July 30, 2019

In New Letter, Chair DeFazio Demands Information from EPA Administrator About Trump Administration Effort to Allow More Untreated Sewage Into Local Rivers and Waterways

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) officially requested that the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler, provide records and analysis linked to the Trump administration’s effort to potentially allow sewage treatment plants to bypass legally required wastewater treatment and instead discharge inadequately treated sewage into waterways, through a process known as “blending.”

In the letter to Administrator Wheeler, Chair DeFazio urged a renewed focus on providing Federal resources to help communities carry out effective sewage treatment infrastructure upgrades rather than allowing more sewage into the environment. Chairman DeFazio is the lead sponsor of a bipartisan bill in Congress (H.R. 1497, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act) that would significantly increase Federal investment in our Nation’s wastewater infrastructure.

Chair DeFazio also questioned the lack of information about the Trump administration’s proposal to circumvent legally required treatment, writing, “I am concerned that EPA is moving forward on this proposal with insufficient evidence to justify changing Clean Water Act regulations.”

Allowing untreated or partially treated wastewater into oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams poses a significant risk to public health and the health of the environment. It’s also a significant disruption to the recreation economy. As the EPA’s most recent Beach Report shows, 38 percent of all coastal beaches that were monitored in 2018 had at least one advisory or closure during the 2018 season, and earlier this month, the State of Mississippi was forced to close 25 recreational beaches along its Gulf Coast due to a toxic algae bloom.

To read the full letter, click here.