Utilities, EPA Discuss Great Lakes CSO Notification Requirements

five(March 27, 2018) - NACWA hosted a conference call March 22 with Great Lakes utilities and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff to discuss public notification requirements for combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into the Great Lakes, as prescribed in a final rule published by the EPA on January 8.  The rule requires utilities to develop a notification plan, to provide public notification of CSOs within four hours of “becoming aware” of the discharge, to submit supplemental notification within seven days, and to provide an annual report with information about all CSOs.  EPA provided an overview of these requirements during the conference call, then utilities asked questions about implementation of the rule. 

EPA was required by Congress to develop this rule, and NACWA successfully pushed back on an initial Senate proposal that would have required elimination of CSO discharges.  NACWA also communicated with EPA throughout the rule-development process, ensuring that the practical concerns of utilities were considered by the Agency. 

The Association will continue to work with Great Lakes utilities while the utilities develop their notification plans and begin public notifications later this year.  Any members with questions about the rule should contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA Director of Regulatory Affairs.