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HARRISBURG, PA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide up to $145 million to eligible landowners nationwide ...

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USDA to restore, protect flood-prone lands with economic recovery funding

HARRISBURG, PA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide up to $145 million to eligible landowners nationwide through the floodplain easement component of its Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. The funds will be used to restore an estimated 60,000 acres of frequently flooded land to its natural state and create jobs.

The funding, obtained from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, includes both technical and financial assistance to restore the easements. All funds will be spent on targeted projects that can be completed with economic stimulus monies. The goal is to have all floodplain easements acquired and restored within 12-18 months.

The restored floodplains will generate many public benefits, such as increased flood protection, enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, improved water quality, and a reduced need for future public disaster assistance. Other benefits include reduced energy consumption when certain agricultural activities and practices are eliminated and increased carbon sequestration as permanent vegetative cover is re-established.

For details on the program, including deadlines, eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit:www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ewp/Floodplain.


WERF offers $100,000 for imaginative research

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Water Environment Research Foundation, through the Paul L. Busch Award, is offering $100,000 to encourage researchers working in wastewater, water reuse, biosolids, stormwater, watersheds, and other areas to use their imagination, take risks, explore new directions, and ultimately realize the possibilities inherent in their valuable work.

The annual Paul L. Busch Award is one of the largest in the water quality industry. Now in its ninth year, the award supports researchers imbued with the visionary spirit of its namesake, a leader in the water quality community who challenged engineers and scientists to devise new technologies and solutions for addressing ongoing water quality issues.

The WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research grants the award to an individual or team. Utilities, universities, environmental firms, and others conducting water quality research or engineering work are encouraged to apply. Applicants may self-nominate or be nominated by a third party.

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Flue gas desulfurization water was treated in a constructed wetlands system consisting of five “reactors” planted with vegetation found in natural wetlands.
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Applications are due June 1, 2009. For details, please visit: www.werf.org/PaulLBusch.


Project demonstrates benefits of constructed wetlands to treat non-traditional water sources

WASHINGTON, DC — In a pilot-scale test supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy, Clemson University researchers have shown that manmade or “constructed” wetlands can be used to treat non-traditional water sources which could then be used in power plants or for other purposes. The successful test, which was managed by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), could help power plants economically meet criteria for water reuse or discharge established by the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System and the Clean Water Act.

Four kinds of non-traditional water sources were treated during the test: ash basin water, simulated cooling water, flue gas desulfurization water, and produced water. Test results showed that, while limited to chloride concentrations of less than 4,000 milligrams per liter, constructed wetland treatment systems could remediate all four non-traditional water sources for reuse or discharge.

To read the Clemson University report, please visit the NETL website at www.netl.doe.gov.


Stormwater filtration system receives NJDEP interim certification

ROCKVILLE, MD — The Jellyfish™ filter system from Imbrium Systems has received interim certification from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), which has done an extensive review of the filter system’s features and performance attributes, including analysis of laboratory results.

The filter system has been shown to remove greater than 85% of Sil-Co-Sil 106 fine sediment while operating at a flow rate of 50 gpm per cartridge. It also features high surface area filtration tentacles that are combined into lightweight, long-lasting cartridges with a small footprint.

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Arch system used for one of largest stormwater retention systems in central Ohio.
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The system was launched in the spring of 2008, and has received other approvals: New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology (NJCAT) verification; the Ontario Ministry of Environment’s New Environmental Technology Evaluation (NETE) certificate; and the Washington State Department of Ecology’s TAPE Pilot Use Level Designation.


Hanson provides stormwater system for Ohio hospital

IRVING, TX — Hanson Pipe & Precast recently provided the product for one of the largest stormwater retention arch systems in central Ohio. The $800 million Nationwide Children’s Hospital expansion in Columbus features a new stormwater detention system designed to ease the flow of large amounts of water from draining into the Columbus water system during periods of heavy rainfall. The detention basin will also supply irrigation water for the green space surrounding the hospital.

Hanson Pipe & Precast completed the stormwater retention arch system in late 2008. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital expansion, which includes a $480 million hospital tower, a new emergency department, and a hematology and marrow transplant unit, is expected to open in 2012.


EPA issues final NPDES General Permit for industrial stormwater discharges

WASHINGTON, DC — EPA previously issued the NPDES general permit for stormwater discharges from industrial activity, also referred to as the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP), in September 2008. This more recent action provides notice of final MSGP issuance for the states of Alaska and Idaho; for federal facilities in Washington; and for Indian Country in the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

The action took effect Feb. 26, 2009, to provide dischargers with the immediate opportunity to comply with Clean Water Act requirements in light of the expiration of the previous version of the MSGP on October 30, 2005.

For more information, please visit: www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/msgp.


Wetland preservation projects move Puget Sound recovery forward

OLYMPIA, WA — The Puget Sound recovery effort is getting a boost from $3.1 million in federal grants to the Washington Department of Ecology. The grants will help local partners return more than 350 acres of critical and increasingly rare estuarine and connected fresh water wetland habitat in Mason, Pierce, Thurston and Whatcom counties to natural conditions.

The grants are being provided by the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, a program of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service established in 1990. It is designed to help states acquire, restore, and enhance coastal wetlands. Since its inception, the federal program has provided about $183 million in grant monies to 25 coastal states and one U.S. territory involving the restoration of more than 250,000 acres of coastal wetland ecosystems. Funding for the program comes from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels.


State to invest more than $21.5M in projects to improve water quality

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell plans to invest more than $21.5 million in 144 Growing Greener projects to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and farms, treat acid mine drainage, reduce flooding and improve water quality across the commonwealth.

The funds are being distributed to non-profit organizations, watershed groups and county and municipal governments to address local and regional water quality issues.

Funded projects include educational programs, scientific studies and youth volunteer opportunities such as an ongoing program that enlists local high school students to perform riparian buffer planting on local farms and streams in Crawford County. Dam removal projects that will improve streamflow and aquatic habitat will be funded in Chester, Lycoming and Montgomery counties, and funding is provided for repairs, upgrades and improvements to urban stormwater control infrastructure.

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