Water: Effluent Guidelines (304m)
Final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet; October 2011
EPA is publishing a plan and schedule for its industrial wastewater regulations under the Effluent Guidelines Program. These regulations will improve water quality by controlling pollutant discharges from existing and new industrial sources. The plan itself does not establish any new requirements for any businesses, but lays out EPA’s intended actions to do so over the next two years.
- Background on Effluent Guidelines Plans
- Background on Effluent Guidelines
- Summary of Plan
- Further Information
Background on Effluent Guidelines Plans
EPA publishes an Effluent Guidelines Program Plan (“Plan”) every other year. The Plan is required by Section 304(m) of the Clean Water Act. EPA last published a Plan in 2008. EPA published a preliminary 2010 Plan for public comment on December 28, 2009, and is now publishing the final 2010 Plan.
Background on Effluent Guidelines
Effluent guidelines are national regulations that control the discharge of pollutants from industry to surface waters and to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). Effluent guidelines are specific to an industry. EPA writes effluent guidelines for all types of industrial discharges, such as manufacturing, agriculture, and service industries.
The effluent guidelines program is one of EPA’s most successful environmental protection programs. Effluent guidelines have helped reverse the water quality degradation that accompanied industrialization in this country. These regulations reduce the discharge of pollutants that have serious environmental impacts, including pollutants that:
- kill or impair fish and other aquatic organisms;
- cause health problems through contaminated water, fish, or shellfish;
- degrade aquatic ecosystems; and
- bioaccumulate in fish, and potentially in humans.
EPA has already issued effluent guidelines for 57 industries. These regulations have prevented the discharge of more than 1.2 billion pounds of toxic pollutants each year.
Summary of Plan
EPA’s 2010 final Effluent Guidelines Program Plan presents the Agency’s decisions on what new actions to take for controlling discharges from industrial sources. In particular, EPA will develop effluent guidelines for discharge of wastewater from the Coalbed Methane Extraction (CBM) industry and will develop pretreatment requirements for discharges of mercury from the Dental industry, and for the discharges of wastewater from the Shale Gas Extraction (SGE) industry. These new effluent limitations guideline rulemakings will be added to EPA’s ongoing efforts to finalize a rule for Airport Deicing discharges and to develop a rule for the Steam Electric Power Generation industry.
EPA is also issuing the final detailed study report of the Coalbed Methane Extraction industry and a preliminary study report for the Ore Mining and Dressing industry; the Agency has determined that no further action is needed for this industry.
For additional information concerning this action, you can contact Mr. William F. Swietlik at (202) 566-1129 at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20460, or you can send an e-mail to email@example.com. You can view or download the complete text of the Federal Register notice on the Internet at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/304m/.