EPA Releases Final Effluent Guidelines Plan
(May 9, 2018) - EPA announced the availability of the Final 2016 Effluent Guidelines Program (ELG) Plan on May 2, with the complete Plan now available on EPA's website. EPA stated in the ELG Plan that the Agency will be studying the management of wastewater from both conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction wastewater. The study will be a holistic look at the management of this wastewater, given water scarcity in some regions; projections of increased oil and gas extraction; changes in wastewater treatment technologies; and potential constraints on some management practices (e.g., earthquakes that are possibly caused by underground injection).
EPA also announced in the Plan that it will be conducting a review of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to determine if effluent guidelines are needed for industrial categories. A cross-industry review of nutrient discharges is also planned to identify industries with a potential to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges. These industries will be prioritized for further review or study to determine if ELGs need to be developed or revised. After completing its review of the Electrical & Electronic Components (E&EC) category, EPA decided to conduct a detailed study of this category. The E&EC industry has changed significantly since the ELG was promulgated, and EPA noted in the plan concerns from NACWA members about discharges of ammonia, nitrogen, fluoride, and copper.
The 2016 ELG Plan will be a topic of discussion during the “National Pretreatment Program Update” session at the NACWA Pretreatment & Pollution Prevention Workshop on May 16-18. NACWA’s Pretreatment & Pollution Prevention Committee will continue providing input to EPA on the studies the Agency is pursuing. For more information about the 2016 ELG Plan, please contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA Director of Regulatory Affairs.