Activists, solicitous attorneys to influence future wastewater treatment enforcement
Aug 1, 2002 12:00 PM
PERMITTING for wastewater treatment has had some relevant developments that affect terminal and storage facilities, according to Robert Weaver of International Matex Tank Terminals, New Orleans, Louisiana.
“Activist groups, aided and abetted by solicitous attorneys, are often mobilized in public interest research groups who feast on what they can call lax enforcement activity from state oversight agencies, turning to the courts to win bounty money,” said Weaver. “Disgruntled employees may turn to federal (officials), seeking whistle-blower rewards even when there is an industry-state agreement on problem reconciliation.”
To gives ways to prepare for these challenges, Weaver discussed various wastewater treatment requirements. He noted that states usually require the timely filing of a notice to comply with the requirements of the general permit. Also required is the preparation of a monitoring program to include annual reporting of an analysis for a representative storm event discharge. Visual observations are required to detect specific chemicals. Terminals should also be prepared to file a formal report of any suspected above-threshold quantities of contaminant and oil, and maintain a stormwater pollution prevention plan that demonstrates how the compliance is being maintained.
Weaver pointed out that the Internet is a good tool for managers involved in wastewater control. The US Code site can be found at www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/index.html and the Federal Register site at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html.
“Generally speaking, wastewater treatment operations are easily managed,” he said. “In some states, officials require operators to have third-party certification at various levels, depending upon the complexity of the facility. This has much to do with responsible discharge of permit-related duties, such as monitoring and sampling of effluent, as much as with the operations themselves. It is fair to say that state-of-the-art water treatment facilities can be operated knowledgeably and reliably under a wide range of operating conditions.”
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