I just got back from the Focus on Change 2011 FDEP’s wastewater regulatory update sponsored by the FRWA. The sessions dealt with the new FDEP regulations that will affect how you manage and operate your wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF). Most of the changes in the regulations deals with biosolids (used to be called residuals). This is the sludge that is wasted out of the wastewater plant on a regular basis. The main change is that sludge haulers will no longer be required to maintain the Nutrient Management Plan (used to be called the agricultural use plan). Sites that accept biosolids will be permitted separately from the biosolids treatment facility. Currently, most WWTF, contract with a residuals management facility (RMF) which hauls away the sludge, treats it and then disposes of it in an agricultural site. The RMF is responsible for record keeping, not only on the treatment process, but also on the agricultural field used for disposal of the treated sludge (biosolids). This will change which will require a better quality assurance process of the biosolids to be field applied, but will affect your plant.
How does this affect you? Let’s clarify the terms Residuals will now be referred to as Biosolids. Residual Management Facility (RMF) will now be called Biosolids Treatment Facility (BTF). This will require, that as part of the permit application, a Biosolids Storage Management Plan to be required to quantify that there is enough available storage of biosolids either at your plant, the BTF or the field, in case of the field being out of service. If the relationship between the BTF and the Agricultural Field owner deteriorates and the BTF is without a field then that will also impact you. As agricultural sites become less available this may become more of an issue. The trend is to process Biosolids into fertilizer.

Florida sues EPA over new water pollution controls. A lawsuit initiated against the EPA by environmental groups led the EPA to levy very strict and somewhat impossible water quality regulations on Florida. These regulations if implemented will have a significant financial impact on Florida’s economy. Florida is the only State that the EPA has enforced these draconian regulations. Governor Rick Scott sued the EPA based on the merits of the regulations. The complaint, filed in federal court in Pensacola, accuses the EPA of trampling over the state’s rights while seeking to impose rules that would cost taxpayers and local agricultural business too much. “Throughout this rulemaking process, EPA has failed to disclose the rulemaking’s technical basis, regulatory implications, and economic impacts,” the lawsuit said. “Studies produced by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as well as two independent studies all show that the impact to Florida’s economy will be in the billions,” the statement from the attorney general’s office said.