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Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Plan for 2010


Fact Sheet; October 2009

EPA has published in the Federal Register, and is requesting comment on, a preliminary plan for reviewing effluent guidelines, which are regulations that improve water quality by controlling discharges from industrial sources.

Background on the Effluent Guidelines Plans

EPA publishes a final Effluent Guidelines Plan every even year as is required by Section 304(m) of the Clean Water Act. Prior to publishing the final Plan, EPA must publish a preliminary Plan and take public comment.

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Background on Effluent Guidelines

Effluent guidelines are national regulations that control the discharge of pollutants 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 -- from manufacturing, agricultural, 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; and
  • degrade aquatic ecosystems.

EPA has already issued effluent guidelines for 56 industries. These regulations have prevented the discharge of more than 700 billion pounds of pollutants each year.

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Summary of Plan

This notice first presents EPA’s 2009 review of its existing effluent guidelines. Second, it presents EPA’s evaluation of indirect dischargers without effluent guidelines to identify potential new categories for standards. Third this notice presents the preliminary 2010 effluent guidelines program plan as required under CWA section 304(m).

EPA used its 2009 annual review of existing effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards to identify the Steam Electric Power Generating category for an effluent guidelines rulemaking. EPA made this selection in part due to the potential hazard to human health and the environment by the industry’s toxic and non-conventional pollutant discharges.

This notice also provides a status update on three studies supporting the Agency’s review of effluent guidelines: Coalbed Methane Extraction, Unused Pharmaceutical Management in the Health Care Industry, and Ore Mining and Dressing. Finally, this notice also discusses plans for conducting the 2010 annual review of existing effluent guidelines. The current schedule is to publish the final 2010 Plan in the Federal Register in October 2010.

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Further Information

For additional information concerning this action, you can contact Mr. Carey A. Johnston at (202) 566-1014 at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., or you can send an e-mail to johnston.carey@epa.gov. You can view or download the complete text of the Federal Register notice on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/guide/304m/.

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