The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with new rules to reduce water pollution around the country.
Power plants will face restrictions on discharging toxic pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and selenium into the water. These chemicals are known to cause cancer and learning disabilities, the agency noted.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyEPA chief: Pipeline rejections are not a ‘policy signal’ Five potential Trump EPA picks Overnight Energy: EPA stands firm on fuel standards MORE called the water pollution rules “strong but reasonable.”
“These cost-effective, achievable limits will provide significant protections for our children and communities across the country, including minority and low-income communities, from exposure to pollutants that can cause neurological damage in children, cancer, and other serious health problems,” McCarthy said.
The water pollution rules are part of a series of high-profile regulations coming from the EPA this week. The agency issued new rules for oil refineries on Tuesday, and is expected to release ozone restrictions on Thursday.
The EPA estimates the water pollution rules will impact 133 of the nation’s more than 1,000 steam electric power plants that fall out of compliance with the new rules.
The water pollution rules will reduce the discharge of toxic pollutants by 1.4 billion pounds annually, according to the EPA. This will have an estimated benefit of $463 million each year.
Currently, power plants pollute about 23,600 miles of rivers and streams each year with 79,200 pounds of arsenic, 65,000 pounds of lead, and 3,000 pounds of mercury, according to the EPA.
The water pollution rules will go into effect in 60 days.