Water Online's EPA Update: May 31, 2012
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)
- EPA Launches Video Project Asking Americans Why “Water is Worth It”
- EPA And Department Of Veterans Affairs To Connect Veterans With Jobs In Water Sectors
- EPA Releases Fact Sheet On The Economic Benefits Of Protecting Healthy Watersheds
- EPA Launches Competition For College Students To Develop Innovative Approaches To Stormwater Management
- EPA Releases Draft Permitting Guidance For Using Diesel Fuel In Oil And Gas Hydraulic Fracturing
- EPA Updates Online Water Quality Standards Guidance
- EPA To Work With Drinking Water Systems To Monitor Unregulated Contaminants
- Principles For An Energy/Water Future Document Available
- Webcast Series For Water And Wastewater Utilities On June 12, 2012
- Tres Palacios Creek, Texas — Addressing Illegal Dumping Reduces Bacteria In Creek
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
- ETV Verified Technologies
- Vendor Solicitations
- Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
Other EPA News
- EPA Adds South Gate Industrial Facilities To List Of Nation’s Worst Toxic Sites
- EPA Promotes Safer Alternatives To Nonylphenol Ethoxylates
- EPA Reaches Settlement For $6.6 Million Groundwater Cleanup At San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site
- EPA Announces NAS’ Review Of IRIS Assessment Development Process
Office of Water (OW)
EPA Launches Video Project Asking Americans Why “Water is Worth It”
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the nation’s law for protecting our most irreplaceable resource. Everyone deserves clean water — it is vital for our health, communities, environment and economy.
To help commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking people to send in a 15-second video clip about the important role that water plays in their life. Each video should include the phrase “Water Is Worth It,” but the rest is up to you. EPA will post selected videos on its website and Facebook page.
To learn more, visit http://water.epa.gov/action/cleanwater40c/video-project.cfm.
Fill out a video entry form, and submit your entry as a video response to the promotional video on EPA’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/USEPAgov. Video submissions must be received by September 14, 2012.
Grab your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, classmates, and pets and let us know why “Water is Worth It” to you!
EPA And Department Of Veterans Affairs To Connect Veterans With Jobs In Water Sectors
The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have announced a memorandum of understanding to connect veterans with disabilities to career opportunities in the water and wastewater sectors — such as at wastewater plants and drinking water facilities — as part of EPA’s Water Sector Workforce Initiative. This effort will be beneficial to both the environment and economy as clean water and job placement for veterans are top priorities of the Obama Administration.
The agreement allows EPA and VA to connect qualified veteran employees with staffing needs at water and wastewater utilities. EPA and the VA will work with water utilities, states and local VA counselors to promote water sector careers and resources for finding water jobs for veterans and as well as will provide educational programs to help veterans transition into careers in water industries.
More than one-third of all current water operators are eligible to retire within seven years and, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment for water and wastewater operators is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, faster than the national average for all other occupations. EPA sees the need to invest now in creating a pipeline of future water sector professionals to fill these essential water sector careers.
For more on EPA’s water sector initiatives and to view a copy of the memorandum of understanding: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/ws_workforce.cfm. For more about the VA connecting qualified veterans with employer needs: http://www.vetsuccess.gov/.
EPA Releases Fact Sheet On The Economic Benefits Of Protecting Healthy Watersheds
EPA has released a new fact sheet as part of its Healthy Watersheds initiative describing the economic benefits of protecting healthy watersheds by highlighting examples from existing peer-reviewed literature and studies. EPA’s Healthy Watersheds Initiative is intended to protect the Nation’s remaining healthy watersheds, prevent them from becoming impaired, and accelerate restoration successes. It encourages interested states to take a strategic, systems approach to protecting healthy watersheds that recognizes the dynamic and interconnected nature of aquatic ecosystems.
The fact sheet describes studies that demonstrate protecting healthy watersheds can reduce capital costs for water treatment plants and reduce damages to property and infrastructure due to flooding, thereby avoiding future costs. Additionally, examples in the fact sheet show that protecting healthy watersheds can generate revenue through property value premiums, recreation, and tourism. This fact sheet directs readers to important resources to learn more about the substantial efforts to monetize ecosystem services from across the country. This fact sheet is also a resource for those doing outreach to promote the protection of healthy watersheds. The fact sheet is available at: http://www.epa.gov/healthywatersheds.
EPA Launches Competition For College Students To Develop Innovative Approaches To Stormwater Management
EPA has launched a new design competition called the Campus RainWorks Challenge to encourage student teams on college and university campuses across the country to develop innovative approaches to stormwater management. The competition will help raise awareness of green design and planning approaches at colleges and universities, and train the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers in green infrastructure principles and design.
The Campus RainWorks Challenge will help encourage the use of green infrastructure projects on college and university campuses to manage stormwater runoff. Registration for the Campus RainWorks Challenge opens September 4, and entries must be submitted by December 14, 2012 for consideration. Winning teams will earn a cash prize of $1,500 - $2,500, as well as $8,000 - $11,000 in funds for their faculty advisor to conduct research on green infrastructure.
More information on the Campus RainWorks Challenge: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/crw_challenge.cfm
EPA Releases Draft Permitting Guidance For Using Diesel Fuel In Oil And Gas Hydraulic Fracturing
EPA has released draft underground injection control (UIC) program permitting guidance for class II wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing activities. EPA developed the draft guidance to clarify how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which exempted hydraulic fracturing operations from the requirement to obtain a UIC permit, except in cases where diesel fuel is used as a fracturing fluid.
The draft guidance outlines for EPA permit writers, where EPA is the permitting authority, requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, technical recommendations for permitting those wells, and a description of diesel fuels for EPA underground injection control permitting. The draft guidance describes diesel fuels for these purposes by reference to six chemical abstract services registry numbers. The agency is requesting input on this description.
EPA will take public comment on the draft guidance for 60 days upon publication in the Federal Register to allow for stakeholder input before it is finalized.
More information: http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/hydraulic-fracturing.cfm
EPA Updates Online Water Quality Standards Guidance
EPA has updated the online version of its water quality standards handbook (http://epa.gov/wqshandbook) to make it more user-friendly and improve transparency by providing links to EPA’s most recent policy documents. The handbook is a compilation of EPA's guidance on the water quality standards program and provides direction for states, territories and authorized tribes in reviewing, revising and implementing water quality standards. Look for the “updated information” boxes located throughout each chapter for links to recent policy and guidance as well as hyperlinks to documents referenced in the handbook text.
EPA has also consolidated its online water quality standards policy and guidance reference library (http://epa.gov/wqslibrary), which includes relevant water quality standards policy and guidance documents. The library is sortable by document title, issue date, topic and EPA publication number.
For more information please contact Jennifer Brundage by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 202-566-9976.
EPA To Work With Drinking Water Systems To Monitor Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has published a list of 28 chemicals and two viruses that approximately 6,000 public water systems will monitor from 2013 to 2015 as part of the agency’s unregulated contaminant monitoring program, which collects data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
EPA will spend more than $20 million to support the monitoring, the majority of which will be devoted to assist small drinking water systems with conducting the monitoring. The data collected under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR 3) will inform EPA about the frequency and levels at which these contaminants are found in drinking water systems across the United States and help determine whether additional protections are needed to ensure safe drinking water for Americans. State participation in the monitoring is voluntary. EPA will fund small drinking water system costs for laboratory analyses, shipping and quality control.
For the full news release: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/bd4379a92ceceeac8525735900400c27/9725165167f237b1852579f1007176e7!OpenDocument
Principles For An Energy/Water Future Document Available
EPA has drafted Principles for an Energy Water Future. EPA encourages all stakeholders — including government, utilities, private companies and ratepayers — to consider these principles and incorporate them into their work.
The principles are familiar concepts: water and energy efficiency, a water-wise energy sector, an energy-wise water sector, viewing wastewater as a source of renewable resources, integrated resource planning, and maximizing social benefits. EPA hopes that having them listed in one document that touches upon all aspects of energy and water's interdependency will help to further raise awareness, stimulate discussion and advance progress.
To read the principles visit, http://water.epa.gov/action/energywater.cfm.
For more information, contact Bob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Webcast Series For Water And Wastewater Utilities On June 12, 2012
EPA has scheduled the first in a series of webcasts built around the core elements of its February 2012 handbook, “Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities.” Effective planning is essential for utilities to sustainably manage their operations and ensure that water infrastructure investments are cost-effective over their life-cycle, resource-efficient, and support other relevant community sustainability goals. The handbook describes a series of core elements and steps that water and wastewater utilities can take to incorporate sustainability considerations into existing planning processes.
The webcast on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT, will provide an overview of the handbook and include perspectives and examples from two utility managers that were involved in its development. The webcast is free to participants. Please register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/519632424. For more information, contact Jim Horne, EPA's Office of Wastewater Management, at (202) 564-0571 or email@example.com.
Tres Palacios Creek, Texas — Addressing Illegal Dumping Reduces Bacteria In Creek
EPA's Clean Water Act Section 319 Program provides funding for restoration of nonpoint source-impaired water bodies. Success stories are posted at: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/success319/. This success spotlight shines on Tres Palacios Creek, Texas.
Tres Palacios Creek is in a watershed that encompasses an area of approximately 322 square miles extending from the city of El Campo to the city of Palacios, Texas. Bacteria leaching from illegal dumpsites raised bacteria levels in the creek, and as a result, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality placed a portion of the creek on the state's 1996 Clean Water Act list of impaired waters for not meeting the contact recreation criteria for bacteria. The commission and the Lower Colorado River Authority launched dumpsite cleanup efforts and conducted an education and enforcement campaign. Subsequently, bacteria levels declined and now meet water quality standards, prompting the state to remove this part of the creek from the state's list of impaired waters for bacteria in 2010.
For more information on this story, visit: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/success319/tx_tres.cfm
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
ETV Verified Technologies
The ETV Program has verified the performance of 465 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).
For more information on the ETV, visit www.epa.gov/etv.
Other EPA News
EPA Adds South Gate Industrial Facilities To List Of Nation’s Worst Toxic Sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is adding two new sites to the Superfund National Priorities List in Los Angeles County, Calif. Southern Avenue Industrial Area site and Jervis B. Webb Co. are former industrial facilities located in South Gate.
Last year, EPA proposed to add both sites to the list due to soil and groundwater contamination. Volatile organic compounds, including elevated levels of trichloroethylene (TCE), commonly used as a solvent for cleaning metal parts, have been confirmed in the soils and groundwater at these sites. With today’s action, these two sites are now finalized on the Superfund list. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.
“These industrial plants are located in the I-710 corridor, a priority area for EPA, where low-income and minority populations are overburdened by pollution,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Now that these sites are officially on the Superfund list, EPA will begin full-scale investigations of the contaminated soil and drinking water sources.”
South Gate is one of several densely populated communities closest to the I-710 freeway, where the effects of pollution are disproportionately higher than in other areas of Los Angeles County. Approximately 1 million people, about 70% of whom are minority and low-income households, are severely impacted by industrial activities and goods movement in the area. In a multiyear effort, federal, state, and local governments and nonprofit organizations are working together to improve the environmental and public health conditions for residents along this corridor.
TCE contamination in the groundwater at Southern Avenue Industrial Area and Jervis B. Webb Co. was found at levels up to 17,000 ppb (parts per billion) and 35,000 ppb respectively. The federal Maximum Contaminant Level for TCE in drinking water is 5 ppb. The MCL is the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water. Although the drinking water supply wells immediately downgradient of the two sites are located in a deeper aquifer and are not currently contaminated, because the aquifers are connected, there is the potential that drinking water wells may become contaminated. There are at least 35 drinking water wells within four miles of the site, serving approximately 226,000 people.
From 1972 through to the present day, the Southern Avenue Industrial Area site has been occupied by a facility that manufactures hot-melt adhesive tape for laying carpets. Prior to 1972, Pacific Screw Products Corporation manufactured screw products at the property until the business went bankrupt.
The Jervis B. Webb Co. conducted metal fabrication, finishing, painting and assembly operations associated with the manufacture of industrial conveyor belt systems from the 1950s to 1996 on a portion of the Jervis B. Webb Co. site. In 1997, Reliable Steel, Inc. purchased this portion of the site. Blake Rivet Company leased another portion of the site until approximately 1981. The Blake Rivet Company produced aluminum and stainless steel aircraft rivets.
Since 1983, 1,664 sites have been listed on the NPL. Of these sites, 359 sites have been completely cleaned up, resulting in 1,305 sites currently on the Superfund list (including those added today). There are 59 proposed sites awaiting final agency action.
With all Superfund listed sites, EPA works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and require them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the new sites without financially viable responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site.
Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm
For more information about the I-710 Freeway initiative, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/ej/enforcement.html
Superfund sites in local communities: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/index.htm
EPA Promotes Safer Alternatives To Nonylphenol Ethoxylates
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the final report on alternatives to nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) through the Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment Program. NPEs are widely used surfactants with a range of industrial applications and are commonly found in consumer products, such as laundry detergents. When released into the environment, they can be persistent and highly toxic to aquatic organisms. The report identifies eight safer alternatives to NPE that meet EPA’s criteria for safer surfactants.
“I applaud the product manufacturers who have stopped using NPEs and switched to safer alternatives and the chemical manufacturers who have made the safer alternatives available,” said Jim Jones, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). “This report shows the important strides that have been made to identify safer alternatives and the progress being made to phase out NPEs in detergents and reduce its use in other applications. By developing rigorous technical assessments through public participation, EPA can help successfully encourage the transition to safer chemicals.”
The report provides information on the availability of safer alternatives, DfE’s hazard evaluation method for surfactants, and the progress being made in adopting safer surfactants. Using rigorous hazard-based criteria, EPA evaluated hundreds of chemicals for their biodegradability and their potential effects to aquatic organisms.
DfE’s Alternatives Assessment Program helps industries choose safer chemicals and offers a basis for informed decision-making by providing a detailed comparison of the potential human health and environmental effects of chemical alternatives. To date, the DfE program has labeled more than 2,700 safer products, including detergents that contain only safer surfactants and other chemicals. All companies participating in the DfE Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative have eliminated NPE from their product lines to meet DfE criteria.
More information on the DfE Alternatives Assessment Program and the NPEs Report:
EPA Reaches Settlement For $6.6 Million Groundwater Cleanup At San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has entered into three settlements totaling $6,605,080 to help pay for groundwater cleanup at the South El Monte portion of the San Gabriel Valley Area 1 Superfund Site in Los Angeles, Calif. Since EPA began cleaning up this site in 2008, approximately 4,600 pounds of contaminants have been removed from the groundwater.
EPA has recovered a total of $25 million for the South El Monte cleanup, with the latest $6.6 million to pay for extraction and treatment of groundwater polluted with industrial solvents such as TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCE (perchloroethylene), a chemical once common in dry cleaning operations.
“EPA remains committed to pursuing parties responsible for environmental damage in the San Gabriel Valley,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “So far, more than ten billion gallons of water have been treated to provide safe drinking water for the local communities.”
The three settlement claims were brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control against eleven current or former landowners and operators of business facilities that contributed to the contamination in South El Monte.
The first of the recent consent decrees was entered in the federal District Court on April 13, 2012. The second and third consent decrees were lodged on May 15, 2012. All three resolve liabilities for contamination.
The eleven responsible parties are Quaker Chemical Corporation; Art Weiss, Inc.; Astro Seal, Inc.; Craneveyor Corp.; EBA, Inc. D/b/a Earl Butler & Associates; M&T, LLC; Mary Brkich; New Air, Inc.; Pacific Coast Drum Co.; Seachrome Corporation; and Linderman Living Trust A.
The San Gabriel Valley Area 1 Superfund site was placed on the National Priorities List in 1984, and overlays approximately eight square miles of solvent-tainted groundwater in the areas of South El Monte, El Monte and Rosemead. The San Gabriel Valley is a suburban, largely-developed portion of Los Angeles County containing more than one million residents and covering more than 170 square miles.
EPA signed an interim Record of Decision with the goal of containing contaminated groundwater at the site in 2000 and issued an Explanation of Significant Differences to address new contaminants in 2005. The San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority implements the cleanup under a Cooperative Agreement with EPA. The agreement funds groundwater extraction and treatment systems operated by the City of Monterey Park, San Gabriel Valley Water Company, and Golden State Water Company.
For more information on the San Gabriel Valley Superfund Area 1 Site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/southelmonte
Copies of the consent decrees will be available at: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html
EPA Announces NAS’ Review Of IRIS Assessment Development Process
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will conduct a comprehensive review of the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program’s assessment development process. The IRIS program helps EPA protect Americans’ health and the environment by conducting health assessments of over 550 chemicals that may be present in our environment.
In April 2011, NAS recommended several ways to improve the development of IRIS assessments. EPA has embraced these recommendations and is implementing them using a phased approach. Future draft IRIS assessments released for public comment and peer review will demonstrate the progress EPA has made in implementing NAS recommendations.
“EPA is committed to a strong and robust IRIS program,” said Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This program plays a significant role in protecting the health of our country’s citizens and the environment in which they live. We welcome the NAS’ review of the IRIS assessment development process and look forward to working with them to continue to strengthen the program.”
NAS will conduct a review of the IRIS assessment development process and the changes that are currently being made or planned by EPA in response to NAS’ April 2011 recommendations. NAS will also review current methods for weight of evidence analyses and recommend approaches for weighing scientific evidence for chemical hazard identification.
EPA’s IRIS program provides health profiles of chemicals to which the public may be exposed from releases to air, water, and land and through the use and disposal of chemicals. IRIS assessments inform EPA rulemakings, and the release of final IRIS assessments is consistent with EPA’s ongoing efforts to improve Americans’ health and protect the environment.
More information about IRIS: http://www.epa.gov/iris