EPA's Reply Brief in Sackett and Covid-19 is Detected in POTW Influent
The EPA today filed its reply brief in connection with its motion to dismiss the appeal of the case it won in the District Court. See my March 30, April 1 and April 9 posts for background. In opposing EPA's motion to dismiss, the Sacketts argued that the case is not moot, and should not be dismissed, because EPA never retracted its JD for the site. In my April 9 blogpost, I questioned whether EPA ever issued such a JD. EPA argues now that it did not, which I think is correct, thereby gutting, if accepted by the Court, most of the Sackett's arguments against dismissal. As predicted in earlier posts, I suspect the 9th Cir. will grant the motion. EPA now asks the Court to vacate the case it won below. We live in a funny world.
On a completely unrelated, but interesting note, researchers have looked at wastewater entering a Boston-area POTW and have detected Covid-19 virus. The as-yet-not-peer-reviewed paper concluded that the virus concentrations in the POTW's influent indicated a higher infection rate in the POTW service area than reported by standard testing methods. This seems like a crude, but very interesting way of looking for infection rates in an area. It will be interesting to see if they can refine the methodology and to make it more widely useful in our fight against this horrible pandemic. Who knew the lowly POTW could be a source of such important information? Here's a link to the paper: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.05.20051540v1.full.pdf+html