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Aug. 25, 2016 Mapistry

EPA's 2017 Priorities Include Industrial Water

EPA's 2017 Priorities Include Industrial Water

Every three years, the US EPA selects National Enforcement Initiatives (NEIs) that are their priority for enforcement, especially around non-compliance and mitigating environmental impacts. This year, Keeping Industrial Pollutants Out of the Water is one of the two NEIs selected. They specifically call out food processing, chemical production, mining, and metal manufacturing as sectors of particular concern. Industrial pollutants in water are regulated through the Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which includes industrial stormwater and industrial wastewater permits.

The food industry is squarely in their sights as evident by several multi-million dollar settlements recently for industrial wastewater discharges. In addition, we have seen an uptick in food processors being targeted via citizen lawsuits under the CWA in California for stormwater violations.

For both industrial wastewater and stormwater dischargers, the paperwork battle often determines if you win or lose the fight. This is because enforcement over missed annual reports and inspections can lead to more scrutiny from regulators and environmental groups.

Some steps you can take as a facility:

  • Know your inspection and sampling requirements
  • Don't just collect and submit samples - REVIEW THE D$%# DATA!
  • Know and meet deadlines = stay organized
  • ASK FOR HELP!