WaterBriefs: Ex-EPA official says new oversight, resources needed for nanotechnology

Also in this report: PA Watersheds Data System workshops set; Philly Chamber, Wachovia present award to Aqua America CEO; Los Alamos lab contractor caught in fraud; International panel concludes U.S. environmental performance improves; American States Water rate hike gets OK; MWDSC ratifies first step in CALFED environmental restoration overhaul; Calgon Carbon to consolidate operations; Met-Pro lands order for $900K; Pioneer names sales VP; H2O Innovation membrane solution in Quebec approved...

In other news below:
-- Upcoming workshops to feature info on PA Watersheds Data System
-- Moen launches new water filtration technology at International Builders' Show
-- Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Wachovia present award to Aqua America CEO
-- Los Alamos lab contractor caught in scientific fraud on chromium contamination
-- International panel concludes U.S. has improved environmental performance
-- American States Water Co. announces approval by CPUC of rate increases
-- MWDSC Board ratifies first step to overhaul CALFED environmental restoration efforts
-- Calgon Carbon to consolidate operations
-- Met-Pro Division receives equipment order for $900,000
-- Pioneer appoints vice president of sales
-- H2O Innovation first to win approval for Quebec drinking water membrane solution
-- CH2M Hill named one of '100 Best Companies to Work For'
-- China AsiaStocks.com reports on India, China and water markets

Former EPA official says new oversight, resources needed for nanotechnology
WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 11, 2006 (PRNewswire) -- The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today released a new report by one of the country's foremost authorities on environmental research and policy, which examines the strengths and weaknesses of the current regulatory framework for nanotechnology and calls for a new approach to nanotechnology oversight.

Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology, authored by J. Clarence (Terry) Davies, former assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the George H. W. Bush Administration, argues that better and more aggressive oversight and new resources are needed to manage the potential adverse effects of nanotechnology and promote its continued development.

"It is the right time to come up with the right regulatory framework for nanotechnology -- a framework that encourages initiative and innovation, while also protecting the public and the environment," Davies said. "The ideas presented in this report challenge business and government to work together to nurture and encourage nanotechnology and to anticipate and address its adverse effects."

"Nanotechnology holds tremendous potential -- for improvements in health care, the production of clean water and energy, and continued advances in our IT infrastructure," said William K. Reilly, former EPA Administrator, commenting on the report. "But nanotechnology can only flourish if industry and government are committed to identifying and managing the possible risks to workers, consumers, and the environment. Davies' analysis of the federal regulatory system and recommendations should spark a necessary dialogue -- among business, government and citizen groups -- about how to move forward as nanotechnology develops."

"Reaching consensus on nanotechnology regulation that encourages economic innovation and environmental stewardship will not be easy," Davies acknowledges, "but it is a challenge that we cannot ignore."

Dr. Davies argues that some current regulatory approaches may work for nanotechnology applications. "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority it needs to review and regulate nanotechnology applications in the areas of drugs and biomedical devices," Davies said. "But most of the existing applicable programs are seriously flawed, lack resources, and require new thinking and funding."

The report analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of existing laws that apply to nanotechnology and outlines provisions that a new law might contain.

"Nanotechnology is still in its infancy, presenting a clear opportunity for us to 'get it right' from the start," said David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The Project is an initiative of the Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

"As we continue to learn the value and benefits that nanotechnology presents," noted Rejeski, "it will be important for us to gain the commitment from industry and government to successfully position nanotechnology as the next big economic driver. If nanotechnology is to succeed, there needs to be a dialogue around the proactive approach Davies suggests. Government, business and citizen groups need to exchange views and discuss options to assure the American public that as nanotechnology matures, any adverse health and environmental effects will be identified and prevented or controlled."

"There also needs to be more in-depth public policy analysis that is informed by an understanding of the risks posed by nanotechnologies and how products are moving from laboratories to factories, and into the marketplace. The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is committed to helping facilitate the necessary dialogue around nanotechnology and to providing sound policy choices," according to Rejeski.

The market opportunity for nanotechnology is substantial. The National Science Foundation predicts that the global marketplace for goods and services using nanotechnologies will grow to $1 trillion by 2015. The U.S. invests approximately $3 billion annually in nanotechnology research and development, which accounts for approximately one-third of the total public and private sector investments worldwide.

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.

"Dr. Davies has offered all who are interested in the benefits and risks of nanotechnology good, thoughtful questions to ponder and a series of options to consider," said Jim O'Hara, director of policy initiatives and the Health and Human Services program at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Such options and ensuing policy dialogue are essential to ensure that society manages the potential adverse effects of nanotechnology and reaps its tremendous benefits."

The Center formally was to release the report at a briefing today at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. The briefing will be webcast live at www.wilsoncenter.org. Terry Davies' report, "Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology," is available online at www.nanotechproject.org.

J. Clarence (Terry) Davies is a senior advisor at the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies and senior research fellow at Resources for the Future. He is considered one of the foremost authorities on environmental research and policy. He co-authored the plan that created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and later served as the EPA's assistant administrator for Policy, Planning and Evaluation. As a senior staff member of the Council on Environmental Quality, Davies authored the original version of what became the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in 2005 by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts. It is a partnership dedicated to helping business, governments, and the public anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology.

For Reilly's full statement, click here.

Also see: "Report Examines Safety of Nanotechnology" (AP/Forbes)


Among other recent headlines:

Upcoming workshops to feature info on PA Watersheds Data System -- HARRISBURG, PA, Jan. 11, 2006 -- The Pennsylvania Organization of Watershed and Rivers (POWR) reports that more than 100 individuals from watershed groups, consulting firms and government agencies have registered information with the PA Watersheds Data System in its first month. So far, data from 16 groups are in the system for a total of nearly 108,000 pieces of data. The PA Watersheds Data System also contains several quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) plans, with intentions to have all groups' QA/QC plans included soon. Three upcoming workshops -- Jan. 28, Feb. 7 and Feb. 16 -- will be held for anyone interested in learning how to use the PA Watersheds Data System...
Also see:
-- "Philadelphia Urban Sustainability Forum to explore important issues facing city"
-- "Water Trading: Can we make it work to improve the environment and reduce costs?"
-- "Nurturing the lands and water that nourish our region" (by Rebecca Hanmer, Executive Director, EPA's Chesapeake Bay Office from the January 2006 issue of the Bay Journal)

Moen launches new water filtration technology at International Builders' Show -- ORLANDO, FL, Jan. 11, 2006 -- Consumers will soon be looking at their kitchen faucets in a new way, thanks to the launch of Moen Incorporated's integrated filtration system, featuring ChoiceFlo™. The new system was launched today at the International Builders' Show in Orlando. With it, consumers can get both filtered and ordinary tap water from their kitchen faucets - no unsightly attachments required. Cutting-edge technology has been integrated into Moen's popular -- and affordable -- Chateau® kitchen faucet, which, at first glance, looks and operates like a traditional faucet...

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Wachovia present 2005 William Penn Award to Aqua America chairman and CEO -- PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 10, 2006 -- The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has selected Nicholas DeBenedictis, Chairman & CEO, Aqua America, Inc. to receive the 2005 William Penn Award presented by Wachovia. The William Penn Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a business person in the Greater Philadelphia business community. Recipients are chosen for their outstanding contributions toward the betterment of the region, their professional accomplishments, and their commitment to charity as well as to the community. While building Aqua America to be recognized as the nation's largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water company, DeBenedictis has become equally prominent in political and civic circles for his efforts to make Greater Philadelphia a better place in which to live and conduct business. He's Chairman of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau's (PCVB) Board of Directors and chaired Philadelphia Mayor John Street's 21st Century Review Forum Regional Cooperation Committee...

Los Alamos lab contractor caught in scientific fraud: Work on chromium contamination conflicts with ties to polluters -- OAKLAND, CA, Jan. 10, 2006 -- The consulting firm in charge of investigating how toxic chromium from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) contaminated a regional aquifer fraudulently planted an article in a scientific journal reversing the findings of an earlier study linking the chemical to cancer, according to documents obtained by Environmental Working Group (EWG). The consultants are ChemRisk, based in San Francisco, who have a multimillion-dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Energy and Centers for Disease Control to examine all chemical and radioactive releases from the lab (LANL), which develops nuclear weapons and is managed by the University of California and Bechtel Corp. ChemRisk's job is to find and catalog historical documents on chemical and radioactive leaks and discharges, but also to prioritize the health risks of the chemicals detected...

International panel concludes U.S. has improved environmental performance -- WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 10, 2006 -- The United States has significantly improved its environmental performance in the last eight years even as its economy and population have grown substantially, according to a report from the Environmental Performance Review Program of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD). The report documents that from 1996-2005, the United States reduced pollution during a period when there was a 10% increase in the size of the U.S. population and a 30% increase in the nation's gross domestic product. OECD's Environmental Performance Reviews program assists member countries in improving their environmental management performance by assessing progress, promoting a policy dialogue among member countries, and stimulating greater accountability from governments towards public opinion. This is the second review of the United States, with the first review completed in 1996...
Also see:
-- "EPA issues wastewater injection permit to Hilmar Cheese"
-- "EPA orders Westport Oil & Gas to restore Lincoln County, Wyo., wetlands"
-- "Colorado Mountain Cleaners receives environmental award from EPA's regional administrator"

American States Water Co. announces approval by CPUC of rate increases -- SAN DIMAS, CA, Jan. 10, 2006 -- American States Water Company announced that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved rate increases for Region II and Region I customer service areas of its Golden State Water Company (GSWC) unit effective Jan. 1. The authorized rate increases will provide GSWC additional annual revenues of approximately $5,168,500 for Region II and $537,300 for Region I. The increase for Region II represents the third year of a three-year General Rate Case increase approved by the CPUC in 2004. The increase in Region I is the second year of a three-year rate increase approved by the CPUC in 2005...

Metropolitan Board ratifies initial step of plan to overhaul CALFED environmental restoration efforts -- Proposed agreement would support key water supply, quality actions in Bay-Delta -- LOS ANGELES, Jan. 10, 2006 -- The first step toward a sweeping overhaul of environmental restoration efforts in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that would provide up to $60 million for various projects and studies over the next two years was ratified today by Metropolitan Water District's Board of Directors. A key element of a proposed agreement is the development of voluntary habitat conservation plans for the recovery of listed and endangered species in the Bay-Delta watershed that would help provide regulatory assurances for water delivery projects over the next 40 years. The largest estuary on the West Coast, the Bay-Delta is an important drinking water source for Metropolitan and 18 million Southern Californians. Metropolitan's board endorsed the principles of an agreement that refocuses the environmental restoration efforts under CALFED, the state and federal effort charged with developing and implementing a long-term comprehensive plan to restore the Bay-Delta's ecological health and improve water reliability and quality...
Also see: "Metropolitan Board seats new delegation from city of Los Angeles"

Calgon Carbon announces consolidation of operations -- PITTSBURGH, Jan. 10, 2006 -- Calgon Carbon Corp. announced the relocation of its industrial reactivation operation and the processing of certain specialty activated carbons from its Columbus, Ohio facility to its Big Sandy plant in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. The company also announced the temporary idling of its reactivation facility in Blue Lake, California. The changes are being implemented to reduce operating costs. The Columbus facility will continue to provide custom reactivation services and certain coconut-based activated carbon products. Calgon Carbon is conducting an impairment evaluation of the Blue Lake facility, which can be brought on line as future demand warrants...

Met-Pro Corp.'s Systems Division receives equipment order totaling approximately $900,000 -- HARLEYSVILLE, PA, Jan. 10, 2006 -- Raymond J. De Hont, chairman and CEO of Met-Pro Corp., announced that the company's Systems Division, in Kulpsville, Pa., has received an order to supply a thermal oxidizer and post-acid scrubber to be installed in a chemical manufacturing plant in the southeastern United States. The total value of this order is approximately $900,000. The equipment is expected to ship in the first half of the Company's next fiscal year. The custom-designed thermal oxidizer will achieve high destruction and removal efficiencies of halogenated volatile organic compounds. Proprietary Systems Division software will be utilized for the oxidizer's control system. The post-acid scrubber subsystem will be supplied by Met-Pro's Duall Division in Owosso, Michigan. Met-Pro will design, manufacture and start up the system...

Pioneer announces appointment of vice president of sales -- HOUSTON, Jan. 10, 2006 -- Pioneer Companies Inc. announced that Charlie Whitlock has joined Pioneer as vice president of sales reporting to Ron Ciora, vice president of sales and marketing, and will be responsible for Pioneer's field sales team. He comes from GE Infrastructure Water & Process Technologies, where he served as vice president of North American industrial sales. Most of his career has been with Betz Dearborn, which was acquired by GE in 2002. Whitlock, 54, is a native of Oklahoma and graduated with a biology and chemistry degree from Texas A&M. He has been involved in chemical sales his entire career. He has relocated to Pioneer's corporate office in Houston, Texas...

H2O Innovation is the first to obtain official governmental approval for drinking water membrane solution in Quebec -- QUEBEC, Canada, Jan. 10, 2006 -- The ministries of Developpement durable de l'Environnement des Parcs (MDDEP) and of Affaires municipales et des Regions (MAMR) gave the ultimate classification to H2O Innovation Inc. via their joint committee for the assessment of new technologies. With its membrane filtration "NanH2OSoft" classified "Eprouvee," H2O becomes the first and only company holding a membrane filtration solution that can be sold without limitation in the province of Quebec. The mandate of the committee is to analyze proposed technologies for drinking water treatment and pronounce on their level of development. Before obtaining this classification, a solution must have been validated during at least 12 months on a full scale operation, have been followed by a third independent party and have demonstrated that its performance attains Quebec water regulations (Reglement sur la qualite de l'eau potable-RQEP)...

CH2M Hill named one of '100 Best Companies to Work For' -- DENVER, Jan. 9, 2006 -- CH2M Hill, a global full-service engineering, construction, and operations firm, has been named one of America's top employers by Fortune magazine. This is the second time in the past three years that the firm has appeared on this annual list.
Fortune's annual ranking of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" is determined through an extensive nomination and application process. Two-thirds of the score is based on how randomly selected employees responds to the Great Places to Work Trust Index, a survey measuring the quality of the workplace culture...
Also see: "Peterson's Passion: CH2M HILL Makes Billion-Dollar Strides Under Eye of a Modest Leader"

China-AsiaStocks.com reports on India, China: Depletion of natural resources, energy demands show increasing need for renewables, water filtration -- Jan. 5, 2006 -- China-AsiaStocks.com ( CAS ), an investor and industry news portal for the China-Asia sector, provides an exclusive overview entitled "Insights into China and India's Water and Renewable Energy Market." China and India's aggressive economic growth is creating opportunities for foreign investors involved in the water and renewable energy sectors. Perspectives into the efforts of companies that are capitalizing on these markets are revealed by Shell Solar, General Electric, Siemens, solar photovolatics firm XsunX, and water technology company Hendrx Corp. Industry experts, Debra Lew, Senior Project Leader at National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Steve Hoffmann, President of WaterTech Capital, provide viewpoints on current and future opportunities in these developing markets...


In earlier newsbriefs, see: "WaterBriefs: HDR acquires companies in Calif., Texas" -- Also in this report (Jan. 10, 2006): Donohue & Associates to acquire tradition-rich Chicago engineering firm; FilmTec Corp. expansion on target for production in 2006; Grundfos agrees to buy American pump manufacturer; Pace Analytical expands DWTU testing lab; Vortex Corp. names new CEO; Fluid Dynamics hires Eastern sales manager; Ga. Tech to host course on industrial stormwater runoff; Latin American infrastructure project list finalized for March event in New Orleans...


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