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DEQ Meets Performance Measures Set by EPA, Improves Water Permitting Program

Release Date: 5/13/2004
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has successfully completed all seven of the performance measures EPA and DEQ established to improve DEQ's management of its water permitting program.

      "DEQ has been a great partner through this process.  I salute Louisiana for recognizing its challenges in implementing the program, committing to work with us to address them and following through on every part of the plan to improve the state's program.  The state has improved the quality of service to its citizens and its accountability to EPA," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.

      DEQ Secretary Mike McDaniel said, "We were pleased to work with EPA on developing and implementing the measures.  This will improve the efficiency of the agency and our ability to protect out environment and the citizens of Louisiana."

      The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program is the nation's method for permitting facilities to discharge treated wastewater to waterways.  Permits set discharge limits, reporting parameters and penalties for non-compliance, among other requirements.  EPA authorized Louisiana to implement the Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (LPDES) program in August 1996.

      In March 2003, EPA and DEQ responded to public concerns regarding DEQ's management of the LPDES program by establishing seven performance measures addressing the backlog of permits, public access to files, penalty collection, accountability in the Beneficial Environmental Project program, timely enforcement actions, completeness of the state's program documents and enforcement against municipal or state agencies.