The proposed Drinking Water Disinfection Requirements Rule was published in the PA Bulletin on February 20, 2016 with a 60-day comment period which ended April 19, 2016).
Below are links to the proposed rule:
PA Bulletin PDF
Changes to disinfection requirements at both the entry point and within the distribution system are being proposed. Water suppliers will be required to maintain a residual that is equal to or greater than 0.20 mg/L at the entry point. Currently, levels of 0.15 mg/L or higher round up to 0.2 mg/L, therefore, a minimum of 0.20 mg/L will be required. Also, the proposed rulemaking requires a regulatory limit of 0.2 mg/L (free or total chlorine) in the distribution system.
In addition, the proposed rule includes minor changes to the Stage 2 Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts Rule, Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Lead and Copper Rule Short-Term Revisions to obtain or maintain primacy.
You can read more by visiting DEP's dedicated proposed disinfection requirements rule web page.
Background on Disinfection Residual Requirement in the distribution system
DEP’s advisory committee, the Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Center Board (TAC) presented their concerns on a number of provisions. One in particular was the proposed limit of 0.2 mg/L (free or total chlorine) in the distribution system. Concerns noted were whether or not the new level was necessary given no public health threat and with no public health benefit, no cost/ benefit analysis, additional O&M and BMPs, and increased compliance costs. The TAC Board voted on and made the recommendation to change the proposed minimum required disinfectant residual in the distribution system to 0.1 mg/L for both free and total chlorine, 95% of the time.
Additional discussions centered on taste and odor complaints due to enhanced chlorine levels, and the need for system wide elevations of chlorine levels when many of the identified water-borne problems have been premise-specific.
PMAA's submitted comments on the proposed DDR.
Additional information regarding the TAC Board’s comments on the proposed rule can be viewed here.
Scroll down to "Proposed Rulemaking: Disinfection Requirements Rule (25 Pa. Code Chapter 109)" section located under November 17 Meetings/Agendas/Minutes/Handouts.
EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL
EPA released the final Chesapeake Bay TMDL on December 31, 2010 as promised. This will set the so-called “pollution diet” for the Bay from all point and non-point sources in the 6-state (plus Washington, D.C.) Bay drainage area. The TMDL contained good news for impacted PA sewage treatment plants.
EPA removed their proposed backstops of 3 mg/l TN and 0.1 mg/l TP for sewage treatment plants (that had appeared in an earlier version of the TMDL), keeping in place the current reduction limits of 6 mg/l TN and 0.8 mg/l TP. These backstops were to provide additional reductions from sewage treatment plants to cover the anticipated lack of reductions from non-point sources. DEP pushed EPA hard to honor the original numbers PMAA had negotiated in 2007. The PA backstop now deals with concerted efforts to achieve reductions from the stormwater sector.
Chesapeake Bay Update
A number of national and state agricultural interests have appealed the right of EPA to develop a TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay. Their suit essentially claims that federal law does not give EPA the power to set a TMDL, to identify specific sources for reduction, to set reduction figures or a timeline for compliance. They argue EPA has overstepped their legal bounds, that the law only gives EPA oversight after a state has adopted a TMDL, and therefore that EPA should be ordered to rescind their TMDL. The National Home Builders Association recently filed a similar lawsuit which is now combined with the original American Farm Bureau Federation lawsuit.
Several environmental organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, have entered the case as intervenors arguing EPA does have the authority to develop a TMDL and set limits. Wastewater associations in Virginia and Maryland have now entered as intervenors. In June 2011 PMAA also filed a motion and brief to be an intervenor.
This October the Court ruled in favor of EPA, upholding their right to establish a Bay TMDL. The American Farm Bureau Federation and other plaintiffs have now appealed this outcome to the 3rd District Court.
Development of Environmental Regulations in Pennsylvania
Municipal authorities, as well as other units of local government, are subject to numerous regulations, which form the basis for a wide variety of permitting, record-keeping and reporting, compliance monitoring and assessment and, in some cases, enforcement activities. Most of these activities center on environmental and public health protection.
All regulations must be reviewed and approved, both as proposed and final rule making, by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) which normally meets monthly.
Prior to developing or revising a regulation, DEP programs typically discuss such changes with one or more Advisory Committees. PMAA has member representatives on several of DEP’s Advisory Committees.
The entire process by which any DEP regulation is proposed, reviewed and finalized is quite lengthy and complex and is governed by the PA Regulatory Review Act. It is not unusual for this process to take up to two years. The Regulatory Process flowchart outlines the procedure.
On-line access to all state environmental regulations is available at PA Code Online and are listed as various Articles and Chapters under Title 25: Environmental Protection. On-line access to all state environmental regulations being proposed are available at PA Bulletin.
Proposed Regulations Open For Comment (DEP)
Proposed Regulations With Closed Comment Periods – (DEP)
While Pennsylvania’s environmental regulations are numerous and complex, DEP has found it necessary to further clarify the intent of many regulations through development of supplemental technical guidance documents. Like regulations, development of a technical guidance generally involves going through a public participation process (including use of advisory committees).
Technical guidance documents