WaterBriefs: Coalition counters industry demand for blank check to pollute waters

Also in this report: Tyco to split into three companies; U.S. hospital orders first Nephros water filtration system; Arch Chemicals product controls Norovirus?; Taiwanese plants use Zimpro for spent caustic treatment; IndustrialInfo Radio features APEX heat exchangers; PUC filing - Pennichuck takeover not in public interest; Calif. passes $3.2B solar energy program; Simtek expands in Europe AMR market; Sanderson picks Texas poultry site; U.N. pushes factory checks in China toxic spill report...

Jan 13th, 2006

In other news below:
-- Tyco announces intent to separate into three publicly traded companies
-- Nephros nabs first order from major U.S. hospital for water filtration system
-- Arch Chemicals reports studies confirm Vantocil controls Norovirus
-- Five Formosa Petrochemical facilities now rely on Zimpro for spent caustic treatment
-- Harper challenged: Will Tories sell off Canada's water?
-- Fast lube centers play key role in keeping drinking water safe
-- Heat transfer equipment by APEX Group featured on Industrialinfo.com Radio
-- PUC filing shows eminent domain case against Pennichuck not in public interest
-- California approves major new solar energy program
-- Simtek expands AMR market penetration in Europe
-- Connecticut Water Service Inc. appoints new president/CEO
-- Simtek expands AMR market penetration in Europe
-- Sanderson Farms picks site for new poultry complex in Texas
-- U.N. recommends factory checks in report on China toxic spill

Environmental, public health groups counter industry demand for blank check to pollute waters
WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 13, 2006 (U.S. Newswire) -- A coalition of environmental and public health groups today filed a friend-of-the- court brief in what could be the most important Clean Water Act cases ever to be heard by the Supreme Court. In the brief, the groups argue for continued federal protection of streams and wetlands from harmful pollution in the face of industry petitions asking the Court to eliminate decades of Clean Water Act safeguards for these waters.

"These cases pose the question whether the Clean Water Act regulates any discharges into the great majority of this country's tributaries and adjacent wetlands -- involving not just discharges of dredged or fill material, but also discharges of sewage, sediment and toxic chemicals such as cyanide from factories," the groups wrote in the brief.

Earthjustice, representing American Rivers, Environmental Defense, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and Waterkeeper Alliance, filed the amicus brief on the side of the U.S. government in the two consolidated Clean Water Act cases, Rapanos v. U.S. and U.S. v Carabell, that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear February 21. Both cases involve proposed commercial developments in Michigan wetlands adjoining streams that are tributaries of the Great Lakes.

These groups join an unprecedented array of local, state, and federal government officials, hunting and fishing advocacy groups, scientists, and others from across the political and policy spectrums who are all filing friend-of-the-court briefs today urging the Court to maintain the longstanding protections offered by the Clean Water Act. This unparalleled collection of interested parties includes four former Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and nine members of Congress directly involved in the passage of the 1972 Act and its reaffirmation in 1977. Later today the attorneys general of 34 states plus the District of Columbia, led by the states of New York and Michigan, will also file an amicus brief in support of the Clean Water Act. All expressed strong support of the Clean Water Act's core safeguard: the requirement to obtain a permit before discharging pollutants into waters of the United States.

In October, the Supreme Court agreed to hear these two cases challenging the definition of federally protected waters. In both cases, the developers (and industrial polluters and others supporting their position) are arguing that they can pollute -- even destroy -- the waters at issue without a Clean Water Act permit. Indeed, they argue that their right to pollute is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

For three decades the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have rejected such arguments, and have correctly applied the Clean Water Act's safeguards equally not only to large waterbodies where boats can travel, but also to tributaries of such waters and to wetlands adjoining those tributaries. These streams and their adjacent wetlands that would go unprotected under the developers and industries' view of the law are used for fishing, recreation, wildlife habitat, and drinking water supplies, as well as for filtering pollutants and helping prevent floods.

Indeed, protection of tributaries was fundamental federal law long before the 1972 Clean Water Act, dating back at least to the 1899 Refuse Act, which barred discharge "into any navigable water of the United States, or into any tributary of any navigable water from which the same shall float or be washed into such navigable water." The environmental and public health groups noted that the developers' arguments would "dramatically shrink federal water pollution permitting back to a narrow geographic scope not seen since the McKinley Administration."

Founded in 1971 as Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Earthjustice (www.earthjustice.org) is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations and communities.

---

Among other recent headlines:

Tyco announces intent to separate into three publicly traded companies -- PEMBROKE, Bermuda, Jan. 13, 2006 -- Tyco International Ltd. yesterday announced its board of directors has approved a plan to separate the company's current portfolio of diverse businesses into three separate, publicly traded companies -- Tyco Healthcare, one of the world's leading diversified healthcare companies; Tyco Electronics, the world's largest passive electronic components manufacturer, and the combination of Tyco Fire & Security and Engineered Products & Services (TFS/TEPS), a global business with leading positions in residential and commercial security, fire protection and industrial products and services. The third, currently known as Tyco Engineered Products & Services, includes its Tyco Fire & Building Products, Tyco Flow Control, Tyco Infrastructure (under the Earth Tech brand), and Tyco Thermal Controls business units. As for impact on its water and wastewater treatment businesses, Tyco spokesperson Sheri Woodruff said: "I'd say no immediate impact. We'll take the year we have to get lots of additional decisions made and to sort out specifics." The company intends to accomplish the separation through tax-free stock dividends to Tyco shareholders, after which they will own 100% of the equity in three publicly traded companies. Each company will have its own independent Board of Directors and strong corporate governance standards. Tyco expects to complete the transactions during the first quarter of calendar 2007...

Nephros announces first order from major U.S. hospital for proprietary water filtration system -- Nephros enters burgeoning water purification sector with a robust filtration solution; initially targets medical institutions with new Dual Stage Ultrafilters, to remove a broad range of contaminants from hospital water supplies -- NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2006 -- Nephros Inc. announced today its first purchase order from a major hospital in New York City for its new proprietary water filtration device. The hospital has placed an initial order for Nephros' new Dual Stage Ultrafilter, or DSU, a water filtration system that will be used initially in the hospital's patient showers. The Nephros DSU represents a new and complimentary product line to Nephros' existing End Stage Renal Disease therapy business. The unit is designed to remove a broad range of bacteria, viral agents and toxic substances, including salmonella, hepatitis, HIV, Ebola virus, ricin toxin, legionella, fungi and e-coli. Nephros believes the DSU removes these harmful substances more effectively than other water filters currently available...

Arch Chemicals reports studies confirm Vantocil controls Norovirus, a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis -- MANCHESTER, England, Jan. 13, 2006 -- Arch Chemicals Inc. announced today that research has demonstrated its VANTOCIL™ product, which has long been used as an ingredient in human hygiene disinfectant products in Europe, effectively controls Feline calicivirus (FCV), the globally accepted surrogate for Norovirus, which cannot be cultivated in vitro. Norovirus is a major cause of acute gastroenteritis. Although it gained notoriety because of several outbreaks on cruise ships, it is also common in other semi-closed environments such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Research work performed by BluScientific Test Data at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland showed that Vantocil was effective within one minute in controlling Feline calicivirus in the presence of high levels of organic material. These test results are important, since control measures must be effective in the presence of organic material, as the total cleaning of most environments is impractical...

Five Formosa Petrochemical facilities now rely on Zimpro for spent caustic treatment -- ROSEVILLE, MN, Jan. 13, 2006 -- The company has made pollution control and environmental preservation a key initiative since 1992. As part of its first ethylene facility at the Mailiao petrochemical complex, FPCC began using innovative technologies from USFilter Zimpro Products for treating ethylene-derived spent caustic to help meet those initiatives...

Harper challenged: Will Tories sell off Canada's water? -- BURNABY, BC, Canada, Jan. 13, 2006 -- The Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper to reverse his party's position on bulk water exports after a Conservative candidate on Vancouver Island showed enthusiastic support for the idea at an all-candidates meeting. James Lunney, the Conservative candidate for Nanaimo-Alberni, was asked on December 12 what his party would do to legalize the sale of bulk water. He replied that "there are big opportunities selling water," including bulk, and spoke of capturing a percentage of the world water market. Lunney, who accused those who oppose developing a water export market of using "emotional rhetoric," repeated his support for bulk water exports at an all-candidates meeting on Jan. 10...
Also see: "Vancouver Island groups challenge Conservative candidate on bulk water exports"

Fast lube centers play key role in keeping drinking water safe -- DALLAS, Jan. 13, 2006 -- If you change your own motor oil, what do you do with the used oil? If you pour it down the drain or dump it on the ground or in the trash, you may think that it won't do any harm. But it can end up in the ground water. Four pints of waste oil can ruin 1 million gallons of water, which is a year's supply for 50 people, according to the Automotive Oil Change Association, which has joined with the National Ground Water Association in a consumer awareness campaign about the importance of properly disposing of used oil and other waste products...

Specialized design, manufacture of heat transfer equipment by APEX Group, a feature of Industry Today on Industrialinfo.com Radio -- HOUSTON, Jan. 13, 2006 -- Industrialinfo.com will host APEX Group, of Voorburg, The Netherlands, as its special guest on Industrialinfo.com Radio Monday, Jan. 16, 2006, as part of Industry Today, a weekly internet radio broadcast. APEX is a group of companies specializing in design and manufacture of heat transfer equipment utilizing APEX® and CORPEX® proprietary design. APEX offers a full-range of expertise including product development, basic and detailed design, fabrication, testing, delivery and after-sales service. CORPEX plate type, tubular and glass-coated heat exchangers are custom designed units to meet specific application requirements...

PUC filing shows eminent domain case against Pennichuck not in public interest, expensive -- Former PUC chairman says Pennichuck is 'Premier' water utility in New Hampshire; CEO urges city of Nashua to commit to finding a fair resolution -- MERRIMACK, NH, Jan. 13, 2006 -- Pennichuck's expert witnesses echo many of the sentiments expressed by Pennichuck Corp. in testimony filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Jan. 12, including statements from the former chair of the PUC who characterizes Pennichuck as the state's "premier" water utility and says that an eminent domain taking of the company by the city of Nashua is not in the public's best interest. In addition, Pennichuck's primary valuation expert, a nationally-renowned accredited appraiser valued Pennichuck Water Works at $248.4 million, an amount twice what Nashua offered to pay for the company and all of its affiliates two years ago...

California approves major new solar energy program -- SACRAMENTO, Jan. 13, 2006 -- Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-1 to approve the country's largest solar energy program. The initiative will provide $3.2 billion in incentives for solar systems on California rooftops over the next 11 years, enough for 3,000 MW of solar power, or the equivalent of 1 million residential-sized solar systems. The measure is expected to save money at a time of rising uncertainty about future fossil fuel prices, indirectly benefiting alternative energy technologies including co-generation and biomass from wastewater facilities...

Connecticut Water Service Inc. appoints new president/CEO -- CLINTON, CT, Jan. 12, 2006 -- The Board of Directors of Connecticut Water Service, Inc. at its meeting on Jan. 11, unanimously approved appointment of Eric W. Thornburg -- most-recently President of Missouri-American Water -- as president and chief executive officer and a company director. He will assume the posts at Connecticut Water on March 1. Thornburg, 45, succeeds Marshall T. Chiaraluce, 63, who has been president/CEO and board chairman since 1992. Chiaraluce will remain full time chairman until his retirement from the company and board Spring 2007...

Simtek expands AMR market penetration in Europe -- Providing efficient industrial designs for Metrima of Sweden, a leader in measurement systems for utilities; promoting 'green efficiencies' in design -- COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, Jan. 12, 2006 -- Simtek Corp., the inventor, pioneer and a world leading supplier of advanced nonvolatile static random access memory (nvSRAM) products announced today that Metrima has chosen its family of nvSRAMs for its new line of automatic metering systems. Metrima designed in Simtek's STK15C88 for its unlimited reads and writes while providing immediate data protection in case of a power interruption. Simtek nvSRAM operates as a standard high speed SRAM. There are no special programming requirements to move data in and out of the nonvolatile state, making the design simple and very reliable. The new metering systems provide easy access to the collection of electricity, heating, and gas readings at a distance...

Sanderson Farms Inc. announces site for new poultry complex in Texas -- LAUREL, MS, Jan. 12, 2006 -- Sanderson Farms Inc. announced that sites in Waco and McLennan County, Texas, have been selected for construction of a new poultry processing plant and wastewater treatment facility and hatchery. These facilities will comprise a state-of-the-art poultry complex with the capacity to process 1.2 million birds per week for the big bird deboning market. At full capacity, the complex will employ approximately 1,300 people, will require 150 contract growers, and will be equipped to process and sell 8.4 million pounds per week of dressed poultry meat at full production. The company expects to invest about $70 million in the new Texas complex, and anticipates that associated contract growers will invest an additional $115 million in poultry production facilities. It expects to begin construction of the facilities this spring, with initial operation of the new complex scheduled to begin in May of 2007. Sanderson Farms will also expand its feed mill in Easterly, Texas, and use that feed milling capacity to satisfy the live production needs associated with the new complex...

U.N. recommends factory checks in report on China toxic spill -- BEIJING, Jan. 12, 2006 -- A U.N. agency that inspected a river in northeastern China contaminated by a toxic spill in November recommends that China take new measures to prepare local communities for disasters and randomly check factories for safety hazards, the agency said in a statement Thursday. The U.N. Environment Program issued a report based on its Dec. 9-16 visit to the Songhua River at the invitation of the Chinese State Environmental Protection Administration. On Nov. 13, a factory explosion in the city of Jilin sent 100 tons of carcinogenic benzene and nitrobenzene down the river toward Russia, disrupting the water supplies of cities along the way. The report recommends that China adopt the agency's "Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level" guidelines, which are designed to improve coordination among communities hit by environmental disasters and thereby reduce the risks of industrial accidents. The report also recommends that China randomly sample chemical factories to strengthen safety procedures as a way to reduce accident risks and better handle any upsets...

***

In earlier newsbriefs, see: "WaterBriefs: Blancett flow meters receives $1.6 million military contract" -- Also in this report (Jan. 12, 2006): EPA commits $1,380,000 to protect Great Lakes beaches; Spartan Environmental picks Applied Process Equipment to cover Ariz., N.M.; Walkerton Clean Water Centre plans demonstration site; New research details how virus hijack cell signals to cause infection; Hatch Mott MacDonald opens Baltimore regional office; DLEC announces key engineering additions; Schwing America appoints Material Handling Division national sales manager; Earthjustice says Supreme Court nominee's position bodes poorly for CWA; Global clean energy goals encourage fuel cell membrane separation technologies research; Pa. Gov. working to revitalize former industrial, mining sites; Baker receives two awards for DDOT Anacostia waterfront project; Uranium Resources Inc. announces favorable NRC decision for N.M. projects; Shaw joint venture awarded $192 million remediation contract from DOE; Supreme Court to hear landmark Clean Water Act case; Superfund tax will be both costly, ineffective...

###

More in Environmental