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EPA Joins With Organizations to Reduce Water Pollution

Release Date: 01/12/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824 /

(Washington, D.C-- 01/12/05) Today, Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles, along with officers from several organizations that focus on septic systems, formalized an agreement to improve wastewater treatment for 25 million homes nation-wide. These organizations are committed to working together in information exchange and technical assistance.

“This agreement will help solidify our national partnership to protect drinking water supplies and local water quality through promoting change in the way these waste water systems are managed,” said Grumbles. “I am pleased to formally recognize the contributions these partners make to achieve results in protecting public health and improving water quality.”

The memorandum of understanding is a first step in implementing EPA’s program that works cooperatively with national organizations that represent septic system practitioners and the public. These systems are used in nearly 25 percent of homes across the country and used in about one-third of all new housing and commercial development. When properly sited, designed and maintained, these systems are capable of producing high quality wastewater. However, decentralized systems are the second greatest threat to groundwater quality, second only to leakage from underground storage tanks. It is estimated that nation-wide, 10 to 20 percent of decentralized systems are not adequately treating wastewater due to inadequate site location, design and maintenance.

The program strategy that accompanies the MOU identifies EPA’s vision, mission and actions to improve the performance of decentralized wastewater treatment systems. The MOU and the strategy are intended to upgrade the management of these systems and facilitate collaboration between EPA headquarters, EPA regions, state and local governments and national organizations representing practitioners and assistance providers. Improved performance of decentralized systems will provide better protection of public health and water resources.

For more information about the effort or the decentralized wastewater treatment system program, visit EPA’s website at: .


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