The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to clarify and expand permit requirements under the Clean Water Act for 19,000 municipal sanitary sewer systems to help reduce overflows.
The requirements will help communities improve their sewer systems by requiring them to develop and implement new capacity, management, operation, and maintenance programs and public notification systems. The requirements are expected to result in fewer overflows, leading to healthier communities, fewer beach closures, and fish and shellfish that are safer to eat.
EPA estimates at least 40,000 sanitary sewer overflows occur each year in the US, threatening drinking water sources and public health. The new requirements would mandate that the public be notified regarding the risk associated with the overflows and would require annual summaries of overflows be made available to the public.