Saturday, October 20, 2007

More EPA objections to Indiana's permit for US Steel Gary Works

In a letter sent October 16th, 2007 to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, EPA outlined three more objections to the draft wastewater discharge permit the state of Indiana has proposed for US Steel Gary Works. EPA had raised initial objections to the permit in a letter sent earlier this month.

EPA's three additional objections involve compliance schedules, Indiana's anti-degradation requirements and cooling water intake structures.

First, the fact sheet for Indiana's draft permit does not show that a one-year compliance schedule is appropriate for installing continuous thermal monitoring equipment or that a three-year schedule is necessary for complying with thermal discharge limits.

Second, while the draft permit includes new discharge limits on several pollutants such as chromium, cadmium, copper, nickel, silver, cyanide, total toxic organics and hexavalent chromium, and total recoverable chromium, it is unclear whether this meets the anti-degradation requirements of Indiana's water quality standards.

Third, the draft permit lacks requirements that reflect the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impacts from the cooling water intake structure.

In an Oct. 1 letter to IDEM, EPA raised objections on how discharge limits were set for several types of pollutants and the inclusion of other compliance schedules in the draft permit. (See Black Bear Post on this issue below)

EPA has raised all its objections during the review period provided by federal regulations. This is part of the federal overview of wastewater discharge permits for major facilities.

Under federal rules, IDEM may not issue the permit over EPA objections.

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