On March 14, 2019, U.S. Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced legislation to modernize National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) conditions to allow a permit term of up to 10 years. Currently, permit terms are limited to five years. The bill, H.R.1764, would amend § 402(b)(1)(B) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and allow delegated states administering the NPDES program or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discretion in this area. A copy of the legislation containing this proposed modification can be found HERE. Republican Congressmen Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rob Woodall (R-GA), and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) were among the bill’s initial cosponsors. After introduction, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The bill continues to gain cosponsors, including an additional three Democratic cosponsors from California.
In order to meet complex water quality needs, public wastewater systems (PWS) require innovative and modern approaches, which often require a substantial capital investment that comes with extended construction timelines well beyond the current five-year limit. Simply put, the complexity of the requirements is not in line with existing permit term limits. Further, the bill would reward PWSs that have demonstrated compliance by allowing them to forgo the unnecessary administrative burden of paperwork and data collection associated with permit reapplication. WWEMA joins a long list of other water and wastewater associations supporting this legislation. Included in that list are the Association of California Water Agencies, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, WateReuse Association, Water Environment Federation, and the National League of Cities. WWEMA drafted a separate letter in support of this legislation and sent it to Rep. Garamendi. A copy of the May 6, 2019 WWEMA letter can be found HERE.