Legislation is now on the books to strengthen an Environmental Protection Agency program letting localities tailor their plans for complying with wastewater and sewer overflow permits under the Clean Water Act.
The measure, which President Trump signed on Jan. 14, codifies a 2012 EPA framework for integrated planning, allowing local water agencies to develop plans to gain permits for activities such as combined sewer overflows, sewer collection systems' management, operations and maintenance and stormwater or wastewater discharges. [View text of new legislation here.]
The integrated plans can include water reclamation, recycling, reuse or “green infrastructure.”
Final congressional approval of the legislation, the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, came on Dec.22, when the Senate passed it. The House had cleared the legislation on Dec. 19.
The new statute also establishes a “municipal ombudsman” within the EPA administrator’s office to help municipalities with Clean Water Act compliance and to let them know about the integrated planning options they have.