EPA Action: Oakland water district takes national honor

Grants, penalties, cleanups and latest online resources round out list of announcements. Del., Wis., R.I., Pa., W.Va. and Alaska highlighted...

The following are the latest developments at or actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

-- Del. watershed agency wins grant to fight water pollution;
-- Cleanup in offing for two N.Y. Superfund sites;
-- Wis. gets authority for federal drinking water enforcement;
-- Oakland water district takes national honor;
-- Updated guidance for water reuse, illicit stormwater discharge detection, animal feed lots, manure management, NPDES permits, private water wells now online;
-- R.I. draws $17 million for water, sewage plant improvements;
-- Pa. awarded $7 million to fight pollution from stormwater runoff;
-- W.Va. granted $5 million for new wastewater treatment, collection system;
-- Alaska seafood processor fined $18K for fish waste...

Center for Inland Bays wins grant to fight water pollution
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 29, 2004 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3 Office awarded a $506,984 grant to the Center for the Inland Bays in Lewes, Del., to reduce and prevent water pollution in the inland bays estuary, which includes Rehoboth, Indian River and Little Assawoman bays. The award was matched with $505,000 grant from the state.

Funding for the center will focus on reducing stormwater pollution -- sometimes called non-point source pollution -- which deposits large amounts of nutrients and sediments into the bays. The main sources of nutrients to these waters are from agriculture and failing septic systems throughout the watershed. Research projects in the watershed focus on renewing dwindling resources and establishing best management practices to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the bays.

The Center for the Inland Bays is funding 10 research projects this year, including projects to study the exact causes of algae blooms and how they can be prevented. Other projects monitor the viability of the bays to reestablish and maintain fisheries such as shellfish.


EPA to clean up two New York Superfund sites
NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2004 (Capitol Reports) -- The EPA Region 2 Office announced plans to clean up contaminated soil and debris at the Horseshoe Road and the adjoining Atlantic Resources Corp. sites in Sayreville, New Jersey. The plan includes the long-term monitoring of ground water at both sites.

Soil and ground water at the sites are contaminated with a variety of organic and inorganic compounds, including arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, methoxychlor, 1,2-dichloroethane and trichloroethylene.

The Horseshoe Road site was listed on the EPA's National Priorities (or Superfund) List in September 1995, and the Atlantic Resources Corporation site was placed on the list in September 2002.

The two sites are being cleaned up jointly in phases. In the first phase, completed in 2003, buildings and above-ground structures were demolished and removed. Under the agency's current plan, the Agency will excavate and dispose of approximately 62,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris, and monitor ground water to determine if further actions are needed. A third phase will address sediments in an adjoining marsh and river.


Wis. to win authority for federal drinking water rules enforcement
CHICAGO, Oct. 28 (U.S. Newswire) -- The EPA Region 5 Office intends to delegate authority to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for certain federal drinking water rules.

The rules govern the definition of a public water system, consumer confidence reports, interim enhanced surface water treatment, disinfection/disinfectant byproducts and the authority to assess administrative penalties when water systems violate regulations. To be delegated authority, Wisconsin's rules must be at least as stringent as federal rules.

Notice of the proposal was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 18. Anyone who objects to the delegation of authority may request a public hearing by writing to the EPA's Joseph Janczy at Janczy.Joseph@epa.gov by Nov. 17.


Oakland water district picked from 1,500 nationwide for honor
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 26, 2004 -- The EPA Region 9 Office presented the East Bay Municipal District (EBMUD) in Oakland, Calif., with a first-place award today for its outstanding and innovative achievements in wastewater treatment and pollution prevention. Alexis Strauss, the director of the EPA's water division for the Pacific Southwest region, presented the national award to the board president Frank Mellon.

The EBMUD has been a national leader in adopting innovative strategies to protect the environment and to encourage pollution prevention. The district has focused their efforts primarily on pollutants, such as mercury, that impact the San Francisco Bay. Through a mercury reduction pilot program developed with the University of California's Berkeley campus, the district collected over 1,000 pounds of mercury waste last year, including 300 pounds of elemental mercury.

Last year the district required dental facilities that handle mercury to install equipment that would remove up to 95% of the mercury before discharging to the wastewater treatment plant.

The EBMUD has encouraged industries to eliminate discharges of wastewater containing toxics. As a result of these efforts, more than 64% of the industries recycle or evaporate their wastewater, resulting in no discharges of polluted wastewater to the public sewer system.

The district treats wastewater received from more than 13,000 commercial and industrial facilities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. In addition, it serves water to more than 1.3 million customers.


Updated guidelines for water reuse top WaterNews headlines
WaterNews is a weekly on-line publication that announces publications, policies, and activities of the EPA's Office of Water.

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 26, 2004 -- The EPA's Office of Water and Office of Research and Development, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have approved and are now distributing a 2004 Guidelines for Water Reuse Manual (EPA625-R-04/018), which recommend water reuse guidelines, along with supporting information, to help water and wastewater utilities and regulatory agencies, particularly in the United States.

The document updates the 1992 Guidelines document by incorporating information on water reuse that has been developed since the 1992 document was issued, including expanded coverage of water reuse issues and practices in other countries. It was developed via an EPA Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Camp Dresser McKee and an Interagency Agreement with U.S. AID, along with extensive contributions by many volunteers.

The updated Guidelines document is being distributed (in both printed and CD formats) by EPA's Office of Research and Development/Technology Transfer Program as one of their Manuals of Practice. Copies of the updated manual can be ordered via the website www.epa.gov/ttbnrmrl and has been posted in PDF format at www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/pubs/625r04108/625r04108.pdf.

In other news:
Call for nominations for 2005 National Wetlands Awards: Each year the environmental community comes together to honor individuals who have dedicated their time and energy to protecting our nation's wetlands. The 2005 Awards will be given in six categories: Education and Outreach; Science Research; Conservation and Restoration; Landowner Stewardship; State, Tribal, and Local Program Development; and Wetland Community Leader. Nomination forms are now available on our website at www.eli.org/nwa/nwaprogram.htm. The deadline for submitting nominations is Dec. 15, 2004.

Stormwater discharge detection, elimination manual now available: The Center for Watershed Protection and the University of Alabama, under a grant from the EPA, have produced the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Guidance Manual, a comprehensive guide for municipalities that must develop and implement programs to find and correct illicit discharges to their storm sewer systems. The new manual includes detailed information on creating and managing a program, and a comprehensive guide to field and lab protocols. It and supporting materials can be downloaded free of charge at www.cwp.org/idde_verify.htm.

Animal Feeding Operations Virtual Information Center no online: The EPA has developed a comprehensive internet guide to provide quick access to U.S. livestock agricultural information. This site is intended to be a single point of reference to obtain links to state regulations, web sites, permits and policies, nutrient management information, livestock and trade associations, federal web sites, best management practices and controls, cooperative extension and land grant universities, research, funding, and information on environmental issues. You can search website at www.epa.gov/npdes/afovirtualcenter.

CAFO manure management guidance document available now: This guidance document is intended to supplement the NPDES Permit Writers' Guidance Manual for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). It provides additional technical information for owners, operators, technical service providers, consultants, and permit authorities on how to carry out EPA's revised regulatory requirements for NPDES permitting of CAFOs. It also contains information on voluntary technologies and management practices that may be beneficial to CAFO operators. http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/afo/info.cfm#manure.

NPDES permits available online: The EPA is implementing a multi-year project to scan copies of major NPDES permits and make them easily available to the public on our website. You can now find over 2000 NPDES individual and general permits at www.epa.gov/npdes/permitsearch.


R.I. draws $17 million for water and sewage plant improvements
PAWTUCKET, RI, Oct. 19, 2004 -- Standing at the site of a new drinking water treatment plant being built in Pawtucket, the EPA Region 1 Office announced it awarded $16.9 million to the state of Rhode Island for its Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Programs.

Rhode Island will use $8 million to support various drinking water programs within the state and make low-interest loans to public and private community water systems to improve their facilities. The new water plant in Pawtucket is among the projects that will benefit from the new funds. The remaining $8.9 million money will also be used to support wastewater treatment plant improvements around the state.

Both of the grants were awarded to the RI Clean Water Finance Agency, which will distribute the funds with assistance from the RI Department of Health and the RI Department of Environmental Management.


Pa. awarded $7 million to fight pollution from stormwater runoff
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 15, 2004 -- The EPA Region 3 Office awarded $6,776,800 to help control stormwater runoff throughout Pennsylvania.

The EPA grant, which was matched with $4,517,867 from the state, supports the state's nonpoint source water pollution control program, which includes numerous stormwater projects designed to protect Pennsylvania waterways.

Stormwater pollution -- sometimes called non-point source pollution -- is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over or through the ground and carrying natural or human-made pollutants into lakes, streams, rivers, and other water bodies. In Pennsylvania, the major causes of nonpoint source pollution are farming, mining and land development activities.

Projects supported by the program will help improve farm management practices to reduce nutrients and sediment from entering nearby water bodies, aid in the treatment of streams affected by acid mine drainage from active or abandon coal mines, and reduce stormwater runoff from urban and suburban development.


W.Va. granted $5 million for new wastewater treatment, collection system
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 14, 2004 -- The EPA Region 3 Office awarded a $4.85 million grant to the Hancock County Public Service District, Hancock County, W.Va., to help pay for replacing residential septic tanks with new sewer lines along the Route 8 corridor in the town of New Manchester. The system will serve 675 existing customers.

Septic tanks used by the residents of New Manchester and adjacent areas along Route 8 have been malfunctioning, which can degrade water quality in local streams and create a public health hazard.

The grant will pay for about 34% of the estimated $14,372,700 project cost, and the district will pay the balance.


Alaska seafood processor to pay $18K penalty for fish waste violations
SEATTLE, Oct. 12, 2004 -- The EPA Region 10 Office announced Trident Seafoods Corp., which operates the Naknek Cannery in Naknek, Alaska, has agreed to pay $18,000 in penalties for violating the federal Clean Water Act.

After a June 2003 inspection at the cannery, an EPA inspector determined that the company was violating important terms of its Clean Water Act permit. The permit allows Trident to discharge wastes into the Naknek River under specific conditions. Among the violations noted are:
-- Failure to properly treat seafood processing waste and ensure seafood wastes discharged into the Naknek River do not exceed one-half inch in diameter;
-- Failure to conduct monitoring as required;
-- Failure to maintain seafood waste conveyance systems, and
-- Failure to submit required reports.

The agreement between the EPA and Trident is subject to a 30-day comment period.


New website for private drinking water wells online
WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 6, 2004 -- The EPA has launched a new website to provide information for private well owners on water quality issues important to proper care of their well and health. The agency regulates public water systems; it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. About 15% of Americans rely on their own private drinking water supplies -- and these supplies are not subject to EPA standards, although some state and local governments do set rules to protect users of these wells. For more information, see: www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells/index2.html.


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