Water Online's EPA Update: September 27, 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 Releases Alaska Native Villages Program 2012 Annual Report
- Enhanced AQUATOX Model Now Available Online
- Second EPA Administrator Leaves Legacy Of Service And Commitment To Nation's Clean Water Protections
- EPA Launches Revamped Septic Website
- Webinar On Solar Energy For Water and Wastewater Utilities On October 11
- Information On Uses And Benefits Of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Available Online
- Registration Open For Campus RainWorks Challenge
- EPA Awards $15 Million To Assist U.S. Small Drinking Water And Wastewater Systems
- EPA Awards $1.5 Million To Universities For Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Methods
- Apartment And Condominium Units Can Earn WaterSense Label
- EPA Video Highlights Utility Use Of Clean Water State Revolving Fund To Invest In Water Recycling And Reuse
- Success Spotlight: Buck Creek, Texas
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
- ETV Verified Technologies
- Vendor Solicitations
Other EPA News
- Hypoxia Task Force Launches New Monitoring Efforts To Track Water Quality Improvements
- EPA Partnering With State Capitals On Green Design
- United States And Canada Sign Amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
- EPA, Green Sports Alliance Partner To Protect People’s Health And The Environment
- EPA Begins Three Navajo Uranium Mine Cleanups In September
Office of Water (OW)
EPA Releases Alaska Native Villages Program 2012 Annual Report
EPA is releasing its Alaska Native Villages Program 2012 annual report. The report highlights the significant impacts that the program is having in Alaskan native and rural villages by providing first-time access to drinking and wastewater infrastructure, while improving public health and the environment, and creating jobs. Since its inception in 1996, the program has provided over $470 million in grant funding to help Alaskan native and rural villages address their basic water and sanitation needs through facility construction, training, and technical assistance. Collaborating with federal and state partners, EPA has targeted the most underserved communities. Between 1996 and 2011, EPA funds supported more than 600 projects while the percent of rural Alaskan homes with drinking water and wastewater service grew from 50 percent to 92 percent. Click here for more information.
Enhanced AQUATOX Model Now Available Online
EPA has released an enhanced version of AQUATOX, a simulation model for aquatic systems, for use by water quality practitioners. AQUATOX simulates ecological processes and effects over time, specifically multiple environmental stressors, to help identify and understand the cause-and-effect relationships between chemical water quality, the physical environment and aquatic life. AQUATOX Release 3.1 is enhanced with better water chemistry analysis, expanded data management, graphics, and statistical analysis options. Accompanying this enhanced model are new technical notes that provide guidance on data requirements for AQUATOX and an annotated bibliography of publications about AQUATOX, plus training materials adapted from recent 3-day workshops. Click here to download the model and view related materials.
Second EPA Administrator Leaves Legacy Of Service And Commitment To Nation's Clean Water Protections
Russell E. Train, the second Administrator of EPA has passed away on September 17, 2012. The former Administrator led the Agency from 1973 to 1977 during the passing of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the initial implementation of the National Pollutant Discharge Ellimination System, which protects our nation's waters. He was also the first chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and served long tenures as president and chairman of the World Wildlife Fund. Click here to read more about Russell Train.
EPA Launches Revamped Septic Website
Nearly one in four households in the U.S. depends on an individual septic system or small community cluster system to treat their wastewater. EPA has recently revamped its septic website to better serve homeowners, state and local officials, industry professionals, and its partner organizations. The website includes a suite of new case studies demonstrating what communities across the country are doing to effectively manage their decentralized wastewater infrastructure and find solutions to meet their own unique wastewater infrastructure needs. Click here to view the case studies of individual and clustered wastewater management programs and here to view the new website.
Webinar On Solar Energy For Water and Wastewater Utilities On October 11
On Thursday, October 11, 2012, from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST, EPA will host a webinar on solar energy and water and wastewater utilities. The webinar will detail the process of implementing solar energy projects in such utilities, the various types of solar technologies available, and where they can be most appropriately used, while highlighting innovative funding approaches (including those with no up-front capital requirements) that result in long-term energy cost savings and stability. The webinar will present the case study of a successful solar installation at a small water utility in Grafton, Massachusetts. Click here to register for this free webinar. For additional information, please contact Jim Horne at (202) 564-0571 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Slides of two previous webinars on this topic can be viewed here.
Information On Uses And Benefits Of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Available Online
EPA has made available online information on the uses and benefits of decentralized wastewater treatment and examples of where they have played an effective role in a community's wastewater treatment infrastructure. Decentralized wastewater treatment consists of a variety of onsite approaches for collection, treatment, dispersal, and reuse of wastewater and can be a sustainable and appropriate option for communities and homeowners. The four papers include an introductory paper as well as three papers that demonstrate how decentralized wastewater treatment can be: a sensible solution, cost-effective and economical, green and sustainable, and protective of the environment, public health, and water quality. Click here for more information.
Registration Open For Campus RainWorks Challenge
EPA is now registering student teams from colleges and universities across the country to participate in its new design competition, the Campus RainWorks Challenge. Participating teams will compete to develop innovative approaches to stormwater management. To compete, student teams, working with a faculty advisor, must submit design plans for a proposed green infrastructure project on their campus. Winning entries will be announced in April 2013, and winning teams will earn a cash prize of $1,500 to $2,500, as well as $8,000 to $11,000 in funds for their faculty advisor to conduct research on green infrastructure. To be considered, teams must register by October 5 and submit their entries by December 14. Click here to learn more and register. Click here to read the blog about the competition.
EPA Awards $15 Million To Assist U.S. Small Drinking Water And Wastewater Systems
EPA has awarded nearly $15 million to provide training and technical assistance to small drinking and wastewater systems — those serving fewer than 10,000 people — and to private well owners. The funding will help provide training and tools to improve small system operations and management practices, promoting sustainability and supporting EPA's mission to protect public health and the environment. Awards include nearly $7 million to the National Rural Water Association and nearly $3 million to the Texas Engineering Extension Service, $2.5 million to New Mexico Environmental Finance Center, $2 million to the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, and $500,000 to the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. Many small systems face challenges in providing reliable drinking water and wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations, including a lack of financial resources, aging infrastructure, management limitations and high staff turnover. Click here for more information.
EPA Awards $1.5 Million To Universities For Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Methods
EPA has announced almost $1.5 million in funding to three universities to develop sustainable drinking water treatment methods. The research grants are funded through EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. These grants, which supplement last year's grants to eight other universities, are intended to provide innovative treatment methods to protect people's health by keeping harmful contaminants out of drinking water. The grantees are: University of Florida, Gainesville and University of South Florida, Tampa; Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y; and the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2010, EPA announced a new drinking water strategy to strengthen protections against contaminants in drinking water and promote cost-effective new technologies to meet the needs of communities across the country struggling with water challenges. The research sponsored by these grants will help satisfy the key goals of this strategy.
Click here for information on the grants.
Apartment And Condominium Units Can Earn WaterSense Label
EPA has modified its specification for new homes to enable apartment and condominium units to earn the label, update product requirements, and adjust landscape criteria. WaterSense-labeled new homes allow residents to enjoy the comforts of home and save water and energy inside and out by using WaterSense-labeled plumbing fixtures, efficient hot water systems, and low-maintenance, water-smart landscapes. Homes labeled after January 1, 2013 must meet the criteria of the revised specification.
- New apartments or condos can earn the WaterSense label. Individual units in new residential buildings are eligible to earn the label, and builders must ensure that the common areas of these buildings also meet specific indoor and outdoor criteria.
- WaterSense now requires builders of WaterSense-labeled homes to use EPA's Water Budget Tool to inform their landscape design. An easy-to-use, interactive version is available on the WaterSense website.
- If an irrigation system with a weather-based irrigation controller is used to water the lawn, the controller must be a WaterSense-labeled model. WaterSense labeled controllers act like a thermostat for your lawn, using local weather data to determine when and how much to water.
- Showerheads must be WaterSense-labeled models that use 2.0 gallons per minute or less. WaterSense labeled showerheads save homeowners more than 2,300 gallons of water and 300 kilowatt-hours of energy per year.
EPA Video Highlights Utility Use Of Clean Water State Revolving Fund To Invest In Water Recycling And Reuse
EPA has made available online a video highlighting the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, a regional wastewater service provider and distributor of wholesale and recycled water in California, which used the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program to conserve water and reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts included pipeline construction for recycled water, watershed restoration and an energy efficiency project that reduced the weight and related energy cost of processing biosolids in wastewater treatment. The Clean Water SRF program, through the Green Project Reserve (GPR), helps achieve innovative solutions to wastewater infrastructure needs through projects that address green infrastructure, water efficiency, energy efficiency, or other environmentally innovative activities. Click here for the video and here for more information on the fund's Green Project Reserve.
Success Spotlight: Buck Creek, Texas
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 Buck Creek, Texas. Buck Creek is a small stream surrounded by rural and agricultural landscapes, with land used primarily for row crops and grasslands. High levels of E. coli bacteria, primarily from wildlife, livestock and humans, prompted the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to add the creek to the state's list of impaired waters in 2000. Extensive public outreach and education efforts increased public awareness of the condition of the creek and led to voluntary implementation of best management practices by landowners, such as installing alternative watering sources for livestock, implementing prescribed grazing, and installing fencing to manage livestock distribution and access to the creek. As a result of reduced bacteria levels, the commission removed Buck Creek from its list of impaired waters in 2010. 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
Hypoxia Task Force Launches New Monitoring Efforts To Track Water Quality Improvements
The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient (Hypoxia) Task Force announced recently that it is launching two new efforts to monitor reductions in nutrients — nitrogen and phosphorus — throughout the watershed. The joint federal, state and tribal task force, chaired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Iowa, has established the Mississippi River Monitoring Collaborative to evaluate progress toward reducing the amount of nutrients entering local waterways and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). a member of the Task Force is also preparing to update its technical standard for water quality monitoring to better measure the amount of nutrients coming from farm fields.
Nutrient runoff from agricultural, urban and industrial sources has polluted waterways for decades and contributed to the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico — an area of low oxygen that is largely uninhabitable by fish and other marine life. Federal, state and local agencies, together with private landowners and water users, have been working to reduce the amount of nutrients that reaches the Gulf.
“Farmers, ranchers and other land managers, with help from federal, state and local funding sources and technical assistance, are investing in conservation projects on their lands in the Mississippi River Basin,” said Nancy Stoner, acting Assistant Administrator for Water at EPA and co-chair of the Task Force. “Working together to expand monitoring will give us critical insight into the progress of conservation projects and help us improve activities on the ground and in the water.”
The new Mississippi River Monitoring Collaborative, made up of federal and state agencies, is identifying streams with long-term nutrient monitoring and streamflow records. So far, the team has collected more than 670,000 nutrient data records from 12 states in the Mississippi River Basin, which it will use to evaluate where conservation practices and policies are working, and where new or enhanced nutrient reduction strategies need to be developed.
“It is important we continue to have strong cooperation as we work together to monitor the progress cities, industries and farmers are making as they work to make changes and address water quality concerns,” said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and co-chair of the Task Force.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), with assistance from EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey and many state partners, are working to improve monitoring through pilot programs of the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). One of the primary goals of the MRBI is to improve water quality in small priority watersheds of the Mississippi River Basin. NRCS and its partners have sought to capture the benefits of MRBI by measuring water quality at the edge-of-field, in stream and at the outlet of a watershed. This year NRCS reviewed progress in 15 small watersheds with MRBI projects in order to update its technical standard for water quality monitoring.
The Task Force consists of five federal agencies, 12 states and the tribes within the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB). The Task Force was established in 1997 to reduce and control hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. For more, visit http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/named/msbasin/index.cfm
EPA Partnering With State Capitals On Green Design
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced recently that the capital cities of Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Indiana will be awarded design assistance from EPA to create healthy, prosperous communities through green development. EPA’s Greening America’s Capitals (GAC) program will help these capital cities stimulate economic development, provide more housing and transportation choices, and reduce infrastructure and energy costs. Through this project, EPA will provide design assistance from private-sector experts to help these capital cities demonstrate sustainable designs that create vibrant neighborhoods while strengthening the local economies and protecting people’s health.
The following five cities were selected through a national competition for assistance.
- Frankfort, Ky. will receive assistance to enhance walkability and add bike lanes between the historic downtown and the State Capitol. The project will also connect the downtown with the proposed Kentucky River trail.
- Des Moines, Iowa will receive assistance to incorporate green infrastructure elements into a proposed streetscape plan for a one-mile segment of 6th Avenue. The project will revitalize the commercial street that serves as the northern gateway to the city’s downtown.
- Baton Rouge, La. will receive assistance to incorporate green infrastructure elements into a proposed walking and biking trail that connects Louisiana State University with the city’s downtown.
- Helena, Mont. will receive assistance to improve the walkability and add bike lanes along Last Chance Gulch, a street that connects the northern part of the Helena business district with the historic downtown. The project will also explore design alternatives for a five-way intersection to enhance walkability.
- Indianapolis, Ind. will receive assistance to make streets more pedestrian-friendly and revitalize public plazas within and adjacent to the Market Square redevelopment area. The project will tie in with the city’s larger plan to develop businesses in a new green cultural district.
GAC is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities among EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The partnership is helping communities across the country create more housing and transportation choices, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses. This is the third year of the Greening America’s Capitals program. Capital cities selected in the first two years included Boston, Mass.; Charleston, W.Va.; Hartford, Conn.; Jackson, Miss.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Lincoln, Neb.; Little Rock, Ark.; Montgomery, Ala.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.
More information on GAC: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/greencapitals.htm
More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov
United States And Canada Sign Amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Canada’s Minister of the Environment Peter Kent recently signed the newly amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement at a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C. First signed in 1972 and last amended in 1987, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is a model of binational cooperation to protect the world’s largest surface freshwater system and the health of the surrounding communities.
“Protecting cherished water bodies like the Great Lakes is not only about environmental conservation. It’s also about protecting the health of the families — and the economies — of the local communities that depend on those water bodies for so much, every day,” said Administrator Jackson. “The amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement we signed today outlines the strong commitment the U.S. and Canada share to safeguard the largest freshwater system in the world. Our collaborative efforts stand to benefit millions of families on both sides of the border.”
“Joint stewardship of the Great Lakes — a treasured natural resource, a critical source of drinking water, essential to transportation, and the foundation for billions of dollars in trade, agriculture, recreation and other sectors — is a cornerstone of the Canada-United States relationship,” said Minister Kent. “The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement supports our shared responsibility to restore and protect this critical resource, and builds on 40 years of binational success.”
The revised agreement will facilitate United States and Canadian action on threats to Great Lakes water quality and includes strengthened measures to anticipate and prevent ecological harm. New provisions address aquatic invasive species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change, and support continued work on existing threats to people’s health and the environment in the Great Lakes Basin such as harmful algae, toxic chemicals, and discharges from vessels.
The overall purpose of the Agreement is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters” of the Great Lakes and the portion of the St. Lawrence River that includes the Canada-United States border. Both governments sought extensive input from stakeholders before and throughout the negotiations to amend the Agreement. Additionally, the amended Agreement expands opportunities for public participation on Great Lakes issues.
The amended agreement sets out a shared vision for a healthy and prosperous Great Lakes region, in which the waters of the Great Lakes enhance the livelihoods of present and future generations of Americans and Canadians.
To view the text of the agreement: http://www.binational.net/home_e.html
EPA, Green Sports Alliance Partner To Protect People’s Health And The Environment
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently signed an agreement with the Green Sports Alliance to work together to address environmental challenges faced by sports venues, organizations and teams. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe joined Green Sports Alliance Executive Director Martin Tull today to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Second Annual Green Sports Alliance Summit in Seattle, Washington. The agreement will facilitate collaboration between the two organizations on issues such as waste management, water and energy conservation and sustainability for teams and at stadiums and sporting venues.
EPA has also agreed to share tools like the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an energy management tool that allows building owners to track and assess energy and water consumption, to help Alliance members to improve their environmental performance.
“For years, American sports teams, venues and leagues have been leaders on sustainable development and environmental stewardship, and the Green Sports Alliance has been critical to the success they’ve seen,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “This MOU will strengthen the partnership EPA has with the Alliance, and ensure its members have EPA resources at their fingertips as they continue their important work. Together, we can find new ways to conserve energy, reduce waste and pollution, and engage America's sports fans in the effort to bring about a more sustainable future.”
“In order to be successful in their greening efforts, teams and venues have to start by measuring their environmental impact,” said Green Sports Alliance Executive Director Martin Tull. “We encourage this as a first step for all Alliance members. This deeper partnership with the EPA will help provide our members with the tools and resources they need to establish baselines and support their continuous improvement in terms of performance and efficiency.”
Green Sports Alliance is a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent over 100 sports teams and venues from 13 different sports leagues. The Green Sports Alliance and EPA share a commitment to supporting the U.S. sporting industry’s efforts to improve environmental awareness and promote more sustainable behavior by the sporting industry, stakeholders, partners and consumers. EPA has collaborated with a number of sporting organizations and related stakeholder groups to provide assistance to green sports projects, competitions and challenges to help organizations save money and protect people’s health and the environment.
More on the Green Sports Summit: http://www.greensportssummit.org/
More on the Green Sports Alliance: http://greensportsalliance.org/
More on EPA’s Partnership Programs: http://www.epa.gov/partners
EPA Begins Three Navajo Uranium Mine Cleanups In September
In September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is began three uranium mine clean up actions on the Navajo Nation. The work, expected to cost $7.15 million, is part of the EPA’s five year plan to address uranium contamination on the Navajo Nation and is being done in partnership with the Navajo Nation’s Environmental Protection Agency. Funding for all three actions is from responsible parties, rather than the Superfund trust fund. The three cleanups will take place in Cove, Arizona; Casamero Lake, New Mexico; and near Church Rock, New Mexico. The EPA expects to complete the cleanups by November.
The first cleanup in the Cove area is expected to cost $1.5 million and take four to six weeks. Uranium mining in Cove Chapter, which lasted from the 1940s to the 1980s, included two transfer stations where uranium-bearing ore from the mines was stockpiled before trucks took the ore to the Shiprock Mill for processing. The transfer stations still contain some leftover uranium-tainted ore. Because this residual ore is hazardous, the public should avoid these areas until the cleanup is complete. EPA will remove the contaminated soil at Cove from one transfer station to another, where it will be sealed and stabilized. The area will be fenced and warning signs will be posted until a permanent disposal site can be selected. During the cleanup process, EPA will conduct air quality monitoring to ensure that residents in the immediate area — including the students at Cove Day School — are protected from any dust from the excavation.
Near Casamero Lake, New Mex., EPA will clean up contaminated soil left by the Section 32 Mine. That cleanup will cost an estimated $1.65 million and will include consolidating scattered contaminated soils on the main mine waste pile. Once that process is completed, the contaminated soils will be secured using a soil sealant, or temporary clean soil cover. The site will also be fenced until a final disposal decision is reached.
North of Church Rock, EPA will oversee work by General Electric/United Nuclear Corporation and Rio Algom Mining to clean up soils and a road located near the Northeast Church Rock Mine, the largest underground uranium mine in the U.S, and the Quivira mine which is located approximately 1/4 mile to the northeast. The UNC mine was operated from 1967 to 1984 and produced approximately 9.8 million pounds of uranium. The Quivira Mine was operated between 1976 and 1985 and produced 3.1 million pounds of uranium. This fall’s $4 million dollar work at the two areas near the Northeast Church Rock and Quivira mines precedes a larger $44 million cleanup of the Northeast Church Rock Mine expected to begin in 2016, contingent upon federal agency approvals.
For further information please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/superfund/navajo-nation/
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