EPA Announces Public Listening Sessions on Blending Rule
(September 4, 2018) - EPA announced in an August 31 Federal Register notice that it will hold three public listening sessions to gather input for the development of a proposed rule on peak wet weather flow blending. The listening sessions will be October 16 in Washington, DC, October 24 in Lenexa, KS, and October 30 online. The Agency will also be accepting written comments through October 31
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.
EPA is also holding an invitation-only Stakeholder Roundtable on September 13 in Washington, DC, to gather information from utilities, clean water professionals, states, environmental groups, and public health experts. NACWA will be represented at the Stakeholder Roundtable by seven of its public agency members.
NACWA will be working with its Blending Workgroup to develop written comments responding to the questions EPA lists in the Federal Register notice. The Association encourages its members to submit their own comments and to participate in the listening sessions. Please contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, if you plan to participate in any of the listening sessions or submit written comments.