WASHINGTON, DC — EPA announced its final decision under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to prohibit construction of the proposed Yazoo Pumps Project in the Mississippi Delta.

EPA decision protects Mississippi wetlands

WASHINGTON, DC — EPA announced its final decision under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to prohibit construction of the proposed Yazoo Pumps Project in the Mississippi Delta. EPA is taking this action following an extensive evaluation of the environmental impacts the project poses to tens of thousands of acres of wetlands and other water resources.

“Together with our state and federal partners we can improve flood protection and ensure environmental protection,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. “We’re helping to identify a better project that reduces flooding, protects the environment and saves taxpayer dollars.”

EPA continues to support the goal of providing improved flood protection for the residents of the Mississippi Delta while safeguarding the area’s valuable natural resources. The cost of the Yazoo Pumps Project would be more than $220 million for construction, with an annual operational cost of more than $2 million.

Enviro groups challenge coal company’s attempt to degrade stream

PITTSBURGH, PA — Mountain Watershed Association (MWA), Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ) and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) submitted a report to the Pennsylvania DEP challenging an attempt by Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company to have a stream in Greene County redesignated from ‘High Quality - Warm Water Fishes’ to ‘Warm Water Fishes,’ a status that permits more pollution to the stream.

In August, Consol submitted a petition for rulemaking to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) asking to downgrade Grinnage Run basin. DEP has been charged with studying the issue and reporting back to the EQB with its recommendation.

The report filed by the environmental groups maintains that it would be contrary to both Pennsylvania and federal law to redesignate Grinnage Run, and is meant to inform DEP’s study and the EQB’s decision making.

Altamaha Riverkeeper receives grant for outreach, education

DARIEN, GA — The Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK) has received a $48,000 matching grant from the Malcolm Fraser Foundation. ARK members from all over the state gave generously from June to August 2008 to support ARK’s work, raising an initial $48,000. ARK is using the funding for its fieldwork, advocacy, outreach, and education.

“We are happy to support ARK’s outstanding work in the watershed and applaud their efforts,” said Jane Fraser, president of the Malcolm Fraser Foundation. “Unbridled development in low lying areas contributes to the many water problems we are seeing in Georgia; and the Altamaha Riverkeeper’s work stands out as a shining example of what needs to be done statewide.”

Widget connects to EPA’s ‘Surf Your Watershed’ database

WASHINGTON, DC — Anyone with a website can now post the “Find Your Watershed” widget, which supports watershed education and outreach and drives traffic to EPA’s Surf Your Watershed database. The database helps citizens find their watershed, learn about its health, and connects them with organizations at work in their watershed. To access the widget, visit

EPA releases 2007 toxics release data

WASHINGTON, DC — To better inform communities about releases of toxic chemicals from industrial facilities in their area, EPA has announced the availability of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) facility-level data for 2007. This is the 5th annual Electronic Facility Data Release (e-FDR) and displays the TRI data exactly as received by EPA from the facilities. It should be noted that this “raw” data is not grouped in any way or as easily searchable as the traditional Public Data Release (PDR), which also includes more quality checks, national trends and analysis. EPA will still publish the complete 2007 PDR in early 2009.

CH2M Hill co-founder passes away

DENVER, CO — CH2M Hill recently announced the passing of its co-founder Jim Howland. Howland, known for his consensus style of management and dedication to employees and community, died Aug. 28 at his home in Corvallis, Oregon. He was 92.

Howland served as the general manager of the engineering firm Cornell, Howland, Hayes, and Merryfield almost since its inception in 1946. After the firm incorporated in 1966, Howland became president, a position he held through 1974.

The Oregon native helped calibrate the firm’s moral compass and has long been described as the soul of CH2M Hill. Howland was chairman of the board from 1974 to 1977.

“Jim Howland is one of those remarkable people who has enriched so many lives — in so many ways — that it becomes nearly impossible to keep track of all the good things he’s done,” said CH2M Hill Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ralph R. Peterson.

Triton achieves carbon neutral certification

BRIGHTON, MI — Triton Stormwater Solutions, a manufacturer of eco-friendly stormwater chambers, has been approved as a carbon neutral product through third-party certification.

The cradle-to-consumer life cycle study showed that facilities using the system experienced a 15 to 30% reduction in energy/greenhouse gas year after year. The carbon neutral certification gives Triton products an additional two LEED points, bringing the potential points for using a Triton product up to 18 points.

“At Triton we want to be environmental leaders and take stormwater production to a whole new level,” explained Joe Miskovich, president of Triton Stormwater Solutions.

Triton is now registered as a federally approved green carbon neutral product and approved for use in all government owned or leased buildings and properties.

EPA re-issues permit for construction site stormwater

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. EPA is re-issuing a stormwater Construction General Permit (CGP), which expired July 1, 2008, for a two-year time period. The permit will apply only where EPA is the permitting authority.

The CGP regulates the discharge of stormwater from construction sites that disturb one acre or more of land, and from smaller sites that are part of a larger, common plan of development. The permit requires operators of the construction sites to use stormwater controls and develop stormwater pollution prevention plans to minimize the discharge of sediment and other pollutants associated with construction sites in stormwater runoff.

Under the re-issued permit, new dischargers include new construction sites that start construction on or after the effective date of this permit and those that have already started construction, but do not have coverage under the 2003 CGP. Sites that have coverage under the 2003 CGP must continue to comply with the provisions of that permit and do not need to apply for coverage under this new permit.

EPA plans to reissue a new and improved five-year CGP no later than July 2010.

Levee construction plan wins federal approval

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that the president has agreed to grant the state the flexibility to pay the required match for levee construction over a 30-year period.

“This announcement marks a significant step in the recovery of this region and our state,” said Governor Jindal. “Not only do our citizens rightly deserve the flood protection they were promised, but just as importantly, they deserve this protection in a way that will not financially undermine our state budget. This flexibility will relieve us of a heavy financial burden that would have been very difficult to meet.”

New alliance to focus on changing the water paradigm

WASHINGTON, DC — A new non-profit organization called the Clean Water America Alliance (CWAA) envisions a world where water is viewed, managed, and valued as one resource. It’s goal is to eradicate the ‘silo thinking’ that it says has kept clean water, drinking water, stormwater, and water reuse interests segregated.

CWAA will explore the complex issue of water sustainability and plan for the future by improving public awareness that advances holistic, watershed-based approaches to water quality and quantity challenges. A broad cross-section of interests have come together through the Alliance to begin an important dialogue on the future with a focus on exploring and analyzing issues of critical importance to the nation’s ability to provide clean and safe waters to future generations, offering information and education to citizens and policy-makers on key issues, and recognizing organizations and individuals for innovation and outstanding achievements in the water quality and quantity arena.

Kansas City gets $1.5M for water infrastructure, green innovations

KANSAS CITY, MO — EPA has awarded $1,474,500 to the Kansas City, MO, Water Services Department to replace or relocate drinking water mains, sanitary sewers and stormwater sewers as part of the Beacon Hill Redevelopment Project. The project will include green stormwater infrastructure, such as an underground detention basin, bio-retention cells and rain gardens.

EPA Region 7 Administrator John Askew said, “These green innovations will help to ensure our water resources and water infrastructure systems are clean, safe and sustainable for our families, children and grandchildren. Reusing water such as stormwater, whether through bio-retention cells or rain gardens, is an effective strategy.”

This grant complements EPA’s broader sustainability initiative and will help to reduce stormwater before it reaches the city’s stormwater system. The project aims to maximize stormwater infiltration, reduce pollutants from stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and promote plant diversity.

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