The Environmental Protection Agency announced on March 29, 2023 new proposed wastewater discharge standards to reduce discharges of toxic metals and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants. Steam electric power plants use heat to create steam that produces electricity. These plants use large amounts of water – approximately 133 billion gallons a day. This water is drawn from rivers, lakes, and estuaries. The plants use this water for various processes including cooling and generating steam. Over the last thirty years, new technologies have been developed …Continue Reading
EPA Seeks Input From the Slaughterhouse to Reduce Nutrients in Discharged Wastewater
On Jan. 18, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it is seeking input regarding the development of Meat and Poultry Products (“MPP”) Effluent Limitations Guidelines Rulemaking Revision.
As part of this process the EPA seeks to put together a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel. The EPA is looking to gather comments and suggestions from small entity representatives. Changes to these rules would, per the EPA, impact at least some of the thousands of meat and poultry facilities throughout the United States. The goal of the EPA in implementing …Continue Reading
EPA Taps Public for Comment on Water Reuse Plans
Water scarcity is a growing concern for the EPA, as discussed in depth in its National Water Reuse Action Plan issued this week.
The plan outlines ways that the EPA can work with state and local governments to promote water reuse and support research into new technologies. Due to various pressures, 80 percent of U.S. states anticipate water shortages in some parts of their states in the next decade. Over the past several decades, agriculture, industry, and communities have faced water crises and responded through …Continue Reading
Regulatory Alert: EPA Publishes Draft Risk Evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and HBCD
Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued controversial draft risk evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD), two of 10 chemicals subject to scrutiny under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which amended the TSCA in 2016, the EPA is required to publish information regarding “hazards, exposures, conditions of use and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations,” regarding the enumerated chemicals. These risk evaluations are open for public comment for …Continue Reading
PFAS Contamination Map Underscores Widespread Pollution
In conjunction with the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute of Northeastern University, the non-profit watchdog organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) published last week an updated version of their interactive map documenting alleged sites of PFAS contamination in the United States. It purports to chart 610 locations in 43 states that have reported known contamination with PFAS chemicals, potentially affecting the drinking water of approximately 19 million people. A prior version of the map issued in July 2018 documented only 172 contaminated sites in 40 …Continue Reading
New Mexico Joins the PFAS Fight with Major Enforcement Action
We recently reported that the lately-inaugurated governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, has taken a strong stance on environmental issues, including oil and gas development. Now, the state has taken further steps to enforce its contamination laws and improve the state’s environmental profile. Last week, the State of New Mexico filed suit against the United States based on PFOS and PFOA contamination originating at two Air Force bases — Cannon Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico and Holloman Air Force Base in southern …Continue Reading
Coal Ash Alert: Report From Environmental Groups Claim 9 out of 10 Coal Ash Ponds Cause Groundwater Contamination
A collection of environmental groups have released a report claiming that the vast majority of coal ash ponds in the United States have leaked toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater. The report, based on monitoring data released by 250 power plants, found that 91 percent of the nation’s coal-fired power plants reported elevated levels of at least one contaminant such as arsenic, lithium, chromium and other pollutants in nearby groundwater. The report also claims a majority of the plants reported having unsafe levels of at least …Continue Reading
Florida Governor Takes on the Environment
Environmental remediation work is about to pick up steam in Florida. In his first major policy act, recently inaugurated Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a broad executive order last Thursday aimed at tackling numerous water and environmental issues confronting the state. DeSantis, who was inaugurated on January 8, took office facing a number of environmental crises, including unprecedented levels of the red tide bacteria that killed wildlife and closed beaches along the Gulf of Mexico last year; toxic blue-green algae that has choked the St. …Continue Reading
Fracking Wastewater Does Not Meet Definition of “Toxic” Under Pennsylvania Law, Appellate Court Says
Pennsylvania’s appellate courts continue to be active in shaping the state’s laws surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Recently, in Protect PT v. Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board and Apex Energy (PA) LLC, the Commonwealth Court affirmed a zoning board’s decision permitting a natural gas company to store large quantities of wastewater from fracking operations at and around multiple drilling sites because it did not meet the definition of “toxic” material, as set forth under local ordinance, among other reasons.
In this decision involving multiple special exception …Continue Reading
Tall Drink of Wastewater: EPA Considers Permitting Wastewater Disposal Into Texas Rivers and Streams
For every barrel of oil drilled in Texas, four-to-five barrels of wastewater are produced. The abundance of untreated water has led the EPA to consider whether to permit oil drillers in Texas to discharge wastewater directly into local rivers and streams, avoiding the complicated and costly process of trucking the water to underground wells that may be many miles away. If put into effect, this plan would alter established federal clean water regulations that have been in place for decades.
Currently, drillers pump wastewater, a …Continue Reading