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The Role of Adaptive Watershed Management Concepts in Wet Weather Consent Decrees

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U.S. EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance identified seven national enforcement priority areas for fiscal years 2005 to 2007 and subsequent three-year cycles where EPA intends to take action, including development of Consent Decrees (USEPA 2004). Wet weather discharges are one of the seven priorities and include combined sewer overflows (CSOs); sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs); storm water; and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This paper describes how the principles of "Adaptive Watershed Management" or "learning by doing" can be used in wet weather Consent Decrees to achieve water quality improvements more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Sanitation District No. 1 (District), the State of Kentucky, and EPA negotiated the country's first CSO and SSO Consent Decree integrating adaptive watershed management concepts. Through implementation of the Consent Decree, the District is employing these landmark and highly innovative concepts to solve wet weather regulatory and water quality problems. This experience will be used to illustrate why adaptive management is an appropriate and effective approach to achieving compliance for wet weather discharges. Specifically, this paper discusses the background, challenges and solutions, its justification, and a description of the innovative program.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-10-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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