WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Water Works Association (AWWA) reported that Mark Pollins, water enforcement chief for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told representatives from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and AWWA Jan. 18 that the agency’s overarching principles for its integrated planning and permitting policy (IP3) under the Clean Water Act were to
• maintain existing standards and protections and, at the same time,
• allow cities to balance CWA obligations cost effectively.

Cities have been struggling to comply with CWA requirements, especially for combined sewer overflows. At the meeting, AWWA reported, the mayors voiced their concerns over aging and inadequate infrastructure, the cost of needed investment and the affordability of water and wastewater services.

A January 11 letter to the EPA from the mayors group outlined the principles and elements they believe would make the IP3 work. “The highest water and wastewater investment priority must be to maintain the physical asset inventory that protects public health, the environment and supports the economy. … the challenge we face is how to expand progress with limited financial resources at the local level,” USCM wrote.