Water Online's EPA Update: September 6, 2011
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) Lynchburg Water System Operator Wins EPA Award For Excellence Report On The National Characteristics Of Drinking Water Systems Serving 10,000 Or Fewer People Available Online Wasting Water Is Weird EPA Launches Revamped Sustainable Water Infrastructure Web Pages EPA And USDA Create A Partnership To Improve Drinking Water Systems And Develop Workforce In Rural Communities National Risk Management Research Laboratory
(NRMRL) Researchers Develop Innovative Tools In Drinking Water Treatment Studies Method Impact 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 Announces Schedule For Dioxin Assessment EPA Accepts First GHG Reporting Data Historic Agreement On Improving Lake Tahoe Clarity Signed By California And Nevada Governors EPA Publishes Rule To Improve Reporting Of Chemical Information EPA Takes Action On Reducing Barriers To The Use Of Carbon Capture And Sequestration Technologies SOURCE: EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently presented Leslie Gryder of Lynchburg, Va. with the EPA mid-Atlantic award for excellence in operating a large public drinking water system.
"Public drinking water plant operators are on the front lines for preventing waterborne diseases, and protecting public health," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "Leslie Gryder exemplifies excellence among the many highly qualified, trained professionals who are dedicated to improving the quality of our drinking water." Read more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated a report entitled National Characteristics of Drinking Water Systems Serving 10,000 or Fewer People. EPA first published this report in 1999, after the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, to serve as a source of information for small drinking water systems and stakeholders that work with small systems. The central purpose of generating this report is to share characteristics of small public drinking water systems to better understand their challenges and better target technical assistance to improve their technical, managerial and financial capacity. This report updates the data on small systems based on the new information drawn from the 2006 Community Water System Survey, the 2007 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment, the Safe Drinking Water Information Systems (SDWIS), the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The report is available on EPA's website at http://water.epa.gov/type/drink/pws/smallsystems/state_guidance.cfm
WaterSense partners Kohler and Lowe's — as part of a larger coalition of water-conscious organizations — have launched a new public service campaign called Wasting Water is Weird. The campaign features tips from the WaterSense program and links to the website for additional water-saving information. It is already running online and will soon launch on television. It's a positive, humorous message delivered by Rip the Drip, who shows up just when using water becomes wasting water — and that's when things get weird.
Want to help? Check out the videos and meet Rip at www.wastingwaterisweird.com. You can like Rip the Drip on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RipTheDrip. Then tell all your friends and family to do the same! Your role is vital to help bring attention to the issue and ultimately help change behavior for the better.
Thanks for your help, and remember: Wasting Water is Weird!
Our communities depend on aging drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure for the health of its people and the vitality of the local economy. With the release of the Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy last fall, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the next step in our efforts to work with the water sector as it moves towards more sustainable practices. This week, the Agency has launched an enhanced set of web pages to provide information and resources for meeting the water infrastructure challenges faced in communities across the country.
Local elected officials and decision makers play a vital role in safeguarding the shared community assets that make up our nation's water infrastructure. To support local officials as they meet these challenges, the updated web pages also have a new section specifically for local officials. The pages provide information, resources, and materials designed to meet the needs of local officials committed to leaving a legacy of sustainable water infrastructure. It provides information that every local official should know about their community's water infrastructure and offers concrete, achievable steps that local officials can take to put their community on a more sustainable path or enhance existing efforts to address their water infrastructure needs.
To review EPA's revamped sustainable infrastructure web pages, please visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/index.cfm.
To view the local officials' section please see:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a national partnership to protect Americans' health by improving rural drinking water and wastewater systems. Nationwide, small water and sewage treatment facilities with limited funding and resources face challenges due to rising costs and aging equipment and pipes. Today's agreement will send federal resources to support communities that need assistance and promote job training to help put people to work while addressing the growing workforce shortage in the water industry.
"EPA and USDA have joined forces to leverage our expertise and resources to improve drinking water and wastewater systems in small towns across the country," said Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Water. "A critical part of this agreement is to ensure that we have a well trained, professional workforce available to replace workers when they leave or retire."
"The agreement we are announcing today represents an exciting partnership between USDA and EPA that will greatly enhance our investments in water systems and also in developing a skilled workforce to oversee them," said Jonathan Adelstein, administrator for USDA's Rural Utilities Service. "By working together, our agencies will strengthen their capacity to provide rural residents with safe, clean, well-managed water and wastewater systems for years to come."
Under the agreement, EPA and USDA will work together to promote jobs by targeting specific audiences, providing training for new water careers and coordinating outreach efforts that will bring greater public visibility to the workforce needs of the industry, and develop a new generation of trained water professionals. EPA and USDA will also facilitate the exchange of successful recruitment and training strategies among stakeholders including states and water industries.
The agencies will also help rural utilities improve current operations and encourage development of long-term water quality improvement plans. The plans will include developing sustainable management practices to cut costs and improve performance.
Since taking office, President Obama's administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans. For instance, the administration has set goals to modernize infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are thriving economically.
In June, President Obama signed an executive order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies that will help realize the administration's goals for rural communities. Today's agreement is part of that initiative.
More about the EPA-USDA agreement: http://water.epa.gov/type/drink/pws/smallsystems/partners.cfm#moa
More about EPA's programs and tools for small water systems: http://water.epa.gov/type/drink/pws/smallsystems/index.cfm
More about USDA's Water and Environmental Programs for rural communities: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWEP_HomePage.html
EPA drinking water specialists are developing a unique approach to a long-standing issue in the treatment of drinking water — the inability to test treatment technologies against standardized water sources to benchmark the improvements in new technologies. To address this shortfall, the EPA team is working on the standardization of natural organic matter (NOM) in source waters. By providing the scientific community with a library of shelf-stable, drinking-water-relevant NOM samples from representative sources around the country, the team will facilitate new research in the reduction of disinfection byproducts, granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption, membrane fouling, and the effects of climate change.
All surface and ground waters contain varying amounts of naturally occurring organic matter (NOM) formed primarily by decaying vegetation. NOM is a major driver of water treatment processes in a number of ways. It plays a key role in the formation of disinfection byproducts, an ongoing EPA concern. Natural organic matter also plays an important role in other research areas, such as climate change effects. Because changes in climate have an effect on ecosystems and thereby on the chemical composition of natural organic matter, they also drive changes in water treatment research. A long-time problem in this research has been the variability in NOM from place to place and season to season, making comparisons among treatment technologies difficult. Commercial NOM samples currently available to researchers, tend to come from atypical sources with higher carbon concentrations than most U.S. waters, limiting their use in research. EPA researchers recognized the need for larger quantities of NOM which are identically produced, shelf stable, and relevant to drinking water studies. In this way, disinfection-byproduct, GAC, membrane, and climate-change studies can be conducted with multiple NOM sources representative of those that drinking water utilities commonly encounter.
The EPA research focuses on three steps in the NOM process: concentration, lyophilization (freeze-drying) and reconstitution. While these approaches are not unique in the NOM literature, no existing reports describe complete methods for the three steps.
Many of the current problems in water treatment research--shipment of large volumes of water from multiple locations around the country, limited shelf life of test waters — are overcome by this innovative and forward-thinking EPA research. Once NOM is isolated and freeze-dried into a shelf-stable dried powder, it can be reconstituted back into its source water and be used in repeatable experiments. A library of different waters will enable researchers to easily test different water treatment processes on different water sources, including processes for reducing disinfection byproducts, GAC treatment, and membrane fouling, and also help in understanding the effects of climate.
The ETV Program has verified the performance of 456 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 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it plans to complete the non-cancer portion of EPA's Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments, and post the final non-cancer assessment to the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) by the end of January 2012. After completing the non-cancer portion, EPA will finalize the cancer portion of the dioxin reanalysis as quickly as possible.
The decision to split the dioxin assessment into two portions, one being the cancer assessment and the other being the non-cancer assessment, follows the release by the Science Advisory Board (SAB) of its final review report of EPA's Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments on August 26, 2011. This reanalysis report responded to the recommendations and comments included in the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) 2006 review of EPA's 2003 draft dioxin assessment.
The SAB report indicates that EPA selected the most appropriate scientific studies to support the non-cancer health assessment and the oral reference dose derived in the draft assessment. The SAB also commended EPA for a clear and logical reanalysis document that responded to many of the recommendations offered previously by the NAS. Specifically, the SAB acknowledged that the process the agency used to identify, review and evaluate the scientific literature was both comprehensive and rigorous, and the SAB report noted that "the criteria for study selection have been clearly articulated, well justified, and applied in a scientifically sound manner."
Dioxins are toxic chemicals that share a similar chemical structure and act through a similar mechanism. While dioxin levels in the environment have been declining since the early seventies, dioxins remain a concern because they will continue to enter the food chain through releases from soils and sediments, and they have been the subject of a number of federal and state regulations and cleanup actions.
More information on dioxin: http://www.epa.gov/dioxin/
More information on IRIS: http://www.epa.gov/IRIS/
More information on the SAB Report: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/WebReportsLastMonthBOARD/9DE6A0825A9C050F85257412005EA22A?OpenDocument&TableRow=2.3#2.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching a new tool to allow 28 industrial sectors to submit their 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution data electronically. Prior to being finalized, more than1,000 stakeholders, including industry associations, states and NGOs tested the electronic GHG Reporting Tool (e-GGRT) to ensure clarity and user-friendliness.
The data collected with e-GGRT will provide the public with important information about the nation's largest stationary sources of greenhouse gas pollution. Industries and businesses can also use the data to help find ways to decrease carbon pollution, increase efficiency and save money.
EPA expects to receive 2010 GHG data from approximately 7,000 large industrial GHG emitters and suppliers, including power plants, petroleum refineries and landfills.
EPA's GHG Reporting Program, launched in October 2009, requires the reporting of GHG data from large emission sources across a range of industry sectors. Suppliers of products that would emit GHGs if released, combusted, or oxidized are also required to report GHG data. Under this program, covered entities are required to submit GHG data to EPA annually and the first round of data will be submitted electronically by September 30, 2011. EPA plans to publish non-confidential GHG data collected through the GHGRP by the end of 2011.
For more information on the GHG Reporting Program: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein recently hosted the 15th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, at which California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld signed a roadmap to return the lake to almost 100 feet of clarity within 65 years.
The water clarity of Lake Tahoe declined from a visibility level of 105 feet in 1967 to an all time low of 64 feet in 1997. Ten years of scientific study ascertained that fine particulate matter is the prime factor in diminished clarity at Lake Tahoe. The Clean Water Act allows states and U.S. EPA to develop a "diet" for impaired waters like Lake Tahoe to help them recover. This diet is called the Lake Tahoe TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load). Read more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is increasing the type and amount of information it collects on commercial chemicals from chemical manufacturers, allowing the agency to better identify and manage potential risks to Americans' health and the environment. The improved rule, known as the chemical data reporting rule (CDR), also requires that companies submit the information electronically to EPA, rather than on paper, and limits confidentiality claims by companies. The changes are part of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's commitment to strengthen the agency's chemical management program and increase the transparency of critical information on chemicals.
"Collecting this critical information on widely used chemicals will enable EPA to more effectively identify and address potential chemical risks," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "The new electronic reporting requirement and limits on confidentiality claims also will bring EPA's data collection effort into the 21st Century and give the American people greater access to a wider range of information on chemicals to which their children and families are exposed every day."
The CDR rule, which falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act inventory update rule (IUR), requires more frequent reporting of critical information on chemicals and requires the submission of new and updated information relating to potential chemical exposures, current production volume, manufacturing site-related data, and processing and use-related data for a larger number of chemicals. The improved information will allow EPA to better identify and manage risks associated with chemicals.
EPA is requiring companies to submit the information through the Internet, using EPA's electronic reporting tool. On-line reporting will improve both data quality and EPA's ability to use the data, as well as make it more accessible to the public.
Companies will be required to start following the new reporting requirements in the next data submission period, which will occur February 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.
More information about the CDR Rule and reporting program is available at www.epa.gov/iur.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a rule to advance the use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies, while protecting Americans' health and the environment. CCS technologies allow carbon dioxide (CO2) to be captured at stationary sources - like coal-fired power plants and large industrial operations - and injected underground for long-term storage in a process called geologic sequestration. The proposal is consistent with recommendations made by President Obama's interagency task force on CO2. sequestration and helps create a consistent national framework to ensure the safe and effective deployment of technologies that will help position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race.
Today's proposal will exclude from EPA's hazardous waste regulations CO2 streams that are injected for geologic sequestration in wells designated for this purpose under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA is proposing this exclusion as part of the agency's effort to reduce barriers to the use of CCS technologies. EPA requests that comments submitted on the rule share analytical data on the overall composition of captured CO2 streams, including physical and chemical characteristics, to help the Agency determine if additional actions are necessary to ensure the safe use of CSS technologies.
Based on review of existing regulatory programs, EPA's proposal concludes that the management of CO2 streams under the proposed conditions does not present a substantial risk to people's health or the environment, provides regulatory certainty to industries considering the use of CCS technologies, and encourages the deployment of CCS technologies in a safe and environmentally protective manner.
The proposed rule is complementary to previous EPA rulemakings, including final rules under the Clean Air Act that require reporting by facilities that capture or inject CO2 streams, and Safe Drinking Water Act regulations that ensure the wells used for geologic sequestration of CO2 are appropriately sited, constructed, tested, monitored, and closed. EPA will accept public comments on the proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.
More information on the proposed rule: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/industrial/geo-sequester/index.htm
More information on the Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide: http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/wells_sequestration.cfm
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)
Lynchburg Water System Operator Wins EPA Award For Excellence
Report On The National Characteristics Of Drinking Water Systems Serving 10,000 Or Fewer People Available Online
Wasting Water Is Weird
EPA Launches Revamped Sustainable Water Infrastructure Web Pages
EPA And USDA Create A Partnership To Improve Drinking Water Systems And Develop Workforce In Rural Communities
National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL)
Researchers Develop Innovative Tools In Drinking Water Treatment Studies
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 Announces Schedule For Dioxin Assessment
EPA Accepts First GHG Reporting Data
Historic Agreement On Improving Lake Tahoe Clarity Signed By California And Nevada Governors
EPA Publishes Rule To Improve Reporting Of Chemical Information
EPA Takes Action On Reducing Barriers To The Use Of Carbon Capture And Sequestration Technologies