EPA releases new Clean Water Act framework

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new framework to help local governments meet their Clean Water Act obligations.

The Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework will help EPA regional offices, states and local governments develop voluntary storm and wastewater management plans, according to the EPA.

Boatyards and marinas frequently grapple with storm and wastewater regulations.

The EPA’s framework outlines new flexibility to pursue innovative, cost-saving solutions, such as green infrastructure, and will help communities as they develop plans that prioritize their investments in storm and waste water infrastructure.

The framework also highlights the importance of controlling and managing releases of storm and wastewater into the nation’s waters. When wastewater systems, many of which are aging, overflow they can release untreated sewage and other pollutants into local waterways.

These overflows can carry a variety of harmful pollutants that can threaten communities’ water quality, including bacteria, metals and nutrients, and can contribute to disease outbreaks, beach and shellfish bed closings, and fishing or swimming advisories.

Stormwater discharges can also contain many of these pollutants, and municipalities are often faced with difficult choices about how to direct their funds to solve the most critical problems first.

In developing the framework, the EPA worked in close coordination with stakeholders that include publicly owned treatment works, state water permitting authorities, local governments and non-profit environmental groups.

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