ul
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Inspector General Resource Center       Eastern Audit and Evaluation Resource Center
 Conducting the Audit:                     Boston, Massachusetts Office
                                          New York, New York Office
Regions Covered:                      Regions 1, 3, and 5


Program Office Involved:               Office of Wastewater Management
Report Contributors:                   Ira Brass, Project Manager
                                      Robert Hairston
                                      Linda Fuller
                                      Harry Silver
                                      Edward Baldinger
                                      John Coll, General Engineer
Abbreviations

CSO:         Combined Sewer Overflow

EPA:         Environmental Protection Agency

NPDES:      National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

OIG:         Office of Inspector General
Cover Photo: An outfall in the Boston, Massachusetts area (photo by EPA OIG)

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                  UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
                                WASHINGTON, DC 20460
                                                                           OFFICE OF
                                                                        INSPECTOR GENERAL
                                   August 26, 2002
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT:
FROM:
TO:
Report Number:  2002-P-00012
Controlling and Abating Combined Sewer Overflows

Dan Engelberg /s/
Director for Program Evaluation, Water Programs

G. Tracy Mehan
Assistant Administrator for Water
Attached is our report, Controlling and Abating Combined Sewer Overflows.  This report
contains issues and recommendations that affect EPA, state, and local water programs.

This report contains findings that describe problems the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has
identified and corrective actions the OIG recommends.  The audit report represents the opinion
of the OIG and the findings contained in this report do not necessarily represent the final EPA
position. Final determinations on matters of this report will be made by EPA managers in
accordance with established EPA audit resolution procedures.

In accordance with EPA Order 2750, you as the Action Official are required to provide this
office a written response to the report within 90 days. Your response should address all
recommendations, and include milestone dates for corrective actions planned but not completed.

We have no objection to the release of this report to the  public.

Should you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact me at
(202) 566-0830 or Ira Brass at (212) 637-3057.

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                     Executive Summary
             Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) are the total discharges into water bodies of
             untreated domestic, commercial, and industrial waste and wastewater, as well as
             storm water runoff, from a Combined Sewer System. Such a system collects and
             transports both sanitary sewage and storm water runoff in a single-pipe system to
             a wastewater treatment facility. Overflows can impair water quality and
             adversely affect the health of humans, animals, and aquatic organisms, as well as
             cause beach closings and fishing and recreational restrictions.

             The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a CSO Policy in  1994, and
             states and communities have implemented CSO programs with varying success.
             Since 1978, the number of CSO permittees has been reduced from approximately
             1,300 to 859.  Some states have given the CSO program a higher priority than
             others.  To  evaluate this issue on a national level, we sought to determine:

                What barriers, if any, need to be overcome in implementing the  CSO Policy?

                What are examples of better CSO practices?

                What levels of water quality or other outcomes are used to measure CSO
                Policy accomplishments? What improvements in the level of water quality
                have been achieved?

Significant Barriers Remain

             An estimated $44.7 billion is needed nationwide for CSO abatement efforts, and
             raising sufficient funding for often expensive projects is obviously a significant
             barrier for many communities.  The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a major
             funding mechanism, but even its vast resources cannot meet the demand. Another
             key barrier  that we noted is finding suitable sites for needed facilities.

Many Promising Practices Noted

             A key part of our review was to identify promising practices already implemented
             by some of the CSO communities. Despite the barriers noted, states and
             communities demonstrated numerous promising practices that could be employed
             in the CSO  programs of others to improve operations, reduce costs,  and eliminate
             some of the aforementioned barriers. These promising practices included a
             variety of technical approaches and  innovations, state grant programs,
             government cooperative efforts, public education initiatives, and neighborhood
             improvements. Numerous examples of these best practices are in Chapter 4 of
             this report.  However, there is a need for a central mechanism within EPA to

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             disseminate this information.

Limited Data Available on Water Quality Improvements

             We found that many communities do not as yet have the data to determine the
             effect of CSO controls on water quality. Most communities were only monitoring
             the number, volume, and duration of CSO discharges, and did not have data on
             the effect CSO controls were having on the quality of receiving waters. This was
             because EPA does not require monitoring until completion of CSO projects.
             Consequently, it could not be determined until it was too late whether each CSO
             project being undertaken was a wise investment of taxpayers'  dollars.

Watershed Approach Should Be Considered

             Because of the broad variety of pollution sources affecting water bodies, a
             watershed management approach is needed to adequately address water quality.
             While CSO discharges are a significant pollution source, eliminating them will
             not always ensure that water quality standards will be met. Sanitary sewer
             overflows, storm water, pollution from upstream sources, and concentrated
             animal feeding operations can also impair water bodies. Attainment of clean
             water can only be accomplished through a concerted effort to limit all sources of
             pollutants.

Recommendations

             Our recommendations to the Assistant Administrator for Water to improve the
             CSO program include developing a system to disseminate lessons learned and
             better practices about CSOs. Also, EPA should work with CSO permitting
             authorities and communities to assure the performance of interim reviews
             regarding water quality, and take a leadership role in encouraging the use of
             watershed approaches and having states and communities work together to
             accomplish clean water.

Agency Response

             In his July 15, 2002 response to our draft report (Appendix 1), the Assistant
             Administrator for Water agreed with all but one of the findings and
             recommendations. He disagreed with our recommendation from Chapter 5 that
             EPA amend the CSO Policy to require communities to perform interim reviews of
             the water quality impacts of CSO upgrade projects. Although he agreed with our
             contention that these reviews are often beneficial,  he argued that it would be more
             expedient if EPA achieved this by working with individual communities and
             permitting authorities rather than through a policy change. We have changed this
             recommendation, but will monitor EPA's success in  achieving this objective.
                                         ii                       Report No. 2002-P-00012

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                    Table  of Contents
Executive Summary	i
 Chapters
     1     Introduction  	   1

              Purpose	   1
              Background	   1
              Scope and Methodology	   4

     2     CSO Implementation Efforts Have Varied	   7

     3     Significant Barriers Remain	11

     4     Many Promising Practices Used by States and
           Communities Have Improved CSO Program 	19

     5     Limited Data Available on Improvements to Water Quality 	27

     6     CSO Efforts Need to Focus More on Entire Watershed ,...,...,,...  31
 Exhibits
     1     Nine Minimum Controls and Long-Term Control Plans 	39

     2     Review Participants  	41
 Appendices
     1     Agency Response	43

     2     Distribution [[[ 51

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                                Chapter 1
                                Introduction
Purpose
             The cost to make improvements to abate Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) is
             estimated by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Needs Survey at
             $44.7 billion. CSOs are the largest category of our Nation's wastewater
             infrastructure that still need to be addressed.  They impact 40 million Americans
             in 32 states (including the District of Columbia) through impaired water quality
             that adversely affects the health of humans, animals, and aquatic organisms, and
             cause beach closings and fishing and recreational restrictions.

             EPA issued a CSO Policy in 1994 that became law in December 2000. While
             EPA has instituted the program, there is uncertainty about what actions have been
             taken and their effectiveness. An earlier Office of Inspector General report
             focusing on EPA Region 2 noted various levels of success regarding CSO actions.
             To evaluate this issue on a national level, our objectives were to determine:

                What barriers, if any, need to be overcome in implementing the CSO Policy?

                What are examples of better practices?

                What levels of water quality or other outcomes are used to measure CSO
                Policy accomplishments? What improvements in the level of water quality
                have been achieved?
Background
             CSOs are the total discharges of untreated domestic, commercial, and industrial
             waste and wastewater, as well as storm water runoff, from a Combined Sewer
             System.  Such a system collects and transports both sanitary sewage and storm
             water runoff in a single-pipe system to a wastewater treatment facility. As shown
             in Figure 1.1, a CSO event occurs when the total wastewater and storm water
             flow exceeds the capacity of the Combined Sewer System and, by design,
             discharges directly to the receiving water body. This usually occurs after
             excessive precipitation.

             Suspended solids, toxins, nutrients, heavy metals, pathogens, floatable matter,
             oils, and oxygen-demanding compounds are among the pollutants  discharged with
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                                          How CSOs Occur
a CSO.  Historically, CSOs have received very little, if any, treatment.  Because
of the flow volumes and
the nature of the pollutants
discharged, CSOs may
pose a significant public
health and pollution threat.
Pollutants in CSO
discharges have been
shown to be a major
contributor to non-
attainment of water quality
    t  i  -XT      
standards. Non-attainment
                               CSO outfall
                             CSO  :  \
                           ..discharge  \
                                 \ *
                           Receiving \J
                            walers
events may degrade the               imci-cepim
physical characteristics of
surface waters, threaten                  F'9ure 1-1: How CSOs Occur
potential drinking water
supplies, and impair the established uses of receiving waters (such as through
beach closures and shellfish harvesting restrictions).

EPA estimates the total number of Combined Sewer Systems represents 859
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees, regulating
9,471 CSO discharge points, located primarily in the Northeast, Middle Atlantic,
Midwest, and Northwest. The map in Figure 1.2 shows the location of CSO
                                                  communities.  Combined
                                                  Sewer Systems were
                                                  constructed prior to the
                                                  1950s and exist primarily
                                                  in older, urban
                                                  communities.  They vary
                                                  dramatically in size,
                                                  number of outfalls, and
                                                  frequency and volume of
                                                  discharge. About
                                                  90 percent of the Systems
                                                  are found in communities
                                                  of fewer than 100,000
                                                  people, and about
     Figure 1.2: CSO Communities in the United States
communities with fewer than 10,000 people.
                                                  60 percent serve
National projections of annual CSO discharges are estimated at 1,260 billion
gallons per year. CSOs discharge into the following receiving waters: rivers
(43 percent); streams (38 percent); oceans, estuaries, and bays (5 percent); lakes
and ponds (2 percent); and other waters (ditches, canals, etc.) (12 percent).
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In EPA's 1996 Needs Survey for all wastewater needs (the latest available), the
$44.7 billion listed for CSO capital improvements (out of a total $120.6 billion)
was the largest category of wastewater infrastructure facilities.  As required by
the Clean Water Act, states and EPA jointly prepare a survey of total documented
and modeled needs by state for publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities.
The Needs Survey represents the capital investment necessary to build publicly
owned wastewater treatment facilities and other types of facilities eligible for
State Revolving Funds.  These other facilities include storm water, combined
sewers, and nonpoint source replacement and rehabilitation. The $44.7 billion
amount has remained constant, according to a 1999 House of Representatives
Subcommittee Hearing on Clean Water Infrastructure and Wet Weather Flows
Legislation.

CSO Policy

On September 8, 1989, EPA published a National CSO Strategy recommending
that all CSOs be identified and categorized according to status of compliance with
NPDES requirements.  In order to accelerate efforts to bring CSOs into
compliance with the Clean Water Act, EPA met with state and local officials as
well as environmental groups in early 1992. The result was the development of
EPA's CSO Policy published on April 11, 1994, which is currently in use.  The
Policy provides guidance to permittees with CSOs, NPDES authorities, and state
water quality standards authorities for coordinating the planning, selection, and
implementation of CSO controls that meet Clean Water Act requirements.

In December 2000, Congress passed the Wet Weather Combined Sewer/Sanitary
S ewer/Water shed Pilot Project Program as part of EPA's fiscal 2001 funding bill.
With the signing of this bill, the CSO Policy became a statutory part of the Clean
Water Act.  The law required EPA to (1) prepare and issue documents that
provide guidance; (2) report to Congress on progress made; and (3) provide
Congress with a report summarizing environmental impacts, resources spent, and
technologies used. EPA accomplished the first task by issuing its July 31, 2001,
Guidance: Coordinating CSO Long-Term Planning with Water Quality Standards
Reviews. The second task was accomplished in December 2001 when EPA issued
Implementation and Enforcement of the Combined Sewer Overflow Control
Policy. The third task is to be accomplished by issuing a report to Congress in
2003.

On May 31, 1995, EPA issued its Guidance for Nine Minimum Controls. These
controls can reduce CSOs and their effects on water quality. They do not require
major engineering studies and usually can be implemented  in less than 2 years.
According to the 1994 CSO Policy, CSO permittees are responsible for
developing and implementing long-term control plans that will ultimately result in
compliance with Clean Water Act requirements.  Details are in Exhibit 1.
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             CSO Control Measures

             Communities use three types of CSO controls to implement the CSO Policy:

                Collection system controls are measures that remove flow from, or divert
                 flow within, the Combined Sewer System to maximize the conveyance of
                 flow through the system to the treatment facility.  This category includes
                 infiltration/inflow control, pump station capacity upgrades, expanded
                 interceptor capacity, regulating devices and backwater gates, inflatable dams,
                 flow diversion, real-time control, and sewer separation.

                Storage controls are measures that temporarily store combined sewage for
                 subsequent treatment at the treatment facility once capacity becomes
                 available. This category includes in-line storage, retention basins, and
                 tunnels.

                 Treatment controls are measures that reduce the pollutant load in CSO
                 discharges.  This category includes coarse screening, primary sedimentation,
                 increased treatment plant capacity, swirl/vortex technologies, and disinfection.

             EPA's CSO Progress Report
             In its December 2001 progress report, EPA found that cities that had made
             substantial progress and investments in CSO control were realizing public health
             and water quality benefits.   EPA identified various challenges, including
             financial, water  quality standard reviews, and information management and
             performance measurement.  These same issues were noted by our review and are
             addressed in subsequent chapters of this report.

Scope and Methodology
             Our ability to draw valid conclusions concerning barriers and promising practices
             is based on applying an evaluation design involving collecting information from a
             broad range of sources.  To determine the ways that CSO policy  is arrived at and
             implemented in  communities, and the relationships among levels of government
             in different parts of the country, we reviewed documents and  conducted
             interviews and site visits at four different administrative levels.  A complete
             listing of all participants visited and interviewed is in Exhibit 2; a summary
             follows.

                We conducted interviews at EPA's Office of Wastewater Management, which
                 sets and administers national policy and guidance on CSOs.  This office is
                 within the EPA Office of Water.

                We interviewed staff in EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office and 3 of
                 EPA's 10 regional offices:  Regions 1, 3,  and 5. EPA's regional offices work
                 in partnership with the states and monitor their implementation of the  CSO
                 Policy. These three regions contain 678 of the 859 CSO permittees identified
                 by EPA nationally, or 79 percent.

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  We conducted structured interviews of officials in the state environmental
   protection offices of eight states within the three regions reviewed -
   Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
   and Vermont.  We conducted these interviews to determine their management
   of CSOs in the communities. We also reviewed and analyzed water quality
   reports and CSO policies, procedures, guidance, permits, correspondence,
   manuals, status reports, needs surveys, and state revolving fund information.
   These states contain a large majority of the communities with CSOs in the
   three EPA regions (549 of the 859 CSO permittees identified by EPA
   nationally, or 64 percent).

  Most of our data collected was from extensive site visits in 22 communities
   with CSOs.  In several instances our site visits involved regional groupings of
   communities.  We administered structured interviews designed to solicit the
   thoughts of various officials in each of these communities.  As part of each
   visit, we toured facilities and in some cases reviewed water quality and status
   reports. For each site, our team included a degreed engineer with extensive
   experience in wastewater collection systems.  We selected the communities
   based on our review of information provided by EPA and state officials.
   Although we do not claim that these communities are "statistically
   representative" of CSO communities overall, we believe that because they
   encompass a variety of conditions (size, type of receiving water, and CSO
   approach), findings based on them will be useful in identifying barriers and
   promising approaches that can be used elsewhere.

To include a broader range of opinions, we interviewed representatives from two
industry organizations that represent municipal sewage treatment officials: the
CSO Partnership and the Association of Metropolitan  Sewerage Agencies.  We
also held large scale "roundtable discussions" in three states (Michigan, Ohio, and
Pennsylvania) that included representatives of other communities, outside
consultants, and a court monitor responsible for oversight of CSO contols in the
Rouge River Watershed.

We conducted field work from April through November 2001.  We conducted this
evaluation in accordance with Government Auditing Standards issued by the
Comptroller General of the United States.

Prior Audit Coverage

We previously issued a report on the CSO program, Combined Sewer Overflows
in Region 2 (2001-P-00001), dated January 3,  2001. The report noted that despite
steady water quality improvement over the past two decades, CSOs continued to
impair New York  and New Jersey water bodies.  In that report, we also found that
certain communities had made significant efforts to address CSOs, resulting in
varying  degrees of success.
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                               Chapter 2
          CSO Implementation  Efforts  Have Varied
             States have been implementing CSO programs for decades with varying success.
             Some states have given the CSO program a high priority, which resulted in the
             reduction of CSO permittees/outfalls. Other states have not given implementing
             CSO projects as much priority. In addition, states were at different stages in
             reviewing and approving long-term control plans for implementing CSO projects.
             Two states in our review offered financial assistance to communities through state
             grant funding accompanied with low interest loans.

Differing  Progress in  Eliminating CSOs

             We found that the overall progress made on CSO abatement appeared to be
             consistent with the level of priority a state gave to the CSO program.  The
             situation in three states illustrates this point.

                The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation was a leader in
                ensuring that most of its communities had undergone sewer separation during
                the 1990s. CSO permittees were reduced from 27 in 1990 to 7 in 2001. CSO
                projects received priority ranking for State Revolving Fund loans and were
                eligible for 25-percent state grant funding. (Further details on grant programs
                are in Chapter 4.)

                A Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection memorandum, issued
                February 22, 2001, stated that CSOs were a priority water quality issue for
                years,  as evidenced by pollution abatement orders that had been issued as
                early as 1975.  CSO projects received priority ranking for State Revolving
                Fund loans and were eligible for 50-percent state grant funding. While there
                were 13 CSO communities with 246 outfalls during the 1970s and 1980s,
                there were only 8 CSO communities with 121 outfalls in 2000.

                Pennsylvania, which has the greatest number of CSO communities (155) and
                discharge points (1,662) in the nation, has actually had its CSO numbers
                increase slightly (due generally to newly discovered discharges). CSO
                abatement was not a high priority, according to the Pennsylvania Department
                of Environmental Protection officials, who said they had not been proactive
                during the first round of CSO permits.  Competing priorities for staff included
                in-stream assessments, combined animal feeding operations, and total
                maximum daily loads. The state included conditions for the implementation
                of the CSO policy in its NPDES permits. However, compliance was low and
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                the state did not follow up because of limited resources and competing
                priorities.  Since December 2000, Region 3 pressured Pennsylvania to give
                CSOs a higher priority.  Pennsylvania issued a CSO policy on January 30,
                2002, committing significant state time and resources. Additionally, the
                General Assembly of Pennsylvania introduced a bill to establish a grant
                program to assist municipalities in addressing CSO impacts.

             EPA regional  staff also indicated that prior to the passage of the 2000 Wet
             Weather Water Quality Act, some states saw the CSO Policy as a policy and not
             as a law or regulation. This prior viewpoint had an impact on the level of CSO
             policy implementation.

Varying  Levels of Long-Term Control Plan Implementation

             We also found states with varying levels of success in developing and
             implementing long-term control plans for CSO. For example, we noted the
             following for four different states we visited in Region  5.

               Indiana:  Only 6 communities (less than 10 percent of the 88 CSO
                communities) had submitted their plans for approval.  The Indiana
                Department of Environmental Management had scheduled dates for additional
                submissions through 2003.

               Michigan: All plans had been submitted and received some degree of state
                approval.

               Ohio:  Only 29 of 91 CSO communities submitted plans, 12 of which have
                been approved.

               Illinois: Most communities were meeting state treatment standards for CSOs.
                Where CSOs continue to cause or contribute to water quality standards
                violations, additional long-term controls will be needed.

             EPA's 2001 Report to Congress noted that municipal progress was slow in
             developing long-term control plans. Specifically, the report indicated that only
             34 percent of CSO communities reviewed had submitted draft plans for approval.

             Once long-term control plans are approved, communities are taking  different
             approaches in controlling CSOs (such as separating sewers,  constructing retention
             basins, and building storage tunnels). Also, some states implement one project to
             control several CSO outfalls in neighboring communities. This maximizes cost
             savings while eliminating multiple CSOs within one geographical area. For
             example, since 1994, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater
             Chicago received $151 million for a tunnel and reservoir project covering 40 CSO
             communities.
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Strategies and Guidance
             All states visited have either developed CSO strategies and programs to abate
             CSOs or adopted the policy to their existing program. Additionally, some states
             adopted criteria to further assist with implementing their programs. For example,
             in July 2000, Indiana passed Senate Enrolled Act 431 to provide relief and
             facilitate long-term control plans for communities with substantial and
             widespread economic and social hardship. In addition, several states had CSO
             requirements that predated the 1994 policy. For example:

                Illinois had a CSO policy since the 1960s.  Several communities addressed
                 and planned for CSO needs in the mid-1980s through Municipal Compliance
                 Plans.  Most sewer separation projects were completed even before the CSO
                 Policy was written.

                In Ohio, Toledo completed construction of an underground storage tunnel in
                 1993 that had been initiated in 1987.  This project eliminated 12 of Toledo's
                 35 CSO points.

                Michigan adopted a CSO strategy in January 1990 to establish enforceable
                 deadlines for CSO controls and to eliminate or adequately treat all CSOs.

             Most states have adopted EPA's approaches for targeting CSO controls and
             discharge requirements.  States may adopt requirements that are even more
             stringent than EPA's CSO Policy.  For example, EPA's CSO Policy's
             presumption approach allows an average of four untreated CSO events per year,
             while Michigan adopted a more stringent requirement that does not allow for any
             untreated discharges.
Conclusion
             States and communities have been working for decades addressing CSOs. States
             in all three regions we visited made efforts to abate CSOs, but not all states set
             CSO abatement as a high priority, which ultimately delayed progress towards
             eliminating CSO outfalls.  Other competing priorities included stormwater, in
             stream assessments, combined animal feeding operations, and total maximum
             daily loads. While  all states adopted CSO strategies and guidelines,  long-term
             control plan implementations were at different stages.
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                                Chapter 3
                    Significant Barriers Remain
             The nation has made steady progress reducing the number of CSOs.  The number
             of systems with CSOs has been reduced from approximately 1,300 to 859 since
             1978, based on data provided by EPA.  We visited and interviewed officials from
             21 communities and 1 water authority (comprising 43 communities). At each
             one, we asked officials about the barriers they encountered in addressing CSOs.
             They provided us with numerous items, including: the expensiveness of projects,
             the lack of available funding, competing priorities, increasing user rates,
             decreasing industrial bases, the absence of grant programs, state legal
             requirements, land availability, community opposition, water quality issues, and
             other pollution sources.

             We analyzed these many concerns and combined them into two significant
             barriers that hampered efforts to achieve EPA's goal of ensuring that there is a
             comprehensive and coordinated effort to achieve cost effective CSO controls that
             ultimately meet appropriate health and environmental objectives:

                Raising and obtaining sufficient funding for often expensive projects.

                Finding suitable sites for the needed facilities.

             While progress is being made in addressing the barriers, the task can at times be
             daunting.  Table 3.1 shows how the majority of these communities encountered
             these barriers. The table includes six communities that encountered both.
Barriers
Funding Limitations
Finding Suitable Sites
Number |
5
_J
                                      Table 3.1: Major Barriers

             In Chapter 4, we will describe some of the promising practices states and
             communities have developed or implemented to address these barriers. The water
             quality barriers are further discussed in Chapter 6.

Funding Most Significant Barrier

             As can be seen from Table 3.1, funding was cited most often as a major barrier to
             implementation of EPA's CSO Control Policy (15 of the 22 visited). This is not
             surprising considering the huge sums that are often necessary to implement long-

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term control plans. EPA's 1996 Needs Survey (the latest available) lists CSO
capital improvements at $44.7 billion. Communities large and small, suburbs and
inner cities, often cited funding as critical. Although EPA and individual states
have devised approaches to facilitate many projects, the bulk of resources are
raised locally.  Significant variations exist among different types of communities
in their ability to raise the funds needed.

Communities Face Affordability Issues

The expense of controlling and abating CSOs can strain the financial resources of
any community.  Even obtaining a State Revolving Fund loan (to be discussed
further in the next subsection) by itself can create significant debt repayment
pressure on a locality's budget. Examples of the funding impact on small, mid-
sized, and large communities follow:

   Small Community:  Paulding, Ohio,  a village with a population of
   approximately 3,000, had a CSO need of $11.7 million, according to the 1996
   Needs Survey.  Paulding had to  struggle to finance its CSO projects with
   bonds and notes because it could not get State Revolving Funds. It increased
   sewer utility rates and initiated a city income tax.  While it has eliminated 16
   of its 18 CSO points over the past 10 years, its proposed long-term control
   plan foresees a separation project that will take another 20 years to complete.

  Mid-Sized Community: New Haven, Connecticut, a city with a population
   of about 100,000, had an estimated CSO need of $291 million, according to
   its  1988 Facilities Plan. New Haven has been working toward the removal of
   CSOs since 1981, and has reduced its number of CSOs from 22 to  19. The
   City has borrowed $28 million from the State Revolving Fund and also
   received $13 million in grants from the State of Connecticut. Nonetheless,
   New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority officials estimated its current
   user rates will rise from $165 to $630 per annum to pay for all the CSO work.

  Large Community: Detroit, Michigan, has a mixed sewer system serving
   about 3 million people (about 1 million in the city and 2 million in 77
   neighboring communities). The City's Preferred Plan estimated a need for
   about $1 billion in CSO work. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
   has 78 CSO outfalls that discharge approximately 20 billion gallons each year.
   Several projects have already been initiated. Detroit has received about
   $188  million in State Revolving Fund loans and $98 million in grant funds for
   CSO projects. In funding the work, a major issue  has been how much is to be
   funded by the City of Detroit versus the suburban  communities that it
   services.

One issue facing all communities is the competing priorities that exist for the
limited financial resources. Many local officials told us they have other important
projects requiring substantial financing, such as highway and road repair,
wastewater treatment plants, park maintenance, libraries, and hospitals. In
addition,  they have more visible services to fund, such as police, fire, and

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emergency services; education; and sanitation.  For example, the mayor of
Haverhill, Massachusetts, wrote to EPA that its ability to borrow for CSO work
was being impeded by financial difficulties stemming in part from a $l-million-a-
month operating loss at the city's hospital.

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, in a February 2002 report,
The National Response to Combined Sewer Overflows, noted that annual
investments in CSO long-term control plan implementation represented an
unusually large portion of a community's total capital improvement plan budget.
According to its survey respondents, communities had dedicated, on average,
36.8 percent of their capital improvement plan budgets for CSO controls.  Further,
EPA,  in its December 2001 report to Congress, noted that addressing competing
priorities was a concern.

State requirements can also limit a community's options. For example, the
Headlee Amendment to Michigan's State Constitution (passed in 1978) and
"Proposal A" (passed in 1994) limit the ability of local governments to fund
projects such as sewage infrastructure through property taxes. Communities
cannot increase rates to pay for CSO and Sanitary Sewer Overflow improvements
through water rates; they need to submit increases to residents through tax
increases.

Communities that are already economically  distressed will have difficulty funding
CSO projects.  The loss of business or weakening of the industrial base of a
community can also be a contributing factor to affordability. For example, the
Environmental Law Institute reported in its 1999 report, Plumbing the Future,
Sewage Infrastructure and Sustainability in Western Pennsylvania, that the area
was facing an estimated $3 billion to address CSOs while the  area's population
was significantly declining and the tax base shrinking.  We also noted that many
municipalities in Region  5 have lost tax revenues because of a declining industrial
base.

Sfafe Revolving Funding Limited

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program is one of the major funding
mechanisms for CSO communities, but even with its significant resources it
cannot provide all the money needed to address the CSO problem. Further, there
are other competing water project needs for State Revolving Funds besides CSOs,
such as secondary and advanced treatment, new interceptor and collector sewers,
infiltration/inflow correction, sewer replacement/rehabilitation, storm water, and
nonpoint sources.

The State Revolving Fund was authorized in 1987 to finance a range of
environmental projects, and replaced the Construction Grants program.  Under the
program, EPA provides grants or "seed money" to all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and
the District of Columbia to capitalize state loan funds.  The states, in turn, make
loans  to communities and others for high priority water quality activities.  As
money is paid back into the revolving fund, new loans are made to other

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recipients. Through June 30, 2000, the program had more than $34 billion in
assets and had lent $28.9 billion to communities nationwide. However, only $2.1
billion of that funding had been provided for CSO projects. CSO loans in 2000
were the highest ever, accounting for $411 million, or about 12 percent, of total
State Revolving Fund assistance.

Even if a State Revolving Fund loan is obtained, most of the money for water
pollution controls must be generated locally. Typically, operational costs are
generated from user fees, usually water and sewage treatment charges.  There are
various options for capital improvements: (1) property taxes; (2) special
assessments; (3) tax increment financing; (4) water and sewer hook-up fees;
(5) water and sewer use charges; and (6) advanced sale charges for sewer
capacity. As noted in Table 3.2, which addresses the four states visited in
Region 5, only a small portion (4.2 percent) of CSO needs since  1996 were met
by State Revolving Fund loans issued since 1994:
State
Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Ohio
Total
Loan Funds
Since 1994
(millions)
$157
376
300
71
$904
1996 Needs
Amount
(millions)
$ 9,383
4,463
3,723
4,199
$21,768
Percentage of
1996 CSO Needs
Met
1 .7%
8.4%
8.1%
1 .7%
4.2%
                     Table 3.2: Loan Funding and Needs Met

To maximize the number of projects receiving loans, states have put caps on the
amount that can be provided to any one community or project in a given year.
However, larger municipalities say this does not allow them to receive enough
money for their large projects, while smaller communities expressed concern that
they still do not receive enough money.  Also, caps varied from state to state. For
example, in Michigan, the cap was 30 percent, while in Massachusetts it was
20 percent.

Another aspect of the State Revolving Fund that concerned communities was that
many CSO-associated costs are not eligible in some states. For example, the
Fund does not pay for telemetry monitoring of the sewer system, project
performance certification, lawn restoration, water main replacement, street
paving, sewer repair, and studying and planning the project. Port Huron,
Michigan officials estimated that costs for studying and planning account for
approximately 5 to 10 percent of the total project cost. Springfield, Vermont
officials stated that purchase of capital equipment such as  vactors (machines that
vacuum debris and grit from sewers and catch basins) and sweepers should be
eligible items under the
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              State Revolving Fund program.  State Agencies, rather than EPA, determine
             eligibility of program costs.

             Regional and state staff advised us that some communities may not seek State
             Revolving Fund loans in the hope that a CSO grant program will be established or
             Congressional earmarks provided. Obviously, most communities would prefer
             receiving grant funds to having to repay a loan. In particular, economically
             distressed communities that cannot afford the debt service that would be required
             to finance a costly CSO project may be especially in need of grant funds.

             In Michigan, some economically distressed communities in rural areas have
             sought funding administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their CSO
             needs instead of State Revolving Fund loans. These communities found the
             advantages to be a mix of grant and loan funding and longer repayment periods
             (40 years for Agriculture as opposed to 20 years for the State Revolving Fund).
             However, sometimes such funding is not advantageous, since the repayment
             period can be longer than the useful life of the project.

Finding Suitable Sites  Can Also Be an Obstacle

             The second major barrier to meeting EPA's CSO remediation goals involves
             finding acceptable locations for CSO facilities. In many of the communities we
             visited, such issues as land availability, community opposition,  competing land
             usage (including economic development), and land ownership had complicated
             matters. Communities' abilities to design or construct CSO projects can be
             affected by whether there is somewhere to place these  projects.  CSO projects
             often involve dedicating large parcels of land for retention basins and other
             structures. At times, these need to be situated at or close to the waterfront, which
             is property that is often valuable.

             Communities can be stymied in implementing their CSO control projects because
             of a lack of available land. For example, Garden City, Michigan cannot meet the
             Michigan Department of Environmental Quality maximum allowable flow of
             24.1 cubic feet per second for its system. The city's current projected peak flow
             is 70 cubic feet per second. To reduce the flow, the city may have to build a large
             retention basin (for $57 million) or a tunnel (for $47 million). However, the city
             does not have available land to build either, let alone money to finance the
             project.

             Community opposition is also a barrier to CSO projects. We will discuss some
             successful approaches to this issue in Chapter 4. Citizens may voice concerns
             about CSO projects because they have not been educated about the importance
             and benefit of the project, they are concerned with the  loss of park land or other
             recreational facilities, and they may have a "not-in-my-backyard" opinion. We
             encountered several of these scenarios during our visits. For example, the
             Massachusetts Water Resources Authority proposed to construct a pumping
             facility on vacant land next to an existing power plant and pier.  Due to
             neighborhood opposition, the design work was halted in January 2000.  An
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              alternative site suggested by the neighborhood was not available.  The status of
              the project was described in the Authority's annual plan as "design on hold
              pending project reassessment."

              In some cases, communities had to make compromises in their original plans to
              site their projects.  In Detroit there was not enough available land for needed CSO
              facilities.  Occasionally, the city was faced with taking court action to obtain a
              needed site. In other cases, facilities would have to be put at less advantageous
              locations and at greater expense because of existing buildings, industries, etc.
              For example, the Hubbell-Southfield retention facility (see Figure 3.1) was
              intended to handle a 1-year, 1-hour storm for a duration of 30 minutes. However,
              because of location constraints and land availability (the site is surrounded by the
              Tournament of Players Championship Golf Course and the Rouge River), the
              facility can only handle this type of storm for a duration of 18 minutes. As a
              result, this biggest of the Rouge River demonstration projects was designed  not
              based on a particular storm event but to fit the largest possible basin on the land
              available. In another example, New
              Haven, Connecticut officials said
              siting could be an issue because
              they propose to build underground
              storage tanks on park land, which
              could disrupt or close the parks for
              2 years.
             Also, since CSO projects may take
             years to develop, an area initially
             planned as part of the project may
             become more desirable later as a
             result of economic development,
             and is no longer affordable.
             Waterfront property in South
             Boston was identified as an
             example.  Also, in our prior January
             2001 report, we noted that the Hudson River waterfront areas in Hoboken and
             Weehawken, New Jersey had recently undergone explosive growth, and the
             developers had been reluctant to grant easements to the local authority to access
             CSO outfalls. There were concerns over siting, CSO control facilities, and the
             use of end-of-pipe netting in areas where high-priced residences were being
             constructed.
Figure 3.1: Hubbell-Southfield Retention Facility
Overflow Gates
Conclusion
              There are two main barriers that communities face and need to overcome in
              reducing CSOs and the water pollution they cause.  The most significant is
              financial - there is presently not enough funding to meet the needs of all CSO
              communities and many communities are being financially strained. A second

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major barrier involves finding acceptable locations for CSO facilities, due to such
complicating factors as land availability, community opposition, competing land
usage, and land ownership.
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                              Chapter 4
      Many  Promising Practices  Used by States and
        Communities  Have  Improved CSO  Program
            States and communities have demonstrated a wide variety of cost effective and
            promising practices that could be used by others with CSO programs to address
            funding and siting barriers. In Chapter 3, we noted that raising and obtaining
            sufficient funding for expensive capital projects was the largest barrier to the
            success of the national CSO program. We found that some states have or are
            considering assisting their communities with direct financial aid through grant
            programs. Local governments are educating their citizens on the benefits of CSO
            programs and the need to raise sewer rates to fund these projects. Locally, it was
            also found that improving community facilities and working cooperatively with
            other agencies to minimize disruptions can be beneficial. Additionally,
            communities brought to our attention various technical practices that can improve
            system efficiency and aid in making CSO projects more affordable.

            Table 4.1 describes the relationship between the types of promising practices and
            the barriers CSO communities face.
Barriers
Funding
Funding, Siting
Siting
Practices
State Grants
Coordination/Cooperation
Technical
Education
Dissemination
Improved Facility
                    Table 4.1: Barriers Addressed by Promising Practices
State Grant Programs Aid Affordability

            Two of the eight states we visited have established CSO grant programs to help
            communities pay for the construction of CSO projects in a more timely manner.
            A third state was considering implementing a grant program.

             Connecticut established its CSO grant program in 1986.  The program
               provided grants for 50 percent of the Federal eligible project costs along with
               a State Revolving Fund loan at 2 percent interest for the remainder of the
               costs. Since 1988  Connecticut awarded $173 million to eight municipalities.
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                 The Director of Engineering and Planning at the Hartford Metropolitan
                 District Commission stated the program had a positive impact on debt service
                 and made CSO abatement a viable program, since independently Hartford
                 could not issue $80 million in debt. The Assistant General Manager of the
                 New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority also said that the grant/loan
                 program made the CSO projects more affordable and had a positive impact on
                 user rates. Without the funds, New Haven's water rates would go beyond
                 EPA's affordability cap.  The Assistant General Manager further said that the
                 Authority was able to do more projects more quickly and, without the
                 funding, would not be able to meet the 12-15 year time frame provided in its
                 long-term control plan.

               Vermont awarded 25-percent grants for construction costs and loans of
                 50 percent of eligible project costs from the State Revolving Fund. The
                 remaining 25 percent was expected to be locally raised. Grants through fiscal
                 2000 totaled $6.6 million. The Springfield Town Manager stated that without
                 the grant funds it would be hard to sell a CSO project to the voters for
                 approval. The town had recently finished a $4 million project for which it
                 received $1 million in state grant funds and a 50-percent loan at close to zero-
                 percent interest. The Rutland Commissioner of Public Works also stated that
                 grant funds were beneficial and helped keep user rates down.

               Pennsylvania was also considering a CSO  grant program. Pennsylvania's
                 General Assembly introduced Senate Bill 150 on January 29, 2001, to
                 establish a grant program to assist  municipalities in addressing CSO impacts.
                 The bill proposes approving $1 billion for  the program.

Educating the Public Reaps Benefits

             The public does not always understand the benefits to be derived from CSO
             projects that may significantly raise their user  rates and require temporary or
             permanent disruption of land use. Public officials in turn may not be willing to
             counter public sentiment. Therefore, communities found that it was important to
             engage and inform their stakeholders early and maintain communication
             throughout the CSO project process. Education is a vital tool that can eliminate
             potential barriers or opposition related to funding and siting, provide support for
             the project, and reduce overall costs and disruptions. Many state and local
             officials stated that public education is important because the public is usually
             more willing to pay for improvements it can see and understand.  For example:

               A Rouge River Public Involvement Action Plan was devised in the fall of
                 1994.  The goal was to engage numerous stakeholders, inform them, gain their
                 support, and encourage them to change their behavior to help achieve and
                 maintain a healthy watershed. A series of fact sheets and brochures were
                 prepared for the general public as well as for a more technical audience
                 regarding different elements of the Project. Printed materials were distributed

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                with a portable display; provided to local governments to distribute; and
                incorporated into public information packets for local officials, the general
                public, libraries, and schools. A June 1998 Project report on lessons learned
                noted that broad-based public education and involvement programs were
                critical for overall success. Some of the programs that they found had worked
                were: getting education programs going in area schools; getting people out to
                the stream to look at and experience it; and showing people some obvious
                things that have been done to get successes in improved water quality and
                then widely publicizing the results.

              Hartford, Connecticut developed a public education campaign that helped the
                successful passage of a referendum for funding part of its CSO project.

              New Haven, Connecticut issued a series of newsletters explaining CSO plans,
                costs, and benefits to city aldermen and local environmental groups.  The city
                found that educating local public officials about CSO needs eased local
                constituency concerns.

              Springfield, Vermont officials visited schools and local groups, such as
                garden/sewing clubs, to explain why CSO abatement was important and
                deserving of town funding. Town officials worked with local media to take
                pictures and report on the issue.

              Ohio roundtable participants stated that by focusing on basement flooding
                issues that directly affected residences and businesses, they were able to sell
                CSO projects to the public. Citizens could better understand and appreciate
                how the projects could immediately benefit them.

              Toledo, Ohio worked with the children  living in the Maumee River basin by
                having school children take water samples and do stream cleanups, thus
                learning the importance of protecting their receiving stream.

Improved Community Facilities Can Result

             The final constructed  project can be aesthetically pleasing and bring improved
             facilities to the local community in which it's built. Neighborhood opposition to
             the siting of a CSO project can be overcome when citizens are convinced there
             can be benefits to the  community in addition to the obvious environmental  ones.
             We visited a number of facilities in the Rouge River Project that demonstrated
             this fact.
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             Wayne County had three retention
             facilities constructed as part of the
             Rouge River National Demonstration
             Project. The Redford Township CSO
             Retention Basin was constructed under
             the seventh hole of the Glenhurst Golf
             Course. The Dearborn Heights CSO
             Retention Basin was constructed on a
             landfill that was subsequently
             landscaped with a soccer field, gazebo,
             bicycle rack, and parking. The Inkster
             CSO Retention Basin added multiple-
             use recreational facilities (basketball
                                     Figure 4.1: Recreational Facility Sitting on Top of
                                            the Inkster CSO Retention Basin
                                                       court and playground equipment)
                                                       on top of the storage tank (see
                                                       Figure 4.1). All three constructed
                                                       attractive buildings to house any
                                                       above ground machinery.

                                                       Oakland County also blended its
                                                       three Rouge River retention basins
                                                       into the local environs. One was
                                                       built under a golf course, another
                                                       was built in a nature preserve, and
                                                       the third was built in a park. The
                                                       latter one (Birmingham Hills) had
                                                       a control building that was
designed to resemble a gristmill (see Figure 4.2). Also, extensive woodlands landscaping was
completed to blend with the aesthetics of the site.  County officials even described how a real
estate agent had stopped by and wanted to list the house.
Figure 4.2: Control Building (Birmingham Hills)
            Retention Basin
Government Agency  Cooperation Achieves  Better Results

             To address the funding barrier, communities found that working cooperatively
             with state offices or coordinating between appropriate municipal departments can
             improve the planning process, reduce costs, lessen disruptions, and increase
             timeliness of project completion.

              In Michigan, officials for Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
                noted the value of involving everyone who might have an interest or stake in
                the project.  They found that integrating state offices (i.e., Michigan
                Department of Transportation) and city offices (i.e., a local Office of
                Development) at the beginning of a CSO project significantly reduced costs
                and disruptions. Port Huron officials reported saving money by coordinating
                their work with road repairs conducted by the state Department of
                Transportation. Lansing officials reported that constant and frequent
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                 communication with the regulatory community, homeowners, businesses, and
                 other city and state departments resulted in less confusion, better planning,
                 and better project understanding.

                 Ohio roundtable participants stated that the coordination of CSO projects with
                 other major construction projects, as well as with state or Federal agencies,
                 had minimized disruptions.
Better Technical Practices
             The municipalities visited implemented some technical practices and approaches
             that can be beneficial to other CSO communities. They ranged from broad-based
             initiatives to more specific operational actions.  While these practices cannot
             necessarily be universally used, they offer opportunities to lessen financial needs
             or improve Combined Sewer System efficiency and effectiveness, and can assist
             communities in addressing affordability issues.  Following are some success
             stories:

                The Rouge River Project, which involved 48 communities in the Detroit,
                 Michigan metropolitan area, provided several examples of better practices of
                 a technical nature. Under Phase I,  8 communities constructed  10 retention
                 treatment basins. Each basin was sized for different storm events, and several
                 used innovative technology. The facilities also incorporated a variety of
                 additional features or variations in  compartment sizing and sequencing (such
                 as a first-flush chamber) to improve effectiveness.  From this approach, the
                 Rouge River Project team determined that desired water quality results could
                 be  achieved without constructing massive facilities. In addition, the lessons
                 learned by comparing the various methodologies will assist Rouge River
                 Project communities in the design of future CSO facilities and reduce project
                 costs.

                 Another lesson learned from the Rouge River Project was that it was
                 beneficial for plant operators to be  involved in the  entire facility design
                 process. By obtaining their input, they were able to point out a variety of
                 issues to the design engineers that avoided the need for future modifications.
                 Additionally,  operators seemed to perform better and with higher morale
                 because they were members of the  design team and their ideas were valued
                 and implemented by the designers.

                Hartford, Connecticut applied the concept of flow slipping in the Wethersfield
                 Cove drainage basin area. The concept involves reducing street ponding
                 during wet weather events. Flow slipping allows storm water runoff to bypass
                 the CSO catch basins and flow directly to newly constructed storm water
                 catch basins (separated storm drains). Hartford saved money by not having
                 to:  (1) construct catch basins on every street  and (2) treat all the storm water
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                 collected. It should be noted that flow slipping is topographically limited and
                 cannot be used everywhere.

                 The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (the water and sewer agency
                 for greater Boston) used underflow baffles for floatable control.  These baffles
                 (barriers) are used to prevent floatable material (such as plastic bags, straws,
                 bottles, bottle caps, and cigarette butts) from entering the system and ending
                 up in the receiving water body.

                 Springfield, Vermont addressed affordability when it reduced the amount of
                 salt/sand it uses in winter.  The town used a spreader that reduced the amount
                 of salt/sand by 30 to 40 percent without reducing road clearing effectiveness.
                 This approach reduces the material that can build up in the sewer system and
                 reduce flow capacity.

                 Rutland, Vermont and New Bedford, Massachusetts both described aggressive
                 preventive maintenance programs, including such techniques as TV
                 inspections of sewer lines, cleaning of sewer lines and catch basins, and street
                 cleaning.  Such actions improved system effectiveness and reduced overall
                 operating costs.

                 Paulding, Ohio cleaned its existing wastewater treatment lagoons to increase
                 their capacity to handle CSOs.  City officials said that, as a result, the city
                 avoided having to construct costly CSO retention basins to contain the storm
                 water.

                 Crafton, Pennsylvania bought and maintained undeveloped land to act as a
                 buffer to receiving waters by absorbing runoff. In addition, Crafton
                 maintained about 25 percent of its streets as brick, which has water absorption
                 qualities as well as historical and aesthetic value. Further, Crafton bought
                 additional trash barrels, which helped reduce street trash and subsequent
                 floatables.
Dissemination of Better Practices Needed

             There currently is no central mechanism for EPA or the states to disseminate
             information to CSO permittees about the various better practices that are being
             used. EPA's CSO Coordinator stated that there is a need to develop a plan to
             establish a technology clearinghouse.

             During our evaluation, we found many instances where communities were
             unaware of established practices that could be of benefit to them. We provided
             them with examples from other municipalities we had visited and contacts to seek
             further information. For example, we provided the Defiance, Ohio Water
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             Pollution Control Superintendent with contacts in Port Huron, Lansing, and New
             Bedford to discuss their CSO control activities.

             Individual websites do exist where some information can be obtained.  Several
             examples are noted in Table 4.2:
Source
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
3 Rivers Project
Rouge River Project
Website
www.mwra.com
www.3riverswetweather.org
www.wcdoe.org/rougeriver
                             Table 4.2: Websites with Best Practices Information

             Rouge River Project officials also met with officials from many CSO
             communities to discuss the project and the actions taken. Information is also
             exchanged at seminars and meetings that professional organizations hold
             throughout the year. However, there is no one place where interested parties can
             find all the available information.

Conclusion

             States and communities have demonstrated a number of promising practices to
             address the funding and siting barriers that are faced in implementing the CSO
             Policy. Two New England states have aggressively addressed the affordability
             issue by providing grants and low interest loans.  There is also widespread
             agreement that public education is a vital tool in engaging all stakeholders.
             Additionallly, communities have shown that the cooperative effort of all levels of
             government can be beneficial. Further, communities have used innovative
             approaches to improve CSO controls and make them more efficient and/or cost
             effective. However, with all these positive actions, there needs to be a central
             mechanism so that other CSO communities take advantage  of this wisdom.

Recommendation

             We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water ensure that:

              4.1  EPA develop a system to catalog and disseminate lessons learned and
                   better practices about CSOs.  EPA should establish a website where such
                   information can be posted and information easily accessed for use.
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                               Chapter 5
           Limited Data Available on  Improvements
                            to Water Quality
            The CSO communities visited had varying amounts and types of data available to
            determine the success of their CSO projects. Most communities were only
            monitoring the number, volume, and duration of CSO discharges. Few of the
            communities visited had formally collected data on the effect CSO controls were
            having on the quality of receiving waters. Without such data, it could not be
            determined whether each project was a wise investment of taxpayers' dollars.
            Water quality generally was not monitored because EPA policy does not require
            monitoring until completion of the CSO project, even though these projects have
            multiple steps and can take years to complete.

CSO Policy Requires Monitoring Program

            During long-term control plan development, the CSO Policy expects CSO
            communities to collect data to assess baseline conditions in the receiving water
            and evaluate the potential effectiveness of any proposed controls in improving
            water quality and supporting uses of the water body.  Permittees are expected to
            develop a comprehensive, representative monitoring program that measures the
            frequency, duration, flow rate, volume, and pollutant concentration of CSO
            discharges and assesses CSO impact on receiving waters.  The Policy also calls
            for a post-construction compliance monitoring program that verifies compliance
            with  water quality standards and protection of designated uses and ascertains the
            effectiveness of CSO controls.

Many Communities Did Not  Have  Monitoring Data

            We found that most communities had limited monitoring data on the effect of
            CSO controls they instituted on water quality. These communities generally only
            measured the changes in the number,  volume, and duration of effluent being
            discharged by CSOs. This was because they had not completed their CSO
            projects.  As noted in Chapter 2, EPA recently reported that only 34 percent of
            CSO communities in its review had even submitted draft long-term control plans
            to states for approval. Once approvals are issued, complete implementation of
            these plans can  take 10 to  15 years. Since many communities do not plan to
            perform monitoring until the post-construction phase, there is limited knowledge
            of the effects of CSO controls on water quality.

            For example, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection officials
            stated that they  were not aware of any studies to indicate whether CSO  abatement

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             efforts had improved water quality in CSO receiving waters. Officials from the
             three Connecticut cities we visited confirmed that they had not conducted any
             CSO water quality monitoring. Connecticut's State Revolving Fund had loaned
             out about $75 million for CSO projects since 1987.

             Vermont was another New England state where CSO communities indicated they
             had not conducted any  CSO water quality monitoring. Officials in both Rutland
             and Springfield stated that they had not done any measurements of water quality
             related to CSOs. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation officials
             stated that communities were required to submit an assessment of the success of
             long-term control plan  implementation. Vermont's State Revolving Fund had
             loaned out about $37 million for CSO projects since 1987.

             In Pennsylvania, the Executive Director of the 3 Rivers Demonstration Project
             stated that there were not enough controls in place yet to measure water quality
             because their work was not far enough along. Allegheny County Sanitary
             Authority officials also stated that water monitoring will not take place until the
             long-term control plan  is implemented.

Some Communities Do Monitor Water Quality

             Several of the CSO communities we visited had performed extensive monitoring
             and had data to show that water quality had improved since the implementation of
             CSO controls.

             The Rouge River Project had an extensive monitoring program.  It was performed
             in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's August
             1998 Final Criteria for Success in CSO Treatment.  The criteria noted, "We
             expect to develop criteria for success in treating CSO discharges statewide, based
             on experience gained from the Rouge River demonstration project." The criteria
             set three goals and a detailed listing of procedures to evaluate the goals and
             information that was to be reported. For example, the final goal was to achieve
             state water quality standards in the receiving stream at times of discharge.

             An extensive database  on water quality was also compiled by Toledo, Ohio since
             1968 as part of the city's Water Quality Monitoring program.  This program
             produced a detailed study of CSO impacts.  The information was used to plan
             major upgrades of the city's treatment and interceptor system. In addition, the
             program developed abatement criteria and documented the benefits of Toledo's
             abatement program.  Recent results highlighted improved water quality when the
             post-abatement period was compared to the pre-abatement period.

             Since 1989, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has been implementing
             a water quality sampling plan required as part of a Federal court order for the
             Boston Harbor cleanup. Data were collected and analyzed for bacteria.
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CSO Projects Did  Improve Water Quality

             While elimination of CSOs may not necessarily assure water quality standards are
             attained, there still is evidence investments in CSO remediation has resulted in
             declines in discharges and, at least in some cases, water quality has improved.

             Declines in Discharges

             Communities we visited generally measured changes in the number, volume, and
             duration of effluent being discharged by CSOs:

                Number: The number of discharge events for the Rouge River in Michigan
                was reduced by 80 percent.

                Volume:  Port Huron, Michigan, at the completion of construction in 2002,
                will have reduced CSO volume from 226 to 114 million gallons per year
                (52 percent).

                Duration: A West Lafayette, Indiana sewer project eliminated one CSO
                point that resulted in 484 yearly hours of CSOs being reduced to 20 hours
                (96-percent reduction).

             Water Quality Improvements

             When data existed, improvements to water quality were noted after the
             implementation of CSO abatement programs. The following are several examples
             of the successes that have resulted in measurable water quality improvements.

                Michigan Department of Environmental  Quality  data demonstrated that three
                Oakland County and three Wayne County CSO retention basins eliminate raw
                sewage and protect public health.  Also, the three Oakland County basins met
                the dissolved oxygen and physical  characteristics water quality standards.

                In areas with remaining uncontrolled CSOs upstream on the Rouge River,
                data  showed dramatic improvements in the river's dissolved oxygen levels
                because of upstream CSO control projects and other watershed management
                changes.  For example, on the Main Rouge River, the dissolved oxygen data
                for the water quality standards show that the dissolved oxygen levels
                improved from 40 percent below water quality standards in 1998 to 5 percent
                in 2000. Also, on the Lower Rouge River, the dissolved oxygen levels
                dropped from 70 percent below standards in 1994 to 4 percent in 2000.
                Water quality in the Swan Creek and Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio, had
                been upgraded. Minimum dissolved oxygen levels, maximum fecal coliform
                levels, and aesthetics had improved. Also, Toledo reported an increase of
                game fish in Swan Creek, and a 75-percent capture rate of CSOs in the city's
                central business district.

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                 The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, in its October 6, 2000 report,
                 Statistical Analysis of Combined Sewer Overflow Receiving Water Data,
                 1989-1999, concluded that a significant and detectable decline in bacterial
                 concentrations in Boston area receiving waters since 1991 had occurred.
                 Specifically, all of the regions with data for the before and after improvement
                 periods - including Dorchester Bay, the Neponset River, the Inner Harbor, the
                 Mystic River, and the Charles River - showed significant reduction in the
                 number of indicator organisms since 1991. The Inner Harbor, Mystic River,
                 and Charles River showed a steady and significant decline in both fecal
                 coliform and enteroccocci concentrations on a year-to-year basis. The report
                 also noted that there tended to be a correlation between rainfall events and
                 bacterial concentrations in the Boston Harbor area CSO receiving waters over
                 the years of sampling.

                New Bedford, Massachusetts opened 5,000 acres of shellfish beds that had
                 been closed for 30 to 40 years.

Conclusion

             We found that few CSO communities were collecting data on the effect that CSO
             controls were having on the water quality of their receiving waters. Most
             communities were monitoring the loadings as opposed to the water quality itself.
             Therefore, they generally used information on the number, volume, and duration
             of CSO events to determine the effectiveness of their actions. Data was not
             expected to be collected, in these cases, until the post-construction phase, which
             could be  10 to 15 years in the future. We believe it is important to do interim
             monitoring throughout the process to ensure CSO efforts were being effective and
             improving water quality.

Recommendation

             We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water:

              5.1   Work with CSO permitting authorities and communities to assure they
                    negotiate and establish the proper level of interim monitoring of CSO
                    efforts to determine the impact of the project on water quality.
                                          30                       Report No. 2002-P-00012

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                                Chapter 6
                     CSO Efforts Need to  Focus
                      More on Entire Watershed
             While CSO discharges are a significant pollution source for many water bodies,
             eliminating them will not always ensure that water quality standards will be met.
             Other major sources contributing to water body degradation can include sanitary
             sewer overflows, storm water, pollution from upstream sources (including
             nonpoint), and concentrated animal feeding operations.  Therefore, while many
             communities spend large sums to alleviate their CSO problems, communities
             should focus on all problems for a watershed - not just CSOs - in order to
             effectively improve water quality.  In most watersheds, the sources of water
             quality problems are too varied to be amenable to a single solution.  Further,
             communities should also ensure that water quality standards in place are
             appropriate and attainable.

Many Factors Impact Water Quality

             For many communities, upstream or downstream pollution may overwhelm any
             pollution reductions they can achieve through CSO elimination efforts.
             Eliminating  CSOs may achieve only a marginal improvement in water quality.
             While some communities may be able to eliminate all of their water quality
             problems by eliminating their CSOs, that is generally the exception rather than
             the rule.  For most water bodies that currently fail to meet water quality standards,
             there are multiple causes.

             The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, in its February 2002 report,
             supported this viewpoint. In a survey of its members, 78 percent of respondents
             indicated that water quality standards would not always be met during wet
             weather conditions after full implementation of the CSO long-term control plan.
             The report also suggested that, "parallel efforts to address other controlled and
             uncontrolled upstream sources must be greatly expanded."

             The difficulty in achieving water quality standards by eliminating CSOs was also
             voiced by many of the communities we visited.  Examples follow:

                A Massachusetts Water Resources Authority report, Beyond the Boston
                Harbor Project 1997-1998, The State of Boston Harbor, noted the results of
                computer modeling of fecal coliform bacteria levels in Boston Harbor and its
                tributary rivers after rainstorms. It stated: "Despite the highly controlled CSO
                discharges  called for in MWRA's (Massachusetts Water Resources
                Authority's) CSO Plan, river water quality is still predicted to be poor after
                rainstorms  because of storm water input."

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                West Lafayette, Indiana officials indicated that they could do nothing to
                 change the brownish color of their receiving waters, which is caused by
                 pollution from nonpoint sources and concentrated animal feeding operations
                 located upstream.

                Perrysburg, Ohio officials had not seen any visible change in the Maumee
                 River since they implemented CSO controls. They said that the river was
                 significantly impacted by agricultural runoff, and water quality objectives
                 might be better achieved by regulating the agricultural industry. The EPA
                 1998 Water Quality Inventory report listed agriculture as one of several
                 leading sources of pollutants in four of our visited states (Ohio, Illinois,
                 Indiana,  and Michigan).

                 Officials in Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, as well as Haverhill,
                 Massachusetts, pointed to pollution from communities upstream of their cities
                 as hindering their ability to meet water quality standards.

             This interrelationship of pollution sources was not always something that
             community leaders were aware of. It was at times assumed that the expensive
             CSO control projects would alleviate water quality issues.

Watershed Approach Should Be Considered

             Because of the wide variety of pollution sources affecting urban waters and their
             impact on communities, we believe CSO control should be viewed in the context
             of watershed management. In particular, many of the receiving water measures
             and ecological, human health, and resource use measures quantify impacts or
             effects that are often governed by sources beyond CSOs. We believe, as do many
             in the CSO community, that attaining water quality standards and meeting
             designated uses can only be accomplished through a concerted effort to limit all
             sources of pollutants. However, this approach should not delay necessary CSO
             initiatives within the watershed context.

             The watershed approach is built on three main principles. First, the target
             watersheds should be those where pollution poses the greatest risk to human
             health, ecological resources, desirable use of the water, or a combination of these.
             Second, all parties with a stake in the watershed should participate in the analysis
             of problems and the creation  of solutions. Third, the actions  undertaken should
             draw upon the full range of methods and tools available, integrating them into a
             coordinated, multi-organization attack on the problems.

             Rouge River Project a Blueprint for Success

             The Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration in Michigan is an
             excellent example of how utilizing a watershed approach can help to achieve

                                          32                       Report No. 2002-P-00012

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water quality goals more efficiently.  We have previously described in this report
some of the successful results that have been achieved by this project.

Recognizing the major costs involved in controlling CSOs and that other sources
of pollution impacted water quality, Congress appropriated money in 1992 to
establish the Rouge River Project. The total funds earmarked by Congress for the
Project has reached $346.8 million. The Rouge River watershed is largely
urbanized, spans approximately 438 square miles, and is home to over 1.5 million
people in 48 communities and three counties, including Detroit.

Rouge River Project officials stated that water quality has to be dealt with on a
macro level. Solutions can be better derived from a holistic watershed
perspective.  Communities should not work separately, and are more productive if
they work together. In this way, consideration is given to the inter-relationship
between the impacts from all sources of pollution and use impairments in a
receiving water. Project officials also stated that the watershed approach was cost
beneficial for participating communities and ultimately resulted in greater and
faster achievement of designated uses in a water body. Further, Project officials
stated that progress on the project had shown that use of a watershed approach did
not mean delay, and action could  be taken on CSO controls and other abatement
initiatives within the context of a  watershed approach.

While we applaud the many successes that have been achieved through the Rouge
River Project, we recognize that there were some advantageous factors that
increased the possibility of success. First, Congress provided massive direct
funding to assist communities in the construction of the expensive CSO projects.
Second, the entire project was located within one state's jurisdiction.  Many other
watershed opportunities may involve multi-state issues, which can make
coordination and management more difficult.

Others Recognize Need for Watershed Approach

Other CSO communities and interested parties have recognized the need for a
watershed approach to address water quality issues. For example, communities in
the three EPA Regions we reviewed (Regions 1,3, and 5) have begun to work
collectively to address common problems.

   Massachusetts and New Hampshire communities along the Merrimack River
    have joined together to form the Merrimack CSO  Coalition.  The participating
    communities believed it was in their best interest to form a coalition to
    address the impact of CSOs and other pollutants on the river. They further
    believed that a coalition would strengthen their collective ability to influence
    regulatory agencies toward a more creative, comprehensive and effective
    approach to  improving the affected waters.

   In Pennsylvania, the 3 Rivers  Wet Weather Demonstration Program divided
    the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority's 83 communities into 8 planning
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   basins that share sewersheds.  In early 2001, three basin groups had been
   formed. The basin groups consisted of elected and appointed officials from
   each community in the basin.  Each group's purpose was to plan and
   implement collaborative projects that will benefit municipalities by combining
   financial and technical resources while proactively working to comply with
   the Clean Water Act.  The Chartiers Basin Group Chair, who was from a town
   of about 7,000 people, stated that this combined approach was important
   because a community of his size could not address these issues alone.

  Several municipalities on the Maumee River in Indiana and Ohio recently
   formed the Maumee River Basin Partnership of Local Governments to address
   watershed issues (see map). The Partnership, announced in March 2001, has
   begun to provide a collective resource and forum where city, town, and
   county officials can share vital water quality information and enhance their
   regional communication efforts. For example, in June 2001, the Partnership
   formed a Regulatory  Issues Working Group whose focus includes Federal
   CSO funding issues, total maximum daily loads, NPDES permitting, and
   concentrated animal feeding operations.

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, in a February 2002 report,
          CSO Municipalities Visited in Indiana and Ohio
                                                     LEGEND
                                                  Rivers
                                                  State Boundaries
                                                  CSO Municipalities
                                                  Maumee River Watershed
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Report No. 2002-P-00012

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             The National Response to Combined Sewer Overflows, stated that it had long
             sought the ability to address wet weather pollution problems in accordance with
             watershed management principles. The organization believed that a
             comprehensive approach would result in a systematic, incremental, and more
             cost-effective achievement of water quality objectives.

             EPA Favors Watershed Approach

             All of this supports EPA's long-held position on the subject.  EPA has been in
             favor of watershed approaches for over a decade. In 1991, the Office of Water
             issued the Water shed Protection Approach Framework.  In June 1996, EPA
             explained its vision of watershed approaches and built on the 1991 document with
             the Watershed Approach Framework.  In the cover letter to that document, the
             EPA Administrator stated, "We believe the watershed approach can significantly
             improve water resource restoration, protection and maintenance and achieve
             lasting environmental results."

             Further, in its December 2001 report to Congress, EPA indicated that the
             attainment of water quality standards could not often be achieved solely through
             CSO controls because of other point and nonpoint sources. The report stated that
             the integration of long-term control plan development in a watershed  context
             would alleviate some concerns  about meeting water quality standards and equity.

             Even though EPA advocates a watershed approach, it still administers its water
             programs categorically. A recent draft EPA review of state programs pointed out
             that, "States identified a number of barriers posed by EPA and federal authorities
             to implementing... watershed management" including "fragmented and output-
             oriented" oversight of state programs.

             Recently, EPA began focusing  on the goal of integrating the NPDES program
             further into the concept of watershed planning.  EPA is exploring models for a
             watershed permitting program that would allow for local leadership in conducting
             watershed planning and selecting appropriate management options to meet
             watershed goals and  Clean Water Act requirements.

Appropriate and Attainable Water Quality Standards Needed

             According to EPA staff, one of the "major" issues causing  CSO implementation
             to lag was the lack of water quality standards reviews during the CSO planning
             process. One key principle, which ensures that CSO controls are cost-effective
             and meet the objective  of the Clean Water Act,  is the "review and revision as
             appropriate, of water quality standards and their implementation procedures when
             developing CSO control plans to reflect the site-specific wet weather impacts of
             CSOs."  On July 31,  2001, EPA issued Guidance: Coordinating CSO Long-Term
             Planning with Water Quality Standards Reviews, because "in the 7 years since
             EPA issued the CSO Control Policy, implementation of this principle has not

                                         35                       Report No. 2002-P-00012

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progressed as quickly as expected." This lack of progress was due in part to a
reluctance by regulatory agencies, environmental groups, public officials, and the
public to accept what is perceived as the downgrading of water quality standards.
The review process can be so intensive as to become burdensome.

Nationwide, only the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority obtained a
variance from water quality standards for CSOs. A variance is a discharge-
specific, short-term modification to the applicable water quality standard,
typically of 3- to 5-year duration.  When a state adopts the variance, it must have
sufficient data to determine that the designated use is not attainable within the
duration of the variance.

It is up to the states to propose a revision to water quality standards. They make
this proposal by submitting a use attainability analysis to the public and EPA.
A use attainability  analysis is a structured scientific assessment of the physical,
chemical, biological, and economic factors affecting the attainment of the use for
a water body. The detailed water quality, financial, and technical information
needed for the use  attainability analysis can be required as part of the scope of a
community's long-term control plan.  The study costs are part of the CSO
planning process, which can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to
millions. Public participation should be a part of the process. If appropriate, the
state submits to EPA a proposal to change water quality standards.

While the use attainability analysis process is the means for revising a water
body's designated use, it is usually a contentious process.  For example, the
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's CSO Coordinator
described the use attainability analysis process as "onerous," noting, "lowering a
water quality standard is rarely warmly received either by the regulatory agencies
or with watershed advocacy groups or politicians.  The process can be contentious
at times, with lengthy debate over costs,  CSO controls, receiving water goals and
conditions."

Generally,  the CSO Partnership officials stated that more realistic water quality
standards need to be developed. The CSO Partnership believed that some states'
definition of fishable and swimmable waters was a barrier because not all streams
are fishable or swimmable 365 days a year due to wet weather conditions (people
should not  expect to swim in waters after a rain storm). EPA's December 2001
report to Congress  also noted this concern that most states use
fishable/swimmable as their default-designated use.

In commenting on  EPA's draft guidance on reviewing water quality standards
with long-term control plan development, the CSO Partnership wrote, "The States
need a strong and clear commitment from EPA that EPA will support their efforts
and will provide the political support (based upon scientific realities) necessary to
allow refinements in  designated uses and water quality standards for urban CSO
receiving waters."  In the opinion of the CSO Partnership's counsel, EPA's final


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             guidance was too intimidating for many communities and EPA needed to show,
             through demonstration projects, how to implement the guidance.

             EPA's Office of Science and Technology held a national symposium in June 2002
             to hear stakeholder views on designated use.  At its conclusion, EPA decided it
             will develop guidance for recreational use, with subsequent guides on other uses.

Conclusion

             It needs to be recognized that eliminating CSOs by themselves may not
             necessarily assure the attainment of water quality standards. Receiving waters
             can still be degraded by other sources, including pollution from various point and
             nonpoint sources such as sanitary sewer overflows, storm water,  and concentrated
             animal feeding operations.  To address the broad variety of pollution sources that
             affect water bodies, EPA has been encouraging a watershed approach. We found
             examples where the watershed approach has been successful when dealing with
             CSO issues, and believe its use should be expanded.

             Also, CSO communities were not taking advantage of the flexibility that the CSO
             Policy afforded them in undertaking water quality standards reviews during the
             CSO planning process.  This lack of progress was due in part to a reluctance by
             regulatory agencies,  environmental groups, public officials, and the public to
             accept what is perceived as the downgrading of water quality standards.  In
             addition, the review process can be so intensive as to become burdensome.

Recommendations

             We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water:

               6.1   Provide a leadership role by working with states and communities to
                    develop watershed approaches that will target priority activities and will
                    ensure that water quality standards are met.

               6.2   Provide a leadership role by encouraging states and communities to work
                    with other stakeholders to develop appropriate water quality standards
                    and, when appropriate, revise those standards.

             6.3   Encourage states to adopt water quality standards recognizing seasonal
                   recreational uses.
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38                         Report No. 2002-P-00012

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                                Exhibit  1

                    Nine Minimum Controls and
                      Long-Term Control  Plans

Nine Minimum Controls

             As noted in the EPA's May 31, 1995, "Guidance For Nine Minimum Controls,"
             there are controls that can reduce CSOs and their effects on water quality. They
             do not require major engineering studies and usually can be implemented in less
             than 2 years. The nine minimum controls are as follows:

               Proper operations and regular maintenance programs for the sewer system and
               CSO outfalls.

               Maximum use of the collection system for storage.

               Review and modification of pretreatment requirements to ensure that CSO
               impact are minimized.

               Maximization of flow to the publically-owned treatment works for treatment.

               Elimination of CSOs during dry weather.

               Control of solid and floatable materials in CSOs.

               Pollution prevention programs to reduce contaminants in CSOs.

               Public notification to ensure that the public receives adequate notification of
               CSO occurrences and CSO impacts.

               Monitoring to effectively characterize CSO impacts and the efficacy of CSO
               controls.

             These controls are not temporary measures: they should be a part of the CSO's
             long-term controls.  Selection and implementation of actual control measures
             should be based on site-specific considerations, including the specific
             characteristics identified in the characterization and monitoring of the combined
             sewer system.

Long-Term Control Plans

             According to the CSO Policy, CSO permittees are responsible for developing and
             implementing long-term control plans that will ulitimately result in compliance
             with Clean Water Act requirements. The plans should consider the site-specific
             nature of CSOs and evaluate the cost effectiveness of a range of control options.
             The selected controls should be designed to allow for retrofitting or expansion if
             additional controls become necessary to meet water quality standards, including

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existing and designated uses. A permittee can use one of two approaches to
demonstrate that its selected CSO controls will achieve water quality standards.
These are the "presumption" and "demonstration" approaches.

Using the "presumption" approach, the permittee provides a specific level of
control that is presumed to meet water quality standards. The selection of this
approach does not release a permittee from the overall requirement of meeting
water quality standards.  If the permitting authority determined that the plan will
not result in meeting Clean Water Act requirements, then the presumption will  not
apply.  Under the "presumption" approach, controls adopted in the plan should be
required to meet one of the following criteria:

  No more than an average of four overflow events per year, provided that the
   permitting authority may allow up to two additional overflow events per year;

   The elimination or the capture for treatment of no less than 85 percent by
   volume of the combined sewerage collected in the combined sewer system
   during precipitation events on a system-wide annual average basis; or

  The elimination of the pollutants or removal of no less that the mass of the
   pollutants identified as causing water quality impairment through the sewer
   system characterization, monitoring, and modeling effort for the volumes that
   would be captured for treatment above.

In the "demonstration" approach, the permittee provides information and data
that show the selected controls meet the water quality standards and designated
uses.  In selecting the "demonstration" approach, a community would have
several options for  developing a long-term control plan.  The CSO Policy
identifies four criteria for successful use of the "demonstration" approach:

  The CSO control program will protect water quality standards unless the
   standard cannot be met as a result of natural conditions or other pollution
   sources;

  The overflows remaining after implementation of the control program will not
   prevent attainment of water quality standards;

  The planned control program will achieve the maximum pollution reduction
   benefits reasonably attainable; and

  The planned control program designed to allow cost effective expansion or
   cost effective retrofitting if additional controls are subsequently determined to
   be necessary to meet water quality standards, including protection of
   designated uses.
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                               Exhibit 2
                         Review Participants
EPA
      Office of Wastewater Management (Office of Water)
      Great Lakes National Program Office
      Region 1
      Region 3
      Region 5


By State

      Connecticut

        Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
        City of Bridgeport
        City of Hartford
        City of New Haven

      Illinois

        Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
        Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

      Indiana

        Indiana Department of Environmental Management
        Town of Brownsburg
        Columbia City
        City of Fort Wayne
        City of Frankfort
        City of West Lafayette

      Massachusetts

        Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
        Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
        City of Haverhill
        City of New Bedford

      Michigan

        Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
        City of Dearborn
        City of Dearborn Heights
                                       41                     Report No. 2002-P-00012

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         City of Detroit
         Garden City
         City of Lansing
         City of Livonia
         Oakland County
         City of Port Huron
         Wayne County
         United States District Court Monitor

      Ohio

         Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
         City of Akron
         Metropolitan Sewer District of Cincinnati
         City of Columbus
         City of Defiance
         City of Lancaster
         City of Lima
         City of Newark
         Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
         Village of Paul ding
         City of Perry sburg
         City of Port Clinton
         City of Toledo

      Pennsylvania

         Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
         Allegheny County Sanitary Authority
         Town of Crafton
         City of Pittsburgh
         Ross Township
         3 Rivers Demonstration Program

      Vermont

         Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
         City of Rutland
         City of Springfield
Organizations
      Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies
      CSO Partnership
                                         42                      Report No. 2002-P-00012

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                          Appendix  1
                       Agency Response
                 UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
                              WASHINGTON, D.C. 2O46O
                                 JUL 1 5 2002
                                                                         OFFICE OF
                                                                          WATER
MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT:    Draft Report Wastewater Management: Controlling and Abating Combined
             Sewer Overflows

FROM:       G. Tracy Mehan, III
             Assistant Administrator

TO:          Dan Engelberg, Ph.D.
             Director for Program Evaluation, Water
             Office of Program Evaluation
             Office of Inspector General

      Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on your draft report Wastewater
Management: Controlling and Abating Combined Sewer Overflows.

      In general, we agree with many of the findings and recommendations in your draft report.
The findings in your draft report, to a large degree, support what we identified in EPA's 2001
Report to Congress  Implementation and Enforcement of the Combined Sewer Overflow
Control Policy: funding of CSO control programs, promoting and facilitating the review and
revision, as appropriate, of water quality standards, and developing a national data system for
comprehensively evaluating the implementation and the effectiveness of the CSO control
program. You also have identified a number of actions we should take to address the barriers
that hinder the control of CSOs. These actions are discussed in the attachment.

      Staff in the Office of Wastewater Management (O WM) coordinated the review of the
draft report with appropriate staff in Regions 1, 3, and 5. The Regions provided specific
comments on the draft report.  OWM staff are providing, under separate cover, these comments
to Ira Brass of your office. Mr. Brass was the lead investigator in preparing the report. OWM
will discuss and address these comments with him. Regional Office staff will participate in these
discussions as iiecessarv.
                        . Printed with Vegetable OI Based Inks on 100% Recycled Paper (20% PoMoonaunwr)
                                        43                            Report No. 2002-P-00012

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       If you have any questions about the attached response to the conclusions and
recommendations contained in the draft report, please contact me at 202-564-5700 or Linda
Boornazian, Director, Water Permits Division, Office of Wastewater Management, at
202-564-9545.

cc:     Judy Hecht

Attachment
                                         44                         Report No. 2002-P-00012

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45                         Report No. 2002-P-00012

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                                   ATTACHMENT

EPA Responses to Specific Conclusions

Chapter 2 Conclusion: States and communities have been working for decades addressing
CSOs.  States in all three regions we visited made efforts to abate CSOs, but not all States set
CSO abatement as a high priority, which ultimately delayed progress towards eliminating CSO
outfalls.  While all States adopted CSO strategies and guidelines, long-term control plan
implementations were at different stages.

EPA Response: The Office of Water generally agrees with this conclusion. When EPA issued
the CSO Control Policy in April, 1994, many States had CSO permitting strategies established in
response to EPA's 1989 CSO Control Strategy. With the issuance of the Policy, the states
adapted their on-going strategies, in varying degrees, to meet the principles of the Policy. A
number of States continued to implement short-term controls for specific CSO impacts, such
solids and floatables, or continued long-term programs such as sewer separation without
requiring a formal long-term control plan (LTCP) as envisioned in the Policy.  Also, certain
States did not assign a very high priority to implementing the CSO Control Policy because of its
status as policy rather than regulation.

In December 2000, Congress amended the Clean Water Act to require that any permit, order or
decree issued after December 2000, shall conform to the  1994 CSO Control Policy. NPDES
permits must require the development and implementation of LTCPs in a timely manner. EPA,
through oversight of permits issued to CSO communities, will ensure that permits require
development of plans that meet the expectations of the Policy and achieve compliance with the
water quality-based and technology-based requirements of the  Clean Water Act.
Chapter 3 Conclusion: There are two main barriers that communities face and need to
overcome in reducing CSOs and the water pollution they cause. The most significant is financial
 there is presently not enough funding to meet the needs of all CSO communities and many
communities are being financially strained: A second major barrier involves finding acceptable
locations for CSO facilities, due to such complicating factors as land availability, community
opposition, competing land usage, and land ownership.

EPA Response: EPA recognizes the financial burden that many CSO communities face in
developing and implementing CSO control programs. EPA will promote innovative
mechanisms, such as the watershed approach, that provide opportunities for communities to
phase in the implementation of CSO controls and that allow communities to maximize the use of
their limited resources in achieving the greatest environmental benefits.

EPA recognizes that the siting of water pollution control facilities, including CSO facilities, can
be problematic. However, many communities have successfully installed control facilities after
overcoming local concerns.
                                         46                        Report No. 2002-P-00012

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                                           2

EPA Responses to Specific Recommendations

Recommendation 4-1: EPA develop a system to catalog and disseminate lessons learned and
better practices about CSOs. EPA should establish a website where such information can be
posted and information easily accessed for use,

EPA Response: EPA agrees that there is a need to make available to all CSO stakeholders,
information and data on CSO control technologies and programs. As a result of the Wet Weather
Water Quality Act, EPA is preparing a Report to Congress that is due in December 2003. This
report will summarize the extent of the public health and environmental impacts of CSO and
sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), the resources spent by municipalities to address these impacts,
and an evaluation of the technologies used by the municipalities to address these impacts. After
transmitting this Report to Congress, EPA must maintain a clearinghouse of cost-effective and
efficient technologies for addressing the human health and environmental impacts of CSOs and
SSOs.  This clearinghouse will probably be web-based and will allow CSO stakeholders to
benefit from the experiences of other communities that have already initiated programs to control
CSOs and SSOs.
Recommendation 5-1: Amend the CSO Policy to require communities to perform interim
reviews of CSO efforts to determine the impact of the project on water quality.

EPA Response: EPA does not believe that it is necessary to revise the 1994 CSO Control Policy
to require communities to perform interim reviews of the impact of CSO control projects on
water quality.  The appropriate level of monitoring to determine the effectiveness of a specific
CSO control project or of an entire long-term CSO control program is highly site-specific.  The
CSO community and the NPDES permitting authority can negotiate and establish, in an
enforceable mechanism, the proper level of monitoring necessary to meet the information and
data needs of all stakeholders.

EPA believes the CSO Control Policy and implementing guidance provide appropriate guidelines
for the use of monitoring, including interim monitoring where appropriate, in assessing the
effectiveness of CSO controls. Under the CSO Policy, communities are expected to develop
monitoring plans and perform post-construction compliance monitoring to ensure that water
quality standards are being attained. EPA's Combined Sewer Overflows - Guidance for
Monitoring and Modeling states that in most cases, some monitoring  should be conducted during
the construction and implementation period to evaluate the effectiveness of CSO controls.
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Recommendation 6-1: Provide a leadership role by working with States and communities to
develop watershed approaches that will target priority activities and will ensure that water
quality standards are met.

EPA Response: Currently, EPA is developing a Watershed Permit Framework to further the
objectives of its 1994 Watershed Strategy. EPA is developing a plan to promote watershed-
based NPDES permits. EPA has held discussions with the Association of State and Interstate
Water Pollution Control Administrators and the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies
on this initiative, and will continue to work with these and other interested groups.

The Framework will address the need to provide greater incentives and mechanisms necessary to
foster a comprehensive assessment of watershed goals and their current status, the
implementation of an agreed-upon watershed monitoring strategy, and the participation and buy-
in by all major watershed stakeholders.


Recommendation 6-2: Provide a leadership role by encouraging States and communities to
work with other stakeholders to develop appropriate water quality standards and, when
appropriate, revise those standards.

EPA Response: EPA is committed to facilitating state review of water quality standards and, if
appropriate, revising standards to protect the highest attainable designated uses. EPA is working
with States and key stakeholders to identify and develop policies and guidance that support
appropriate state water quality standards revisions, including the development of sufficient
information to justify  changes in designated uses, water quality criteria, and implementation
methods.  These efforts include:

              Guidance: Coordinating CSO Long-Term Planning With Water Quality
              Standards Reviews (EPA-833-R-01-002; July 31, 2001).  This guidance describes
              processes for integrating LTCP development and implementation with water
              quality standards reviews. EPA's water quality standards regulations provide
              States with the flexibility to review and revise,  as appropriate, the designated uses
              and water quality standards for surface water bodies. Within the current
              regulatory framework, States have a number of alternatives for revising water
              quality standards including the establishment of seasonal uses and the issuance of
              temporary variances. Revisions lowering the level of protection for the designated
              use require a Use Attainability Analysis, public participation in the review
              process, and EPA approval.  The Guidance uses the current regulatory framework
              to outline processes for coordination among CSO communities, EPA and State
              water quality standards program staff and NPDES permitting program staff, the
              public, and other interested parties.  The process can be resource- intensive but, as
              the Guidance concludes, the coordination and cooperation among all parties
              should ensure that the LTCP, when completed, will prevent CSOs from causing or
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contributing to the non-attainment of applicable water quality standards. The
completed LTCP can also assist the state in determining if the present use is not
attainable and in identifying another attainable use.

Implementation Guidance for Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria
(Public Review Draft, May 2002, EPA-823-B-003).  When final, this document
will provide guidance to States and authorized entities on the adoption and
implementation of bacteriological water quality criteria for the protection of
waters designated for recreation. In response to comments on the February 2000
draft and subsequent interactions with interested stakeholders, EPA greatly
expanded the scope and detail of the guidance. Consequently, additional
opportunity for public review is being provided.

Draft Strategy for Water Quality Standards and Criteria: Strengthening the
Foundation of Programs to Protect and Restore the Nation's Waters
(EPA-823-R-02-001, May 2002). This draft document lays out strategic
directions for the water quality standards program over the next seven years in
collaboration with other EPA offices and with States and authorized tribes to
strengthen and improve the water quality standards and criteria program. The
draft strategy is the product of a wide-ranging review of the water quality
standards and criteria program within the context of all Clean Water Act programs
and the result of more than 50 listening sessions for over 350 people,
recommendations from the National Research Council, the General Accounting
Office, EPA's Inspector General and EPA's National Environmental Justice
Advisory Committee.

National Symposium: Designating Attainable Uses for the Nation's Waters, June
3-4, 2002. EPA hosted this Symposium to hear from interested citizens,
governmental officials and regulated parties on the need for additional guidance
on establishing the designated uses and the process to follow when making
designated uses more or less protective. The proceedings of the Symposium will
be available in the Summer of 2002 and will include the invited experts'
comments, the 17 presentations, and a summary of the roundtable discussions
involving approximately 200 attendees. The  Symposium help EPA identify and
schedule additional guidance to address key questions on designating and revising
designated uses.

Tracking Water Quality Standards Reviews on CSO Impacted Waters.  EPA
committed to establishing tracking information in the Guidance:  Coordinating
CSO Long-Term Planning With Water Quality Standards Reviews and in the
Agency's 2001 Report to Congress. EPA currently is able to identify new or
revised standards that, the Agency must review and approve or disapprove, and is
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              working with its State partners to obtain additional information to track water
              quality standards reviews for these waters.


Recommendation 6-3: Encourage states to adopt water quality standards recognizing seasonal
recreational uses.

EPA Response:  States have already adopted seasonal recreational uses where appropriate.
EPA's water quality standards regulations at 40 CFR 131.10(f) specifically allow the adoption of
seasonal uses as an alternative to reclassifying a water body to uses requiring less stringent
criteria. If seasonal uses are adopted, EPA expects states to adjust the water quality criteria to
reflect the seasonal uses as long as the criteria do not preclude attainment of the more protective
use in another season.
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                            Appendix 2
                               Distribution
Office of Inspector General

Inspector General (2410)

Headquarters

Assistant Administrator for Water (4101)
Comptroller (2731 A)
Agency Audit Followup Coordinator (2724A)
Associate Administrator for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations (1301 A)
Director, Office of Regional Operations (1108 A)
Associate Administrator for Communications, Education and Media Relations (1101 A)
Director, Office of Wastewater Management (4201)
Director, Permits Division (4203)

Regions

Regional Administrators
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