Water Online's EPA Update: August 3, 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)
- New EPA Tool Helps Estimate the Affordability of Water Pollution Control Requirements
- A Function-Based Framework for Stream Assessment and Restoration Projects Available Online
- EPA Provides $950,000 to Help 17 Communities Use Green Infrastructure to Improve Water Quality
- EPA Withdraws Proposal to Collect Information about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
- EPA Issues Clean Water State Revolving Fund Green Project Reserve Highlights Report, Case Studies, and Fact Sheets
- EPA’s Job Training Program Expands to Include Wastewater and Stormwater
- Nutrient Pollution Educational Materials Online
- EPA Awarding $2.7 Million to Revitalize Urban Waters
- Magees Creek, Mississippi — Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices Reduces Fecal Coliform Bacteria in Magees Creek
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
- ETV Verified Technologies
- Vendor Solicitations
- Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
Other EPA News
- U.S. and Tennessee Announce Clean Water Act Agreement With the City Of Chattanooga
- EPA Fines Violators for Failure to Report Chemical Data
- Obama Administration Releases Report on Progress and Next Steps in Restoring the Everglades, Announces Additional $80 Million in Project Funding
- EPA Reaches $14.6 million Settlement for Groundwater Cleanup at Torrance Superfund Sites
- EPA Releases Guidance on Fuel Availability Provisions for Ships Operating Off the Coast of North America
- EPA Awarding $2.7 Million to Revitalize Urban Waters
Office of Water (OW)
New EPA Tool Helps Estimate the Affordability of Water Pollution Control Requirements
EPA has released a new, web-based tool to help a variety of stakeholders evaluate the economic and social impacts of pollution controls needed to meet water quality standards set for specific uses for a waterbody, such as swimming or fishing. This tool could be used by states, territories, tribes, local governments, industry, municipalities and stormwater management districts.
The tool will help stakeholders identify and organize the necessary information, and perform the calculations to evaluate the costs of pollution control requirements necessary to meet specific water quality standards. The tool prompts users to submit treatment technology information, alternative pollution reduction techniques and their costs and efficiencies, and financing information, as well as explain where that information can be found. Click here for more information. For additional information, contact Gary Russo at 202-566-1335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Function-Based Framework for Stream Assessment and Restoration Projects Available Online
EPA has released a new technical resource to improve stream assessment and restoration for watershed practitioners. A Function-Based Framework for Stream Assessment and Restoration Projects lays out a framework for approaching stream assessment and restoration projects that focuses on understanding the suite of stream functions at a site in the context of what is happening in the watershed. The framework is an expansive resource covering watershed and river corridor processes, and the document provides several hypothetical examples and a detailed discussion of how the framework could be used to develop and assess stream restoration projects. Click here for more information.
EPA Provides $950,000 to Help 17 Communities Use Green Infrastructure to Improve Water Quality
EPA is providing $950,000 to help 17 communities expand the use of green infrastructure to improve water quality and benefit communities. The EPA funding is intended to increase incorporation of green infrastructure into stormwater management programs and will support work such as review of local development and stormwater policies, cost benefit assessments, and the development of design guidance. EPA is awarding the technical assistance across 16 states to communities ranging in type, size, and climate zone. Some communities-like Beaufort, South Carolina and Neosho, Missouri-are small towns in urban growth areas interested in preserving their high quality waters. Others, such as Camden, New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are large cities interested in adding green infrastructure into their redevelopment projects to restore degraded urban waters and help revitalize their communities. Click here for more information.
EPA Withdraws Proposal to Collect Information about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
EPA is withdrawing a proposed rule that would have required information to be submitted to the EPA about concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). EPA will instead use existing federal, state, and local sources of information to gather data about CAFOs and help ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices that protect water quality. EPA also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Association of the Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) to facilitate the exchange of information. This collaborative effort between the EPA and ACWA will focus on identifying CAFOs and obtaining pertinent information about CAFOs on a state-by-state basis for use by both ACWA members and EPA.
EPA sought public comment on the proposal, and in light of comments received from states regarding the amount of CAFO information states already have and include as part of the CAFO permitting process, the EPA is withdrawing the proposal to collect CAFO information by rule. More information: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/afo/aforule.cfm#withdrawal.
EPA Issues Clean Water State Revolving Fund Green Project Reserve Highlights Report, Case Studies, and Fact Sheets
EPA is releasing a suite of materials highlighting the innovative approaches states have used to successfully implement projects that address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency, or other environmentally-innovative activities using the Clean Water State Revolving Fund’s (CWSRF) Green Project Reserve. The CWSRF program, through the reserve, is helping achieve innovative solutions to wastewater infrastructure needs, achieving economic and environmental benefits that will continue to accrue for years to come.
The Green Project Reserve requires all CWSRF programs to direct a portion of their capitalization grant toward projects that address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency, or other environmentally-innovative activities. While these type of projects have always been eligible for CWSRF financing, the reserve originated with the American Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) when it was signed into law on February 17, 2009. With the success of the Green Project Reserve implemented under ARRA—approximately 30 percent of total ARRA funding for CWSRF projects went to reserve projects—the reserve has become a part of all subsequent CWSRF appropriations. For more information: http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/cwsrf/Green-Project-Reserve.cfm.
EPA’s Job Training Program Expands to Include Wastewater and Stormwater
EPA is awarding $3 million to 15 grantees through the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program. The grants will recruit, train and place unemployed individuals in jobs that address environmental challenges in their communities. Managed by EPA’s Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, the grant program targets economically disadvantaged neighborhoods where environmental cleanups and jobs are often most needed.
With support from EPA’s Office of Water, this year’s grant program has expanded to include training for wastewater treatment plant operations and stormwater management. Seven of the 15 FY12 grant recipients will emphasize wastewater or stormwater above and beyond the required awareness-level introduction to these topics. Some will offer state certifications in wastewater treatment plant operations. Many of this year’s winning grantees are already working with local wastewater utilities or other water sector employers to secure placements for their participants. Historically, approximately 71 percent of program graduates have found employment in environmental fields that serve local communities. For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/job.htm, or contact: Leon Latino, email@example.com, 202 564 1997.
Nutrient Pollution Educational Materials Online
To help raise awareness about nutrient pollution, which is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water, EPA has developed new educational materials, including:
- Community Outreach Toolkit—designed to assist watershed groups, NGOs, states, and federal partners with messaging and outreach to the media about nutrient pollution.
- Nutrient Pollution Video—aims to raise awareness about nutrient problem, the first step in addressing and reducing the problem.
- Postcard/Poster—shows a before and after photo of Lake Erie to illustrate the impacts of nutrient pollution.
- Future Farmers of America Curriculum—EPA worked with several other federal agencies on lesson plans for young farmers about source water protection and management practices that can help control runoff to protect surface and groundwater.
You can access the first three and other materials at http://water.epa.gov//polwaste/nutrientoutreach.cfm. Use the “share this” button under the postcard to share it on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The curriculum can be directly found at https://www.ffa.org/FFAResources/ffalearn/sourcesofdrinkingwater/Pages/nosolicit.html.
EPA Awarding $2.7 Million to Revitalize Urban Waters
EPA is awarding $2.7 million to 46 organizations in 32 states and Puerto Rico to help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect Americans’ health. The grants range from $30,000 to $60,000 for projects across the country, including in a number of underserved communities. Recipients will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training.
EPA’s Urban Waters program supports the goals and principles of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a partnership of 12 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts.
For information on EPA’s Urban Waters program and to view a list of the projects to be funded, visit: http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/index.html
Magees Creek, Mississippi — Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices Reduces Fecal Coliform Bacteria in Magees Creek
EPA's Clean Water Act Section 319 Program provides funding for restoration of nonpoint source-impaired water bodies. This week's success spotlight shines on Magees Creek, Mississippi.
The Magees Creek watershed covers approximately 143,000 acres in southern Mississippi. Elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria from agricultural runoff, wildlife and other sources had exceeded Mississippi's Magees Creek pathogen water quality standards for its recreational designated use. As a result, the state added Magees Creek to its 1998 list of impaired waters for pathogens. With the support of nonpoint source grant funding and matching funds from partner agencies, the state and its project partners implemented agricultural best management practices on more than 3,355 acres in the watershed, that include planting pasture and hayland, planting trees, and installing fencing between livestock and the creek. Water quality has improved and Mississippi has removed portions of Magees Creek from the state's list of impaired waters in 2012.
Click here for more information.
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
U.S. and Tennessee Announce Clean Water Act Agreement With the City Of Chattanooga
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General announced today a comprehensive Clean Water Act settlement with the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. Chattanooga has agreed to pay a $476,400 civil penalty and make improvements to its sewer systems, estimated by the city at $250 million, to eliminate unauthorized overflows of untreated raw sewage. Chattanooga also has agreed to implement a green infrastructure plan and perform an $800,000 stream restoration project.
“The EPA is working with communities across the country to address sewage overflows that impact the health of residents and impair local water quality,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s agreement with the city of Chattanooga will rehabilitate their aging sewer system and promote innovative green infrastructure efforts to reduce stormwater runoff, while increasing green space in communities.”
“Chattanooga residents will enjoy public health and environmental benefits for years to come as a result of the improvements required by this settlement agreement. The agreement prioritizes neighborhood sewer rehabilitation projects and utilizes innovative stormwater controls in the urban core, reducing sewer overflows and overall reducing threats to public health posed by untreated sewage,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This is another example of how we are working toward the goal of clean water for all communities through the vigorous enforcement of the Clean Water Act throughout the United States.”
A consent decree, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Chattanooga, represents the combined efforts of the United States and the state of Tennessee, co-plaintiffs in this settlement, and of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, a citizens’ plaintiff in this action. The consent decree resolves claims for injunctive relief and civil penalties for Chattanooga’s alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act.
The proposed consent decree will require Chattanooga to comprehensively assess and rehabilitate its entire sewer collection system to eliminate overflows of untreated raw sewage. Specifically, Chattanooga will perform rehabilitation projects to address known problems within the collection system; implement programs to ensure proper management, operation and maintenance of its sewer systems; and install additional controls on the Chattanooga Creek combined sewer outfalls to ensure compliance with water quality standards.
Prior to finalizing the proposed consent decree, the city, along with EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, held two public meetings to provide information regarding the sewer system and to seek community input regarding the impact that sewer overflows were having in the community.
Chattanooga has also agreed to perform a stream restoration supplemental environmental project at a cost of $800,000 in the 3800 Block of Agawela Drive, to restore the stream and stabilize the banks of a tributary of the South Chickamauga Creek and eliminate a significant source of sediment and solids to the creek. Half of the civil penalty will be paid to the United States. At the direction of the state, the other half of the civil penalty will be paid by Chattanooga through the performance of green infrastructure demonstration projects in the historic downtown Highland Park neighborhood to, among other things, improve water quality in the Dobbs Branch stream, which flows into Chattanooga Creek. Green infrastructure involves the use of soils, vegetation and natural processes to store, infiltrate and evaporate storm water to prevent it from getting into the sewer system.
Keeping raw sewage and contaminated stormwater out of the waters of the United States is one of the EPA’s national enforcement initiatives for 2011 to 2013. The initiative focuses on reducing sewer overflows, which can present a significant threat to human health and the environment. These reductions are accomplished by obtaining commitments from municipalities to implement timely, affordable solutions to these problems, including the increased use of green infrastructure and other innovative approaches.
The United States has reached similar agreements with municipalities across the country, including the following in the Southeast: Mobile and Jefferson County (Birmingham), Ala.; Atlanta and Dekalb County, Ga.; Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.; Miami-Dade County, Fla.; and Northern Kentucky Sanitation District #1 and Louisville, Ky.
The proposed consent decree with Chattanooga is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval before becoming effective.
More information about the settlement:
EPA Fines Violators for Failure to Report Chemical Data
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued complaints seeking civil penalties against three companies for alleged violations of the reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The alleged violations involved the companies’ failure to comply with EPA’s TSCA section 8 Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) regulations, which require companies to submit accurate data about the production and use of chemical substances manufactured or imported during a calendar year. Under TSCA, penalties can be assessed up to $37,500 per day, per violation.
Formerly known as the IUR, the TSCA Chemical Data Reporting Rule requires the collection of information about existing chemicals on the market by requiring periodic reports about the production and use of chemicals to help understand the risks they may pose to human health and the environment. The data collected by EPA is the most comprehensive source of information for chemicals currently in commerce in the U.S.
The reporting deadline for the 2006 IUR rule ended in March of 2007. EPA’s enforcement efforts have led to 43 civil enforcement actions and approximately $2.3 million dollars in civil penalties against companies that failed to report required chemical data information. The reporting deadline for the 2012 submission period of the Chemical Data Reporting Rule is August 13, 2012.
The three most recent cases are against Chemtura Corporation, Bethlehem Apparatus Company, and Haldor Topsoe, Inc., and resulted in penalties totaling $362,113.
The Chemtura Corporation is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa. and has a facility located in El Dorado, Arizona. In a May 31, 2012 complaint, EPA alleged that the facility failed to report two chemicals pursuant to the 2006 IUR rule and assessed a penalty of $55,901. The company corrected the violations, paid the penalty and a final order was issued by the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) on June 25, 2012.
During an inspection of the Bethlehem Apparatus Company, located in Hellertown, Pa., EPA found that the facility was in violation of the 2006 IUR Rule for one chemical substance. EPA also determined during the inspection that the company had failed to comply with the export notification requirements as required under TSCA section 12(b) and the import certification requirements as required under TSCA section 13 on a number of occasions for the same chemical substance. The company corrected the violations and paid a $103,433 penalty proposed in a May 31, 2012 complaint.
Haldor Topsoe, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is subject to a TSCA complaint that was filed on June 20, 2012. The complaint alleged that that the company had violated the 2006 IUR rule for 13 chemical substances. The complaint assessed a proposed penalty of $202,779, which the company paid on July 2, 2012.
More information about the settlements and EPA’s TSCA enforcement program: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/civil/tsca/tscaiur.html
More information about TSCA reporting requirements: http://www.epa.gov/iur/
Obama Administration Releases Report on Progress and Next Steps in Restoring the Everglades, Announces Additional $80 Million in Project Funding
The Obama Administration today released a report outlining the historic Federal investments and progress made in Everglades restoration under the leadership of President Obama, and announced $80 million in additional funding to support farmers and ranchers who voluntarily conserve wetlands on agricultural land in the Northern Everglades Watershed. This new investment, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), will restore an additional 23,000 acres of wetlands vital to water quality and wildlife habitat in the Everglades system. Click here for more information.
EPA Reaches $14.6 million Settlement for Groundwater Cleanup at Torrance Superfund Sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a $14.6 million settlement with four companies for the construction of a groundwater treatment system at the Montrose and Del Amo Superfund sites in Torrance, Calif. Construction of the treatment system is the first step in the cleanup of groundwater contaminated by chemicals used to manufacture DDT and synthetic rubber over three decades.
Once operational, the system will extract up to 700 gallons of water per minute, or a total of a million gallons each day, removing monochlorobenzene and benzene, and re-injecting the cleaned, treated water back into the aquifer. The treated water will not be served as drinking water, but will instead be re-injected to surround the contamination and prevent it from any further movement into unaffected groundwater areas. Construction of the treatment system is expected to be completed in 18 months. EPA will pursue further settlements with the four companies and other parties to ensure that additional cleanup actions are taken and the groundwater treatment system is operated and maintained until cleanup levels are met.
“One of the toxic legacies of DDT and synthetic rubber manufacturing is polluted groundwater,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The treatment plant will be a milestone for the site, protecting the groundwater resources for the thousands of people who live or work near these former facilities.”
Montrose Chemical Corporation of California manufactured the pesticide DDT from 1947 until 1982. Monochlorobenzene was a raw material used in making DDT. The Montrose site was placed on the EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989. The Del Amo Superfund site, located adjacent to the Montrose site, was formerly a synthetic rubber manufacturing facility that used benzene, naphthalene and ethyl benzene. The Del Amo site was placed on the NPL in September of 2002. Groundwater contamination from both sites has co-mingled and will be cleaned up by this single treatment system.
The four responsible parties for this settlement are: Montrose, Bayer CropScience Inc., News Publishing Australia Limited, and Stauffer Management Company LLC. In addition to constructing the treatment system, these parties will also pay oversight costs incurred by EPA and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
To date, extensive investigations and cleanup actions have been performed at both sites. EPA’s DDT soil removal actions in the neighborhood near the Montrose site were completed in 2002. In 1999, Shell began cleaning-up the Del Amo Superfund site, constructing a multi-layer impermeable cap over the waste pits and installation of the soil-vapor extraction and treatment system. Additional soil and soil gas cleanups at the Del Amo site are slated to begin in 2013.
The proposed consent decree for the settlement, lodged with the federal district court by the U.S. Department of Justice on July 9, 2012, is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval. A copy of the proposed decree is available on the Justice Department website at: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html
For more information on the Del Amo and Montrose Superfund Sites, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/socal/superfund/index.html
EPA Releases Guidance on Fuel Availability Provisions for Ships Operating Off the Coast of North America
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released interim guidance for ship owners and operators clarifying how the U.S. government will implement fuel availability provisions when ships are unable to obtain fuel that meets standards protecting against sulfur pollution along the coast. Sulfur pollution has been linked to respiratory illnesses, particularly in at-risk populations including children, the elderly, and asthmatics. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has officially designated waters off of the coast of North America, known as the North American Emission Control Area (North American ECA), as areas where stringent international pollution standards apply for ships, including fuel sulfur limits. The guidance provides background information on the North American ECA fuel sulfur standards, explains how owners and operators of vessels can establish compliance with these requirements, and describes how an owner or operator of a vessel who cannot obtain compliant fuel oil can make a fuel oil non-availability claim.
The IMO is a United Nations agency that deals with marine safety, security, and the prevention of marine pollution from ships. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is a treaty designed to minimize pollution on the seas including dumping waste, oil, and exhaust pollution. MARPOL Annex VI sets out air emissions standards, including fuel sulfur limits, for ships. The United States implemented Annex VI in 2008 when Congress amended the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).
Annex VI requires ships operating in designated geographical areas, the ECAs, to meet the most advanced standards for fuel sulfur and other pollutants. The North American ECA will come into force on August 1, 2012. At that time, the maximum sulfur content of fuel oil used by ships in the ECA will be limited to 1.00 percent m/m (10,000 ppm). This standard will change on January 1, 2015, to 0.10 percent m/m (1,000 ppm).
Compliance with both the Annex VI air emissions standards for ships and the Clean Air Act standards applicable to U.S. ships are expected to reduce the annual emissions of sulfur oxides by 1.3 million tons by 2030.
Read the interim guidance:
EPA Awarding $2.7 Million to Revitalize Urban Waters
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced it is awarding $2.7 million to 46 organizations in 32 states and Puerto Rico to help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect Americans’ health. Nancy Stoner made the announcement today in Atlanta and awarded a grant to the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization. The group will use the funds to expand its Water Watch program to improve water quality and human health in local metro Atlanta neighborhoods.
EPA’s Urban Waters program funding supports communities’ efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters include canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. The grants range from $30,000 to $60,000 for projects across the country, including in a number of underserved communities. Recipients will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training. To view a list of the projects that will be funded, visit http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/funding
Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help grow local businesses and enhance educational, economic, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, EPA will help communities become active participants in restoring urban waters while improving and protecting their neighborhoods.
EPA’s Urban Waters program supports the goals and principles of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a partnership of 12 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community‐led revitalization efforts.
The Urban Waters Federal Partnership closely aligns with and advances the work of the White House’s place‐based efforts, including the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to revitalize communities, create jobs and improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the nation. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership also advances the work of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program: http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/index.html
Information on the Urban Waters Federal Partnership: http://urbanwaters.gov/
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