Processing Magazine

Clean water group challenges EPA’s final sewage sludge incinerator rule

July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is challenging EPA’s final sewage sludge incinerator (SSI) rule on both its legal and technical basis and is requesting that the court vacate the rule as a violation of EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

NACWA filed its opening brief in litigation of the SSI rule (76 Fed. Reg. 15372; March 21, 2011) on July 24 with the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The case, NACWA v. EPA, was initiated by NACWA last year in response to the final SSI rule, and marks one of the largest legal initiatives in the Association’s history. EPA published the SSI rule in March 2011, setting new and extremely stringent air emissions limits for SSI units. The rule will have significant operational and economic effects on clean water agencies that rely on SSIs to manage their sewage sludge in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

“With this opening brief, NACWA is continuing its fight to ensure that municipal clean water agencies and their local communities maintain the ability to choose the sludge management option that works best for them, including incineration,” said Ken Kirk, executive director of NACWA. “EPA’s actions on the SSI rule are completely inconsistent with the plain language of the Clean Air Act and with Congress’s intent to maintain the Clean Water Act as the primary statutory authority governing clean water issues and sewage sludge management. This EPA overreach will impose unnecessary regulatory and financial burdens on municipal clean water utilities.”