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6:00 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Environmental groups sue EPA to limit nutrient pollution

A coalition of environmental groups has filed two lawsuits against the EPA, seeking to limit nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico.

The first suit seeks to compel the EPA to set limits on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can enter Mississippi River Basin waterways from sewage treatment plants, industrial livestock operations, and other point sources.

A second suit would require treatment plants to remove nutrients from sewage.

Prairie Rivers Network Executive Director Glynnis Collins says the EPA hasn’t updated sewage treatment standards since 1985.

“We believe that now that the technology exists and is affordable and is workable to remove nutrients when you’re treating sewage, which hasn’t been part of the expectations in the past.”

Collins says neither suit directly addresses nutrient pollution from agricultural fields, since crop production isn’t covered by the Clean Water Act.