EPA Earmarks $15 Million to Protect Watersheds

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt has announced that 14 watersheds – representing 17 states – are eligible for $15 million from EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grant Program.

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt has announced that 14 watersheds – representing 17 states – are eligible for $15 million from EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grant Program. The selected areas represent more than 20,000 square miles of rivers, lakes and streams across the United States.

"Through this program, EPA lends a hand to local groups working to protect and restore our nation's watersheds," said Leavitt from the banks of Gray's Lake, part of the Upper Mississippi watershed. "With these watershed projects, we take a critical step forward in providing clean and safe water for every American."

Watersheds qualifying for the program stretch from Cape Fear on the Atlantic Coast, through much of the Mississippi River Basin, all the way to Dungeness River in Washington State and the Kenai River in Alaska.

Since 2003, more than $30 million has been provided through the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program. The program was proposed in 2002 by the Bush Administration to encourage successful community-based approaches to protect and restore the nation's watersheds. The competitive grant program helps fund watershed organizations whose restoration plans set clear goals and objectives with special consideration given to water quality monitoring, innovation, a public education component and strong community support.

Special consideration was given to watersheds along the Mississippi River Basin, where market-based water quality trading pilot projects are being implemented to address excessive nutrient run-off along the river. This nutrient overload has been scientifically linked to the seasonal hypoxic – or oxygen starved – zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Detailed information about the projects and the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program is available at: http:// www.epa.gov/twg or http://www.epa.gov.

Filter Backwash Guidance Released

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued new implementation guidance for the Filter Backwash Recycling Rule (FBRR).The document provides guidance on how EPA interprets the rule and plans to exercise its discretion in implementing the statute and regulations.

Section I discusses the FBRR and presents timetables and timelines of important dates of this rule. Section II contains references for further information and guidance. Section III provides information for states to communicate the requirements of this rule to systems. Section IV covers state Primacy Revision Requirements, including a detailed time frame for application review and approval. This section also contains guidance and references to help states adopt the new special primacy requirement included in this rule.

Section V addresses violation determination and associated reporting requirements, including a violation table to assist states in their compliance activities. Section 6 provides examples of language that can be used to comply with the requirements of the Public Notification Rule (PN Rule) and Consumer Confidence Reporting Rule (CCR).

Office of Water Launches Website for Septic Systems

EPA's Office of Water has developed a new and improved website that provides information on septic systems to homeowners, state and local governments, and industry professionals. The website provides guidance, technical information, management guidelines, and a wide variety of other information to help citizens manage their septic systems and to help state and local officials strengthen their regulation and management of these potential sources of water pollution.

The new site is part of EPA's ongoing effort to improve its website and to provide "one-stop" shopping on topics that are of interest to the general public. The site is located at www.epa.gov/owm/septic

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