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Environmental group sues EPA over delayed marine sanitation device standards update

May 06, 2014
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Environmental group Friends of the Earth has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Court documents state that the group wants to see the EPA held accountable for failing to update rules regarding discharges of treated sewage from marine vessels of all sizes that are equipped with a toilet on board.

The lawsuit was filed on April 30 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Friends of the Earth accuses the federal agency of ignoring a 2009 petition calling for an update of standards required under Section 312 of the U.S. Clean Water Act, Bloomberg BNA reported. The standards refer to the performance of marine sanitation devices and the requirement for those to reflect improvements in sewage treatment technologies.

The environmental group claims that these standards need to be updated because they have not been changed since 1976. The petition also called for implementation of stricter control over recordkeeping and for new reporting requirements. The EPA opened a consultation on the matter in 2010 but no action was taken afterwards, Friends of the Earth said.

EPA figures quoted by the environmental group show that there are approximately 60,000 domestic vessels and a further 12,400 foreign vessels of at least 79 feet and larger which operate in U.S. waters subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

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