Innovative Water Quality Management Begins in Chicago
On Aug. 30, the EPA and the Illinois environmental agency signed an agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago (MWRD) in an attempt to improve the National Pretreatment Program, which protects water quality.
The main goal of this EPA Project XL (which stands for eXcellence and Leadership) agreement is to work with local publicly owned treatment works to explore innovative ways to reduce pollutants entering local wastewater treatment plants and the Chicago River.
The MWRD is an independent government entity and treats wastewater from domestic, commercial and industrial sources in the Chicago area. Under the agreement, MWRD will reduce reporting for small industrial companies with good compliance records and will redirect resources to other activities with greater potential for environmental benefit. MWRD will establish partnerships with local metal finishers, who comprise more than seventy percent of the small industrial users regulated under MWRD's pretreatment program. Together, they will work to reduce pollutants in wastewater discharged to the treatment plants operated by MWRD. This approach builds upon the National Strategic Goals Program for metal finishers, established under EPA's Common Sense Initiative to improve sector-wide environmental performance.
EPA, the state agency, MWRD and interested stakeholders also will work to identify and reduce pollutants such as chlorinated solvents that have the potential to harm water quality but currently are not regulated. MWRD will attempt to reduce these pollutants through pollution prevention strategies and consumer education.
Project XL is a national initiative which tests innovative ways of achieving better and more cost-effective public health and environmental protection. It encourages testing cleaner, cheaper and smarter ways to attain environmental results superior to those achieved under current regulations and policies and is carried out in conjunction with greater accountability to stakeholders.
To participate in the program, an applicant must develop strategies that produce superior environmental results beyond those that would have been achieved under current regulations and policies. More information is available at http://www.epa.gov/ProjectXL .
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency