EPA water news

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a weekly compilation of its water news briefs.

April 10, 2003 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a weekly compilation of its water news briefs.

April is Stormwater Month!

Spring is a great time to focus on stormwater pollution (April showers...). This year it is even more appropriate as Phase II of the NPDES stormwater regulations comes into effect. EPA's Office of Water has just released a new CD-based outreach kit to help communities across the country implement these new requirements. The materials will help communities reach out to a wide variety of audiences, including homeowners, construction site operators, and businesses. Local officials can use the CD to customize these materials with their agency's name, address, and phone number so citizens will know where to turn for more information.

View the Stormwater Month collection of materials at http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater month.
You can also order the Stormwater Month CD by contacting Nikos Singelis at npdesbox-request@epa.gov.

It includes all the files needed to customize these publications, as well as a complete reference library for the NPDES stormwater program, including regulations, guidance documents, and more. Finally, hard copies of individual products may be requested in limited quantities.

Here's a brief description of some of the Stormwater Month Materials:

1. New! After the Storm: A Citizen's Guide to Understanding Stormwater - This all-new brochure provides a broad overview of stormwater and the major sources of pollution, including runoff from residential and commercial properties, farms, construction sites, forestry operations and others. It also lists many simple steps that citizens and business can take to prevent stormwater pollution.

2. New! Make Your Home the Solution to Stormwater Pollution - Created for homeowners, this attractive brochure outlines a variety of simple things that can be done around the home to prevent stormwater pollution.

3. New! Stormwater and the Construction Industry Poster - This informative poster illustrates proper installation of common sediment and erosion control practices. The reverse side provides details on developing and implementing a stormwater pollution prevention plan and obtaining permit coverage.

4. New Educational Material! Kid's Stormwater Stickers - Kids love stickers! Two pages of water-oriented stickers that children will enjoy and learn from.

5. New! Water-Efficient Landscaping - This beautiful booklet outlines water-efficient, low-impact landscaping. These ideas will help us save water and prevent stormwater pollution. 6.New! Door Hanger: "Stormwater Pollution Found In Your Area!" This simple door hanger provides a friendly reminder to keep trash, chemicals, and other pollutants out of storm drains. For use by stormwater inspectors and other local officials, especially in conjunction with illicit discharge elimination programs.

7. New! Cleaning Up Polluted Runoff with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund - Financing stormwater projects is always an issue! This fact sheet provides an overview of funding runoff-related projects with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and contains a number of useful and creative examples.

Ocean Commission Discusses Policy Options at Public Meeting

The Ocean Commission held a public meeting at George Washington University on April 2nd and 3rd to discuss policy options pertaining to regional governance and watershed issues. Recommendations were made with regard to several topic areas including vessel pollution, invasive species, marine debris and nonpoint source pollution.

A full summary of the meeting will soon be available at http://oceancommission.gov/.

This was the fifteenth public meeting held by the Commission and the third dedicated to discussion of policy options. The conclusion of the meeting marked the end of the Commission's deliberative phase. They will now proceed with developing their recommendations into a National Oceans Report for submittal to Congress and the President.

The report is scheduled for completion by the end of the summer. A draft version of the report will be published in the Federal Register and followed by an opportunity for public comment. For more information, please contact Jennifer Linn at 202-566-1258 or linn.jennifer@epa.gov.

Updated Catalog of Federal Funding for Watershed Protection Now Online

EPA has recently updated the Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection. This Catalog is now online. The Web site provides information for watershed practitioners and others on 84 Federal funding sources that may be available to help fund various watershed-related projects.

The Web site updates EPA's Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection (EPA 841-B-99-003) which was previously published in 1999. This Web site was developed by an Office of Water Finance Work Group with representatives from staff in the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, Office of Wastewater Management, and Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.

The Web site will be updated regularly. We also prepared a one-page flyer to publicize this new Web site which is available from NSCEP at 800-490-9198 (please ask for the flyer called "Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection," EPA 841-F-03-001). To view the Web site, visit http://www.epa.gov/watershedfunding.

EPA Issues Voluntary Guidelines to Help Cities and Counties Improve Management of Septic Systems

EPA Assistant Administrator G. Tracy Mehan, III, has announced the release by the Office of Water of a new document titled "Voluntary Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems."

These new guidelines are designed to help local governments strengthen their management of septic (onsite) systems and other small, privately-owned wastewater treatment systems.

These guidelines and an accompanying Management Handbook, which is now available for public comment, provide local governments with a risk-based model for evaluating local conditions and then a five-tier system developing an appropriate management program to address local conditions.

The "Voluntary Guidelines..." document (EPA 832-B-03-001) is available for download at http://www.epa.gov/owm/onsite. You may also order a free copy by calling 1-800-490-9198. The public is also invited to review and comment on the companion "Handbook for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems."

The public comment period closes on May 27, 2003. Information on how to provide comments is available on the website listed above. For more information, please contact Joyce Hudson at 202-564-0657 or Steve Hogye 202-564-0631.

EPA To Expand and Strengthen Sewage Sludge Research, Programs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a strategy for expanding and strengthening sewage sludge (biosolids) research and programs. Under the strategy, which responds to recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council, EPA will undertake the following activities:

*update the science underlying the rule by conducting research in priority areas;

*strengthen the sewage sludge program by incorporating results of research, both within and outside EPA; and

*continue ongoing efforts to increase partnerships and communication with the public and other stakeholders. "This announcement is EPA's effort to address the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences as well as citizen concerns while maintaining the beneficial uses of biosolids," said G. Tracy Mehan, III, Assistant Administrator for Water.

A Federal Register notice seeking public comment is expected to be published this week. A pre-publication copy of the notice is posted online at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/biosolids/.

Two years ago, EPA commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to independently review the scientific basis of the regulations governing the land application of sewage sludge. The 18-month study, called "Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices," was published in July 2002.

The National Academy of Sciences concluded that while there is no documented scientific evidence that sewage sludge regulations have failed to protect public health, there is persistent uncertainty on possible adverse health effects.

EPA is also announcing preliminary results of its review of existing sewage sludge regulations as required by the Clean Water Act, which is required every two years.

The public is invited to comment in the next 90 days. Following this public comment, the agency will publish specific pollutants for possible regulation in early 2004.

These news items were provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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