Municipal wastewater treatment facilities undertake the challenge of furthering governmental and public policy objectives of protecting human health and minimizing negative impacts on the environment by treating wastewater gathered from municipal sewer systems. Current regulations and public opinion often fail to realize that these facilities are not polluters, but rather are treaters of pollution. Municipalities and treatment facilities are completely different creatures than for-profit industries yet broad and general application of environmental legislation often does not acknowledge their unique purpose. Required by law to engage in regular data reporting to regulators, facilities do not receive protection from civil proceedings or prosecution in exchange for this mandatory reporting. Facility operators are reasonably hesitant to volunteer any information at the risk of it later being used against them as an adversarial climate persistently shadows the relationship between facilities and regulators. Internationally recognized principles and practical realities must be considered in developing a regulatory scheme which fosters a philosophy of collaboration between every level of government and municipal wastewater treatment facilities.

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