Water Online's EPA Update: November 2, 2010
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 to Hold Listening Sessions on Potential Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Rule EPA Issues Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy EPA Releases New Edition of NPDES Permit Writers' Manual National Risk Management Research Laboratory
(NRMRL) EPA's Sustainable Materials And Residuals
ManagemenT Decision Support Tool (SMART-DST) was developed by researchers in the National Risk Management Research Laboratory to encourage more sustainable management of solid waste. The DST provides a science-based approach to municipal waste management, using life-cycle assessments to evaluate energy, climate change pollutants, air criteria pollutants, and waterborne pollutants. In 2009, the University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences asked EPA to assist in a study to promote sustainable development in Colon, Panama, by providing options to the region's continued reliance on open dumping for waste disposal. Panama-specific data for input into the SMART-DST model were gathered from interviews with Colon residents and from recycling companies in Panama and Central America who shared information on the market value of recyclables. Data on Panama-specific energy and offsets from recycling and information from an existing waste-to-energy facility were provided for use in the study by EPA researchers. Estimated annual deposits and makeup of trash in El Dompe came from related studies from the United Nations, the World Bank, and other sources. Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program ETV Verified Technologies
Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
For more information on the ETV, visit www.epa.gov/etv. Other EPA News EPA Administrator Names Executive Director for New Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force EPA to Provide Technical Assistance on Sustainable Growth and Development EPA Proposes to Add Nine New Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund's National Priorities List For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm EPA Administrator signs Memorandum of Understanding with China on Environmental Protection SOURCE: EPA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has named John H. Hankinson, Jr. to be the executive director of the newly established Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. President Obama signed an executive order earlier this month establishing the task force, which will coordinate efforts to implement restoration programs and projects in the gulf coast region. Jackson, a New Orleans native, was named as chair of the task force due to her considerable involvement in the Obama Administration's immediate response efforts following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and her knowledge and extensive experience in environmental issues – factors that will be central in spurring actions to help to restore the region's ecosystem while providing important support for the economy.
"We're pleased that John has accepted this responsibility and is willing once again to step up and serve the people of the gulf coast. He will play an instrumental role in fulfilling our commitment to a full and lasting restoration of this area," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "John's longtime experience with these issues and this region, along with his proven ability to get things done, will be invaluable assets in what is sure to be a long-term, hard-fought battle to restore the waters of the gulf. I have every confidence in him."
"I spent my childhood on the gulf and I am proud and honored to have the opportunity to carry out the president's commitment to restoring this vital ecosystem," Hankinson said. "I look forward to hearing from everyone in the gulf coast – from community groups to businesses to scientists – as we go about restoring a national treasure that also happens to be an economic engine for the entire region."
Hankinson has spent 30 years working on environmental issues in the private, public and non-profit sectors. The Florida native has brought together industry, government and stakeholder groups to form partnerships to restore ecosystems across the southeast. He has worked on the National Estuary Program in the Gulf of Mexico and directed the development and implementation of a water quality protection plan for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. He has over 10 years experience overseeing the restoration and protection of the St. Johns River system in Florida. Hankinson currently serves as an environment and conservation lands consultant, advising on land conservation, strategic land use decision-making, and constructive environmental management and policy projects across the Southeastern United States. He served as regional administrator of EPA region 4 from 1994-2001.
As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, Hankinson – who will report directly to Administrator Jackson – will coordinate interagency efforts, oversee staff and outreach efforts develop a regional ecosystem restoration strategy and ensure that science underpins the task force's efforts. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will each have a state representative on the task force. The representatives will be selected by the governors of each gulf state and then appointed by President Obama, along with one senior official from each of several federal agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Transportation. The task force will also integrate local stakeholders, representatives from affected tribes, and the scientific and academic communities. The task force will have a presence in each of the gulf states, in addition to Washington, D.C.
Administrator Jackson will hold the first meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force on November 8 in Pensacola, Fla. More information about that meeting will be announced as it becomes available.
View President Obama's executive order: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/05/executive-order-gulf-coast-ecosystem-restoration-task-force
EPA to Provide Technical Assistance on Sustainable Growth and Development
As part of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) EPA's commitment to expanding cost saving, energy conservation, and efficiency programs, it is releasing a new technical document to assist municipal utility owners and operators in finding information on cost-effective energy management and energy conservation measures and technologies to reduce total energy usage at their wastewater treatment facilities. The document, "Evaluation of Energy Conservation Measures for Wastewater Treatment Facilities," presents technical and cost information about energy management and energy conservation measures and technologies.
Technical and cost data were developed from literature sources and provided by manufacturers and operating facilities. The document provides preliminary information on innovative and emerging energy conservation measures and technologies that have the potential for substantial energy savings. In addition, the document includes nine in-depth facility studies that further examine application and cost information for various full-scale, operational energy conservation measures and technologies.
For more information and to view a copy of the document, please visit: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/publications.cfm.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy with the goal of increasing the sustainability of water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States. Communities across the country are facing challenges in making costly upgrades and repairs to their aging water infrastructure, which include sewer systems and treatment facilities. Making this infrastructure last longer while increasing its cost-effectiveness is essential to protecting human health and the environment, and maintaining safe drinking water and clean water bodies. The new policy is part of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's priority to protect America's waters.
The policy emphasizes the need to build on existing efforts to promote sustainable water infrastructure. The policy also focuses on working with states and water systems to employ comprehensive planning processes that result in projects that are cost effective over their life cycle, resource efficient, and consistent with community sustainability goals. The policy encourages effective utility management practices to build and maintain the level of technical, financial, and managerial capacity necessary to ensure long-term sustainability.
The policy represents a collaborative effort between EPA and its federal, state, and local partners. Working with these partners, EPA will develop guidance, provide technical assistance, and target federal, state and other relevant federal financial assistance in support of increasing the sustainability of America's water infrastructure.
More information: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/Clean-Water-and-Drinking-Water-Infrastructure-Sustainability-Policy.cfm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a revised edition of the U.S. EPA NPDES Permit Writers' Manual, which provides a comprehensive overview of the basic framework of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program and serves as a principal training tool for new state and EPA permit writers.
First released in 1996, the revised NPDES Permit Writers' Manual has been thoroughly reviewed and updated to reflect current policy and guidance, address changes to the NPDES program, and include discussions of new EPA program areas, such as the Stormwater Phase II Rule, concentrated animal feeding operations, cooling water intake structures [i.e., Clean Water Act Section 316(b)], pesticide applications, and vessel discharges.
The manual is available for download at http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pwmanual.
EPA's SMART-DST is a linear programming model, developed by RTI International and its partners, that calculates the life-cycle environmental tradeoffs and costs of different strategies for municipal solid waste management. The DST is based on a holistic approach that considers these tradeoffs and the costs from waste collection, transport, recycling, composting, combustion with energy recovery, and landfilling. Multiple sectors can be considered, which allows users to evaluate differences in urban, suburban, and rural regions. DST researchers worked with representatives from state and local government, industry, environmental interest groups, trade associations, academia, and other federal agencies. A web-accessible version of the tool is to be available in 2011. The tool contains default data representative of the waste composition and management practices in North America. The industry-specific data used to calculate offsets from materials recovery are also specific to North America.
SMART-DST in Panama
The University of Virginia's (UVA) Panama Initiative (www.panama.evsc.virginia.edu), which began in 2007, expands on the notion of interdisciplinary problem solving. It joins faculty and students from four areas: the Environmental Thought and Practice Program, the Department of Environmental Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Trans-University Center for Global Health in the School of Medicine to promote cross-disciplinary teaching and research. Panama was selected for collaborative applied research and teaching because of a recognized need among many stakeholders to balance the region's economic growth with protection of its public health and environmental systems.
Since the DST was not intended for the application being suggested in Panama, location-specific data would be needed. Ten UVA Environmental Thought and Practice seniors, working with Professor Vivian Thomson and other advisors (UVA Professor Janet Herman and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute scientist Stanley Heckadon-Moreno) decided on a holistic approach in providing information to decision makers in Panama. Scenarios were constructed and data gaps were identified to prepare students to gather location-specific information needed to run the DST.
Current practice for Colon is to take all trash to "El Dompe," the name given by local residents to the 27-acre open dump that serves as a trash collection point. Colon City (pop. 235,000) includes the second largest free-trade zone in the world. This gigantic merchandising entity, with five major ports at the Atlantic gateway to the Panama Canal, is second only to Hong Kong in size. The zone's 2,500 businesses generate about $16 billion annually through worldwide imports and exports. While incinerators process some waste from the free zone, the city of Colon diverts all its own wastes to its unregulated, unmonitored, 75-year-old open dump. In their case study of El Dompe, the UVA students developed three possible waste management strategies:
Scenario One: Status Quo
Economically, the practice of sending Colon's trash to El Dompe was the cheapest scenario, but the dump remains a major threat to the environment and to human health. Without protective liners, leachate flows into a stream that empties not far from Colon City's drinking water intake. Leachate is also a threat to ground water resources and the water table, which is only four inches below El Dompe's surface. Without a gas collection system, air pollution is also a serious threat from emissions of methane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxides, and others compounds commonly found at uncontrolled landfills. Dump fires, sometimes started by scavengers to retrieve valuable metals, burn regularly at El Dompe, with the potential to emit PCBs and other toxic pollutants that contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. Windborne odors and persistent smoke plumes visible to the tourist hotels and canal ship traffic make the dump a serious, long-term liability for a country with a growing tourism industry and an expanding free zone economy.
Scenario Two: Waste to Energy
In this scenario, municipal solid waste would be diverted to a waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerator and the resulting ash deposited in a sanitary landfill. Students estimated that virtually all of El Dompe's waste stream, conservatively calculated at 110,000 tons per year, is combustible. Also, a portion of the waste could be used to fuel the incinerator itself. Advantages of the WTE scenario are the generation of marketable energy, a decrease in landfill wastes, a decrease in water and air pollution, and reduced public health costs. Disadvantages include the higher cost of operation, the need for incinerator emission controls, and the disposal of ash in a controlled landfill. Since this was the most expensive option, students recommended the construction of a large incinerator to serve more than one community that would burn all solid waste generated at the combined sites.
Scenario Three: Sanitary Landfill (closure of the open dump) with Recycling and Composting
In this scenario, Colon's trash would go to a Materials Recovery Facility to allow scavengers to remove saleable recyclables and to compost organic waste. In areas where scavenger communities already exist, public-private scavenger cooperatives, supported by fees, maintain the system and monitor the health and safety of scavengers (who can earn higher incomes than their counterparts in formal employment). Residual waste would go to a new, well-regulated landfill whose design would include a liner, a leachate collection system, and a landfill gas collection system. Various permutations of this recycle, compost, and residual transport system exist successfully elsewhere in the region.
Virginia students noted that the SMART-DST's ability to integrate life-cycle costs and environmental impacts could not be fully realized in the Colon study, nor could the legal, political, and institutional inputs necessary for successfully controlling El Dompe. But even with these limitations, the use of the SMART-DST provides a framework for change in Colon. In the words of UVA Professor Thomson, who supervised the project, "The model's analytical comparisons will help highlight for all concerned — UVA faculty and students, our colleagues in Panama, and responsible authorities in Panama — the relative cost, energy, and environmental impacts of the status quo as opposed to other more protective MSW management strategies."
For more information on the Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool (MSW-DST), please click on the "Building Strong Partnerships" tab on the 2009 EPA Research Highlights web page.
Professor Thomson is the author of Garbage In--Garbage Out: Solving the Problems with Long-Distance Trash Transport. (University of Virginia Press, 2009).
The ETV Program has verified the performance of 426 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).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded 55 grants to teams of college and university students across the country who will design creative solutions to sustainability challenges in the developed and developing world. The People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Phase I awards for the 2010-2011 competition challenges students, working together on interdisciplinary teams, to design and build sustainable technologies that improve quality of life, promote economic development, and protect the environment.
The competition begins in Phase I with the award of $10,000 grants to student teams who focus on a wide range of categories including water, energy, agriculture, built environment, and materials and chemicals. After working on the project for eight months, the teams will bring their designs to the 7th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. At the expo, the projects will be judged by a panel of experts and a select few will be awarded P3 Awards and Phase II grants up to $75,000 for students to further their designs, implement them in the field, or move them to the marketplace.
More information on 2010-2011 Phase I P3 Awards: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/p3/current
More information on EPA's P3 program: http://www.epa.gov/p3/
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has chosen eight communities to receive technical assistance on sustainable growth and development issues. The assistance will help local governments address infrastructure constraints, protect water quality, set development standards, and create options for housing and transportation. EPA will work in collaboration with its partners at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to help communities become more environmentally and economically sustainable as part of the agency's broader work through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
"EPA is building partnerships with communities from across the country, in rural, suburban and urban areas, to help them develop in ways that are environmentally sustainable and economically resilient," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "This assistance will help local residents protect their health and the environment, all while strengthening their ability to attract new businesses and new jobs."
The smart growth assistance projects will focus on key topics central to the partnership's work: cross-departmental coordination of sustainability policies, cities undergoing economic transition, infrastructure financing, historic preservation as part of downtown revitalization and, incorporating climate change adaptation as part of long-term plans.
The projects will be based in Washington, D.C.; Saginaw, Mich.; Wheat Ridge, Colo.; Chicago, Ill.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Concord, N.H.; Cumberland and Cobb counties in Ga.; and a statewide project in Rhode Island.
The projects are being coordinated through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which began in June 2009, with EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood coming together to coordinate federal actions on housing, transportation, and environmental protection. This interagency collaboration achieves efficient federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services that meet multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives.
The partnership has released a new publication that looks at the progress the agencies have made in the first year. The document explains how the partnership has targeted resources to help communities strengthen their economies by developing more sustainably and removing regulatory and policy barriers to make it easier for state and local governments to access federal resources.
More information on the Smart Growth Assistance Program: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm
More information on the partnership: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html
View the partnership progress report: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/partnership_year1.pdf
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add nine hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the general Superfund section of the National Priorities List (NPL). Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.
EPA is also withdrawing its 1992 proposal to add the GBF Inc., dump site in Antioch, Calif. to the NPL, because under a consent order the California Department of Toxic Substances Control continues to be the lead agency overseeing the site cleanup. The clean up is progressing successfully and no further EPA actions are necessary.
To date, 1,627 sites have been listed on the NPL. There have been 346 sites deleted from the NPL with 1,281 sites remaining. With the proposal of nine new sites and one site being withdrawn from proposal, there are 62 proposed sites awaiting final agency action: 57 in the general Superfund section and five in the federal facilities section. There are a total of 1,343 final and proposed sites.
Contaminants found at the proposed sites include arsenic, asbestos, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, dichloroethene (DCE), lead, mercury, polynuclear aromatic hydrcarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethane (TCA), trichloroethene (TCE), vinyl chloride, and zinc.
With all Superfund sites, EPA tries to identify and locate the parties potentially responsible for the contamination. For sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant clean up. Therefore, it may be several years before significant clean up funding is required for these sites.
Contaminated sites may be placed on the list through:
The following nine sites have been proposed to the NPL:
Armstrong World Industries (ceiling tile manufacturer) in Macon, Ga.
Dwyer Property Ground Water Plume (contaminated ground water plume) in Elkton, Md.
Washington County Lead District – Furnace Creek (lead mining area) in Caledonia, Mo.
Horton Iron and Metal (former fertilizer manufacturer and metal salvage) in Wilmington, N.C.
Mansfield Trail Dump (waste disposal area) in Byram Township, N.J.
Milford Contaminated Aquifer (contaminated ground water plume) in Milford, Ohio
Cabo Rojo Ground Water Contamination (contaminated ground water plume) in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Hormigas Ground Water Plume (contaminated ground water plume) in Caguas, Puerto Rico
West County Road 112 Ground Water (contaminated ground water plume) in Midland, Texas
During her first official visit to China, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian signed an agreement that formalizes the partnership between the United States and China on environmental protection.
"The United States and China have enjoyed a strong relationship and achieved significant progress in our nearly 30-year partnership on environmental protection. As we celebrate our shared successes, this is a good time for us to also evaluate our collaboration, identify emerging priorities, and sharpen our focus on building a prosperous and healthy future," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "The global environmental community has learned much in the last 30 years, and MEP has many accomplishments worth recognizing. I look forward to enhancing our collaboration and am proud to renew this historic connection today."
Under the MOU, EPA will continue to collaborate with China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on the prevention and management of air pollution, water pollution, pollution from persistent organic pollutants and other toxics, hazardous and solid waste, and the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law.
The MOU, which was a renewal of an MOU that expired in 2008, also provides opportunities distinct from existing agreements on science and technology cooperation and establishes a joint committee that is co-chaired by EPA's administrator and China's environmental protection minister. The joint committee meets every two years, and the next meeting will be hosted by Administrator Jackson in Washington, D.C. on November 16-17, 2010. At the meeting, MEP and EPA officials will review progress made during the last two years and approve work plans for the next two years.
For 30 years, the United States and China have engaged in a wide range of cooperative activities aimed at increasing energy efficiency, reducing emissions of pollutants, toxics, and greenhouse gases, limiting threats to public health caused by pollution, and creating a foundation for long-term environmental sustainability. EPA and MEP have been at the forefront of environmental collaboration and are building on past successes to jointly address current and emerging environmental challenges.
More information about Administrator Jackson's mission in China:
More information about EPA's International Priorities:
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 to Hold Listening Sessions on Potential Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Rule
EPA Issues Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy
EPA Releases New Edition of NPDES Permit Writers' Manual
National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL)
EPA's Sustainable Materials And Residuals
ManagemenT Decision Support Tool (SMART-DST) was developed by researchers in the National Risk Management Research Laboratory to encourage more sustainable management of solid waste. The DST provides a science-based approach to municipal waste management, using life-cycle assessments to evaluate energy, climate change pollutants, air criteria pollutants, and waterborne pollutants. In 2009, the University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences asked EPA to assist in a study to promote sustainable development in Colon, Panama, by providing options to the region's continued reliance on open dumping for waste disposal.
Panama-specific data for input into the SMART-DST model were gathered from interviews with Colon residents and from recycling companies in Panama and Central America who shared information on the market value of recyclables. Data on Panama-specific energy and offsets from recycling and information from an existing waste-to-energy facility were provided for use in the study by EPA researchers. Estimated annual deposits and makeup of trash in El Dompe came from related studies from the United Nations, the World Bank, and other sources.
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
ETV Verified Technologies
Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
For more information on the ETV, visit www.epa.gov/etv.
Other EPA News
EPA Administrator Names Executive Director for New Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force
EPA to Provide Technical Assistance on Sustainable Growth and Development
EPA Proposes to Add Nine New Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund's National Priorities List
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm
EPA Administrator signs Memorandum of Understanding with China on Environmental Protection