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PA Senators Scarnati, Yaw File Court Action To Compel DEP, EQB To Set Manganese Standard

PA Senators Scarnati, Yaw File Court Action To Compel DEP, EQB To Set Manganese Standard

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Senators Scarnati, Yaw File Court Action To Compel DEP, EQB To Set Manganese Standard

 

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, filed a petition on March 29 asking Commonwealth Court for mandamus relief to compel

DEP and the Environmental Quality Board to set a water quality standard for manganese as required by an October 2017 rider to an Administrative Code budget bill.

 

The 2017 amendment was added to the bill at the last minute as a favor to the coal industry and shifts the burden for treating manganese discharges from abandoned mine sites to those using the water, like public water suppliers.

 

The change sweeps away 28 years of environmental protection for Pennsylvania waterways impacted by the consequences of acid mine drainage, and imposes additional testing, monitoring and treatment at public water supply operations along these waterways.

Current science shows manganese is harmful to human health as a possible nervous system toxin with implications to early childhood development at levels that are less than the threshold levels that impact aquatic life.

 

The amended directed the Environmental Quality Board to adopt a proposed manganese standard within 90 days that includes the 1 milligram/liter manganese standard established under 25 Pa Code Chapter 93.7 and insure the standard is met at the point of intake for water suppliers (25 Pa Code Chapter 96.3).

 

The 1 milligram/liter standard is 20 times the level of manganese that water suppliers are allowed to have in their water supplies, according to EPA’s secondary maximum contaminant level. Click Here for more.

 

Local government groups, drinking water suppliers and many other groups opposed the amendment. Click Here for more.

 

In January of 2018, DEP published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting information on changing the water quality standard.

 

DEP said it will used the information received to “evaluate the adequacy of the existing manganese water quality criterion when the point of compliance is moved to the location of an existing or planned surface potable water supply withdrawal.”

 

DEP consulted with the Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Center, the Agricultural Advisory Board and discussed the results of the information they received from the advanced notice with the Water Resources Advisory Committee at its November 28 meeting.

 

Click Here for a copy of the petition.

 

Source:  PA Environmental Digest Blog, 4/15/2019

 

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