DEM Rolling Out New Electronic Submission Tool for Wastewater Operations to Improve Data and Transparency Published on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 PROVIDENCE, RI – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that its Office of Water Resources (OWR) is rolling out a new electronic Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) notification process that will replace written paper submittals, improve data quality, and increase transparency of SSOs. The electronic submission of SSOs and bypass information will be a required for owners and operators of wastewater facilities starting Feb. 1, 2024 to comply with the reporting requirements of their respective Rhode Island Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permit. DEM’s implementation of these electronic reporting requirements will ensure that there is consistent and complete reporting of SSOs and bypasses statewide. This information will also be entered into the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national Enforcement Compliance History Online (ECHO) website that provides a searchable system to access environmental compliance data in local communities, allowing the public to better estimate the location, frequency, magnitude, and duration of bypasses and SSOs. The new NeT-SewerOverflow web-based reporting tool allows RIPDES permittees to electronically sign and submit their reports of SSOs and bypasses to DEM via a secure internet connection. Electronic reporting is now required under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule. As part of this rollout, OWR staff provided an in-person training session to RI wastewater facility operators and permit administrators on Jan. 18 at DEM’s Foundry Offices to receive permission to use NeT-SewerOverflow. This new reporting tool relates to DEM’s initiative to improve and modernize its systems and operations across the agency. The RIPDES program forms the backbone of Rhode Island’s water pollution control strategy by developing and enforcing permit limits for municipal and industrial wastewaters, stormwater, and combined sewer overflows discharged directly to the waters of the state, as well as industrial wastewaters discharged to municipally-owned treatment facilities. RIPDES permit limits have led to water quality improvements throughout Rhode Island and supports OWR’s mission to protect the health of our local waters which are central to our environment, way of life, and economy here in the Ocean State. For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates. DEM hosted a training session about the new electronic submission tool for WWTF operators at its Providence HQ.