Water news from EPA

EPA has released several news items of interest to the water industry, including EPA and FDA work on mercury, newly-announced urban river restoration sites, and news on ballast water issues.

Aug. 6, 2003 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released several news items of interest to the water industry, including EPA and FDA work on mercury, newly-announced urban river restoration sites, and news on ballast water issues.

EPA and FDA working together on mercury

EPA and the Food and Drug Administration are working together to develop a joint fish consumption advisory about the risks of methyl mercury in commercial and recreational fish for women of childbearing age and young children. During the last week in July, the two agencies invited selected participants from consumer groups, industry, the medical profession, states and tribes to a series of meetings at the FDA's office in College Park, Maryland, to get stakeholder views on the issues.

For recent news about fish advisories, visit the Internet at http://map1.epa.gov/html/newsletter.htm or contact Jeffrey Bigler by e-mail (Bigler.Jeff@epa.gov).

EPA to honor Orange County Sanitation District

The Orange County Sanitation District in Fountain Valley, California will be recognized at a ceremony on Aug. 7 as the first agency to successfully complete an independent third party audit of its environmental management system (EMS) under the National Biosolids Partnership. Representatives from U.S. EPA, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) are expected to attend the ceremony.

The National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) is voluntary partnership between EPA, WEF, and AMSA. EPA serves in an advisory capacity. The NBP has developed a voluntary EMS program that focuses on improving environmental performance beyond legal requirements, public involvement, and ongoing communication with the community. Fifty-one agencies are currently involved in the program, which requires each agency to pass a rigorous third party audit, the results of which are publicly available.

According to G. Tracy Mehan III, EPA's Assistant Administrator, Orange County's "important accomplishment will hopefully pave the way for even greater adoption of EMSs by water and wastewater utilities." For more information contact Mike Moore at 714-962-2411.

Workshop for wastewater and drinking water utility managers

EPA is partnering with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Parson's Asset Management Center to hold a "hands-on" workshop on asset management for wastewater and drinking water utility managers on Sept. 9-10, 2003 in St. Louis, Missouri. Please note: this workshop is primarily for officials in Missouri and Illinois -- those from other states may sign up as space is available.

Asset management has been identified as an important tool to address the significant challenges associated with the funding gap for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. For more information on this workshop, please visit http://www.epa.gov/owm/featinfo. Information on EPA's Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis can also be found at this link.

August is Water Conservation Month

This month is Water Conservation Month! For water conservation outreach materials, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/water/yearofcleanwater/month.html#aug

The following educational materials are available for you to order.

Cases in Water Conservation - Booklet
Using Water Efficiently-Ideas for Residence (Spanish Version also)
Using Water Efficiently-Ideas for Communities (Spanish Version also)
Using Water Efficiently-Ideas for Industry (Spanish Version also)
Using Water Efficiently-Ideas for Business (Spanish Version also)
Irrigation Booklet Using Water Wisely in the Home - Brochure
Water Efficient Landscaping booklet

Deputy Assistant Administrator announces Urban River restoration sites

On July 30, Ben Grumbles, Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Water, announced the selection of four pilot projects under Round 2 of the joint EPA-Corps of Engineers' Urban Rivers Restoration Initiative.

The announcement was made at the Brownfields Showcase Community Research Summit in Washington, D.C.

Joining Grumbles were Fred Caver, Deputy Director of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Steve Luftig, EPA's Senior Advisor for Reuse Programs, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. The four pilot projects are the Passaic River in New Jersey, the Gowanus Canal in New York City, Fourche Creek in Little Rock, Arkansas, and City Creek in Salt Lake City, Utah. The projects were selected through a competitive process and are intended to focus on water quality improvement, cleanup of contaminated sediments, and human and animal habitat restoration.

EPA and the Corps of Engineers selected the first round of pilot projects in April 2003: The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. and Maryland; the Elizabeth River in Virginia; the Blackstone-Woonasquatucket Rivers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; and the Tres Rios River in Arizona. For more information on the Urban Rivers Restoration Initiative, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/oswer/landrevitalization/urbanrivers.

White Water to Blue Water conference-next Spring

The Office of International Affairs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting your participation in the White Water to Blue Water Initiative conference to be held March 21-27, 2004, at the Hyatt Hotel in Miami.

You don't want to miss this informative and exciting conference next year.

Put this date on your calendars today. For more information visit http://www.international.noaa.gov/ww2bw/ or contact Sylvonia Poole at (202) 238-1249.

Harrigan Farrelly speaks at the 94th Annual NAACP Conference in Miami

Joan Harrigan Farrelly from the Office of Water was invited to speak about drinking water issues at the NAACP's 94th Annual Conference on July 16 in Miami. She was one of several panelists participating in a high energy, youth sponsored workshop on Public Health and Environmental Justice. The theme for the convention was "Having Our Say."

More than 8,000 people attended, representing over 2,200 branches and youth units. Source to Tap posters, booklets and other EPA Drinking Water materials were distributed at the conference. For more information, please contact Joan Harrigan Farrelly at 202-564-3867.

Mandatory ballast water management rule proposed

To address the unintentional introduction of nonindigenous species (NIS) into U.S. waters via discharges of vessel ballast water, the U.S. Coast Guard published, for public comment, a proposed rule for a Mandatory Ballast Water Management Program on July 30, 2003 (68 FR 44691). This program will require ballast water management practices for all vessels equipped with ballast tanks bound for ports or places within the U.S.

The EPA supports this proposed rulemaking, and while this rule is not the complete solution to the problem, it is a positive step forward in trying to address the introduction of NIS into the U.S. EPA assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in Development of the Environmental Assessment for this proposed rulemaking and will continue to work with the Coast Guard in efforts to develop specific standards for ballast water discharges. EPA encourages public comment on this proposed rulemaking which is due by October 28, 2003. You can view the regulation at:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket. access.gpo.gov/2003/pdf/03-19373.pdf

To read the federal register notice visit http://frwebgate1.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate.cgi?WAISdocID=00337816614+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve

For more information, contact Katherine Bruce at 202-566-1280.

International treaties to address vessel pollution

The U.S. Coast Guard led the U.S. delegation in the 49th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which met July 14-18, in London, UK. This Committee is responsible for developing and administering international treaties regarding the prevention of pollution from ships.

Significant issues addressed by the Committee at this session included:

1) negotiation of a draft Global Ballast Water Treaty;

2) amendments to Annex II of MARPOL concerning bulk chemical cargoes;

3) an Assembly Resolution regarding greenhouse gas emissions from ships and development of an environmental indexing system to measure the CO2 efficiency of a given vessel using design and operational parameters;

4) European proposals to accelerate the phase-out of single hull tankers and designation of the North East Atlantic as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area;

5) finalization of guidelines supporting the Global Antifouling Treaty; and

6) further development of IMO guidelines concerning ship scrapping.

Additional information regarding this meeting is available at: http://www.imo.org. For more information, contact Bryan Wood-Thomas at 202-564-6476.

2003 Five Star Restoration Grant program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Wetlands Division and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries' Community-based Restoration Program provides funding on the Five Star Restoration Program through a partnership with The National Association of Counties, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Wildlife Habitat Council.

The Five Star Restoration Program supports community-based wetland, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration projects that build diverse partnerships and foster local natural resource stewardship through education, outreach, and training activities.

For 2003, the Five Star Restoration Program awarded nearly $600,000 to 56 community-led conservation projects throughout the country. Since 1998, over 300 Five Star projects have been funded; EPA's goal is to fund 500 projects by 2005. The press release can be viewed at:

http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/5star/03newsrel.html. A list of projects receiving grants this year can be viewed at: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/5star/03grants.html . For more information, contact Concepcion Cahanap, 202-566-1382.

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