Jan. 31, 2016 01:01

New E. coli Limits Triggers Lawsuit

The water and sewer utility for the District of Columbia, D.C. Water, recently filed suit against the EpA, alleging the agencies new E. coli limits for the region’s sewer treatment facility were incorrect. Their suit will be watched by sewer utilities and environmental groups alike.

The new limits are based on daily maximums, rather than an average taken across a 30 day period. Measuring by daily maximums means that treatment plants will be responsible for preventing E.coli spikes from storm surge overflows.

Amanda Waters, general counsel for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, is also monitoring the case closely. “We need to see how the EpA reacts to this lawsuit,” she said. “If they really defend this practice, it’s no longer a technical flaw. Then it appears to be a policy position, and then we will be concerned.”

The spokesman for D.C. Water, John lisle, defended their current treatment levels. “The plant’s treatment performance already meets or exceeds required water quality standards,” he said. “The revised requirement would not lead to measurable improvements to water quality.”

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