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EPA Announces Proposed Waiver for Carolina Wastewater Treatment Plant
Release Date: 03/12/2001
|(#01021) 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 Carolina wastewater treatment plant. The EPA proposal would require the Carolina plant to continue providing advanced primary treatment. The Agency will take public comments on its proposal until June 30, 2001 and will hold a public hearing on April 24, 2001.
Today’s proposal follows actions taken in early August 2000 to maintain and strengthen the protection of water quality in Caribbean waters. On August 10, EPA and the former government of Puerto Rico signed an agreement that allows Puerto Rico to continue to make necessary improvements to its wastewater system infrastructure and management. One critical component of these improvements will be progress in upgrading the island’s sewer system. The agreement established a framework for Puerto Rico to move voluntarily to secondary treatment at any of the wastewater treatment plants that receive a waiver from secondary treatment requirements, with the explicit purpose of further reducing the discharge of pollutants into Puerto Rico’s ocean waters. The agreement recognizes A United States protocol on the protection of the wider Caribbean from land-based sources of pollution.
Commenting on the fact that PRASA has achieved compliance at Carolina 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 we are convinced that the current level of treatment at the Carolina Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant is protecting the environment and public health. We have examined all of PRASA’s monitoring data and we even collected our own data using EPA’s ocean research vessel. All data shows that the deep ocean Carolina discharge is and will continue to be protective of the environment."
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. In October 2000, the Agency proposed to grant a waiver for the Arecibo Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Comments, postmarked by no later than June 30, 2001, 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 April 24, 2001 at the "CLUB DE LEONES DE LOIZA" LOCATED IN EL CABO COMMUNITY, ROAD 187 KM. 9.8 IN LOIZA, PUERTO RICO. There are currently three waivers pending. Decisions on these waiver requests will be made on a case-by-case basis.