September 23, 2000  

ACTION ALERT:  Tell the Clinton Administration to Get Raw Sewage Out of Our Waters.  SEND EASY INTERNET MESSAGE BY LOGGING ONTO NRDC WEBSITE!


Sanitary sewers are designed to carry wastes from buildings to sewage treatment plants. When these sewers are overloaded, inadequately  maintained or obstructed, however, the overflows dump raw and inadequately treated sewage into basements, streets, and waterways, instead of delivering the waste to the treatment plant. Sewer overflows contain bacteria and viruses, fecal matter, untreated industrial wastes, toilet paper, tampon applicators, oxygen-depleting substances, and a host of other wastes. These overflows cause beach closings, fish kills and shellfish bed closures. Pathogens in sewage-contaminated waters can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, dysentery, and hepatitis. The consequences of contact with sewage-infested waters are even greater for children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. 


In May 1999, President Clinton directed the Environmental Protection Agency to develop, within one year, a strong national regulation to prevent the over 40,000 annual sanitary sewer overflows that contaminate beaches and jeopardize health. The EPA met the deadline and drafted regulations that would require raw sewage to be treated before it is discharged, but so far the Office of Management and Budget has refused to release those regulations. 


Take Action!

Send a message to John Spotila, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at OMB – and the person who is holding up these rules. If you have Internet access, you can send a letter on-line by going to NRDC’s action center at