EPA Action: Agency to require unregulated contaminants monitoring

Also in this report: L.A. to inject treated sewage sludge under Terminal Island; Agency releases Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan; EPA web libraries gain broader access; Nominees sought for Water Quality Trading Awards; Survey to assess nation's lakes; Sediment sampling in Detroit River planned; Fla.'s Northwest Water Reclamation Facility, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base recognized; Drinking water in Ariz.'s Bullhead City, Flowing Wells Irrigation District honored...

In other agency news below:
-- L.A. granted permit to inject treated sewage sludge under Terminal Island
-- Agency releases Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan
-- Agency updating its libraries for broader access
-- Nominees sought for Water Quality Trading Awards
-- Agency to examine condition of nation's lakes
-- EPA to begin sediment sampling in Detroit River
-- Fla.'s Northwest Water Reclamation Facility, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base recognized
-- Drinking water in Ariz.'s Bullhead City, Flowing Wells Irrigation District honored

EPA to require monitoring for unregulated contaminants -- WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 26, 2006 -- Approximately 4,000 public water systems will monitor drinking water for up to 25 unregulated chemicals to inform EPA about the frequency and levels at which these contaminants are found in drinking water systems across the United States, reported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 21. The information will help determine whether regulations are needed to protect public health. This is the second scheduled review under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 2).

EPA currently has regulations for more than 90 contaminants. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to identify up to 30 contaminants for monitoring every five years. The first cycle, UCMR 1, was published in 1999 and covered 25 chemicals and one microorganism. The new rule requires systems to monitor for contaminants that are not regulated under existing law.

EPA selected the contaminants that will be monitored through a process that included a review of:
* EPA's Contaminant Candidate List, which contains priority contaminants that are researched to make decisions about whether regulations are needed. The contaminants on the list are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems. However, they are unregulated by existing national drinking water regulations.
* Additional contaminants of concern based on current research about occurrence and various health-risk factors.

Costs for the five-year UCMR 2 will total about $44.3 million. EPA will conduct and pay for the monitoring for those water systems serving 10,000 people or fewer at a cost of $9 million.

For more information about the UCMR 2 rule, click here or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

Also see:
-- "EPA studies unregulated contaminants" (WaterWorld)
-- "EPA proposes incentives for clean water permit fees"

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Among other recent agency news:

Agency approves L.A. experimental permit to inject treated sewage sludge under Terminal Island -- LOS ANGELES, Dec. 20, 2006 -- Following a 40-day public comment period, the EPA recently approved the city of Los Angeles' permit to inject treated sewage sludge nearly a mile below the ground beneath its Terminal Island Treatment Plant in San Pedro, CA. The permit allows the city, over a five-year period, to drill three wells -- one injection and two to monitor the effectiveness of the project - pumping up to 400 tons of treated sewage sludge per day to evaluate potential benefits of using fracture injection technology. The potential benefits of this experiment include safety of disposal, generating significant quantities of methane for future energy use and permanent carbon dioxide sequestration. This project will not affect drinking water supplies. Work is expected to begin early in 2007. This experimental permit allows the city of Los Angeles to pursue an alternative to its current practice of applying its treatment plant treated sewage sludge to agricultural fields in Kern County. About 500 tons of treated sewage sludge is trucked daily to its farm in Kern County where the material is applied as fertilizer for non-food crops...

Agency sharpens focus on ecological benefits of regulations -- WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 19, 2006 -- What benefits do people actually derive from clean air, water and land? EPA has taken a major step towards answering this question with the release today of its Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan (EBASP). EPA has traditionally been able to quantify human health benefits more easily than total ecological benefits when making regulatory decisions. The EBASP will help fill this gap by enabling the agency to more comprehensively address the full economic value of environmental protection. The EBASP will be a vital tool for agency decision-makers, supplementing current practices for identifying and quantifying the ecological benefits of the agency's policies and actions. The plan was a collaborative effort among EPA's Offices of Research and Development; Policy, Economics and Innovation; Water; Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances; Air and Radiation; and Solid Waste and Emergency Response...
Also see: "Final rule on Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Program released"

Agency updating its libraries for broader access -- WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 11, 2006 -- The EPA is providing broader access to a larger audience by making agency library materials available through its public website. Retrieving materials will be more efficient and easier to locate by using EPA's online collection and reference services. To date, more than 22,000 of 51,000 EPA documents are available through the agency's public Website and all EPA unique documents will be online within two years. Documents from libraries within the network that no longer have physical space will be online as of January 2007. EPA documents remain available via interlibrary loans during the digitization process. Regional offices will continue providing library services through EPA's library network. Materials that are not EPA unique remain available through the archive at EPA headquarters or through the interlibrary loan program. Since 2003, EPA has been examining ways to modernize the library system. EPA is adhering to the American Library Association's guidance and criteria for reviewing our library collection. EPA's National Framework for HQ and Regional Libraries was posted on EPA's Website and an internal memo went out to all EPA employees regarding the library plan...
Also see: "Test Your WaterSense about Water Efficiency"

Nominees sought for Water Quality Trading Awards -- WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 8, 2006 -- The EPA is seeking nominations for the Blue Ribbon Water Quality Trading Awards Program. The awards will recognize outstanding leadership in designing or implementing water quality trading programs and policies that have achieved or will achieve environmental and economic benefits. EPA's Water Quality Trading Policy offers participants a tool to help foster accelerated restoration of the nation's watersheds. Trading programs allow facilities facing higher pollutant control costs to meet their regulatory obligations by purchasing environmentally equivalent (or superior) pollutant reductions from another source at lower cost, thus achieving the same water quality improvement at lower overall cost. Water quality trading is gaining increased acceptance as a cost-effective method of meeting new challenges. The deadline for applications is Jan. 16...

Agency to examine condition of nation's lakes -- WASHINGTON, DC< Dec. 6, 2006 -- The EPA is embarking on a three-year study to determine the state of America's lakes. The "Survey of the Nation's Lakes" is the first-ever attempt to assess real-world conditions by studying 909 lakes, ponds and reservoirs whose profiles are representative of all lakes in the United States. The joint effort among EPA, states and some tribes, will oversee survey samples taken from natural and human-made freshwater lakes, ponds and reservoirs next summer. Bodies of water included in the survey will be a minimum area of 10 acres in area and at least 39 inches deep. The last time EPA catalogued the status of lakes was in 1972-1976, when 815 lakes were evaluated nationwide. The new study will resample 113 lakes from the earlier survey for comparison...
Also see:
-- "EPA Program Seeks to Improve Water Efficiency" (WaterWorld)
-- "EPA Begins Planning Drinking Water Needs Survey"
(WaterWorld)

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Among other recent agency action:

-- "EPA to begin sediment sampling in Detroit River" (12/18/06)
-- "Northwest Water Reclamation Facility, in Apopka, Florida receives EPA Clean Water Act Recognition Award" (12/13/06)
-- "Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida receives EPA Clean Water Act Recognition Award" (12/12/06)
-- "$65,000 in EPA Funding to Universities in Puerto Rico" (12/11/06)
-- "Unity Township Municipal Authority Receives Regional Award for Environmental Performance" (12/6/06)
-- "EPA honors two Arizona water projects for improving water quality, protecting public health" (12/5/06)
-- "EPA approves restoration work of filled wetland area along the Hanalei River on Kauai" (12/1/06)
-- "EPA Funds Project to Reduce Environmental Risks in Camden" (11/28/06)
-- "EPA presents prestigious national water award to the city of Fresno; The city placed first in the nation in large wastewater pretreatment category" (11/28/06)
-- "EPA Recognizes Companies, Individual for Saving Water" (11/27/06)

Among other enforcement updates:

-- "Coeur Alaska Inc. agrees to pay over $100,000 to settle Clean Water Act violations" (12/21/2006)
-- "Sinclair Tulsa Refining Company, Two Managers Plead Guilty to Felony Pollution Charges - $5 Million Criminal Penalty, Plus Half Million Community Service Payment" (12/15/06)
-- "EPA orders Arizona property owner to remove illegal fill from Virgin River" (12/13/06)
-- "EPA Files Complaint, Seeks Civil Penalties Against Bruneau Cattle Company (Owyhee County, ID) for Federal Clean Water Act Violations" (12/8/06)
-- "EPA and IDEM to discuss plan to clean up West Branch of Grand Cal River" (12/6/06)
-- "EPA orders two East Bay companies to comply with stormwater discharge requirements" (12/6/06)
-- "EPA orders federal contractor, U.S. Navy to reduce drinking water chemical levels at El Centro Naval Air Facility" (12/5/06)
-- "Icicle Seafoods issued complaint for violations of the Clean Water Act" (11/28/06)
-- "EPA, Hawai'i DOH seek additional $135,000 from Pflueger for failing to meet restoration work deadlines under settlement order Landowner failed to start required restoration work at Pila'a property" (11/28/06)

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In earlier "EPA Action" reports, see:
"EPA Action: Agency, DuPont agree on PFOA in drinking water limits near W.Va. plant"
"EPA Action: Indianapolis agrees to spend $1.86 billion to stop sewer overflows"
"EPA Action: Acquisition of wetlands in Staten Island an eco-smart investment"

For the latest news releases from the EPA website, click here.

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