In this month's regulations update, an Ohio barge company faces fines from the EPA for Clean Water Act violations, and Alberta will be providing training on new standards for onsite professionals.
All holders of an Alberta Private Sewage Certificate of Competency must complete a training course covering the province’s updated regulations. The Private Sewage Systems Standard of Practice 2015 went into effect in January. Certified onsite professionals must update their training by March 31, 2017. About 1,200 people will require the training. The Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association will be providing a number of courses on the new standards across the province.
Obama vetoes proposed legislation to block EPA revisions
A Congressional attempt to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s revisions to the Clean Water Act has failed. President Barack Obama vetoed proposed House legislation to block the law. The Senate had passed its version of the bill in November. The EPA is still not enforcing the Clean Water Act changes because a federal court blocked the law in 2015 while the courts continue to review challenges to the revisions. The EPA has said the changes clarify the law and apply it to fewer bodies of water than before, while opponents claim they expand the agency’s power beyond what is allowed by the Clean Water Act. The votes in both houses were far short of the two-thirds required to override the veto, 53-44 in the Senate and 253-166 in the House.
New York residents may be eligible for reimbursement of updated septic systems
Residents of the watershed serving New York City who replaced or repaired septic systems in 2015 may be eligible for reimbursement for some of the cost. The Catskill Watershed Corporation had offered funding assistance last year, but only to those homes in priority areas close to bodies of water. Because the funding is still available, the group is now accepting applications from those who could not get assistance last year. Permanent residents of the watershed west of the Hudson River can get up to 100 percent of the cost covered, while part-time residents are eligible for reimbursement of up to 60 percent. The assistance program last year funded 276 septic system repairs and replacements, and aided in paying for 224 systems being pumped and inspected.
Ohio barge company fined by EPA for Clean Water Act violations
A barge company is facing about $20 million in fines for illegally dumping sewage and wastewater into the Ohio River over seven years. The U.S. EPA alleges more than 550 violations and seeks up to $37,500 per case in a complaint against American Commercial Lines and a subsidiary, ACBL Transportation Services. A company spokesman says the discharges were related to two malfunctioning sanitation units and were self-reported when discovered. The complaint, filed under the Clean Water Act, claims the company discharged sewage and wastewater from two office septic systems, a marine sanitation device and a barge-cleaning operation from 2007 to 2014, exceeding permit limits for BOD, TSS, total residual chlorine and fecal coliform. The fecal coliform limits were exceeded on more than 50 occasions with levels nine times or higher than allowed, and were 100 times over the limit in at least 16 cases, the complaint claims. During one reporting period in 2009, the EPA reports chlorine was more than 700 times higher than allowed.
Virginia to review regulations governing onsite installers and operators
The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation is reviewing licensing requirements for onsite soil evaluators, onsite system installers and onsite system operators. The regulations have not been reviewed since 2009. According to the board’s notice, the routine review is to make sure the regulations reflect current laws, procedures and policies, and to correct any errors. Meanwhile, the state Department of Health is reviewing its regulations for alternative onsite sewage systems. Both are periodic reviews and the agencies have invited public comments and suggested changes.
New standards in Nova Scotia will require only notification for approved onsite installations
Effective May 1, most onsite sewage system installations will require only a notification to Nova Scotia Environment rather than approval. To qualify, the system must meet the province’s new On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems Standard. A professional engineer or “qualified person” must determine the best type of system and location, and inspect and certify the proper installation by a certified installer. The homeowner has the legal requirement to have an adequate system and must maintain it in working condition. The owner is also required to notify NSE of any malfunctions or release of untreated or partially treated sewage to the environment.