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EPA Announces Proposed Waiver for Puerto Nuevo and Bayamon Wastewater Treatment Plants

Release Date: 05/31/2001
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(#01062) San Juan, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced its proposal to grant a waiver from secondary wastewater treatment to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) for its Puerto Nuevo and Bayamon wastewater treatment plants, which share a single deep ocean outfall. The plants discharge into the Atlantic Ocean 3,600 offshore at a depth of 141 feet. The EPA proposal would require the two plants to continue providing advanced primary treatment. The Agency will take public comments on its proposal until August 10 and will hold a public hearing on July 10 in Cataņo.

Commenting on the fact that PRASA has achieved compliance at Puerto Nuevo and Bayamon and is working to improve the infrastructure, operation and maintenance throughout the entire system, William J. Muszynski, Acting Regional Administrator said, "We are proposing to allow this waiver because the discharges from the two plants do not negatively impact water quality and the level of treatment at the plants does protect the environment and public health. This proposal comes after a careful examination of monitoring data and close scrutiny of PRASA’s compliance with Clean Water Act requirements at these plants."

In August 2000, EPA announced its proposal to grant a waiver for the Aguadilla Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant based on its ability to meet Clean Water Act requirements. The same announcement included the denial of requests for waivers from secondary treatment for the Virgin Island’s St. Thomas and St. Croix wastewater treatment plants, based on their failure to meet those same requirements. The Agency also proposed to grant waivers for the Arecibo Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in October 2000 and for the Carolina Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in March of this year.

Comments, postmarked by no later than August 10 should be sent to Carl Soderberg, Director of the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division, U.S. EPA, 1492 Ponce De Leon Avenue, Suite 417, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907-4127.

The public hearing will be held on July 10 at 6:00 pm at the "Centro Cultural de Cataņo," located in Calle El Treen #18 in Cataņo. There is currently one proposed waiver decision, for the Ponce Wastewater Treatment Plant, pending.