Infrastructure, Public Works, Us Politics, Water Pollution, Sewers Sewage, Epa

Infrastructure, Public Works

E.P.A. Is Letting Cities Dump More Raw Sewage Into Rivers for Years to Come

The agency is allowing cities to delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems.

24.1.2020

The Trump administration has quietly made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or change previously mandated upgrades to their sewer systems.

The agency is allowing cities to delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems.

mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. The latest rollback came on Jan. 23, when the E.P.A. reversed a 2015 rule that protected more than half the nation’s wetlands and hundreds of thousands of small waterways. That includes seasonal streams that flow only for part of the year, and wetlands that aren’t next to large bodies of water. Farmers and property developers will now be able to release pesticides, fertilizers and other pollutants directly into many of those waterways, as well as destroy or fill in wetlands for construction projects. Asked to comment on the E.P.A.’s increased willingness to let cities keep releasing sewage, Michael Abboud, a spokesman for the E.P.A., said in a statement that the agency “has consistently stated that it hopes to achieve full compliance” with the law. “We will continue to work collaboratively with our local partners to ensure that protecting human health and the environment remains the top priority.” Modern federal rules outlaw the release of raw sewage. But older cities across the Northeast and Midwest have older sewer systems designed to carry sewage and rainwater in the same pipes. When rain overwhelms those systems, untreated sewage gets released into local waterways. Climate change has worsened the problem, causing systems to overflow more often. Starting in the 1990s, the E.P.A., along with the Department of Justice, began entering agreements that let cities like these avoid fines by committing to detailed plans for reducing or eliminating the overflows. Those agreements, called consent decrees and approved by judges, impose rigid timelines for the work. Under past administrations, the E.P.A. would sometimes let cities modify these deals, according to Cynthia Giles, who led the agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance under President Obama. But the bar was high, she said, citing the example of a major unforeseen disaster that made timely compliance too difficult. “A consent decree is not the opening bid of a negotiation,” said Ms. Giles, who is now a guest fellow at Harvard Law School. “It’s a legally binding commitment that is ordered by a federal court.” The tunnel being dug beneath Washington shows the scale of the efforts required to comply with the federal rules. The city, otherwise reliant on a sewer system that dates as far back as the 1870s, began work a decade ago. Ten stories below Washington, at the end of a two-mile ride on a cramped construction train through a vast tunnel, workers paused recently to explain the mechanics of a 300-foot-long digging machine grinding through the earth. The digger, a dust-covered tangle of conveyor belts, hoses and thrust cylinders, chews through 60 feet of earth a day. When this section of tunnel is done sometime in 2023, it will be a five-mile-long, 23-foot-diameter tube, built to hold up to 90 million gallons of raw sewage that Washington’s increasingly overwhelmed drains would otherwise have to release into the Anacostia River when it rains too hard. It is one of the largest public-works projects in the nation’s capital since its subway system was built 50 years ago. Versions of the tunnel are planned or underway in cities nationwide. Their cost — Washington alone expects to spend $2.7 billion on three tunnels and related infrastructure, funded through higher water bills — has prompted complaints that, among other things, the higher water bills impose a particular burden on low-income people and retirees. In the Trump administration, the cities have found a sympathetic ear. In the administration’s first three years, the E.P.A. has renegotiated about a dozen consent decrees with cities that use combined-sewage systems, according to Adam Krantz, chief executive of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, a trade group that represents water utilities. That’s almost as many as the 17 that he said the Obama administration renegotiated during eight years in office. Mr. Krantz said he believed about half of the cities with federal agreements for combined-sewage systems were at some stage in the process of renegotiating the agreements. He praised what he called the Trump administration’s “more flexible approach toward regulatory and enforcement oversight.” Water utilities “are environmentalists and public stewards,” Mr. Krantz said. “To the extent more time or flexibility is requested on a given consent decree, it is because it is needed to attain compliance” with the terms of that agreement. Mr. Calamita, the lawyer who represents cities seeking to renegotiate, said the administration’s position reflected a series of separate policy shifts. For more climate news sign up for Read more: The New York Times

ShareTheRiver Sewage under the CWA only has tobe 50% treared for its pollution depleting oxygen and does not have to be treated for its fertilizer (nutrient) impact. Not because Congress intended, but because of a faulty applied test. No change since 1981. everyday_crisis Expensive short cut. Sewage will end up on beach of Mar a Lago. Guaranteed.

nytclimate It’s like we have comic book villains running the country... Soon, DDT will be mandatory for school lunches. Makes sense. After all, the Trump administration IS raw sewage. In DC the EPA is the worst. They let the Anacostia River rot right in their own back yard. pollution AnacostiaRrkper councilofdc

Or you could say we switched races...onward we go to the bottom. EPA EPAAWheeler absolutely disgusting! he'd think differently if the sewage exit pipe was next to his precious maralago Is anyone surprised? is destroying us ecosystem at it's maximum and it seems that nobody cares about, what a shame...

Hooray for Trump, more shit into the rivers.

Andy Byford Resigns as New York City’s Subway ChiefThe head of New York City Transit, Andy Byford, has resigned 2 years after he was brought in to fix the subways. He and Governor Andrew Cuomo repeatedly clashed over dueling visions for the future of the system. abcnews Tell everyone how much electricity your electric trains harvest! 😋🐉🐥 Might I make a suggestion for his next gig? Lucky you. He made a mess of OUR transit(subway) in Toronto, which under his watch has been named the WORST in North America. You don't know how lucky you are. Praise God he resigned.

Save your 2millon on a wall from a storm and fix your city. It’s a problem that’s been going on for many years. Not a Trump problem empoweringpollutersavarice What a great leader he is, giving us “forever chemicals!” And he tells other countries how clean our air & water are! WOW...Trump Admin helping out Democrat cities to do bad things...😳

Shame on all of them. The swamp inhabitants of the WH just trying to make America an actual swamp in the name of corporate profits! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬 Who's opinion? Sigh..can we just cut the bullshit.. The Trump administration has consistently rolled back ANY environmental protections and promoted business and industrial development.. its who he is !

GlennKesslerWP We’ve secretly been working on the sewage diverter valves since January 2017.

China Holds Back Some Ships from Calling at WuhanChina has started holding back some ships from calling at the city of Wuhan, a major trade hub on the Yangtze River, as the country seeks to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus It's already in the US. Seems like it's too late

Killing us to own the libs. What The Hell!!!!! How long before it comes out that he's funneling money to the Nestle CEO who wants to privatize water? Making cholera great again. Death by parasites to own the libs. But wait! Wasn’t trump’s administration supposed to help the “Real Americans” of working and rural folk and not the big city elitists? 🤔

That's some SocialFlow alright. GlennKesslerWP Dying of amoebic dysentery to own the libs Wow! They're going to let cities dump Rudy Giuliani and Devin Nunes into rivers? The idea of spending dollars to provide a cleaner and safer environment for citizens does not resonate with a man who worships money. If he could get away with it, the EPA would be gone. As soon as the Republicans complete their coronation, he may do just that.

Finn Wolfhard's 9-Year-Old Co-Star Had No Idea Who One Direction Is And I Suddenly Feel AncientI, A 26-Year-Old, Am Freaking Out At Finn Wolfhard, A 17-Year-Old, Reacting To His Co-Star, A 9-Year-Old, Not Knowing Who One Direction Is ikr 😂 fwolfhardupdate I know right 😳 fwolfhardupdate How does one not know who One Direction is?🤣🤷🏻‍♀️

Utterly horrifying Cities have long complained about the cost of meeting federal requirements to upgrade sewer systems, many of which release untreated waste into waterways during heavy rains — a problem that climate change worsens. These complaints gained traction with the Trump administration.

Juice WRLD Died of Accidental Drug OverdoseThe medical examiner's announcement comes several weeks after the 21-year-old rapper, whose given name was Jarad Anthony Higgins, went into convulsions at Midway International Airport on Dec. 8. Drugs are awful, doing them will only lead to your doom. So young, such a shame.

The Iconic ’90s Shoulder Bags Gets a Modern Update for 2020The bag beloved by it-girls and street style stars comes in playful iterations and new shapes for a new year. Shop our favorites here. Pussycat Dolls are BACK with their comeback single 'React' out 2/7 How am I supposed to wear such a high slung shoulder bag with my oversized chunky wool sweaters?

Vanessa Hudgens Shows Off New Sunflower Torso Tattoo 'to Conclude Our Thirsty Thursday'Vanessa Hudgens' new tattoo comes a little over a week after PEOPLE confirmed that she and actor Austin Butler had called it quits after over 8 years of dating

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