EPA to Hold Stakeholder Roundtable on Blending Rule

environmental_protection_agency-epa-logo-375x375NACWA will participate in EPA’s Stakeholder Roundtable on September 13 in Washington, DC, to gather input for the development of a proposed rule on peak wet weather flow blending.  The Association will be sending public agency members to participate in the invitation-only Roundtable.  Other groups represented will include the Water Environment Federation (WEF), environmental groups, states and tribes, and public health experts.  The three main topics of the meeting will be best operational practices for managing peak flows, public health concerns, and emerging technologies. 

EPA announced the rulemaking in April, during Water Week 2018, to provide certainty on the issue for clean water utilities.  Since the Agency’s previous attempts to provide clarity on blending were never finalized, the practice has been handled inconsistently across the country ever since.  EPA headquarters currently asserts that blending is an illegal bypass, and although the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit’s 2013 decision in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA struck down EPA’s attempt to regulate blending via requirements internal to the treatment plant, the Agency has applied this decision only within the Eighth Circuit. 

In addition to the Stakeholder Roundtable, EPA is also planning three listening sessions this fall.  More information about these listening sessions, along with a request for written comments, are expected to be published in the Federal Register soon.  The government’s Regulatory Agenda lists July 2019 as the target date for a proposal.

NACWA has formed a Blending Workgroup to help formulate the Association’s input and comments for the rule.   The Workgroup held an initial call last month, and its next call is scheduled for August 27, at 2:00 pm ET.  Additional NACWA members are welcome to join the Workgroup – please contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, if you would like to participate.