to ensure that waters a state removes from its impaired waters list have been properly assessed and are no longer impaired.

Environmentalists around the country have long argued that many states avoid the resource-intensive process of developing pollutant caps -- called total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) -- for impaired waters by simply removing them from their impaired waters lists without demonstrating that the removals are warranted.

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DEFENSE DEPT. READIES STUDIES SHOWING RANGE OF PERCHLORATE SOURCES

The Defense Department is preparing to start funding a series of studies aimed at identifying the growing range of non-military sources of perchlorate, which could help limit the military's cleanup liability of the ubiquitous contaminant but might also lead to the need for additional treatment of wastewater from a host of industrial processes.

Some researchers are also working to distinguish between manmade and naturally occurring forms of the widespread groundwater contaminant, and to understand how the chemical forms under natural conditions.

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EPA DEADLINE PROMPTS STATE FEARS OVER NUTRIENT WATER QUALITY CRITERIA

With EPA facing a looming deadline, state water officials are concerned that EPA may step in and promulgate nutrient water quality criteria for states that may lead to overly stringent water quality standards.

However, an EPA official says agency officials are generally "feeling pretty good about where states are" in developing their own nutrient criteria, although the source warns that some states "have done nothing" to develop their own criteria.

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EPA CHALLENGES APPELLATE RULING OVERTURNING REMINING RULE

EPA is challenging an appellate ruling that required the agency to develop new Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations for water discharged from so-called remining operations on the grounds that the recent decision conflicts with Supreme Court and other rulings in the same appellate circuit.

Remining refers to additional mining that occurs at abandoned mines or previously mined sites.

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CONTEMPT MOTION ILLUSTRATES CONFUSION OVER MOUNTAINTOP MINING RULING

Recent efforts by environmentalists to hold the Army Corps of Engineers in contempt for failing to halt mountaintop mining in parts of West Virginia illustrates the confusion over implementing a landmark district court decision that froze the Corps permit program for the practice and sought to halt as many as 73 projects.

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