Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first-ever national pollution limits to control the amount of heavy metals, nutrients and other pollutants steam electric power plants can discharge into our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and bays. Existing Clean Water Act standards for power plants were last updated in 1982 and did not require these facilities to remove toxic metals and other pollutants of concern from wastewater discharges. These new pollution controls are necessary because power plant wastewater discharges have contaminated more than 23,000 miles of rivers and streams with dangerous pollutants and exposure to these pollutants threatens public health. These landmark limits will prevent 1.4 billion pounds of toxic pollutants from being discharged into U.S. water resources every year, including drinking water sources.
In response to EPA’s action, Clean Water Action Water Programs Director Jennifer Peters released the following statement: