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Effluent Guidelines: Preliminary 2008 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan

Fact Sheet; October 2007; EPA-821-F-07-004

EPA is publishing and requesting comment on a preliminary plan for reviewing effluent guidelines regulations that improve water quality by controlling discharges from industrial sources. Comments are due to EPA within 60 days of publication of the Federal Register Notice.

Specifically, EPA hopes to gather the following information for its review of industrial wastewater pollution:

  1. What toxic pollutants are discharged from industrial facilities in non-trivial amounts on an industry and per-facility basis?
  2. What raw material(s) or process(es) are the sources of these pollutants?
  3. What technologies or management practices are available (technically and economically) to control or prevent the generation and/or release of these pollutants.

Summary of the Federal Register Notice

This notice first presents EPA's 2007 review of existing effluent guidelines. Second, it presents EPA's evaluation of indirect dischargers without effluent guidelines to identify potential new industries that may need standards. Third this notice presents the preliminary 2008 effluent guidelines program plan.

The Federal Register notice presents the current status of studies—identified in the 2006 Plan—of the Steam Electric Power Generating, Coal Mining, Coalbed Methane, and Health Services industries that EPA will use to decide whether to revise or establish effluent guidelines.

It also presents an update on two preliminary category reviews also identified in the 2006 Plan. Because the Textile Mills category did not rank among the top toxic pollutant dischargers in the 2007 review, EPA will not pursue further action for this industry. However, due to data limitations, EPA will continue its review of the Ore Mining and Dressing category.

Finally, because the Agency needs more information to decide whether further study is warranted, the Agency will start reviews for two industries - Centralized Waste Treatment and Waste Combustors.

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Background on Effluent Guidelines Plan

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

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 to agricultural to 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 1.2 billion pounds of toxic pollutants each year.

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Further Information

For additional information concerning this action, you can contact EPA's Effluent Guidelines Plan program manager. You can view or download the complete text of the Federal Register notice on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/guide/plan.html.

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