Water Online's EPA Update: October 4, 2011
Welcome to Water Online's review of the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, resources, and activities related to the water, wastewater, and stormwater industries. EPA offices and programs covered in this installment are listed below. Click on an office or program name to go directly to that section of the article. Office of Water (OW) WaterSense Partners Of The Year Recognized For Dedication To Water-Efficiency EPA Announces The Healthy Watersheds Initiative National Framework And Action Plan, 2011 Proposed Renewal Of Reporting Requirements For BEACH Act Grants Trident Seafoods Corp. To Pay $2.5M To Resolve Clean Water Act Violations And Spend More Than $30M To Upgrade Processing Plants City Of Pueblo (Colo.) Recognized For Using Solar Power At Wastewater Treatment Facility Cleanup Complete At Pasley Solvents And Chemicals Superfund Site In Nassau County, N.Y.; Site Removed From Superfund List National Risk Management Research Laboratory
(NRMRL) From Source to Tap — Three Drinking Water Research Challenges
Most Americans take safe drinking water for granted, without giving much thought to the research effort required to keep it that way. For nearly 100 years, biologists, chemists, engineers and other environmental scientists have been meeting the challenges posed by natural and man-made threats to safe and plentiful drinking water. EPA water researchers can point to many scientific accomplishments during that period, but many challenges remain. They range from stressed groundwater reserves to aging drinking water infrastructure. While the challenges are diverse and complex, so are the research responses. Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program ETV Verified Technologies
Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
For more information on the ETV, visit www.epa.gov/etv. Other EPA News Great Lakes Week Events Scheduled For Detroit, Oct. 11-14 EPA Launches New Mapping Tool To Improve Public Access To Enforcement Information Owner Of ‘Davy Crockett' Barge Indicted For Oil Spill On Columbia River U.S. EPA Orders $20 Million Northrop Cleanup At San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site Air Force, EPA, And Arizona Agree To Clean Up Groundwater At Air Force Plant 44 SOURCE: EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized five organizations and one individual as the 2011 WaterSense Partners of the Year. More than 2,200 partners make WaterSense labeled products and new homes more affordable and easy to find, including the six Partners of the Year who have shown outstanding contributions to water-efficiency. WaterSense partners nationwide are manufacturing and selling a range of products, supporting green jobs, and promoting the protection of water resources. Read more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the release of the Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) National Framework and Action Plan. The HWI is intended to protect the nation's remaining healthy watersheds, prevent them from becoming impaired, and accelerate restoration successes. The HWI National Framework and Action Plan aims to provide a clear consistent framework for action, both internally among EPA's own programs and externally in working with the Agency's partners. EPA will work with states and other partners to identify healthy watersheds at the state scale and develop and implement comprehensive state healthy watersheds strategies that set priorities for protection and inform priorities for restoration.
Healthy watersheds provide many ecological services as well as economic benefits. If successfully implemented, the HWI promises to greatly enhance our nation's ability to meet the Clean Water Act Section 101(a) objective of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters. The HWI National Framework and Action Plan is available at www.epa.gov/healthywatersheds.
The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants to eligible states, territories and authorized tribes. EPA is requesting comment on its proposed renewal of the reporting requirements for the BEACH Act Grants Information Collection Request (ICR). As a grant condition, grant recipients are required to collect and submit beach monitoring and notification information to the EPA. Collection of this information allows EPA to evaluate the extent to which grant recipients fulfill the requirements of the BEACH Act.
The proposed renewal is available for public comment through November 21, 2011 at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0357.
For more information on BEACH Act grants, see http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/beachgrants/.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that Trident Seafoods Corp., one of the world's largest seafood processors, has agreed to pay a $2.5M civil penalty and invest millions in seafood processing waste controls to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Unauthorized discharges of seafood processing waste lead to large seafood waste piles on the seafloor, creating anoxic, or oxygen-depleted, conditions that result in unsuitable habitats for fish and other living organisms. Read more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently presented a Clean Water State Revolving Fund award to the City of Pueblo, Colo., for improvements to the community's wastewater treatment system. Diane Sanelli, director of EPA's state revolving fund program in Denver, presented the award to City Council President Ray Aguilera at a town council meeting. Read more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has removed the Pasley Solvents and Chemicals site in Hempstead, N.Y. from the Superfund National Priorities List of the most hazardous waste sites after a successful cleanup of contaminated ground water and soil. The site no longer poses a threat to public health or the environment. EPA proposed to remove the site from the Superfund list in August 2011. EPA encouraged public comments on the proposal, but none were submitted. Read more.
Challenge: Protecting the Sources
Drinking water is drawn from two sources: surface waters (streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans) and groundwater (aquifers). Natural and man-made contaminants can affect both surface and groundwater sources, leading to significant human health risks.
Research Responses: Scientists began as early as 1912 to identify disease-causing bacteria and oxygen depletion in source waters. By mid-century they had established pollution-controls for viruses and bacteria, and from new risks posed by industrialization, especially chemical and plastics manufacturing (The History of Drinking Water Treatment (PDF) (4 pp, 376 KB)). Today, sophisticated EPA research techniques, including molecular tracking, nanotechnology and computer-based modeling, enable the ongoing monitoring and restoration of drinking water supplies. Permeable reactive barrier technologies filter and treat groundwater contaminants such as chemical plumes, making hazardous cleanup more effective (Permeable Reactive Barriers). Other groundwater flow research analyzes water-table effects of discharge from large animal feedlots or leaking underground storage tanks. At the watershed level, researchers analyze stream and lake contaminants such as excess nutrients from agricultural runoff and work with stakeholders on tools and techniques to restore and protect watershed biodiversity and water quality (Healthy Watersheds).
Challenge: Harnessing the Flow
Rainwater recharges aquifers and other water resources that make human life possible. But the impervious surfaces of built environments (roofs, sidewalks, highways, parking lots) interfere with the natural absorption of rainfall into the earth. The result is large volumes of fast-moving runoff that sweep contaminants into waterways, erode ground surfaces and scour streambeds.
Research Responses: EPA hydrologists and engineers develop and monitor cost-effective technologies such as green roofs, catchment areas, rain gardens, pervious pavements and other methods to control excess rainwater runoff at multiple urban sources. EPA's Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), a hydraulic and water quality simulation model, is used world-wide for analysis and design of control systems for stormwater runoff, combined sewers, sanitary sewers, and other urban drainage systems (Storm Water Management Model).
Other EPA projects involve property owners in voluntary monitored rainwater collection techniques using rain barrels and rain gardens as part of community-wide assessments of storm water runoff controls (Sustainable Environments Research Program's Research Areas).
Challenge: Treating and Delivering Safe Water
Drinking water plants have been treating drinking water for many decades, primarily by settling out solids, filtering, and disinfecting with chlorine, the safest and most widely used additive. Later improvements in membrane technology introduced reverse osmosis filtration. The scientific identification of chlorine-resistant pathogens that can cause hepatitis, Legionnaire's Disease, gastroenteritis and cryptosporidiosis drove the development of new control technologies such as granular activated carbon filtration and ozonation. New scientific findings identified disinfection byproducts that can result from the chemical reaction of chlorine with natural organic matter in water supplies, creating chemical compounds that are human health risks (Disinfection Byproducts: A Reference Resource). As new challenges arose, researchers provided the science to support more stringent federal regulations of drinking water quality that stand guard over public health. To assist small drinking water systems in meeting federal standards, EPA researchers also provide technical guidance for cost-effective contaminant removal (Arsenic in Drinking Water).
Even the purest water leaving the treatment plant may lose quality in the pipeline leading to the tap. Long storage and standing times, breaks in water lines, as well as pipeline materials themselves, can influence water quality. EPA research uses distribution system simulation to analyze pipe-system dynamics. Innovative research in the dynamics of pipeline chemistry has resulted in better understanding of corrosion and scaling control and the release of metals into water delivery systems (Research On Disinfection Byproducts Improves The Safety Of Our Drinking Water). A new challenge: the increasing age of many U.S. drinking water delivery systems has prompted EPA research into an infrastructure rehabilitation effort that involves research sharing and collaboration with a broad array of stakeholders and agencies (Aging Water Infrastructure Collaboration).
The research behind the safe drinking water that Americans take for granted is a complex and ongoing effort, and one that is directly linked to EPA's mission, goals and priorities for a sustainable future.
The ETV Program has verified the performance of 457 innovative environmental technologies that can be used to monitor, prevent, control, and clean up pollution. For a full list of ETV verifications, visit http://www.epa.gov/etv/verifiedtechnologies.html.
ETV centers issue periodic solicitations for vendors and collaborators interested in verification. For a list of active ETV vendor solicitations, please visit www.epa.gov/etv/vendorswanted.html, or contact the appropriate ETV center (see www.epa.gov/etv/contacts.html).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Great Lakes Week sponsors have organized a week of activities focused on highlighting Great Lakes protection and restoration, identifying emerging issues, and charting a path forward for further progress. Gathering the annual meetings and conferences of various organizations in one place, makes this one of the most wide-ranging Great Lakes summits in history. Read more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the release of a new mapping feature in EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. As part of EPA's ongoing effort to improve transparency, the EPA and State Enforcement Actions Map will allow the public to access federal and state enforcement information in an interactive format and to compare enforcement action information by state. The map will be refreshed monthly to include up to date information about the enforcement actions taken to address violations of air, water, and waste laws. Read more.
Bret A. Simpson, the owner of Principle Metals, LLC, was indicted by a federal grand jury with two violations of the Clean Water Act. The grand jury charges that Simpson unlawfully discharged oil into the Columbia River near Camas, Wash., between Dec. 3, 2010 and Jan. 28, 2011. The second count charges Simpson with failing to notify authorities of the oil discharge between Dec. 1, 2010 and Jan. 19, 2011. Simpson will be summoned to appear for arraignment on the charges in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Oct. 14, 2011. Read more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation to spend an estimated $20 million to build a groundwater cleanup system to address groundwater contamination stemming primarily from the former Benchmark Technology facility in the City of Industry, Calif., located within the San Gabriel Valley Superfund Sites.
Formerly located at 200 South Turnbull Canyon Road, the Benchmark Technology facility is one of the largest sources of volatile organic compound groundwater contamination in the Puente Valley area of the Superfund site. Northrop Grumman will install wells and a treatment plant to contain and treat groundwater contaminated by VOCs and 1,4-dioxane. The treated water will then be discharged back to surface water or injected back into the underground aquifer, providing additional water resources to San Gabriel Valley residents.
"Today's order will protect the essential drinking water supplies in the San Gabriel Valley. The treatment system is designed to intercept the most highly contaminated groundwater plume and prevent it from migrating further." said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Once again, EPA is taking action requiring the company responsible for the pollution to pay for its cleanup in Puente Valley."
Northrop Grumman has already spent over $10 million implementing cleanup activities at the former Benchmark Technology facility through a facility-specific Cleanup and Abatement Order issued by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board in 1989. The Water Board has agreed to transfer lead oversight to EPA in order to better coordinate the three groundwater cleanup projects currently ongoing in the Puente Valley. The other two projects are the shallow zone remedial action north of Puente Creek and the intermediate zone remedial action. Northrop Grumman is also performing the intermediate zone remedial action under a 2009 consent decree with EPA.
The contaminated groundwater associated with all of the San Gabriel Valley sites lies under significant portions of Alhambra, Irwindale, La Puente, Rosemead, Azusa, Baldwin Park, City of Industry, El Monte, South El Monte, West Covina, and other areas of the San Gabriel Valley. There are 45 water suppliers in the Valley that use the San Gabriel Basin groundwater aquifer to provide 90 percent of the drinking water for over one million people.
The groundwater was contaminated by more than 60 companies that used volatile organic compounds for degreasing, metal cleaning and other purposes. The EPA listed several sections of the San Gabriel Valley as Superfund sites in 1984, including multiple areas of groundwater contaminated by volatile organic compounds.
For more information on the EPA's Superfund program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/waste/sfund/.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that the Air Force has signed an agreement with EPA and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to clean up Air Force-owned property at Air Force Plant 44, part of the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site in Tucson.
Under the terms of the federal facility agreement, the Air Force will work with the EPA and ADEQ to clean up areas impacted by Air Force Plant 44 south of Los Reales Road. Groundwater at the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and other chemicals.
"EPA, Arizona and Air Force are committed to achieving cleanup of Air Force Plant 44," said Jane Diamond, EPA's Director of the Superfund Division in the Pacific Southwest Region. "This agreement provides a new level of confidence that the work by the military will meet all EPA and State environmental requirements for completion."
Investigations since the early 1980s have shown contamination in soils and ground water at and near the Air Force Plant 44. Ten areas were identified as potentially contaminated, including land disposal areas that are no longer in use: a former wastewater treatment facility, and two fire training areas. Groundwater contaminants include volatile organic compounds, such as TCE, and 1,4-dioxane. However, the Air Force has taken numerous actions to clean up contamination in these areas, and no immediate health threats currently exist at the site.
"This agreement is an important milestone for the TIAA site," said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. "It lays a solid foundation for continued cooperation among ADEQ, EPA and the Air Force to assure the cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater at the site."
The agreement provides for regulatory oversight of the Air Force's Superfund work at Air Force Plant 44 and allows for assessment of penalties if the work is not completed or is inadequate. For the past several years, the Air Force has been conducting work at the site without a formal enforcement agreement for EPA and state oversight. This agreement will ensure EPA and ADEQ can compel the Air Force to fully investigate and cleanup the site. Thus far, the Air Force has cleaned up soil in several areas and continues to investigate and clean up contaminated ground water south of Los Reales Road.
Air Force Plant 44 is a Government-owned, contractor-operated facility, currently operated by Raytheon Corporation. Air Force Plant 44 is one of the seven project areas within the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site, a National Priorities List site as designated by the EPA in 1982. Other areas of the TIAA site are being cleaned up under agreements with the Tucson Airport Authority, Raytheon and Boeing, and a separate federal facility agreement with the Arizona Air National Guard. Where no other party is able to clean up an area, EPA is conducting the cleanup with federal funding.
The document is available online at www.epa.gov/region09/tucsonairport along with additional information about the site history and cleanup progress. EPA will be accepting public comments on the document. Please submit comments to email@example.com. A formal 45-day public comment period will begin shortly following an official public notice in the Arizona Daily Star.
Welcome to Water Online's review of the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, resources, and activities related to the water, wastewater, and stormwater industries. EPA offices and programs covered in this installment are listed below. Click on an office or program name to go directly to that section of the article.
Office of Water (OW)
WaterSense Partners Of The Year Recognized For Dedication To Water-Efficiency
EPA Announces The Healthy Watersheds Initiative National Framework And Action Plan, 2011
Proposed Renewal Of Reporting Requirements For BEACH Act Grants
Trident Seafoods Corp. To Pay $2.5M To Resolve Clean Water Act Violations And Spend More Than $30M To Upgrade Processing Plants
City Of Pueblo (Colo.) Recognized For Using Solar Power At Wastewater Treatment Facility
Cleanup Complete At Pasley Solvents And Chemicals Superfund Site In Nassau County, N.Y.; Site Removed From Superfund List
National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL)
From Source to Tap — Three Drinking Water Research Challenges
Most Americans take safe drinking water for granted, without giving much thought to the research effort required to keep it that way. For nearly 100 years, biologists, chemists, engineers and other environmental scientists have been meeting the challenges posed by natural and man-made threats to safe and plentiful drinking water. EPA water researchers can point to many scientific accomplishments during that period, but many challenges remain. They range from stressed groundwater reserves to aging drinking water infrastructure. While the challenges are diverse and complex, so are the research responses.
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
ETV Verified Technologies
Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
For more information on the ETV, visit www.epa.gov/etv.
Other EPA News
Great Lakes Week Events Scheduled For Detroit, Oct. 11-14
EPA Launches New Mapping Tool To Improve Public Access To Enforcement Information
Owner Of ‘Davy Crockett' Barge Indicted For Oil Spill On Columbia River
U.S. EPA Orders $20 Million Northrop Cleanup At San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site
Air Force, EPA, And Arizona Agree To Clean Up Groundwater At Air Force Plant 44