Water Online's EPA Update: April 30, 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 Celebrates American Wetlands Month
- Blog Spotlight: Challenges And Opportunities In San Juan Bay
- EPA’s National Coastal Condition Report IV Available Online
- Human Health Benchmarks For Pesticides In Water Published
- Webinar: Innovative Energy Conservation Measures At Wastewater Treatment Facilities
- “Coordination of the Water Sector and Emergency Services Sectors: An Important Step to Better Response” Document Released
- Climate Resilience Evaluation And Awareness Tool Training Modules Available Online
- 2012 Draft National Water Program Strategy: Response To Climate Change Open For Public Comment
- EPA Joins The U.S. Water Partnership
National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL)
- Harnessing Water, Waste And Energy Systems For Sustainability
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
- ETV Verified Technologies
- Vendor Solicitations
- Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
Other EPA News
- Agana Springs PCB cleanup In Guam Completed
- U.S. And Tennessee Announce Clean Water Act Agreement With The City Of Memphis
- EPA Administrator Jackson And Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Sign Landmark Green City, Clean Waters Partnership Agreement
- EPA Proposes Rule To Require Electronic Reporting For Chemical Information
Office of Water (OW)
EPA Celebrates American Wetlands Month
May marks the 21st anniversary of American Wetlands Month, a time when EPA and its wetland partners across the country celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to our nation's ecological, economic, and social health. EPA and a host of other public and private partners are planning a number of events as part of this year’s celebration:
- May 10 – the Environmental Law Institute, EPA, and other federal partners will honor a diverse group of individuals for their extraordinary commitment to conserving wetlands at the National Wetlands Awards ceremony on Capitol Hill (http://www.nationalwetlandsawards.org)
- May 15 – National webinar: "Restore-Adapt-Mitigate: Responding to Climate Change through Coastal Habitat Restoration" where representatives from Restore America's Estuaries will give an overview of a newly-released study linking ecologically important coastal habitat restoration with adaptation and mitigation strategies as a way to reduce the impacts of ongoing global climate change. https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/592039530.
EPA regional activities planned for the month of May include educational displays, discussions, presentations, special feature articles, wetland walks and celebrations, and an array of other outreach and communication events. Information will be posted throughout the month at: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/awm/.
EPA has also created an American Wetlands Month widget which can easily be shared and embedded on other websites linking to EPA’s American Wetlands Month website (http://tinyurl.com/3935qyh)
Contact Kathleen Kutschenreuter (202) 566-1383 for more information.
Blog Spotlight: Challenges And Opportunities In San Juan Bay
Nancy Stoner, acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, blogged about the challenges and opportunities she witnessed during a visit to San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico. In the blog, Ms. Stoner observes the attraction of new eco-tourism businesses in some areas, and efforts to address stormwater and sewage concerns though activities such as mangrove planting and education. To read the blog, visit: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2012/04/challenges-and-opportunities-in-san-juan-bay/
EPA’s National Coastal Condition Report IV Available Online
EPA has released the National Coastal Condition Report IV, the fourth in a series of environmental assessments of U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes. The national coastal condition reports summarize the condition of ecological resources in the coastal waters of the United States and highlight several exemplary federal, state, tribal and local programs that assess coastal ecological and water quality conditions. This report relies heavily on coastal monitoring data provided by coastal states through EPA’s National Coastal Assessment to assess coastal condition by evaluating five indicators of condition — water quality, sediment quality, benthic community condition, coastal habitat loss, and fish tissue contaminants — in each region of the U.S. The overall condition of the nation’s coastal waters was rated fair for the reporting period 2003 to 2006. The report is available at: http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/assessmonitor/nccr/index.cfm
Human Health Benchmarks For Pesticides In Water Published
EPA has published a table of human health benchmarks for approximately 350 pesticides to enable states, water systems and the public to better determine whether the detection of a pesticide in drinking water or source waters for drinking water may indicate a potential health risk. Advanced testing methods now allow pesticides to be detected in water at very low levels. These small amounts of pesticides detected in drinking water or source water for drinking water do not necessarily indicate a health risk.
Concentrations of pesticides in drinking water that have the potential for cancer risk are not currently included in the human health benchmarks for pesticides table. EPA intends to include these concentrations later. The table includes pesticide active ingredients for which health advisories or enforceable National Primary Drinking Water Regulations have not been developed.
EPA intends to update its online table of human health benchmarks for pesticides annually to ensure that the best available science is accessible to the public.
To view the table of human health benchmarks for pesticides, visit: www.epa.gov/pesticides/hhbp
Webinar: Innovative Energy Conservation Measures At Wastewater Treatment Facilities
On Thursday, May 17, 2012, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST, EPA will host a webinar on innovative energy conservation measures at wastewater treatment facilities. Improving energy efficiency is an ongoing challenge for water sector utilities. While energy costs often represent 25 to 30 percent of a plant's total operation and maintenance costs, they also represent the largest controllable cost of providing water and wastewater services. One key step for wastewater utilities to take to become more energy efficient is to evaluate and adopt innovative measures to conserve energy and move toward energy self-sufficiency.
The first part of this webcast will focus on energy conservation and self-sufficiency based on EPA's 2010 document titled “Evaluation of Energy Conservation Measures for Wastewater Treatment Facilities.” The second part of the webcast will focus on the successful implementation of the various measures and energy recovery at the Sheboygan Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Wisconsin. Implementation of these cutting edge projects has enabled the facility to be well on its way to becoming energy self-sufficient. The webinar is free.
To register, please visit: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/679203742. For additional information, please contact Jim Horne at (202) 564-0571 or email@example.com.
“Coordination of the Water Sector and Emergency Services Sectors: An Important Step to Better Response” Document Released
EPA has released a new document, “Coordination of the Water Sector and Emergency Services Sectors: An Important Step to Better Response,” which describes the mutually beneficial relationship of the water sector and emergency services sector and provides examples on how to improve coordination between water utilities and local emergency management agencies. The document recommends a series of actions for utilities to improve their coordination with local emergency management agencies, including joint tabletop exercises, sharing and coordinating response plans and emergency contact information, getting to know each other in advance of an emergency, and sharing information about how water services support emergency management agencies during a response. The document can be accessed at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/upload/epa817k12001.pdf.
Climate Resilience Evaluation And Awareness Tool Training Modules Available Online
Training modules for EPA's Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) software are now available for viewing or download at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/. The CREAT software was developed under the Agency's Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative, which provides drinking water, wastewater, and storm water utilities with practical tools, training, and technical assistance to confront climate change through climate related risk assessment. With a better understanding of climate challenges, utilities can take the proactive steps needed for adapting to climate change impacts and increasing the overall resilience of their utility. For more information on how to become “climate ready,” visit U.S. EPA's CRWU website at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/.
2012 Draft National Water Program Strategy: Response To Climate Change Open For Public Comment
EPA has released the draft “National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change,” which describes how EPA’s water-related programs plan to address the impacts of climate change and provides long-term visions, goals and strategic actions for the management of sustainable water resources for future generations.
The 2012 strategy, which builds upon EPA's first climate change and water strategy released in 2008, focuses on five key areas: infrastructure, watersheds and wetlands, coastal and ocean waters, water quality, and working with Tribes. It also describes geographically-based strategic issues and actions.
EPA will accept public comments on the draft strategy until May 17, 2012. To read or submit a comment on the draft “National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change,” visit: http://epa.gov/water/climatechange.
EPA Joins The U.S. Water Partnership
EPA is one of 22 new members that has joined the expanded U.S. Water Partnership, announced on March 22, 2012, on World Water Day. The US Water Partnership is a U.S.-based public/private partnership established to unite American expertise, knowledge, and resources, and mobilize those assets to address water challenges around the globe, especially in the developing world.
The 22 new partners are: Africare; Clean Water America Alliance; Centers for Disease Control; The Coca-Cola Company; Department of Energy; Department of Interior; EPA; U.S. Export-Import Bank: Ford Motor Company, International Boundary and Water Commission (U.S. Section); National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Procter & Gamble; Skoll Global Threats Fund; Rockefeller Foundation; The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; U.S. Trade and Development Agency; and U.S. Geological Survey.
For more information on the U.S. Water Partnership: http://www.state.gov/e/oes/rls/fs/2012/186581.htm
National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL)
Harnessing Water, Waste And Energy Systems For Sustainability
Drinking water, wastewater, and energy are three totally interrelated systems in municipal life. Based on this fact, an interdisciplinary research project, cooperatively sponsored by EPA, is evaluating the three systems and their potential links to sustainable technologies. A key goal of the project is to show how green water strategies of decentralization, recovery, and reuse can be matched with energy conservation strategies to create sustainable green buildings.
Many communities are facing challenges of population growth and rising energy costs in the face of diminishing water resources and aging water delivery systems. Although environmental experts have long recognized that Americans must adopt new water and energy conservation methods to ensure a sustainable future, most communities still treat large volumes of water to the highest potable (drinking) water standards and then use much of that treated water for non-potable needs. These include fire fighting, landscape watering, toilet flushing, street cleaning and similar uses. In addition, the quantity and pressure requirements for fire-fighting typically dictate large pipe diameters and storage tanks, causing long standing times with favorable conditions for biological contamination. Finally, the large volumes of a municipal water supply generate large volumes of wastewater, which require energy-consuming treatment before disposal. These interrelated issues are evident at both the building and the community level.
EPA is evaluating a series of innovative green water/green building strategies that propose changes in the ways in which communities currently use water and energy resources. The project, supported in part by EPA, addresses three main strategies — water and wastewater, energy, and green buildings — with corresponding tasks for each. The following is a brief sampling.
- Water and Wastewater Strategies — To develop alternatives to conventional water systems, researchers are evaluating a more sustainable approach based on dual water distribution and the recovery and reuse of wastewater. Some of the research tasks involved:
Investigate how dual water distribution systems can be designed, constructed and operated for optimum water quality, fire protection and economy at household and community levels.
Investigate separate wastewater collection and treatment systems. Evaluate collection of gray water (from showers, dishwashers, clothes washers) for use in heat pump systems for energy recovery and (after filtering) for non-potable uses such as irrigation and fire-fighting. Evaluate the collection and treatment of black water (from toilets and sinks) for reuse as support for heat pump systems. Analyze recycling of treated wastewater for fire-fighting, toilet flushing and outdoor irrigation to potentially reduce drinking water demand by 50% and relieve pressure on aging water distribution systems.
- Energy Strategies — Researchers are evaluating technologies to recover and reuse energy at the household level because home water-heating systems represent a large percentage of energy consumption. They are also evaluating technologies for central collection systems (at the community level) to process household wastewater and storm water to achieve economies of scale. Some other tasks:
Evaluate heat pump technologies as substitutes for conventional gas and electric water heating technologies that currently waste about 65% of performance capacity in heating household water. Water heating is also a significant contributor to greenhouse gases.
Investigate the configuration of photovoltaic (solar) systems to maximize their adaptability to different buildings to generate, store and use solar energy in the built environment.
Design real-time elastic power-response models and methods to optimize energy-demand through consumer sensor networks and intelligent algorithms.
- Green Building Strategies — Since U.S. buildings consume about 12% of all potable water, account for 39% of all CO2 gas emissions, and represent 70% of U.S. electricity consumption, a key phase of this study is integrating the water strategies described above into the design of sustainable buildings. Some tasks:
Construct and win a U.S. Green Buildings Council LEED certification for a test house to investigate green design and construction strategies as the basis for analyzing future residential and commercial performance, while minimizing increases in overall building costs. The test home will integrate energy innovations with on-site renewable power solutions to achieve a zero net energy home.
Develop virtual green building and virtual green community software that will enable home buyers, developers and the general public to evaluate new sustainable components such as dual water systems, separate drainage systems, heat pumps, storm water management, and other technologies for their life-cycle costs and benefits.
EPA’s support of this green water/green buildings project is part of a collaborative effort among several agencies, including the National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Green Building Council. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is directing the research activities. The research team comprises a dozen specialists from the academic and professional sectors with expertise in energy testing in architectural engineering, water and waste testing in civil engineering, and computerized construction management.
Current and future outputs of this research include reports, journal articles, designs and decision-support tools. These will be available as educational tools for home buyers, developers, students, and others to raise public the level of knowledge and acceptance of sustainable structures through understanding of their social and environmental effects.
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
Agana Springs PCB cleanup In Guam Completed
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency working with the Guam Environmental Protection Agency completed the cleanup of contaminated soil from a former military water pump station at Agana Springs, Guam.
Electrical transformers and other equipment at the former military water pump station at Agana Springs contained oil with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a cancer-causing chemical. In 2007, site assessments found PCBs had leaked from the pump station equipment into the ground.
“The excavation of hundreds of tons of toxic soil restores the land for use by the residents of Guam,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA thanks the community of Agana Springs for its cooperation during our cleanup operations.”
Since cleanup began in December 2011, approximately 320 tons of PCB contaminated soil was removed from the area of the former water pump station and shipped off to a hazardous waste site on the U.S. mainland for proper disposal. EPA spent over $650,000 for the restoration of the area.
In addition to Guam EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Guam Historic Preservation Office assisted with the cleanup effort. While the area has been restored and graded, a silt fence may remain on site to protect the Agana pond from sediment while vegetation is re-established on the property.
PCBs were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until 1979 when their manufacture was banned. During that time, PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications including electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment.
Once in the environment, PCBs do not readily break down and may also be taken up into the bodies of small organisms and fish. As a result, people who ingest fish from contaminated waters may be exposed to PCBs that have bioaccumulated in the fish they are eating. PCBs have been determined to be a probable human carcinogen, and may cause a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.
U.S. And Tennessee Announce Clean Water Act Agreement With The City Of Memphis
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General announced a comprehensive Clean Water Act (CWA) settlement with the City of Memphis, Tenn. Memphis has agreed to make improvements to its sewer systems to eliminate unauthorized overflows of untreated raw sewage. Memphis estimates such work will cost approximately $250M. Read more.
EPA Administrator Jackson And Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Sign Landmark Green City, Clean Waters Partnership Agreement
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and city and federal officials, signed an agreement that represents a $2B investment in Philadelphia green infrastructure during an event at the Fairmount Water Works. Read more.
EPA Proposes Rule To Require Electronic Reporting For Chemical Information
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposed rule to require electronic reporting for certain information submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).The action is an important milestone in the agency’s effort to increase transparency and public access to chemical information in order to help Americans protect their health and environment. Electronic reporting will increase the speed with which EPA can make information publicly available, increase accuracy, and provide the public with quick and easier access to chemical information.
“Administrator Lisa P. Jackson is committed to strengthening EPA's chemicals management program and increasing the public’s access to chemical information,” said Jim Jones, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The agency is also committed to reducing reporting burdens and paper-based reporting in favor of electronic reporting. These measures will streamline the reporting process and reduce the administrative costs.”
Today’s proposed rule would require electronic reporting rather than paper-based reporting for various TSCA actions including submission of information relating to chemical testing, health and safety studies, and other information. When final, EPA will only accept data, reports, and other information submitted through EPA’s Central Data Exchange, a centralized portal that enables streamlined, electronic submission of data via the Internet. The agency will be soliciting comments on this proposed rule for 60 days.
Over the coming months, the agency will offer a number of opportunities for potential users to become familiar with the new requirements. These opportunities will include an initial webinar to introduce the web-based electronic reporting tool, follow-up webinars and testing of specific applications, and opportunities for submitters and others to provide feedback to the agency on their experiences using the tool before its release.
For more information on the proposed rule: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/chemtest/
For more information on OPPT’s increasing transparency efforts: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/transparency.html