Water Online's EPA Update: June 28, 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)
- U.S. Water Partnership Launched To Address Global Water Challenges
- EPA Releases Green Infrastructure Permitting And Enforcement Fact Sheets
- KB Home Builds The First WaterSense-Labeled New Home In The D.C. Metro Area
- EPA Announces Framework To Help Local Governments Manage Stormwater Runoff And Wastewater
- EPA Issues Post-Construction Compliance Monitoring Guidance
- WaterSense 2011 Annual Accomplishments Announced
- Gone With The Wind (And Waves)
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
- ETV Verified Technologies
- Vendor Solicitations
- Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
Other EPA News
- EPA's Fifteen Hot Tips For A Cool Summer
- EPA Honors 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners
- New US Brazil Joint Initiative Tool Informs Global Urban Infrastructure Investments
- EPA Announces New Members Of Agricultural Advisory Committee
- Homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. To Pay $741,000 Clean Water Act Penalty And Implement Company-Wide Stormwater Controls
- EPA Draft Ammonia Assessment Available For Public Comment
Office of Water (OW)
U.S. Water Partnership Launched To Address Global Water Challenges
U.S. public and private sectors recently announced that they are dedicating over half a billion dollars to address key water challenges around the world through the newly-formed U.S. Water Partnership. EPA General Counsel Scott Fulton and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly keynoted the global launch of the partnership, one of six signature initiatives announced by the U.S. government at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
A joint effort of both public and private sectors in the U.S., the U.S. Water Partnership is supported by 41 members including government agencies, academic organizations, water coalitions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The partnership was first announced on March 22, 2012 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For more information on the U.S. Water Partnership, please contact Sasha Koo-Oshima at email@example.com or visit http://uswaterpartnership.org/.
EPA Releases Green Infrastructure Permitting And Enforcement Fact Sheets
EPA has released a series of six fact sheets on incorporating green infrastructure measures into National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System wet weather programs. The series builds upon existing EPA authority, guidance and agreements to describe how EPA and state permitting and enforcement professionals can work with permittees to include green infrastructure measures as part of control programs. The six fact sheets and four supplements address stormwater permits, total maximum daily loads, combined sewer overflow long-term control plans, and enforcement actions. The series is available at: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_regulatory.cfm#permittingseries.
KB Home Builds The First WaterSense-Labeled New Home In The D.C. Metro Area
The first home in the Washington, D.C. area to earn EPA's WaterSense label has been built by KB Home in Waldorf, Maryland. Joining the nearly 140 WaterSense-labeled homes across the nation, KB Home's "Zero House 2.0" is also net zero — meaning it produces more energy than it uses — and ENERGY STAR-certified. KB Home built the first WaterSense-labeled home in Roseville, California in 2010, and as the 2011 WaterSense Builder Partner of the Year, continues to be a leader in constructing water-saving new homes.
WaterSense-labeled new homes are third-party, independently certified to save water both inside and out. Homes that earn the WaterSense label feature WaterSense-labeled plumbing fixtures, efficient hot water delivery, water smart landscape design, and many other features to ensure that the home will save water for years to come. When compared to a typical home, a WaterSense-labeled new home can help a family of four save 50,000 gallons of water per year and as much as $600 per year on utility costs.
EPA Announces Framework To Help Local Governments Manage Stormwater Runoff And Wastewater
EPA has issued a new framework to help local governments meet their Clean Water Act obligations. The Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework assists EPA regional offices, states, and local governments to develop voluntary storm and wastewater management plans and implement effective integrated approaches that will protect public health by reducing overflows from wastewater systems and pollution from stormwater. In developing the framework, the EPA worked in close coordination with a variety of stakeholders, including publicly owned treatment works, state water permitting authorities, local governments, and nonprofit environmental groups. EPA's framework outlines new flexibility to pursue innovative, cost-saving solutions, like green infrastructure, and will help communities as they develop plans that prioritize their investments in storm and wastewater infrastructure. For more information: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/integratedplans.cfm
EPA Issues Post-Construction Compliance Monitoring Guidance
EPA has issued final guidance on conducting effective post-construction compliance monitoring to assess the performance of measures implemented under long-term combined sewer overflow (CSO) control plans, as provided in EPA’s 1994 CSO Control Policy. This guidance will assist CSO permittees in developing post construction compliance monitoring plans that collect sufficient data for evaluating the effectiveness of CSO controls and assessing compliance with the requirements of the Clean Water Act. The Agency developed a draft of the guidance, and received comments from state National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System authorities and other stakeholders. For more information: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=5
WaterSense 2011 Annual Accomplishments Announced
WaterSense, an EPA partnership program that helps Americans protect the nation’s water supply by offering people simple ways to save water, is announcing its 2011 program accomplishments. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense-labeled products have helped Americans save $4.7 billion in water and energy bills and 287 billion gallons of water. That amount of water could supply all the homes in Georgia or Arizona for a year.
WaterSense-labeled products have also saved 38.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity since 2006 by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat, pump, and treat water. That’s the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 3.6 million homes for a year. With this energy savings, WaterSense has helped eliminate 13 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of planting nearly 350 million trees.
WaterSense owes this success to the more than 2,600 utility, government, nonprofit, manufacturer, retail, distributor, builder and irrigation partners who joined with EPA to help promote the WaterSense label and spread the word about the importance of water efficiency. To see the 2011 WaterSense program accomplishments report, visit: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/about_us/milestones.html.
Climate Resilience Evaluation And Awareness Tool Exercise Report Posted Online
EPA has posted online a report on the “Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool Exercise with North Hudson Sewerage Authority and New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program.” The report documents the methodology used and the outcomes of the exercise so that other water utilities and National Estuary Programs could conduct a similar exercise of their own as drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities fulfill their public health and environmental missions.
This report is a product of an EPA-facilitated exercise, joined by EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative and Climate Ready Estuaries program to support watershed partners, such as the National Estuary Programs, by using the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) to help collaboratively identify climate change threats, assess potential consequences, and evaluate adaptation options at the utility and in the estuary.
EPA is supporting similar projects with the Morro Bay National Estuary Program in California and the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program that covers North Carolina and Virginia, and will provide additional information about these projects when they are completed.
To access the report and for more information on the Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative, visit http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/index.cfm
Gone With The Wind (And Waves)
Kelly Mercer, intern for EPA's Office of Water, blogs about how being out on the water helped lead to her college major. To read the blog, visit: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2012/06/gone-with-the-wind-and-waves/
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's Fifteen Hot Tips For A Cool Summer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a list of 15 tips for the summer season, which kicked off June 20th. Whether relaxing at home or off exploring the great outdoors there are many ways people can save money, cut energy costs and continue to protect the health of their families while still enjoying the summer. For EPA's tips for a safe and enjoyable summer, click here.
EPA Honors 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently recognized innovative chemical technologies that have the potential to prevent pollution in the United States. These awards recognize leading researchers and industrial innovators who create safer and more sustainable chemical designs, processes, and products that reduce the need to use chemicals that pollute the environment and threaten Americans’ health. The awardees were honored during the 17th Annual Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. For the list of winners, click here.
New US Brazil Joint Initiative Tool Informs Global Urban Infrastructure Investments
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Brazilian Minister for the Environment Izabella Teixeira recently announced a new online tool that highlights key links between policies, funding and on-the-ground projects that can help drive urban sustainability investment around the world. The benefits of sustainable urban infrastructure include healthier air and water, job creation and economic development. Jackson and Teixeira announced the web platform, which was developed under the US Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS), during the Rio+20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"This interactive web platform is designed to serve as an entry point for everyone from local officials to investors who are looking for the best strategies for investment in urban sustainability," said Administrator Jackson. "Right now the platform represents an array of different approaches, not a comprehensive or one-size-fits-all plan. We believe that this collection of policy instruments, financial mechanisms, and project examples can serve as a model for sustainable development in cities around the world."
The platform features expertise from a range of public and private sector leaders, including: federal, state, and local government officials, corporate, financial, academic, and community leaders and innovators from Rio de Janeiro and Philadelphia. Government leaders of the JIUS are working with C40 Cities, a forum for the world’s largest cities to collaborate on addressing climate change, and other partners, to expand this platform to include urban sustainability efforts happening in cities around the world.
A global coalition of partners including C40 Cities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tijuca Center for Applied Sustainability, US Green Building Council and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, also plan to announce new efforts during the Rio+20 conference to advance the work of the JIUS globally.
In March 2011, President Obama and President Rousseff announced the creation of the US-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability, an innovative public-private partnership for catalyzing investment in sustainable urban infrastructure and expanding markets for clean technology, products and services. The JIUS serves as a platform for identifying and overcoming key barriers to investment and deployment of clean infrastructure.
Check out the platform: http://www.epa.gov/jius
Watch the Administrator launch the new platform, and for more information on the US Government’s participation in Rio+20: http://conx.state.gov/event/rio20/
EPA Announces New Members Of Agricultural Advisory Committee
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced new members of the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC) for its 2012-2014 term. The FRRCC is an independent committee that advises EPA on a wide range of environmental issues that are important to agriculture and rural communities.
“The committee has provided thoughtful and substantive insights on agricultural and environmental issues over the past two years,” said Lawrence Elworth, agricultural counselor to the administrator. “We have appreciated the contributions of the committee members and look forward to continued constructive engagement on key issues as the new committee begins its work.”
Committee members were selected from a large number of applicants responding to a request for nominations published in the Federal Register on Feb. 13, 2012. New members include representatives from the academic community, industry, non-governmental organizations, and state, local, and tribal governments.
The FRRCC will engage in discussion over the next two years on a wide range of specific and cross-cutting environmental issues that are important to agriculture.
The FRRCC will operate under the rules of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). As required by FACA, the FRRCC will hold open meetings and expects to meet approximately two times each year, generally in Washington, DC.
More information on FRRCC members: http://epa.gov/ofacmo/frrcc/members.htm
More information on the FRRCC: http://epa.gov/ofacmo/frrcc/index.html
Homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. To Pay $741,000 Clean Water Act Penalty And Implement Company-Wide Stormwater Controls
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Toll Brothers Inc., one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, will pay a civil penalty of $741,000 to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at its construction sites, including sites located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Toll Brothers will also invest in a company-wide stormwater compliance program to improve employee training and increase management oversight at all current and future residential construction sites across the nation. The company is required to inspect its current and future construction sites routinely to minimize stormwater runoff from sites. Polluted stormwater runoff and sediment from construction sites can flow directly into the nearest waterway, affecting drinking water quality and damaging valuable aquatic habitats.
“Keeping contaminated stormwater runoff out of the nation’s waterways, like the Chesapeake Bay, is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance and Assurance. “Today’s settlement will improve oversight of stormwater runoff at construction sites across the country and protect America’s waters.”
“This settlement will help protect the nation’s waters from the harmful pollutants contained in stormwater runoff from construction sites,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “The settlement requires Toll Brothers to implement system-wide management controls and training that will help prevent polluted stormwater runoff from contaminating rivers, lakes and sources of drinking water.”
EPA estimates the settlement will prevent millions of pounds of sediment from entering U.S. waterways every year, including sediment that would otherwise enter the Chesapeake Bay, North America’s largest and most biologically diverse estuary. The bay and its tidal tributaries are threatened by pollution from a variety of sources and are overburdened with nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that can be carried by stormwater.
The complaint, filed simultaneously with the settlement agreement, alleges over 600 stormwater violations that were discovered through site inspections and by reviewing documentation submitted by Toll Brothers. The majority of the alleged violations involve Toll Brothers’ repeated failures to comply with permit requirements at its construction sites, including requirements to install and maintain adequate stormwater pollution controls.
The Clean Water Act requires permits for the discharge of stormwater runoff. In general, Toll Brothers’ permits require that construction sites have controls in place to prevent pollution from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. These controls include common-sense safeguards such as silt fences, phased site grading and sediment basins to prevent construction contaminants from entering the nation’s waterways.
The settlement requires Toll Brothers to obtain all required permits, develop site-specific pollution prevention plans for each construction site, conduct additional site inspections beyond those required by stormwater regulations, and document and promptly correct any problems. The company must properly train construction managers and contractors on stormwater requirements and designate trained staff for each site. Toll Brothers must also submit national compliance summary reports to EPA based on management oversight inspections and reviews.
This settlement is the latest in a series of enforcement actions to address stormwater violations from residential construction sites around the country. Construction projects have a high potential for environmental harm because they disturb large areas of land and significantly increase the potential for erosion, and stormwater runoff from sites can pick up other pollutants, including concrete washout, paint, used oil, solvents and trash.
The state of Maryland and the commonwealth of Virginia have joined the settlement and will receive a portion of the $741,000 penalty. The settlement includes Toll Brothers sites in
Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
More information about this settlement: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/tollbrothers.html
More information about EPA’s stormwater enforcement: http://www.epa.gov/oecaerth/data/planning/priorities/cwastorm.html
EPA Draft Ammonia Assessment Available For Public Comment
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the release of its draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) health assessment for ammonia. The draft assessment will be available for public comment for 60 days and will be sent for independent expert peer review.
Ammonia is used in agricultural fertilizers, the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and explosives, water purification, household cleaners, as a refrigerant, and in many industries. Scientific studies show that ammonia can affect the respiratory system. The draft assessment includes an estimate of the amount of ammonia a person can inhale daily throughout a lifetime that is not likely to cause harmful health effects, which is less stringent than the current value for ammonia on IRIS.
The draft IRIS assessment for ammonia represents major progress for EPA in implementing the April 2011 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommendations for improving IRIS assessments. The draft assessment uses a new streamlined document structure that is more transparent and clear; includes a template for describing the literature search approach; identifies the strengths and weaknesses of analyzed studies; and describes how EPA applied their guidance, methods, and criteria in developing the assessment.
When the assessment is final it will be posted to the IRIS database. IRIS is a publicly available online database that provides high quality science-based human health assessments used to inform the agency’s decisions on protecting public health and the environment.
The IRIS database contains crucial information on more than 550 chemical substances and their impacts on human health. Governments and private entities use data from IRIS in conjunction with exposure information to help characterize the public health risks of chemical substances. These characterizations are then considered in risk management decisions to protect public health.
More information about IRIS: http://www.epa.gov/iris
More information about the draft IRIS assessment for ammonia: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris_drafts/recordisplay.cfm?deid=200305
More information about improvements to IRIS: http://www.epa.gov/iris/process.htm