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Overview of the Clean Water Act

Overview of the Clean Water Act

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Overview of the Clean Water Act

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  1. Prepared by: James Klang, P.E., Senior Project Engineer And Gwen Ryskamp, Intern Overview of the Clean Water Act Jim Klang, PE 536 E. Michigan Ave / Suite 300 Kalamazoo, MI 49007

  2. History of the Clean Water Act • 1972 -- US congress passed the Clean Water Act • Response to national concern: • 1968 Cuyahoga River, Ohio burns • Lake Erie was a “Dead Zone” • Eutrophic • 12 WWTPs discharged over 39,600 lbs/day of TP • Blue Green Algae • Low dissolved oxygen; fish kills • Toxic; wildlife killed • First Earth Day: April 22, 1970 Photo Credit: Time Magazine

  3. Clean Water Act: Regulated Clean Water Act (authors initial perspective): Address wastewater loading  solves most of the nation’s water quality problems • All waters protected (Beneficial Uses, standards) • Wastewater treatment facility permits • Secondary effluent limits (25 mg/l CBOD, 30 mg/l TSS) • Waste load studies set advanced treatment limits • Municipalities received financial assistance • Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements

  4. Clean Water Act: Unregulated • Certain nonpoint source pollutant reduction categories are voluntary • Provides for watershed plans • Provides nonpoint source (NPS) incentives • Section 319 Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.  • In the 1980s, Courts required TMDL be applied to NPS, in a voluntary context.

  5. Urban Voluntary Programs • Stormwater, small rural cities • Additional Funding: • Farm Bill • Section 319 • “Voluntary” sources can generate credits to sell, or buy credits Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS. 

  6. Urban Regulatory Programs • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits (NPDES): • Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities • Large city Phase I stormwater MS4s • Medium city Phase II stormwater MS4s • Construction stormwater • These permits address several Clean Water Act provisions (next slide) Photo courtesy of US EPA. 

  7. Urban Regulatory Programs(Continued) • Municipal wastewater permit effluent limits • Secondary treatment • Advanced treatment • Stormwater management plan programs • Effluent limits stated in Best Management Practices • Maximum Extent Practicable Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.  • TMDL studies set load allocations limits for both stormwater and wastewater • Stormwater permits bound by Maximum Extent Practicable can not generate credits to sell, but can buy

  8. Urban Regulatory Programs(Concluded) Permits provide for: • Waste load allocations (advanced treatment requirements) without TMDLs • Antidegradation (Federal) & Nondegradation (State) • Antibacksliding • Industrial Pretreatment Consideration of the compliance status of these CWA provisions helps determine the minimum baselines before water quality trading credits can be bought or sold

  9. Agricultural Voluntary Programs • Row cropping • Very small livestock feeding operations • Pasturing • Livestock exclusion from streams TMDL activities set load allocations;compliance met via education and incentive programs Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS. 

  10. Agricultural Regulatory Programs • Larger sized animal feeding operations • 1000 animals NPDES permit • Zero discharge from production lot • Manure land application set backs, nutrient management and incorporation requirements • Medium sized animal feeding • 50 to 999 (10 on shore land)  registration with RGU required • RGU decides if further requirements apply or local government permits required Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS. 

  11. Individual Septic Treatment Systems • Federal Court decided: • These are regulated sources • They must appear in the Waste Load allocation portion of the TMDLs • Granted zero allocations Therefore not eligible for water quality trading in Minnesota Double deck privy. Pennsylvania. Photo date between 1935 and 1942 Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, Reproduction number LC-USF344-007504-ZB DLC

  12. Regulator Support of Water Quality Credit Trading • EPA approved a Water Quality Trading Policy in 2003, since has provided more guidance • Farm Bill supports and promotes Ecosystem Service markets (includes water quality trading) • Water Quality Trading is the only program that can reallocate a TMDL without reopening it • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is currently promulgating rules on Water Quality Trading

  13. In Conclusion Water Quality Trading: • Works with the Clean Water Act as a foundation • Recognizes and uses the inequities in CWA regulatory requirements to your advantage • Adjusts allocations Without reopening a TMDL: • Assesses the minimum requirements of each sector • Not usable if trading causes or contributes to a water quality problem • Addresses only persistent parameters, not whole treatment • Targets high cost differences in pollutant load reductions • Creates cost savings for both parties; win-win • Uses legally binding agreements for non-permitted participants • Addresses multi-source contribution problems best

  14. Questions