Environmental News: Media CenterMain page | Archive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Nancy Stoner, 202-289-2394; Elliott Negin, 202-289-2405
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at email@example.com or see our contact page.
NRDC Applauds New EPA Proposal to Control Raw Sewage Discharges
Group Says New Rules Would Protect the Health of All Americans
WASHINGTON (January 5, 2001) - NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) applauded EPAís proposed regulations to control sewer overflows, saying it would protect the health of all Americans. The regulations, announced by EPA today, are based on recommendations from a federal advisory group that included a representative from NRDC.
"If finalized and enforced, these proposed regulations would prevent raw sewage from contaminating our nationís beaches, lakes and streams and jeopardizing public health," says Nancy Stoner, director of the Clean Water Project at NRDC.
Sanitary sewers are designed to carry wastes to sewage treatment plants, but when overloaded, inadequately maintained or obstructed, they dump raw sewage into basements, streets and waterways. Sanitary sewer overflows, which contain bacteria and viruses, fecal matter, untreated industrial wastes, and excessive phosphorous and nitrogen, cause fish kills, gastrointestinal illnesses, beach closings and shellfish bed closures. Raw sewage backups also contaminate streets and basements as well as rivers and streams, and particularly threaten childrenís health.
The proposed rules would not allow untreated sewage discharges into waterways except in cases where there is an unavoidable bypass. They would clarify how municipalities should prevent overflows (by ensuring adequate sewer capacity and maintaining sewer condition, for example) and require that health agencies and the public be informed of potential health threats when an overflow occurs.
The proposal includes cost-effective approaches to controlling sewer overflows that reflects a consensus reached by the federal advisory committee. The committee rejected alternative proposals that would have allowed more discharges of untreated sewage on the grounds that they were inconsistent with the Clean Water Act and a potential threat to public health.
"The billions of dollars we spent in the 1970s and 1980s to build wastewater treatment plants is wasted when sewage never makes it to the treatment plant," says Stoner. "Thatís why NRDC supports regulatory controls that will eliminate raw sewage discharges in our streets, waterways and homes."
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 400,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Sign up for NRDC's online newsletter
NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs
- Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
- Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
- NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.