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EPA Imposes New Limits for Toxic Pollutants Released into Water

Posted by Neno Duplan

The Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) has imposed new standards for mercury, lead and other toxic pollutants that are discharged into the water bodies (rivers and streams) from steam-powered electric power plants.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the rules, the first national limits on pollutants from steam electricity plants, will provide significant protections for children and communities across the country from exposure to pollutants that can cause serious health problems.

The rule will remove 1.4 billion pounds a year of toxic discharge nationwide. More than 23,000 miles of rivers and streams across the US are polluted by steam electric discharges, which occur close to 100 public drinking water intakes and nearly 2,000 public wells across the nation, the EPA said.

Toxic metals do not break down in the environment and can contaminate sediment in waterways and harm aquatic life and wildlife, including killing large numbers of fish. Steam electric power plants account for about 30 percent of all toxic pollutants discharged into streams, rivers and lakes from U.S. industrial facilities. The pollutants can cause neurological damage in children, lead to cancer and damage the circulatory system, kidneys and livers.

The EPA said most of the nation’s 1,080 steam electric power plants already meet the requirements. About 12 percent, or 134 plants, will have to make new investments to do so. A water quality management software like Locus EIM can help utilities automate their compliance with this new rules and manage water quality across portfolio of their plants.

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