Sanitary Sewer Overflows: Past, Present, and Future Regulation
28 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2003
Sanitary sewers are an overlooked part of the nation's infrastructure. Most Americans never think twice about what happens to the water that runs down the drain. The public eye turns to sanitary sewers only when untreated waste overflows into the surrounding environment. This paper addresses the past, present, and future of Sanitary Sewer Overflow ("SSO") regulation in the United States. First, it provides a general introduction to SSOs and the history of the SSO problem. Next, it explains the current regulatory scheme employed by EPA and responsible state agencies and discusses how courts have addressed the issue. After examining a municipal case study, it suggests a single modification to the regulatory framework -- the addition of a standard permit condition that would tie enforcement standards to rainfall intensity -- that would make uniform and fair enforcement a more realistic possibility.
Keywords: Sanitary sewers, environmental law
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