The US administration announced this week that it is moving to tighten regulation of water quality. The new rules are likely to have greatest impact on those discharging directly or indirectly to the oceans or to major rivers and lakes. In the US jurisdiction over water quality is a major political issue.
The new US Environmental Protection Agency initiative is only one among many water quality initiatives that can be expected over the next five years. In Canada, within the next five years Gallon Letter expects provincial environment ministries to require additional pre-treatment of water before it is discharged to surface waters. Municipalities are toughening allowable discharges to sewers, in part to reduce treatment costs, in part to protect crumbling wastewater collection infrastructure, and in part to improve the quality of sludge and make it easier to dispose of it. Unfortunately, a willingness to accept environmentally undesirable industrial discharges may, in the short term, become a competitive factor among municipalities eager for industrial development.
Bearing in mind the priority now being given to water quality, we suggest it would be wise for companies expanding plants or building new facilities to incorporate as much movement towards zero discharge of contaminated wastewater as is economically viable within a ten year time frame.
for detail of the new US commitment visit http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/2AB54D0018C3478A8525787F005B91FD