EPA Action: $1B SSO settlement reached with Baltimore, Washington suburban sewer agencies
Also in this report: Watershed Discussion Board launched; Better beach health spotlighted in new U.S. data; Partnership to improve water security in U.S., Israel; Sixteen leaders in pesticide stewardship recognized; Comments sought on pesticide review process; Agreement will lead to better understanding of PFOA sources; Agency releases EPA Tribal Water Plan; Great Lakes Regional Collaboration strategy released; EPA clarifies industrial startup, shutdown and malfunction requirements...
In other news below, see:
-- Office of Water launches new Watershed Discussion Board
-- Better beach health spotlighted in new U.S. data
-- Partnership to improve water security in U.S. and Israel
-- Sixteen leaders in pesticide stewardship recognized
-- Comments sought on pesticide review process
-- Agreement will lead to better understanding of PFOA sources
-- EPA settles AEP, Sewall Gear chemical release cases; cites Minn., Mich. companies
-- EPA orders businessman, companies to cleanup Long Beach abandoned plating shop
-- Two men charged with violating Clean Water Act in Tennessee
-- Oil company in Readsboro to pay $15,000 for violations of oil regulations
-- EPA Tribal Water Plan now available
-- Consent decree filed in suit against Gloucester for CWA violations, reports U.S. Attorney
-- Assistant administrator attends Great Lakes Summit I Meeting
-- Great Lakes Regional Collaboration strategy released
-- Great Lakes restoration plan good first step, but needs funding, says regional coalition
-- EPA clarifies industrial startup, shutdown and malfunction requirements
SSO overflow settlements reached with Baltimore, Washington suburban agencies
WASHINGTON, DC, July 29, 2005 (WaterNews) The Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Maryland Department of the Environment today announced on July 26 two major Clean Water Act settlements with Baltimore County and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), that are anticipated to lead to more than $1 billion in sewer system improvements.
"This billion dollar effort reinforces our national strategy of investing in sewer infrastructure and advancing regional partnerships to protect citizens and restore waters of regional and national significance, such as the Anacostia River and Chesapeake Bay," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water.
The settlement requires Baltimore County to implement corrective measures to address both past and potential future causes of sewage overflows. Specific requirements include elimination of system relief points that allow discharges during heavy rains, completion of specific repair or replacement work in known overflow areas, ensuring that backup power exists for pumping stations, and increased oversight and regulation of grease management to reduce associated sewer backups. The county will also perform a comprehensive proactive inspection of its collection system piping, equipment, and pump stations and correct any deficiencies identified with the goal of resolving those deficiencies before they result in sewage overflows.
For more information on sanitary sewer overflows, visit EPA's website at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=4.
Office of Water launches new Watershed Discussion Board
WASHINGTON, DC, July 28, 2005 -- As part of its second Webcast, the Office of Water, launched a new on-line Watershed Discussion Board. This forum offers watershed protection practitioners and citizens a platform to exchange ideas, so that innovative solutions and ideas can be easily shared in (near) real-time cyberspace. EPA hopes to engage watershed leaders from around the country in these interactive, on-line discussions. Share your expertise so that others can learn from your experiences. The Forum currently includes the following six categories:
-- Community Involvement
-- Smart Growth/Low Impact Development
-- Source Water Protection
-- Stormwater Best Management Practices
-- Sustainable Financing
-- Watershed Planning Tools
Please visit www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/forum/forum.html and join in! Share your expertise so that others can learn from your experiences. Anyone can view the discussion, but one must register to post messages and receive customized updates.
In related news, EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds Sustainable Finance Team is sponsoring a half-day Watershed Funding Workshop on August 3, 2005 12:30 to 4:30 pm for Washington, D.C. area watershed organizations. There will be a demonstration of three watershed funding tools, including Plan2Fund, the Directory of Watershed Resources, and the Catalog of Federal Funding Sources. Plan2Fund is a watershed planning tool that aids organizations in identifying necessary funding for their watershed program plan. The Directory of Watershed Resources and the Catalog of Federal Funding for Watershed Protection are searchable online databases designed to help organizations learn about funding opportunities available for watershed projects. There will also be a panel of funding professionals speaking about corporate, private, federal, and foundation funding options. Please view www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/funding_workshop.pdf for further details and registration information. You can also visit EPA's Web site at www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/funding.html for additional information about watershed funding.
Better beach health spotlighted in new U.S. data
WASHINGTON, DC, July 27, 2005 -- U.S. beaches have become more-enjoyable places for Americans to play, thanks to improved water monitoring and state and local actions to address sources of pollution.
EPA's most recent data on beach closings and advisories show that only four percent of beach days were lost in 2004 due to advisories or closures triggered by monitoring for bacteria. Most of the closures were relatively short in duration. More than 2,700 closings were two days or less, and only 59 closings lasted more than 30 days.
The number of beaches monitored has more than tripled -- 3,574 in 2004, compared with 1,021 in 1997, the first year EPA began collecting beach-monitoring program data. Of the beaches reported to EPA in 2004, 942, or 26 percent, had at least one advisory or closing during the 2004 season.
The differences are attributable both to greater state participation in the program and also to improved measurement and monitoring made possible by grant money from EPA. For the past five years, EPA has provided nearly $42 million in grants to 35 coastal and Great Lakes states and territories. The grants help improve water monitoring and fund public-information programs that alert beach-goers about the health of their beaches.
"The small percentage of beach days lost in 2004 is encouraging," said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "Reducing exposure to disease-causing bacteria in beach water will help protect all Americans, especially children, who are more susceptible to pathogens. Finding the sources of pollution will help keep beach-goers safe at their favorite recreational spots. Federal dollars have gone a long way to help states identify problems."
States like Rhode Island, Maryland and Ohio have used EPA funds to find the sources of bacteria and develop comprehensive beach monitoring and public notification programs.
EPA grant money enabled North Beach, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay, to monitor more frequently in 2003. The increased monitoring revealed high fecal counts during the bathing season from a stormwater system sharing a common conduit with an aging, sanitary sewer system. Town officials moved the stormwater outfall. As a result, 2004 beach season sampling revealed significantly better water quality in the beach area. The beach remained open all season with no advisories or closures.
Warren Town Beach, Rhode Island, found that sewage from a broken sewer line was entering a brick stormwater basin and being discharged into the bathing area. The town repaired the sewer line, and routine sampling during the 2004 bathing season showed bacteria levels well below the action level.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio used EPA grant money to monitor streams and shoreline storm sewer outflows for E. coli at 15 beaches. The result? The discovery of 16 locations where bacteria levels were elevated. The data will help local municipalities investigate potential sources of contamination.
The beach-monitoring program is required under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act. Coastal and Great Lakes states and territories must report to EPA on beach monitoring and notification data for their coastal recreation waters.
On Nov. 8, 2004, EPA took another important step under the BEACH Act by requiring more protective standards to reduce beach-goers' exposure to harmful bacteria. When bacteria reach unhealthy levels, states or local agencies either issue a beach advisory, warning of possible swimming risks, or close a beach to the public.
EPA is working to make information about beach water quality available faster and easier. New data-collection techniques among state and local partners will make the 2005 swimming season data more readily available to the public. EPA consults regularly with its state counterparts and provides technical assistance to make these improvements.
Summary information for 2004 is available at: www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches/2004fs.html. Information about specific beaches is available at: www.epa.gov/waterscience/beacon/. General information about EPA's beaches program, including a listing of all 35 coastal and Great lakes states and territories is available at: www.epa.gov/beaches/.
Partnership to improve water security in U.S. and Israel
WASHINGTON, DC, July 20, 2005 -- The EPA and the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures signed an agreement July 19 to work together to improve water supply system security in the United States and Israel. Joint projects could include work on contamination warning systems, conducting field testing of sensor technologies, water supply risk assessment and management, and emergency response.
"Safeguarding our water supply is vital both for the well-being of our citizens and the preservation of our environment," said Judith E. Ayres, assistant administrator for International Affairs. "The statement of intent we have signed will foster greater collaboration between our nations to help protect this precious resource from unintentional or intentional contamination."
The Ministry of National Infrastructures has responsibility for land, water, and energy infrastructure development and administration in Israel. The ministry also sponsors extensive research into energy resources and water desalination. EPA and the Israeli government have enjoyed a strong working relationship on environmental protection since 1991. Both nations are members of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles and the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue initiative.
EPA also collaborates with other Middle Eastern countries on environmental projects, such as the Middle East Partnership Initiative, that includes Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. This partnership involves training on environmental laws and enforcement, conducting environmental impact assessments, and pollution prevention.
More information on EPA's international environmental efforts is available at: www.epa.gov/international/. To learn more about EPA's water security initiatives, visit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/index.cfm.
Sixteen leaders in pesticide stewardship recognized
Sixteen members of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) were recognized for their efforts in preventing pollution and reducing pesticide risk at a ceremony July 15 in Arlington, Va. The 2005 "PESP Champions" used most or all of the following integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to reduce the human health and environmental risks associated with pesticide use: 1) sampling to accurately determine pest population levels; 2) training and demonstrating IPM practices; 3) employing cultural practices such as crop rotation or removing food and habitat for structural pests; 4) controlling or managing pests through biologically based technologies; 5) applying less toxic or reduced-risk pesticides such as insect growth regulators; and 6) using conventional pesticides only when absolutely necessary.
The 2005 "PESP Champions" are: Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Program, Selkirk, N.Y.; Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association, Oakland, Calif.; Central Coast Vineyard Team Paso Robles, Calif.; Edison Electric Institute, Washington, D.C.; General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.; Glades Crop Care, Inc., Jupiter, Fla.; IPM Institute of North America, Inc., Madison, Wis.; Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission, Lodi, Calif.; New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association, Methuen, Mass.; North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, San Francisco, Calif.; Steritech Group, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.; Southwest School IPM Technical Resource Center, Dallas, Texas; University of Wisconsin - Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, Madison, Wis.; U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Hop Industry Plant Protection Committee, Moxee, Wash.; and Walnut Marketing Board, Sacramento, Calif.
Launched in 1994, the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program is a voluntary public/private partnership to reduce pesticide risk. More information on the accomplishments of the 2005 PESP Champions is available at: www.epa.gov/oppbppd1/PESP/.
Comments sought on pesticide review process
To ensure that pesticide registrations continue to meet current health and safety standards, EPA is seeking public comment on a proposed approach to review each existing pesticide registration every 15 years. This new registration review program, mandated by the Food Quality Protection Act, will begin in 2006 and make sure that, as the ability to assess risk evolves and as policies and practices change, "older" pesticides will still meet the statutory standard of no unreasonable adverse effects.
In developing this program over the past several years, EPA consulted with and received significant input from the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee and other key stakeholders regarding the design of registration review. Under the proposed process, the agency would assess any changes that have occurred since the agency's last registration decision on the pesticide. EPA would determine the significance of such changes and whether additional restrictions are needed to ensure that the pesticide meets current requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Registration review will replace the reregistration and tolerance reassessment programs which are nearing completion. As in those programs, the registration review process would allow for substantial public participation, but unlike those "one-time reassessment" programs, registration review will reoccur for each pesticide every 15 years. During the 90-day comment period for this proposal, the agency will hold public information meetings on the proposed rule. For additional information on the registration review rulemaking, visit: www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/registration_review.
Agreement will lead to better understanding of PFOA sources
As part of the agency's ongoing efforts to better understand the potential health effects of PFOA, EPA and PFOA manufacturers have agreed to test if incineration of fluoropolymers and fluorotelomer-treated products are a source of PFOA in the environment. The consent agreements are part of the agency's ongoing process with industry and other interested parties to ensure the development of information that will help EPA determine the sources of PFOA, the routes of exposure, any potential risks, and what voluntary or regulatory actions, if any, would be appropriate to protect human health and the environment.
The principal test sponsor for the fluoropolymers incineration testing is the Fluoropolymer Manufacturers Group. The companies within the fluoropolymer group that signed the Enforceable Consent Agreement, committing them to testing, are: AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc., Daikin America, Inc., Dyneon, LLC, and E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company. The principal test sponsor for the fluorotelomer incineration agreement is the Telomer Research Program, which includes AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc., Clariant GmbH, Daikin America, Inc., and E.I.duPont de Nemours and Company.
PFOA is a processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers, which are used in the manufacture of a wide range of non-stick and stain-resistant surfaces and products. PFOA may also be produced by the breakdown of fluorotelomers, which are used to impart water, stain, and grease resistance to carpets, paper and textiles. Additional information on the consent agreements and PFOA is available at: www.epa.gov/opptintr/pfoa/.
EPA settles AEP, Sewall Gear chemical release cases; cites Minn., Mich. companies
CHICAGO, July 14, 2005 -- EPA Region 5 recently settled two administrative cases involving hazardous chemical release reporting violations and filed new cases against two companies for chemical recordkeeping violations.
In the first settlement, Indiana Michigan Power Company (d/b/a American Electric Power), Bridgman, Mich., paid $14,769 to resolve EPA's July 2004 complaint for failure to provide prompt notification to national, state and local authorities of a 1,227-pound release of sodium hypochlorite from its Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Bridgman on Nov. 16, 2002. A required follow-up report was also received late, 58 days after the incident. The problem was caused
by a disconnected pipe leak that flowed onto the floor, then into a drain, and ultimately into a reservoir that feeds into a condenser and then into Lake Michigan. Sodium hypochlorite is used as a disinfectant in chlorination systems. It may cause severe skin and eye irritation or burns to broken skin, and is a respiratory irritant. As part of the settlement, the Columbus, Ohio-based company also agreed to install an improved sodium hypochlorite piping, leak detection and spill containment system. The supplemental environmental project is valued at $66,000.
In the second settlement, Sewall Gear Manufacturing, 705 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, Minn., paid $20,000 to resolve an April 2004 complaint. The company was cited for failure to submit to the Minnesota emergency response commission and the St. Paul fire department the required 2002 chemical inventory forms documenting the storage of 10,000 pounds of liquid nitrogen. Hazards associated with liquid nitrogen include frostbite, asphyxiation and implosion, if stored incorrectly. The company was also cited previously for hazardous materials recordkeeping violations.
In the first of two new cases, EPA proposed a $114,877 civil penalty against Loes Enterprises, 1457 Inglehart Ave., St. Paul. The company was cited for failure to prepare or have available material safety data sheets for five different chemicals stored on-site, and failure to submit to the St. Paul fire department and the Minnesota emergency response commission the required 2003 and 2004 chemical inventory forms for these chemicals.
In the other case, EPA proposed a $73,800 civil penalty against Oldcastle Materials (also known as Michigan Paving and Materials), at 3125 E. Front St., in Monroe, Mich. The company was cited for failure to submit to state and local authorities the required 2001 and 2002 chemical inventory forms for up to 56 million gallons of asphalt. Federal laws require notification to local authorities for storage of more than 10,000 pounds of liquid asphalt cement. Liquid asphalt may cause irritation or burns to the skin, vision loss, abdominal pain or breathing difficulty.
EPA orders businessman, companies to cleanup Long Beach abandoned plating shop
LOS ANGELES, July 13, 2005 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered three potentially responsible parties - Industrial Zinc Platers, Inc., Islander Extremes, Inc., and businessman Raymond Ball - to cleanup hazardous materials at a former plating shop.
Containers and tanks filled with hazardous chemicals including chromium, arsenic, and cyanide were found at Industrial Zinc Plating, Inc., located at 3200 E. 29th Street, Long Beach, Calif. The emergency action began June 21, 2005, after a referral by the Los Angeles County Sanitation District.
Citing its emergency powers, the EPA has stabilized tons of hazardous materials from the abandoned metal plating company, due to the danger these materials represent to the surrounding community.
The EPA had to swiftly remove, secure and stabilize the chromium, arsenic and cyanide contaminated solutions and sludge from Industrial Zinc Plating, Inc., due to poor storage conditions, the dangerous nature of these hazardous substances, and the potential for endangerment to public health or the environment," said Kathryn Lawrence, Acting Chief of the Response, Planning and Assessment Branch of the EPA.
If Industrial Zinc Platers, Inc., Islander Extremes, Inc., and Raymond Ball do not comply with the agency's order, the EPA will undertake the cleanup using Superfund funds; the EPA may spend up to $ 1 million in cleanup costs.
The improper storage of these chemicals violates the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan.
Chromium is a heavy metal that can cause harmful effects to the skin, lungs, mucous membranes, and possibly cancer. Arsenic affects the skin, the respiratory system, the kidneys, the liver, the central nervous system; cyanide is readily absorbed through the skin, and can cause vertigo, cardiac arrhythmia, respiratory failure or death.
During the cleanup, the EPA will continue to evaluate contaminated soils, asphalt, concrete and structures associated with the former electroplating plant and require the disposal of all exposed materials that pose a threat to the area.
For more information on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, please visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/action/law/cercla.htm.
Two men charged with violating Clean Water Act in Tennessee
James M. Holden, operator of the Mount Pleasant, Tenn., wastewater treatment plant; and Marty Roddy, a plant employee; were charged on June 20 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee with submitting false wastewater treatment reports in violation of the Clean Water Act. The charges allege that on 21 dates from January 2002 to October 2003, Roddy's initials appeared on test reports despite the fact that Roddy was absent from work on those days. Holden is accused of submitting the reports to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). The allegations further state that the twenty-one reports were inaccurate. Spot testing by TDEC found fecal coliform bacteria levels that were as much as 20,000 times greater than stated in the reports. Releasing wastewater with high levels of fecal coliform bacteria can present a health hazard to people and animals who come into contact with surface waters. The case was investigated by special agents assigned to the Atlanta Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with support from TDEC. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in the Middle District of Tennessee.
Oil company in Readsboro to pay $15,000 for violations of oil regulations
A Massachusetts-based oil company has agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it discharged oil from an unmanned facility in Readsboro, Vt. into a nearby river, and failed to comply with federal regulations related to the bulk storage of oil, in violation of the Clean Water Act. According to a settlement agreement filed recently, the Rice Oil Company violated the Clean Water Act when it discharged 300 gallons of No. 2 heating oil from its facility on Oct. 24, 2003 into the Deerfield River, upstream of the Sherman Reservoir. None of the oil could be recovered from the fast-moving river. The spill was reported to the National Response Center and a subsequent EPA inspection determined Rice did not have an adequate Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan at the time, in violation of the agency's Oil Pollution Prevention regulations under the Clean Water Act. Rice Oil is a mid-sized domestic corporation which operates a chain of full-service and/or self-service gasoline stations and heating oil delivery facilities. In addition to the cash penalty, the company is correcting the deficiencies in its plan, and will complete improvements to the facility by mid-summer. To learn more about oil storage requirements and EPA's enforcement program visit: www.epa.gov/NE/enforcement/oilspills/index.html.
EPA Tribal Water Plan now available
WASHINGTON, DC, July 11, 2005 -- The EPA released its 2005-2008 "Tribal Water Plan." It's available for viewing online at:
Consent decree filed in Gloucester suit for CWA violations, reports U.S. Attorney
BOSTON, July 8, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Massachusetts Attt. Gen. Thomas F. Reilly; Robert W. Varney, EPA Region 1 Administrator; and Commissioner Robert W. Golledge Jr. of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, announced today that a Modified Consent Decree has been filed in federal court which requires the City of Gloucester to upgrade the City's sewer system to eliminate or reduce pollution from combined sewer overflows. The total cost of the work is estimated at $14,615,000. Additionally, the City will pay a civil penalty of $60,000 for past violations.
The agreement with the City represents an important step in the effort to curb discharges of pollution into Gloucester Harbor. For many years, rain- induced overflows (called "combined sewer overflows," or "CSOs") from the City of Gloucester's sewage system have resulted in periodic discharges of untreated sewage and stormwater into environmentally sensitive areas of Gloucester Harbor. These CSOs have adversely affected the water quality of the Harbor, including Pavilion Beach.
The Modified Consent Decree replaces a 1992 consent decree entered into in a suit brought by the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts against the City alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act and the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act. The City did not fully comply with the 1992 decree that required the City address its CSO problems, and the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts then jointly initiated further enforcement action and negotiations leading to today's Modified Consent Decree.
Today's Modified Consent Decree will continue the needed improvements that state and federal officials have worked to bring about regarding the city of Gloucester and its wastewater system. Beginning in the early 1980s, slightly in excess of $30 million (from local, state and federal sources) has been spent to repair and improve the wastewater treatment plant, to establish the sewering of North Gloucester and to make systemwide repairs. In addition, Gloucester and the town of Essex have established a regional solution to a difficult wastewater issue by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding that allows the town to connect its sewage collection system to the Gloucester plant.
The Modified Consent Decree announced today requires Gloucester to separate sewage collection pipes from the municipal stormwater collection system in several areas of the City in accordance with a strict schedule. Top priority is given to reducing or eliminating discharges from a sewage system discharge pipe known as outfall 002, which currently discharges to Pavilion Beach. Accordingly, the City must construct, by May 1, 2006, a new stormwater drainage pipe along Washington Street. This project is predicted to significantly reduce CSO discharges at outfall 002, as well as at outfall 004, which discharges to Harbor Cove. To further reduce CSO discharges at outfall 002, the City is required to undertake sewer separation in neighborhoods that contribute flows to that outfall. This sewer separation work is to be completed by June 1, 2009. The new stormwater drainage system will discharge 500 feet offshore of Pavilion Beach in order to mitigate impacts of stormwater pollutants at that location.
The City is also required to construct sewer separation to minimize CSO discharges from outfalls 005 and 006, which discharge to the Inner Harbor. These projects must be completed by June 2011 and June 2012, respectively. The City will implement regulator modifications to minimize CSO discharges from outfall 006A, located near outfall 006. The Modified Consent Decree also contains provisions for implementing a CSO Management Plan, an Infiltration and Inflow Removal Plan, and a chlorination improvement plan at the City's sewage treatment plant. The total cost of the work called for in the CSO control plan is estimated at $14,615,000. Finally, the Modified Consent Decree requires the City to pay a civil penalty of $60,000 for its past violations, and conduct a public outreach and educational campaign relating to the CSO projects.
Agreement on the Modified Consent Decree was reached through the combined efforts of the U.S. Attorney's Office; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I; the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General; and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Notice of the Modified Consent Decree will be published in the Federal Register and public comments will be received for a period of 30 days.
The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney George Henderson in Sullivan's Civil Division; Assistant Attorney General Andrew Goldberg in Reilly's Environmental Protection Division; Michael Wagner, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Enforcement Counsel; and Madelyn Morris, Deputy Regional Director of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's Northeast Regional Office.
Assistant administrator attends Great Lakes Summit I Meeting
WASHINGTON, DC, July 7, 2005 (WaterNews) -- Today, Benjamin H. Grumbles, Assistant Administrator for Water, attended a meeting of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration in Duluth, Minnesota. The purpose of this "Summit I" meeting was to release for public review and comment a draft strategy for the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. The impetus for the development of this strategy was Executive Order 13340 on the Great Lakes, signed by President Bush on May 18, 2004. It directed the creation of a regional collaboration to address environmental issues in the Great Lakes basin. The resulting Great Lakes Regional Collaboration is a partnership of federal, state, local and tribal government representatives and other interests that have come together to develop a strategy for restoring and protecting the Great Lakes. In his remarks, Grumbles emphasized the importance of engaging the public in helping to identify priorities for the final strategy. Opportunities for public involvement include a 60-day public comment period which begins with the release of the draft strategy, and a series of five public meetings that will be held throughout the Great Lakes basin later this summer. The final strategy is expected to be released at Summit II in Chicago, Illinois on December 12, 2005.
Surveying Drinking Water Treatment Facilities - Effluent Guidelines Program
EPA announced that it is planning to submit a proposed Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in a July 5 Federal Register Notice (www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2005/July/Day-05/w13167.htm). This request is for a new collection of data from drinking water treatment facilities serving more than 10,000 customers. EPA is seeking comments (due on or before Sept. 6) before it submits the request for OMB review. You can learn more about this action by visiting EPA's web site at www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/dw/.
Great Lakes Regional Collaboration strategy released
DULUTH, MN, July 7, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration today released a draft strategy to restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. At the "Summit I" event in Duluth, Minn., senior representatives of the collaboration -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Benjamin Grumbles, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson, Superior, Wis., Mayor David Ross and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Chairman Frank Ettawageshik -- presented the strategy for public comment.
In December 2004, President Bush signed an executive order directing EPA to lead a regional collaboration of national significance for the Great Lakes. The collaboration is a unique partnership of key members from federal, state, and local governments, tribes and stakeholders for the purpose of developing a strategic plan to restore and protect the lakes.
"The unique nature of these majestic lakes and their role in the cultural, economic and environmental well-being of our nation requires us to take bold action in their defense," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Working separately, environmental progress is limited. This collaborative strategy, bringing together resources and ideas from our partners, is the next step in ensuring the Great Lakes remain an international treasure -- forever open to trade and tourism, and providing a healthy ecosystem for its surrounding communities."
"This is the summer of the Great Lakes - an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that they are protected and restored for our children and grandchildren," said Gov. Doyle. "Most importantly, we recognize that immediate and aggressive action is needed. Hundreds have taken part in this collaboration and we invite the public to help us identify the steps that must be taken now and in coming years."
"We are pleased to host this important event and we're equally proud to show the commitment we have to keeping the Great Lakes pure for future generations," Mayor Bergson said. "I am looking forward to discussing Great Lakes issues with our guests and working together to find solutions to the problems we face."
"Many Great Lakes Tribal Nations have been participating in the collaboration in recognition of their sacred duties and responsibilities to the waters of the Great Lakes," said Tribal Chairman Ettawageshik. "We look forward to hearing from the public about how the final strategy can help to protect the Creator's gifts of pure water and sustainable ecosystems that provide the foundation for the health and welfare of all people in the Great Lakes basin."
More than 1,500 people from government and nongovernmental organizations participated in the six-month effort to draft the strategy. Teams worked on eight critical environmental priorities including aquatic invasive species, habitat conservation and species management, near-shore waters and coastal areas, areas of concern, non-point sources, toxic pollutants, sound information base and representative indicators and sustainability. The reports of these teams form the basis for the draft action plan. They include recommendations for action and focus both on the long-term restoration of the Great Lakes and on the steps that must be taken over the next five years to most effectively achieve results.
The draft strategy still must be endorsed by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration members. Following a 60-day public comment period, including five town-hall style meetings, the collaborations leadership will consider the draft recommendations and public comments as they develop a final strategy for approval by the collaboration membership. The final strategy is due to be released in Chicago in December 2005.
To read recommendations of the strategy teams and for more information about the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration go to www.epa.gov/grtlakes/collaboration. To comment on the draft strategy, go to www.glrc.us
Great Lakes restoration plan good first step but needs funding: regional coalition
DULUTH, MN, July 7, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- A national and regional coalition of restoration-minded groups today warned that the forthcoming plan from President Bush's Great Lakes task force would languish without sufficient funding from the administration, Congress, and state governments.
"This plan is a good first step toward comprehensive restoration of the Great Lakes," said Tom Kiernan, president of the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association and co- chair of the Healing Our Waters(sm) (HOW) Great Lakes Coalition. "But it is only one step, and it will go nowhere unless it leads to state and federal funding, and inspires better government policies that enable Americans to once again safely enjoy our Great Lakes."
The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, a task force appointed in December 2004 by President Bush to develop a blueprint for restoring the Great Lakes, is expected to release its draft plan on Thursday. The plan is the first ever to match comprehensive Great Lakes restoration policies with detailed funding recommendations. The plan is supported by a broad consensus of federal agencies, state and tribal governments, cities, and representatives from business, agriculture, and conservation and environmental organizations.
The plan will make approximately 40 recommendations to address disappearing wetlands, closed beaches, unhealthy fish, and toxic pollution, including:
-- Restoration of 1 million acres of wetlands and 1 million acres of streamside buffers at a cost of $2 billion.
-- $13.7 billion to modernize municipal sewers to stop the overflow of raw sewage into the Great Lakes system.
-- New federal laws to stop new invasive species from entering the lakes
-- Cleanup of 26 huge toxic hotspots over 15 years at a cost of $2.25 billion.
The total 5-year price-tag for the plan is approximately $20 billion, with $13.6 billion from federal sources and the remainder from state and local budgets.
"If it is funded, the Collaboration's draft plan will make critical progress toward our goal of restoring balance to the Great Lakes," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office, and co-chair of the HOW Great Lakes Coalition. "Cleaning up raw sewage and toxic hotspots, and restoring habitat is not cheap, but there's no alternative: Our economy, our environment, and our way of life depend on it."
Legislation pending in Congress calls for $4 billion to $6 billion to restore the Great Lakes, which comprise almost 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water and supply drinking water to more than 40 million U.S. and Canadian residents. The Great Lakes also support local agriculture; a diversity of wildlife, including a world-class fishery; maritime trade; industry; and tourism.
The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration is lead by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The release of their draft plan launches a 60-day public comment period, including a series of public hearings that the EPA will conduct in the Midwest.
EPA clarifies industrial startup, shutdown and malfunction requirements
WASHINGTON, DC, July 1, 2005 -- Through proposed regulatory clarifications, EPA is emphasizing that affected industries must minimize emissions during their facilities' startup and shutdown, or at times when equipment is malfunctioning. The proposed clarifications would amend a rule known as the "General Provisions." The General Provisions require facilities to develop plans that outline how they will operate to minimize emissions during times of startup, shutdown and or malfunction. Providing they minimize emissions at all times, the proposed amendments would allow a facility to alter the plan on a limited basis. Facilities must maintain these plans on site and must report to their state or local permitting authorities that they have complied with the plans. EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 45 days after it is published in the Federal Register. For more information on this action, visit: www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3/fact_sheets/genprov_fs.html.
In earlier EPA updates, see: "EPA Action: Agency releases FY2006 DWSRF allocation split" -- ALSO in this report (June 28, 2005): Enforcement update involves Minnesota metal finisher, Idaho wastewater treatment plant and Iowa dairy farmer; Six brownfields training, research and technical assistance grants announced; International effort under way to reduce radon risk; Dredging schedule altered for Hudson River PCBs, energy park picked for dewatering site; Keene ordered to pay penalty for Clean Water Violations at WWTP; Animal feeding operations air compliance agreement signup period extended; Leading innovators in pollution prevention recognized; EPA awards over $600,000 to upgrade rural Penn. sewer systems; EPA awards $1.3M for water quality projects in Region 8 states...