Water Online's EPA Weekly: March 12, 2008
Welcome to Water Online's weekly 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
- Ecological Research Program
- Screening Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Mitigation
- ETV Program Policy Compendium
- Advanced Monitoring Systems Center Solicits Technology Vendors
- ETV Verified Technologies
- EPA Tool Helps Utilities Tap into Energy Savings
- New Strategy to Help the Nation's Ports Go Green
- Ask EPA: Love Science or Engineering and Want to Protect the Planet?
Office of Water
EPA Proposing Additional Options for Animal Feeding Operation Rule
The EPA is proposing additional options to a 2006 proposal for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) under the Clean Water Act. This supplemental proposal has been published and is open for public comment until April 7, 2008. A webcast is scheduled for March 14, 2008, 12 to 2 pm ET.
Under current law, if CAFOs do not discharge pollutants to waters of the United States they do not need a Clean Water Act permit. This proposal would, for the first time, allow CAFOs to certify that they do not discharge. The EPA is also proposing three different approaches for nutrient management plans (NMPs) that could be used by permitting authorities and CAFOs to determine application rates of manure, litter, and wastewater to be incorporated into the permit. An NMP specifies the amount of manure that can be applied to crops so nutrient runoff to water bodies is minimized. The EPA has been regulating CAFOs for more than 25 years. In response to a February 2005 federal court decision vacating some portions of a 2003 CAFO rule, the EPA proposed a revised rule in June 2006. This proposed rule supplements the 2006 proposal by adding additional options.
The EPA is hosting a webcast to provide additional information on the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking for the CAFO NPDES program. Participants will be able to submit questions about the supplemental proposal to the EPA presenters during the webcast to gain a better understanding of this rulemaking effort. This webcast is intended to support the public comment period for this proposed rule, which closes on April 7, 2008.
EPA Releases New Tools to Improve Drinking Water Monitoring and Reporting
Small water systems, particularly those that serve very small populations or tribal communities, can be challenged in understanding the regulatory requirements that apply to them. EPA is releasing a new set of placards that summarize day to day monitoring requirements for small drinking water systems. Having monitoring requirements readily available in an easy to read format should improve monitoring and reporting compliance at small systems. These placards provide step by step instructions for conducting monitoring under the Total Coliform Rule, Surface Water Treatment Rules, and nitrate regulations. The placards are formatted to be printed 11" x 17" to hang on the wall for quick reference by drinking water operators. The placards and other tools for small systems are available at www.epa.gov/safewater/smallsys/ssinfo.htm. They are also available on a page dedicated to tribal water systems at www.epa.gov/safewater/tribal.html.
Draft FY 2009 National Water Program Guidance Released for Comments
The National Water Program has released the Draft FY 2009 National Water Program Guidance for public view and comment. This is the second annual water program guidance to implement the EPA 2006-2011 Strategic Plan. This draft guidance describes water program priorities and strategies, including the suite of water performance measures, for the coming fiscal year. The draft guidance is available at www.epa.gov/water/waterplan/fy09.html. Please send comments to Noha Gaber (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the EPA Office of Water by March 31, 2008.
The National Water Program Guidance Appendix: FY 2008 Final Measures and Commitments is now available at www.epa.gov/water/waterplan/under the heading "FY 2008 Final Measures and Commitments." Last summer and fall, regions, states, and tribes worked to develop final commitments for FY 2008 for the measures described in the FY 2008 National Water Program Guidance, published in April 2007. These final FY 2008 commitments, along with supporting measures where program progress is tracked without an annual commitment (i.e. indicator measures), are summarized in this final appendix to the FY 2008 guidance.
New Technology Report: Wastewater Treatment and In-Plant Wet Weather Management
The EPA is releasing the third in a series of reports on municipal wastewater collection and treatment technologies. Emerging Technologies for Wastewater Treatment and In-Plant Wet Weather Management provides municipal wastewater treatment system owners and operators with the latest information on emerging wastewater treatment and in-plant wet weather management technology options. It identifies cost effective, innovative, and embryonic technologies as well as established technologies with innovative applications. Technical and cost data for more than 60 innovative technologies and more than 25 embryonic technologies are provided. The technologies featured in the report can provide more efficient or advanced wastewater treatment or better management of wet weather flows at the treatment plant. The new report is available at www.epa.gov/owm/mtb/index.htm. The previous two reports, Emerging Technologies for Biosolids Management and Emerging Technologies for Conveyance Systems: New Installations and Rehabilitation Methods are also available on the Web site.
CWNS 2008 Web Training Seminars for Community Stakeholders
The EPA is offering three Web seminars in March aimed at providing community stakeholders the information they need to support their state's Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) data entry effort. States rely on a variety of resources, including community stakeholders, to gather the information to accurately report needs to EPA. community stakeholders can include representatives of wastewater treatment plants, municipal stormwater programs, municipal health departments, watershed organizations, planning authorities, and others. The web seminars are scheduled for: Wednesday, March 12 at 10:30-12:30 ET; Tuesday, March 18 at 1:00- 3:00 ET; and Monday, March 24 at 2:00-4:00 ET.
The CWNS is a comprehensive assessment of the capital needs to meet the water quality goals set in the Clean Water Act. Every four years, the states and the EPA collect information about publicly owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities, stormwater management projects, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) control facilities, nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control projects, and decentralized wastewater management. This information is used to support budgeting and planning. For more information about CWNS, visit www.epa.gov/cwns or contact email@example.com. To register for one of the CWNS 2008: Community Stakeholder Training Web seminars, go to hawkeye.epa.gov/imtapp/app/pubschconf.uix. Filter by Conference Title, type in "CWNS", and hit the "Go" button. Register for your preferred time from the listed CWNS Web seminars.
Options for Expressing Daily Loads in TMDLs Webcast Available
On January 8, 2008, the EPA sponsored a webcast on "Options for Expressing Daily Loads in Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)." The webcast was recorded and is available on the TMDL Web site at www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/training.html. This webcast for TMDL practitioners highlighted the EPA's June 22, 2007 draft document on Options for Expressing Daily Loads in TMDLs (www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/draft_daily_loads_tech.pdf). The presenters discussed technical approaches for developing daily load expressions, provided examples, and highlighted implementation benefits of identifying daily loads, addressed impacts of the daily loads requirement to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting community, and provided the opportunity for participants to pose questions to EPA staff and program experts.
For more information on the EPA Office of Water, visit www.epa.gov/ow.
Office of Research and Development
Ecological Research Program
This Ecological Research Program in the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD)is developing the tools needed by resource managers to consider the cost and benefits of using the goods and services of nature such as clean air and water, flood control, and fertile soil for crop production. This Ecological Research Program Web site offers information on ecosystem services research conducted by the program. You can visit the Web site at epa.gov/ord/erp/.
Screening Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Mitigation
The EPA has announcing the release of a final report titled A Screening Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Mitigation in the Great Lakes and New England Regions. The report is a screening-level assessment of the potential implications climate change has had on combined sewer overflow (CSO) mitigation in the Great Lakes and New England Regions. You can download the report at cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=188306.
For more information on the EPA Office of Research and Development, visit www.epa.gov/ord.
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program
ETV Program Policy Compendium
This policy compendium summarizes operational decisions made to date by participants in the ETV to encourage consistency among the ETV centers. The policies contained in the document evolved from group decisions made by the verification organizations, EPA ETV team, and other EPA personnel during the original concept period (1993 to 1995), the operation of the actual pilot period (1995 to 2000), and subsequently. As such, the policies are and will continue to be modified as necessary and, although they generally apply to the entire ETV Program, there may be exceptions to which certain policies may not apply.
Policies are valid as of the date of issuance and the document will be updated periodically. The ETV Policy Compendium is divided into two main sections. Section 1 addresses core policies that generally apply to all of the ETV centers and ESTE projects. Section 2 explains policies that apply to individual steps in the operational processes of the ETV Program. You can download the document at www.epa.gov/etv/pubs/600r08025.pdf.
Advanced Monitoring Systems Center Solicits Technology Vendors
The AMS Center, operated by Battelle, is soliciting vendors and collaborators interested in verification testing of monitoring technologies for contaminants in air, water, and soil. For more information, please contact Ann Louise Sumner, Battelle, at (614) 424-3973 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 a complete list of centers).
ETV Verified Technologies
The ETV Program has verified the performance of 400 innovative environmental technologies that can be used to monitor, prevent, control, and clean up pollution. For a full list of ETV verifications, visit www.epa.gov/etv/verifiedtechnologies.html.
For more information on the ETV, visit www.epa.gov/etv.
Other EPA News
EPA Tool Helps Utilities Tap into Energy Savings
America's drinking water and wastewater facilities can now save energy and reduce their carbon footprint with expanded tools available from the EPA's Energy Star Program. Enhancements to Portfolio Manager, the agency's popular energy tracking tool for commercial facilities, allow water utilities to track energy use and associated carbon emissions, set targets for investment priorities, and verify efficiency improvements. Water and wastewater facilities are energy intensive, accounting for more than one-third of municipal energy use. Improving the energy efficiency of America's drinking water and wastewater systems by 10% would save more than 5 billion kilowatt-hours each year, representing a cost savings of about $400 million annually.
Drinking water and wastewater systems spend about $4 billion a year on energy to pump, treat, deliver, collect, and clean water at the 52,000 community drinking water and 16,500 wastewater facilities in the United States. Through Energy Star, the EPA provides a proven energy management strategy and no-cost tools for public and private organizations to save energy and money, as well as demonstrate environmental leadership.
Learn more about Energy Star and Porfolio Manager for drinking water systems and wastewater plants at www.energystar.gov/waterwastewater. Other activities that explore the nexus between water and energy are described at www.epa.gov/waterinfrastructure/bettermanagement_energy.html.
New Strategy to Help the Nation's Ports Go Green
The EPA has unveiled a new plan of action for working with public port authorities and other interested groups to reduce the environmental impacts of moving goods through ports. The "Vision, Mission, and Strategy for Sustainable Ports" recognizes the steady growth in global maritime commerce and the critical role American ports and related transportation and supply chain partners play in managing the environmental impacts of moving goods across the country.
Ports are vital to the United States economy. Ocean-going ships move more than 99% of U.S. overseas trade (by weight). The top ten U.S. ports moved a combined total of 23 million cargo containers in 2006. The environmental challenges for ports and their transportation network include reducing air emissions, improving water quality, and protecting the health of communities near port facilities.
EPA's strategy focuses on six themes: clean air and affordable energy, clean and safe water, healthy communities and eco-systems, global environment, ports communications, and enforcement. There are more than 70 possible actions, including working with port authorities, their business partners, and other sectors of the transportation industry to quantify and reduce air emissions from all sources along the shipping supply chain; setting up state innovative financing funds to help small owner-operators of diesel equipment finance the upgrading or replacement of older, dirtier engines; and collaborating with the international port community on innovative technologies and development of international standards.
The EPA's strategy complements the recent resolution and guiding principles on port sustainability issued by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). EPA programs will work with AAPA, individual port authorities, private port operators, transportation supply and logistics companies, government agencies, states, communities, and other interested groups to promote and implement sustainable practices at ports and their related operations. EPA regions will work collaboratively with individual ports to select (from among the full menu of possible actions in the EPA strategy) a specific set of activities to work on together. These shared action plans will address the unique environmental impacts and opportunities for ports in different parts of the country.
More about EPA Strategy for Sustainable Ports and the ports sector can be found at www.epa.gov/sectors/ports.
Ask EPA: Love Science or Engineering and Want to Protect the Planet?
Do you want to protect the planet? Then consider a science or engineering career at EPA. On Wednesday, March 12, 2008, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm ET, George M. Gray, Ph.D., EPA science advisor and assistant administrator for research and development, will host the online interactive forum, Ask EPA, and take questions from the public about science careers and opportunities at the agency.
This online interactive forum allows the public to interact with EPA officials on a wide range of environmental and human health issues. Questions can be submitted online, in advance, beginning on Monday, March 10, as well as during the one-hour live session. As many questions as possible will be answered by Dr. Gray and posted to the Web site as a transcript so that others may also benefit from the discussion.
For more information or to receive e-mail alerts on upcoming hosts and topics, visit the Ask EPA page at www.epa.gov/askepa.