Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

from Michael R. Martin & LakeStewardship.com

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

EPA Water Quality Standards Academy

The Delaware River Basin Commission is co-sponsor of the EPA Water Quality Standards Academy to be held January 26-30, 2009 at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown, NJ. Please note that scholarship (no cost) positions are available for representatives of certain groups, such as students and volunteer monitoring organizations. See the program flyer for more information - http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/WQSA-jan2009.pdf.

Source: NALMS Newsnotes

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ton Conry receives 2008 NALMS Secchi Disk Award

This year’s recipient for the highest achievement award from the North American Lake Management Society went to Tom Conry. Tom currently is the Water Quality Administrator for the Waco Water Utility Services for the City of Waco, Texas. He served as the 1998 NALMS president and later in 2006 rejoined the NALMS board and executive committee as the Secretary.
Reprinted from NALMS News Notes - http://nalms.org

Friday, December 26, 2008

EPA Care Grant Request for Proposals

EPA announced the availability of funds and solicits from eligible entities project proposals to receive financial assistance through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CARE is a unique community-based, community-driven, multimedia demonstration program designed to help communities understand and reduce risks due to toxic pollutants and environmental concerns from all sources. The CARE grant program works with the eligible entities to help their communities form collaborative partnerships, develop an understanding of the many local sources of risk from toxic pollutants and environmental concerns, set priorities, and identify and carry out projects to reduce risks through collaborative action at the local level. CARE's long-term goal is to help communities build self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve human health and local environments into the future. This is the fifth year requesting proposals for the CARE grant program; the first was in the spring of 2005. The request for proposals is in the Federal Register.

EPA has prepared a Question and Answer document that can be found on the CARE Web site (www.epa.gov/care). Any additional questions or comments must be communicated in writing via postal mail, facsimile, or by using our Web site listed above. Answers will be posted, bi-weekly, until the closing date of this announcement at the OAR Grants/Funding Web page
(http://www.epa.gov/air/grants_funding.html).

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Massachusetts statewide stormwater program proposed

MassDEP has officially proposed its new Statewide Stormwater Management Program.
It will require private owners of large impervious surfaces (including institutions, commercial, industrial and residential properties) to manage stormwater.

The draft regulations, draft general permit, draft Fact Sheet, Summary of the program and various supporting documents are all posted on MassDEP's web site: http://www.mass.gov/dep/service/regulations/newregs.htm#storm

MassDEP will be holding 5 information sessions around the state the week of January 5, 2009, and will follow with 4 public hearings the week of January 19th: http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/hearings/stormreg.htm

MassDEP will accept verbal and written comments on the proposed regulations and draft general permit at the hearings, and written comments until 5:00 p.m. on February 9, 2009.

Mass DEP is particularly interested in receiving public comment on two definitions included in the proposed regulations: redevelopment of impervious surface and minor repair of a paved surface.

MassDEP is also soliciting public comments on section 21.11 of the proposed regulations which sets forth the transition rules for sites undergoing projects for the development and/or redevelopment of impervious surfaces.

All written comments should be submitted to MassDEP, One Winter Street, 5th floor, Boston, MA 02108, attn. Glenn Haas, or by email at DEP.Waterpermitting@state.ma.us.

Source: Fred Civian, MassDEP
Stormwater Coordinator (via NPSInfo Listserve)
617-292-5821
http://mass.gov/dep/water/wastewater/stormwat.htm

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Lake Stewardship

Here is wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas* and Happy New Year.

*substitute the Holiday you celebrate here

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Waterkeeper Alliance Issues Blueprint for Clean Water Recommendations for Obama Administration

The Waterkeeper Alliance -- the environmental group founded by Robert Kennedy, Jr., reportedly under consideration by the Obama transition team to head EPA -- has developed a broad set of recommendations for how the next administration should clean up the nation's waters. The report, A Blueprint for Clean Water, calls for reversing scores of actions by the outgoing Bush administration and then implementing an aggressive agenda to limit water pollution and protect water resources. The paper suggests policy changes on 33 topics, including clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act over isolated waters, prioritizing permitting of ships' ballast discharges, stricter controls on pharmaceuticals in drinking water, non-point sources, mining and oil and gas issues, sewage and stormwater and other measures.

Among the sweeping recommendations, the paper pushes for Congress to create a Clean Water Trust Fund to finance clean water infrastructure projects; end EPA's use of 301(h) waivers that excuse wastewater treatment plants from secondary treatment; create stringent controls for nutrients, pesticides and pharmaceuticals in water; and treat factory farms as industrial polluters. The group pushes for a boost to enforcement resources and a restructuring of the office to encourage more even standards across the country, a net-gain wetlands policy and impaired waters listing for beaches. To view the Blueprint for Clean Water Report, visit: http://www.insideepa.com/secure/data_extra/dir_08/epa2008_1806.pdf.

Source: NALMS Notes

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Memory of NALMS' Jim LaBounty

The North American Lake Management Society has announces the very sad news that its dear friend, colleague and long-time Editor of the Journal of Lake & Reservoir Management, Jim LaBounty, passed away on December 17th. We are all deeply saddened at the loss of this most cherished member of the NALMS family. Condolences should be directed to Carol LaBounty, 920 Bramblewood Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80108. Details concerning a memorial service to be held in Colorado have not yet been announced.

EPA Handbook to Assist Local Officials Implement Green Infrastructure Programs

EPA is developing a series of documents, collectively called the Municipal Handbook, to assist local officials with implementation of green infrastructure programs. Each 15-20 page issue covers a very specific issue associated with establishing and implementing a comprehensive program.

Funding Options was released in September. This week 3 additional installments in the series are being released: Green Infrastructure Retrofit Policies addresses the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing a comprehensive municipal program to incorporate green infrastructure into existing landscapes, including descriptions of a wide variety of incentives and regulations that communities have used to drive green infrastructure retrofits. Green Streets focuses on one of the most common opportunities for implementing green infrastructure in urban areas, the transportation right-of-way; this paper discusses specific designs, how to overcome typical hurdles, and includes descriptions of several successful municipal green streets programs. Rainwater Harvesting Policies provides information on the impetus for rainwater harvesting, including energy and climate change drivers, technical and policy considerations for establishing water harvesting programs, and mu
nicipal case studies. Coming Attractions in 2009 will be Handbook installments on operation and maintenance, municipal incentives, and more.

The Municipal Handbook is available online at: http://www.epa.gov/greeninfrastructure. Click on Municipal Handbook to select and view or download the Handbook Series.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

NYS FOLA Releases December Issue of Water Column

The New York State Federation of Lake Associations has released the December issue of the on-line newsletter, The Water Column. The December '08 issue includes:
  • DEC TO MAKE SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN DRAFT DAM SAFETY REGULATIONS!!
  • Info on Grant Writing Workshop scheduled for March 2009
  • Info on the invasive aquatic plant Hydrilla now known to be present in New York (see also my December 6 posting on Lake Stewardship Blog)
And much, much more. So, Click on the Title to read the Decemeber newsletter

Discourse with UWS Aquacleaner Inc. about their approach to "lake restoration"

I am presently involved in a discourse on lake management with the president and staff of UWS Aquacleaner. They were recently featured on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. The story didn't really show much lake management and the UWS Aqucleaner folks misrepresented the magnitude of their work, saying they were restoring "dead lakes" when actually they are just sucking all the sediment from in front of private shorefront owners who pay them for that service. This in no way could be classified as lake management or lake restoration, because it lacks the holistic approach of lake and watershed that is truly needed to manage and restore lakes.

I do not  mean to say anything bad about the company or the work they do, but I feel the need to clarify the significance of the work they do. On the single job level, they appear to do what they say they do - remove sediments and plants from a small area.

Added: 1/8/09 - The topic on Discovery Channel has been closed. At least they have admitted that what they are doing is dredging, which is more accurate. And dredging requires all sorts of permits, and design and sediment testing. 

Click HERE or on Title link to view the discussion on the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs Fan Blog. I am "Cedar Eden" and the President Jerry Davis is "myaquacleaner" and some of the otheres are staff. The first post is just an unknown fan of the show.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Opposition to Greenhouse Gas Tax On Farm Animals!

Editors note: If you are wondering what this has to do with lake stewardship, remember that everything that happens in your watershed has an effect on your water quality. t is too late to send comment letters, but this article should be of some interest to you.

Oppose A Greenhouse Gas Tax On Farm Animals!

Dairy and Livestock Farmers:

It is important that you send a letter strongly opposing a permit requirement for greenhouse gasses emitted by dairy and livestock farms to the EPA by Friday, Nov. 28. This permit would effectively tax farm animals which emit greenhouse gases. Just go to the NYFB Web site at www.NYFB.org and click on the E-Lobby Center to quickly and easily send a letter to the EPA.

Why would your animals be taxed?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on whether it is appropriate to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles under the Clean Air Act. In order to regulate automobile emissions in this fashion, EPA would first have to make a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and safety and should be classified as a “pollutant.”

The problem with this approach is that once an endangerment finding is made, other provisions of the Clean Air Act are automatically triggered, creating much broader regulation of other sectors of the economy, including agriculture. One such unintended consequence for agriculture is the imposition of fees that, for all practical purposes, will function like a tax on cows and other livestock.

* Once an endangerment finding is made, Title V of the Clean Air Act is automatically triggered. Title V requires that any entity emitting more than 100 tons per year of a regulated pollutant must obtain a permit in order to continue to operate. EPA has no choice but to require these permits once an endangerment finding is made.

* USDA has stated that any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs emits more than 100 tons of carbon and would have to obtain permits under Title V in order to continue to operate if GHG are regulated. According to USDA statistics, this would cover about 99 percent of dairy production, more than 90 percent of beef production, and more than 95 percent of all hog production in the United States.

* Title V is administered by the states, and permit fees vary from state to state. The tax for dairy cows could be $175 per cow, for beef $87.50 per head, and the tax on hogs would be a little more than $20 per hog.

* Unlike other regulated pollutants, GHGs are global in scope and distribute evenly across the planet. A ton emitted in New York has the same impact as a ton emitted in China. Regulating the ton in New York without addressing emission in China and other nations will do little to address the global issue, and only penalizes the NewYork producer.

In a related article, PETA asks Ben & Jerry's to use Human Breast Milk to make their ice cream because:
"producing milk from cows for human consumption is hazardous to the animals and to the people who are drinking it."
MONTPELIER — The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream this week to consider using human breast milk instead of cow's milk in their products.

PETA, an animal rights and vegetarian organization known for outrageous stunts, sent a letter to company co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on Tuesday saying consumers and cows would benefit from a switch to human breast milk.

"The breast is best!" wrote PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in the letter to the company. "Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben & Jerry's ice cream?"

Sources:
New York Farm Bureau
159 Wolf Road, PO Box 5330
Albany, NY 12205-0330
518-436-8495 / 800-342-4143
www.nyfb.org
Take action on this and other issues at the New York Farm Bureau Action Alerts web page

Rutland Herald

Friday, December 12, 2008

Agencies Revise Guidance to Protect Wetlands and Streams ● New Definition of "Waters of the United States"

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army are issuing revised guidance to ensure America's wetlands, streams and other waters are better protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The guidance clarifies the geographic scope of jurisdiction under the CWA, redefining "Waters of the US."
"We are providing improved guidance to ensure the information is in place to fully protect the nation's streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water. "The guidance builds upon our experiences and provides consistent direction to our staff and the public."
"We are committed to protecting America's aquatic resources as required by the Clean Water Act and in accordance with the Supreme Court decision," said John Paul Woodley Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). "This revised interagency guidance will enable the agencies to make clear, consistent, and predictable jurisdictional determinations within the scope of the Clean Water Act."

The revised guidance replaces previous policy issued in June 2007 and clarifies a June 2006 Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States regarding the scope of the agencies' jurisdiction under the CWA. The guidance follows the agencies' evaluation of more than 18,000 jurisdictional determinations and review of more than 66,000 comments.

More information on the guidance: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/guidance/CWAwaters.html

Clean Water Act Definition of "Waters of the United States"

40 CFR 230.3(s) The term waters of the United States means:

  1. 1. All waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide
  2. 2. All interstate waters including interstate wetlands;
  3. 3. All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairiepotholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters:
      (i) Which are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes; or 
      (ii) From which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or 
      (iii) Which are used or could be used for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce;
  4. 4. All impoundments of waters otherwise defined as waters of the United States under this definition;
  5. 5. Tributaries of waters identified inparagraphs (s)(1) through (4) of this section;
  6. 6. The territorial sea;
  7. 7. Wetlands adjacent to waters (other than waters that are themselves wetlands) identified in paragraphs (s)(1) through (6) of this section; waste treatment systems, including treatment ponds or lagoons designed to meet the requirements of CWA (other than cooling ponds as defined in 40 CFR 423.11(m) which also meet the criteria of this definition) are not waters of the United States.

Waters of the United States do not include prior converted cropland. Notwithstanding the determination of an area’s status as prior converted cropland by any other federal agency, for the purposes of the Clean Water Act, the final authority regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction remains with EPA.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

International Treaty Members Promote "Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People"

A Delegation from the United States, consisting of representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of State, US Environmental Protection Agency, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the US National Ramsar Committee, recently assembled in the Republic of Korea for the 10th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP10) to the Ramsar Treaty Convention on Wetlands. The Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, provides a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Contracting Parties (158 countries containing 1,822 wetland sites covering 168 million hectares included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance) meet every three years to assess Convention implementation progress, share knowledge and experience on technical issues, address the importance of further developing and intensifying internationally coordinated actions for the conservation of wetlands, and plan for the next triennium. With the theme Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People, COP 10 considered over 30 agenda items, including the Convention?s Strategic Plan 2009-2014, its budget for the triennium 2009-2011, reports and recommendations submitted by the Parties and the Convention?s Standing Committees, and the role of wetlands in sustainable development issues such as human health and well-being, climate change, biofuels, extractive industries, urbanization, and poverty eradication. 

For more information, contact Kathleen Kutschenreuter (kutschenreuter.kathle
en@epa.gov
) or visit http://www.ramsar.org/index_cop10_e.htm

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Monday, December 08, 2008

Landscape Water Budget Tool

To assist home builders, landscape professionals, and irrigation partners in meeting the outdoor criteria of a future WaterSense specification for new homes, EPA has developed a Landscape Water Budget Tool to help guide them through the water budget calculations of the draft specification for water-efficient, single-family new homes. The landscape water budget tool will help determine:
  • The amount of water the designed landscape is allowed (budgeted) based on EPA criteria.
  • How much water the designed landscape requires based on climate, plant type, and irrigation system efficiency.
  • Whether the designed landscape meets the budgeted amount.
The Landscape WaterBudget Tool is in draft form at this time. EPA is inviting all interested parties to provide comments on this new tool, specifically recommendations on data sources and sources of local reference evapotranspiration.

To read the budget tool and approach strategy: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/specs/waterbudget_tool.htm

Send comments or suggestions to watersense-newhomes@erg.com. The public comment period ends on Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. The Draft Water-Efficient Single-Family New Home Specification and public comments are available at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/specs/homes.htm. EPA plans to issue a second draft of the Water-Efficient Single Family New Home Specification in early 2009.

If you have questions about the landscape water budget tool, please contact the WaterSense Helpline at (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) or e-mail
watersense@epa.gov.

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Using Rain Gardens to Reduce Runoff

Slow it down, Spread it out, Soak it in!

EPA's Watershed Academy held a Webcast to discuss the benefits of rain gardens on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Many communities across the country are struggling to address impacts from stormwater runoff due to increased development. Green or low impact development practices such as rain gardens can help manage runoff effectively as well as provide aesthetic benefits. Rain gardens can increase property values, add beauty and habitat, reduce a community?s carbon footprint, as well as provide important water quality benefits.

Speakers included the following:
  • Jenny Biddle with EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds 
  • Pamela Rowe, RainScapes Program coordinator with the Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Environmental Protection
  • Lynn Hinkle, founder of ASTRA Communications, Inc. and Goin' Green. 
You can get a PDF copy of the Rain Garden Webcast PowerPoint Presentation at http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/wacademy/webcasts/pdf/2008_12_03_slides.pdf

For more information about Low Impact Development techniques, visit http://www.epa.gov/nps/lid/

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Hydrilla Found in New York State

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff members have confirmed the presence of the aquatic invasive plant species Hydrilla verticillata in New York State. The plant was found in Creamery Pond in Orange County, and the identification was confirmed by several aquatic plant experts from around the country. A second infestation was recently found in Suffolk County. Hydrilla is considered to be the most problematic aquatic plant in the United States.

For more information on hydrilla, log onto:
http:\\www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/hydrilla.shtml
or http:\\aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/hydcirc.html

Source: Water Column, NYS Federation of Lake Associations (http://www.nysfola.org)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Agreement to Improve Septic System Management

Wastewater treatment systems serving 25 million homes across the country will be improved, thanks to an agreement among EPA and 14 national organizations. The organizations will work together to improve management of septic wastewater systems by exchanging information and providing technical assistance to their members, states and local municipalities.

Nearly one quarter of the nation's housing and commercial development depend on onsite and septic wastewater treatment systems. When properly sited, designed, and maintained, these systems perform at a high level. However, between 10 and 20 percent fail each year, posing a great threat to surface and groundwater. Malfunctioning systems are the second greatest threat to groundwater quality in the United States.

More information on EPA's wastewater treatment system program: http://epa.gov/owm/septic

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pond Pulse - Online newsletter

Lake stewards might be interested in the online newsletter, "Pond Pulse," put out by the International Professional Pond Contractors Association (IPPCA). You can find these on line at http://pondpulse.com/

Go to http://www.ippca.com/ to learn more about the IPPCA. It is not so much an association of lake managers as it is pond contractors.

The Cost of Bottled Water

Tap water is a tremendous value for families and communities, typically costing less than half a penny per gallon. Bottled water is often an important and convenient choice for consumers and the traveling public but it certainly has its costs.

Consumers should know about the carbon footprint and environmental impacts of bottled water. It takes a lot of energy to manufacture, transport, and store bottled water. Experts estimate the plastic bottle manufacturing process alone consumes 17 million barrels of oil a year.

Street litter and marine debris are costly concerns, as well. Marine debris is a major pollution problem affecting the world?s oceans, coasts, and watersheds. Although impacts may be more visible at the local beach; marine debris is a national and international problem. Anything can become marine debris. Extremely light-weight items, like plastic bottles, are more likely to become marine debris than heavier items because they can easily be carried by wind from one location to another.

Think globally and drink locally. Tap into the savings and recycle for the streams' sake.

For more information about Water on Tap visit: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/wot/index.html

For more information about the Waste Reduction Model: http://epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/waste/calculators/Warm_home.html

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Requirements for Controlling Manure, Wastewater from Large Animal Feeding Operations

EPA has finalized a rule helping to protect the nation's water quality by requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to safely manage manure. EPA estimates CAFO regulations will prevent 56 million pounds of phosphorus, 110 million pounds of nitrogen, and 2 billion pounds of sediment from entering streams, lakes, and other waters annually.

"EPA's new regulation of animal feedlots sets a strong national standard for pollution prevention and environmental protection, while maintaining our country's economic and agricultural competitiveness," said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "This clean water rule strengthens environmental safeguards by embracing a zero discharge standard and requiring site-specific management plans to prevent runoff of excess nutrients into our nation's waters."


This is the first time EPA has required a nutrient management plan (NMP) for manure to be submitted as part of a CAFO's Clean Water Act permit application. Manure contains the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus, which, when not managed properly on agricultural land, can pollute nearby streams, lakes, and other waters.

Previous rules required a CAFO operator to use an NMP for controlling manure, but the regulation builds on that by requiring the NMP to be submitted with the permit application. The plan will be reviewed by the permitting authority and conditions based on it will be incorporated as enforceable terms of the permit. The proposed NMP and permit will be available for public review and comment before going final.

The regulation also requires that an owner or operator of a CAFO that actually discharges to streams, lakes, and other waters must apply for a permit under the Clean Water Act. If a farmer designs, constructs, operates and maintains their facility such that a discharge will occur, a permit is needed. EPA is also providing an opportunity for CAFO operators who do not discharge or propose to discharge to show their commitment to pollution prevention by obtaining certification as zero dischargers.

In addition, the final rule includes technical clarifications regarding water quality-based effluent limitations and use of best management practices to meet zero discharge requirements, as well as affirming the 2003 rule requirement for reducing fecal coliform through the use of best conventional technology.

EPA worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the development of the rule and will work closely with states during implementation. The rule deadline for newly defined facilities to apply for permits is February 27, 2009.

EPA has been regulating CAFOs for more than 30 years. The final rule responds to a February 2005 federal court decision that upheld most of the agency's 2003 rule, but directed further action or clarification on some portions.

Information on the concentrated animal feeding operation rule: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/caforule

Source: EPA Water Headlines

Saturday, November 01, 2008

WaterSense Factoid: Saving Water, Saving Money, Saving Energy

If every home in the United States installed WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet aerators in the bathrooms, it would save 60 billion gallons of water annually, saving households more than $350 million in water bills and about $600 million in energy costs to heat their water. Additionally, water and waste water utilities would save 200 million kilowatt-hours of electricity normally used for supplying and treating that water. The WaterSense website has a complete list of WaterSense labeled products, http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/index.htm

Source: EPA Water Headlines

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tap Water vs. Bottled Water

In an interview, Benjamin H. Grumbles, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Water, discussed the issues surrounding the tap vs. bottled water debate, including the health, economic and environmental impact of both.

To watch the interview, go to www.epa.gov

EPA offers related information about the water you drink, including Drinking Water and Health and a state by state breakdown of local drinking water information, including your state's water quality reports, Envirofacts, and well and laboratory information.

Source: EPA Water Headlines

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Clean Water Act Celebrates 36th Anniversary

Top officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the District of Columbia Departments of Environment and Public Works, the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) gathered on the banks of the Anacostia River Oct. 16 to observe the 36th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and to hear about the successes our nation's capital has had in addressing the clean water challenges facing cities across the nation. Americans can celebrate progress in meeting the water quality goals over the past 36 years while acknowledging that communities continue to face the ongoing and costly challenges of aging and ailing infrastructure, a growing population, changes in precipitation brought on by climate change, and increased stormwater runoff.

Washington, D.C., is an example of a city working to restore its urban watershed with a combination of infrastructure improvements and innovative stormwater management. The benefits of these successes include a revitalized Anacostia River and waterfront and improvements to Chesapeake Bay water quality
"The Clean Water Act is 36 and going strong, leading the way for sustainable solutions to the most pressing problems facing America's rivers and watersheds. Today, EPA, the District of Columbia, and our many partners are making real progress in the nation's capital, controlling sewer overflows and reducing stormwater pollution through innovative projects and green technologies," Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA assistant administrator for water, said. "The Anacostia River will be one of the greatest urban river revivals in the nation's history and set a shining example for other communities on how to increase stewardship, grow responsibly, and adapt to climate change."

Source: EPA Water Headlines

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

24 Communities Win Blue Ribbons for Clean Water

EPA is congratulating 24 municipalities and industries in particular for making outstanding and creative technological achievements in wastewater treatment and pollution abatement programs this past year. These organizations are the recipients of the 2008 National Clean Water Act Recognition Awards. They were recognized for demonstrating outstanding water quality achievements for projects and programs in five award categories: operations and maintenance, exemplary biosolids management, implementation and enforcement of local pretreatment programs, cost-effective stormwater controls, and combined sewer overflow controls.

The awards program, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is in its 23rd year. It recognizes wastewater treatment facilities and their contributions to protecting the public's health and safety and the nation's water quality.

List of the winners: http://www.epa.gov/owm/mtb/intnet.htm

Source: EPA Water Headlines

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vermont ANR confirms presence of new aquatic invasive species

October 16, 2008 WATERBURY – Aquatic biologists at the Agency of Natural Resources have confirmed the arrival a new invasive plant in Vermont, variable-leaved watermilfoil, in Halls Lake in Newbury. This is the first confirmation of a new invasive aquatic plant in Vermont since European frogbit was found in Lake Champlain in the early 1990s. The variable-leaved watermilfoil identification was confirmed by genetic analysis conducted by Dr. Ryan Thum of Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Vegetatively, variable-leaved looks almost identical to a rare watermilfoil in Vermont. In this case, genetic identification was important as all the plants in the lake had no reproductive parts to confirm identification without this analysis. Variable-leaved is a popular aquarium trade species and is a potential vector for invasive aquatic plant spread. The agency, in cooperation with the Agency of Agriculture, Foods and Markets, inspects Vermont aquarium retailers annually. Just recently, officials found two retailers in southern Vermont selling variable-leaved watermilfoil.

Staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Water Quality Division have deployed rapid-response initiatives this week to remove the nuisance plant from the lake, which appears to be limited to a small two-acre cove at the southern end.
“We may have a rare opportunity to prevent further spread of this plant in Halls Lake and to other waters in Vermont,” said Ann Bove, an aquatic biologist at the agency. “A continued response is critical to success.”

Variable-leaved watermilfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) is not native to Vermont and can be difficult to control once established. It is aggressive and grows rapidly, is easily spread by plant pieces and can displace beneficial native aquatic plants, said Bove. Like Eurasian watermilfoil, already present in Vermont, variable-leaved watermilfoil can also make swimming, boating and other recreational uses difficult. New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and New York have been plagued by this species for a number of years.

Early detection is vital to protecting Vermont’s waterbodies from harmful invasive plants and animals. The agency’s Vermont Invasive Patrollers (VIPs) program monitors local waterbodies for new introductions of invasive species while also learning about native aquatic plants and animals and their habitats. For more information on becoming a VIP, visit http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/lakes/htm/ans/lp_VIP.htm.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

EPA Announces New Document - TMDLs Where Mercury Loadings are Predominantly from Air Deposition

EPA recently released a document called "TMDLs Where Mercury Loadings are Predominantly from Air Deposition" to assist states in developing TMDLs for mercury-impaired waters under Clean Water Act section 303(d). This document describes considerations when developing mercury total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) in order to address the required and recommended TMDL elements discussed in existing guidance. The document (also referred to as a mercury TMDL ?checklist?) includes factors to consider when addressing TMDL elements on different geographic scales, such as waterbody, regional, and multi-state. The "checklist" builds on approaches in approved mercury TMDLs.

This effort is part of EPA's multi-pronged approach to listing mercury-impaired waters and developing mercury TMDLs. Recent efforts include revising strategic plan reporting provisions to more specifically account for mercury-impaired waters in tracking waterbody restoration. EPA also issued a memo in 2007 on the "5m" subcategory for listing waters impaired by mercury from air deposition (see http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/mercury5m/ ). For such waters, states may defer the development of mercury TMDLs where a comprehensive state mercury reduction program has been put in place.

The cover memo and checklist are available respectively at http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/pdf/cover_memo_mercury_tmdl_elements.pdf and http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/pdf/document_mercury_tmdl_elements.pdf .

Click on Title link to view entire article. Thanks to ? for the submission.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

EPA Seeks Comment on Preliminary Perchlorate Drinking Water Decision

The EPA conducted extensive review of scientific data related to the health effects of exposure to perchlorate from drinking water and other sources and found that in more than 99 percent of public drinking water systems, perchlorate was not at levels of public health concern. Therefore, based on the Safe Water Drinking Act criteria, the agency determined there is not a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction" through a national drinking water regulation.

The agency is seeking comment on its preliminary determination not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water at a national level. EPA will make a final determination for perchlorate after considering information provided in the 30-day public comment period.

While fewer than one percent of the drinking water sources have perchlorate levels above the health reference level, EPA is committed to working with states and localities to ensure public health is protected. States have the right to establish and enforce drinking water standards and EPA encourages state-specific situations to be addressed at the local level. EPA intends to issue a health advisory at the time it issues its final regulatory determination for perchlorate, to assist states with their local response.

A regulatory determination is a formal decision by EPA as to whether it should initiate development of a national primary drinking water regulation for a specific contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA has drinking water regulations for more than 90 contaminants. Every five years, EPA develops a Contaminant Candidate List of contaminants to consider for regulation and then makes regulatory determinations on some of the contaminants based on scientific information on health effects, occurrence in drinking water and the opportunity for risk reduction.

A health advisory provides technical guidance to federal, state, and other public health officials on health effects, analytical methods and treatment technologies associated with drinking water contamination. Health advisories also contain guidance values that are concentrations of a contaminant in drinking water that are likely to be without adverse health effects.

Information on Drinking Water Regulatory Determinations: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ccl/reg_determine2.html

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA Water Headlines

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

EPA Announces Climate Change Strategy to Help Manage Water Resources

Washington, D.C. – Oct. 2, 2008) To assist in responding to potential effects of climate change, a new strategy focuses on 40 specific actions for the national water program to take to respond to climate change. EPA's "National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change" describes steps for managers to adapt their clean water, drinking water, and ocean protection programs.

"Water is key to clean energy and climate change," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water. "Our water and climate strategy charts a course for timely and practical action, connecting the dots, drops, and watts for coordinated, sustainable results."

EPA water programs are already taking action related to climate change including the WaterSense water efficiency program, green infrastructure for wet weather management, Climate Ready Estuaries, and the proposed national rule for the injection of carbon dioxide underground.

The water strategy identifies specific response actions in five areas:
  1. Mitigation of greenhouse gases
  2. Adaptation to climate change
  3. Research related to water and climate change
  4. Education on climate change
  5. Water program management of climate change

Potential impacts of climate change on water resources reviewed in the strategy include increases in certain water pollution problems, changes in availability of drinking water supplies, and collective impacts on coastal areas. The strategy reflects input provided during a public comment period earlier this year.

EPA has been working with other federal agencies to coordinate work on climate change and water. Recently, EPA issued a joint memorandum with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Interior to describe cooperative efforts on climate change and water issues.

Click on Title link for more informatioo.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

World Water Monitoring Day Starts Sept. 18

Thursday, September 18th, is the kick off the 5th Annual World Water Monitoring Day, a month-long international effort aimed to increase public awareness and involvement in water monitoring and protecting water resources around the world. World Water Monitoring Day engages people of all ages in monitoring the condition of local rivers, streams, estuaries and other waterbodies. Conducting simple monitoring tests teaches participants about some of the most common indicators of water health and encourages further participation in more formal citizen monitoring efforts.

Hains Point Park in Washington, D.C. will be the site of a national celebration of World Water Monitoring Day 2008 on Thursday, September 18, at 9:00 a.m. This year's program features a special hand washing campaign to recognize the United Nations' International Year of Sanitation. The event is coordinated by the Water Environment Federation and the International Water Association, with partners including the US EPA, U.S. Geological Survey and many more.

World Water Monitoring Day runs from Sept. 18 until Oct. 18. For more information about WWMD 2008 and to find about how you can participate, visit http://www.WorldWaterMonitoringDay.com

Friday, September 12, 2008

Caffeinated Mayflies

Water in the Tennessee River isn't going to give you the wake-up jolt that a cup of coffee does.

But it has enough caffeine to do that - and more - for the tiny wildlife living in and around the Tennessee River, according to researchers who found the presence of caffeine and a number of other drugs in the local water supply.

Caffeine exists in a high-enough concentration to force-feed a typical baby mayfly the equivalent of 26.6 cups of coffee a day, according to Sean Richards, associate professor of biological and environmental sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Caffeine was found in more than93 percent of about 160 test samples of river water.

Click on the post title (or here) to see the rest of the article: http://timesfreepress.com/news/2008/sep/07/testing-drugs-tennessee-river-system-under-way/

Thanks to Jane Dauffenbach of Aquarius Systems http://aquarius-systems.com

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New York State Canal Corps and LCBP meeting to address Aquatic Invasive Species in Champlain Canal

Organizations, businesses, municipalities, the public, and others interested in the Champlain Canal are invited to the Champlain Canal Aquatic Invasive Species Informational Meeting to learn about aquatic invasive species impacts and the Champlain Canal. Presentations will be made by the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP), the NYS Canal Corporation (NYSCC), the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Office of Invasive Species Coordination (NYSDEC-OISC), the US Army Corps of Engineers, and invasive species experts. It will include a public comment period.

When: Thursday, November 6th, 2008 from 1pm-5pm
Where: Washington County Municipal Center, 383 Broadway, Fort Edward, NY

RSVP: This meeting is free and open to the public. RSVP to LCBP at 1-800-468-5227 or kjarvis@lcbp.org to enable us to make adequate space available.

Monday, September 08, 2008

New Adirondack-Based Institute Will Study Northern Forests

The historic Masten House in Newcomb, Essex County, New York, will be the site of a new leadership and training institute that focuses on the research and management of northern forests--the Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training. The facility will educate and train policymakers, business leaders and educators to guide future decisions and learn more about the 25 million acres of forested land that blanket portions of four northeastern states. The institute will be operated by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). NYS DEC will contribute $1.6 million to fund SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) research at the Institute.

The "northern forest" extends from Lake Ontario at Tug Hill, across the Adirondacks to northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The institute's location is adjacent to the Adirondack High Peaks Region and includes the historic town of Adirondac, which has a rich industrial and cultural heritage.

Click on Title link to view entire article. Source: NYS EnvironmentDEC

Sunday, September 07, 2008

NYS "Don't Flush Your Drugs" Campaign

Recent reports have shown that New York State rivers and streams and drinking-water supplies in a number of American cities contain traces of an array of medicines. These reports indicate that pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, can be found in the drinking-water supplies of 41 million Americans.

At least 24 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. have been identified as having traces of pharmaceuticals in drinking-water supplies. Scientists say pharmaceuticals get into water in a variety of ways: individuals and institutions flush unused drugs; unabsorbed drugs pass through the human body; pharmaceuticals may not be completely decomposed in septic tanks and drug manufacturers discharge pharmaceutical wastes. Wastewater treatment plants are not specifically designed to eliminate these types of chemicals, so treatment of municipal and industrial discharge is not the entire answer. Drinking-water treatment plants don't necessarily remove all drug residues either.

In response to this issue, DEC has launched the "Don't Flush Your Drugs" campaign. Under this campaign, DEC will take steps to educate the public about the potential hazards of pharmaceuticals in water systems and about the proper disposal of unused drugs. Instead of flushing medicines, residents should place their unused, unwanted or expired drugs in the trash, taking care to destroy or disguise them to prevent their misuse or misdirection. Adding water, salt, ashes or coffee grounds to unused medications before placing them in the trash can further guard against misuse. Detailed instructions and suggestions are available online.

Click on Title link to view entire article. Source: NYS EnvironmentDEC

Saturday, September 06, 2008

NY State forms Environmental/Government Collaborative to Update Water/Wastewater Infrastructure

An environmental and government collaborative has been formed to help tackle a looming water infrastructure crisis facing New York State. The Clean Water Collaborative will focus on funding solutions for the state's mounting wastewater and drinking-water infrastructure needs. Due to decreasing federal aid, communities will have to spend in excess of $50 billion during the next 20 years to make required upgrades to meet federal requirements.

Repairs for municipal wastewater treatment plants and drinking water infrastructure are estimated to exceed $50 billion dollars over the next 20 years.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) estimates that repairs for municipal wastewater treatment systems statewide will be $36.2 billion, while repairs for drinking-water infrastructure could exceed $20 billion in the same 20-year period. Additionally, federal support for water infrastructure has plummeted roughly 70 percent in the last two decades, delaying critical maintenance and contributing to violations of the Clean Water Act. Hundreds of sewage and wastewater treatment facilities have deteriorated.

Click on Title link to view entire article. Source: NYS EnvironmentDEC

Informative Vermont Aquatic Invasive Sign

Here is a picture of the sign used by Vermont to indicate presence of aquatic invasive species in their lakes. This particular sign in at the McCuen Slang Lake Champlain Access, near the Champlain/Crown Point Bridge.

Friday, September 05, 2008

"Find Your Watershed" Widget added to EPA's Environmental Widgets for Websites

Now, anyone with a Web site, including their own blog, can post the "Find Your Watershed" widget on their own Web page. This widget, which can be found on http://epa.gov/widgets/ , supports watershed education and outreach. By advertising this widget, partners can help drive traffic to EPA's Surf Your Watershed database, which helps people find their watershed, learn about its health, and connects them with organizations at work in their watershed. EPA's first widget, the "environmental tip of the day," released last spring, was seen 363,000 times in June after it was posted, which is more than any single page on EPA's Web site other than the home page.

The EPA Widgets website currently includes code for four widgets, seen below:

Environmental Tips: shows a new tip each day, of something you (and your readers) can use to help protect the environment. Each daily widget also gives links to more information.










Earth Day Countdown: shows how many days remain until the next Earth Day (April 22). To use this widget, copy and paste the following code into your Web page.





Question of the Week:
shows the weekly question we pose in Greenversations, the EPA's blog. To use this widget, copy and paste the following code into your Web page.






Find Your Watershed: Enter your ZIP code to get information about the watershed(s) in that area. To use this widget, copy and paste the following code into your Web page.




Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

Thursday, September 04, 2008

NYS DEC Efforts to Eradicate Northern Snakehead

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently sent out a letter to residents near Ridgebury Lake and Catlin Creek regarding their use of fish toxicant CFT Legumine (liquid 5% rotenone formulation manufactured by Prentiss Incorporated) to eradicate Northern Snakehead (Channa argus).

The northern snakehead is an invasive fish native to China, Russia and Korea. Other snakehead species are native to parts of Asia and Africa. Two populations of this air-breathing predator have been identified in New York State; one in two connected ponds in Queens, NYC and one in Ridgebury Lake in the Town of Wawayanda, Orange County. While the Queens population is confined, the Ridgebury population, situated in the Wallkill River drainage, has the potential to infest the entire Hudson River drainage and beyond to the Great Lakes and continental US.

The letter stated, in part:
We are writing to update you concerning the Department of Environmental Conservation’s efforts regarding the restoration of Ridgebury Lake and Catlin Creek. On Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 the Department began the process of restoring Ridgebury Lake and Catlin Creek downstream to the Route 6 crossing by treating these waters with the fish toxicant CFT Legumine to eradicate Northern Snakehead (Channa argus). As you know, northern snakehead is a highly invasive non-native predator fish that has the potential to prey on and compete with fish native to New York. It had become established in the headwaters of Catlin Creek, including Ridgebury Lake. As many of you have witnessed first hand, this has been an enormous undertaking, one that has resulted in significant impacts including a temporary loss of the fish population and the temporary disruption of the peaceful atmosphere of the waterfront lands you cherish. The sacrifices you have made to allow us to take aggressive action to eradicate this invasive species and prevent it from spreading throughout the state are greatly appreciated.
Prior to treatment, the DEC collected native fish from Ridgebury Lake and stored them in temporary tanks. On July 31 and August 1, DEC collected 1,400 fish, including bass, crappie, yellow perch, bullheads and shiners, to be held and used to restock Ridgebury Lake once the lake water was determined to be safe for fish. Due to the treatment, DEC banned the following activities until early September
  • Swimming and bathing
  • Fishing and/or fish consumption
  • Livestock watering
  • Irrigation or spraying of agricultural crops
  • Use of treated surface water for human consumption
  • Use of treated surface water for domestic purposes
DEC has established a website with information on the Northern Snakehead Fish at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/45470.html

Click on the article title link for more information.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

APWA announces Stormwater Certification Program

The American Public Works Association (APWA) has developed a new Certification Program for stormwater managers. The purpose of the program is to promote excellence in the profession by advancing knowledge and practices in stormwater management. A Certified Stormwater Manager will have understanding and experience in the administration of a stormwater program, use of best practices, hydrology, maintenance and other related areas.
"APWA's Certified Stormwater Manager Program is an important step forward for clean water and sustainable infrastructure," said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "It's helping to raise the bar for stormwater professionals and ensure water utilities are highly effective in meeting current and future needs."
To achieve certification, applicants must meet a set of eligibility criteria and pass an examination. APWA will conduct two exam sessions in the coming year, with the first scheduled for May 16th, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Impacts of Pharmaceuticals in Water

Continuing its work to understand the potential impacts of pharmaceuticals in water, EPA is seeking comment on an Information Collection Request (ICR) that will be used in a detailed study of unused pharmaceutical disposal methods by hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices and veterinary hospitals. EPA is seeking more information on the practices of the health care industry to inform future potential regulatory actions, and identify best management and proper disposal practices. This is one of several actions the agency is taking to strengthen its understanding of disposal practices and potential risks from pharmaceuticals in water.
"The agency's work to increase industry stewardship and scientific understanding of pharmaceuticals in water continues," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water. "By reaching out to the National Academy of Sciences and requesting information from the health care industry, EPA is taking important steps to enhance its efforts."
The agency is also commissioning the National Academy of Sciences to provide scientific advice on the potential risk to human health from low levels of pharmaceutical residues in drinking water. The National Academy of Sciences will convene a workshop of scientific experts Dec. 11-12, to advise the agency on methods for screening and prioritizing pharmaceuticals to determine potential risk.

Other actions the agency is taking include: expanding a recent fish tissue pilot study to sample nationally to determine whether residues from pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) may be present in fish and waterways; developing a methodology to establish water quality criteria to protect aquatic life; and conducting studies to examine the potential occurrence of PPCPs in sewage sludge and wastewater. To facilitate these efforts, the agency has developed state-of-the-art analytical methods capable of detecting various pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones at very low levels.

EPA also is participating in an international effort with the World Health Organization to study appropriate risk assessment methods for pharmaceuticals as environmental contaminants. All these actions reflect advice the agency sought from a broad range of stakeholders including environmental and public health groups, drinking water and wastewater utilities, state water and public health agencies, and the agricultural community.

EPA's four-pronged approach for PPCPs in water is aimed at strengthening scientific knowledge; improving public understanding; building partnerships for stewardship; and taking regulatory action when appropriate.

EPA will accept public comments on the Health Care Industry ICR for 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

See SMARxT Disposal for information on what you can do to help. SMARxT Disposal is a partnership between the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the American Pharmaceutical Association, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF): 20 Years of Progress

EPA released the 2007 Annual Report on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Programs, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow: 20 Years of Progress. The report marks the 20th anniversary of the largest federal funding program for wastewater infrastructure projects. Since its inception, the CWSRF has funded $63 billion in projects to meet water quality needs ranging from wastewater treatment plant rehabilitation, non-point source pollution control, to estuary and watershed management. In 2007, the programs reached a new high, providing nearly $5.3 billion in assistance to communities of all sizes as well as farmers, small businesses, non-profits and individuals. That includes $240 million for nonpoint source projects.

The report includes information about new initiatives and recognizes the winners of the 2007 Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) Awards. For a copy of the report, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owmitnet/cwfinance/cwsrf/ , call the EPA Water Resource Center at (202) 566-1729 or send an email to
center.water-resource@epa.gov. The reference document number is EPA-832-R-08-001

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Girl Scout Water Drop Patch Project is even Better

The popular Water Drop Patch Project, co-produced by Girl Scouts of the USA and the Environmental Protection Agency is getting updated and improved. The manual, designed for adults' use with Girl Scout Brownies through Ambassadors (grades 2-12) and divided into grade-level, age-appropriate watershed activities, now aligns to the new Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Updated information and new and expanded girl-lead, learning by doing help Girl Scouts: discover, connect, and take action. Girl Scouts who complete the requisite number of activities receive a beautiful patch emblazoned with a white egret.

Here are some possible activities: Older Girl Scouts (grades six and up) can participate in the International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, September 20, 2008. This event attracts almost 400,000 volunteers worldwide to pick up trash and marine debris from the nation's waterways. Girl Scouts (grades 4 and up) can go out and sample the nation's waters as part of World Water Monitoring Day (September 18th - October 18th.). Both activities are supported by EPA's Office of Water. Two exciting new activities added to the revised manual include the construction of a rain garden to help control stormwater runoff and the creation of a watershed outreach video.

For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/adopt/patch/. Free hard copies of the manual can be ordered by calling the National Service Center for Environmental Protection at 1-800-490-9198 or emailing: nscep@bps-lmit.com.(#EPA 840-B-07-001). Patches can be ordered from the GSUSA on-line store http://goshop.girlscouts.org/gsusaonline/ or at Girl Scout council shops. Adults should consult with Safety-Wise to ensure Girl Scout safety guidelines are followed when working with girls. The Water Drop Patch Project is nationally recognized as part of the Girl Scouts? of the USA's Linking Girls to the Land program.

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Improved Data Exchange Now Includes Biological and Habitat Water Data

EPA's Office of Water has announced the release of Water Quality Exchange (WQX ) version 2.0, a data transfer system which now allows states, tribes and other organizations to share their biological and habitat monitoring results. Since February 2007, WQX version 1.0 has provided a way for states, tribes, and other organizations to share physical, chemical and fish tissue water monitoring data. Because many monitoring programs use biological and habitat data as the basis for assessing water quality, WQX version 2.0 enhances the richness of information available for data sharing, analysis, and improved decision making by watershed managers. All data shared using the WQX framework can be accessed on-line in the STORET Data Warehouse, EPA's repository for water quality data.

Visit http://www.epa.gov/storet/wqx.html for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

Friday, August 29, 2008

New "Fish Kids" website teaches youth about contaminants in fish

EPA's National Fish Advisory Program just released a new Fish Kids website - a fun website that uses interactive stories and games to teach kids ages 8-12 about contaminants in fish and fish advisories. Whether they catch their own fish, or buy it at a store, kids and their families can use this site to learn how to choose fish wisely! The site, selected as the August site of the month by kids.gov - the official kids portal for the U.S. government, helps children and their parents choose the healthiest fish to eat, using interactive stories and games.

Visit the site at http://www.epa.gov/fishadvisories/kids/ .

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, in the new limno-lingo, represent a serious issue. When I was in lake school many years ago, we knew that certain algae could be hazardous. But these were marine algae that caused red tides or were rare events in freshwater, and then usually in cow ponds. Now HABs are front and center at many lakes.

The EPA report, Scientific Assessment of Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms (available from EPA as a PDF) is the latest compendium of HAB science and is the techno-tell-all of what we know and what we no not know about HABs. We know for example that:
“Freshwater HAB toxins can have a broad range of negative impacts on humans, animals, and aquatic ecosystems. Many cyanobacteria can produce neurotoxic, hepatotoxic, dermatotoxic, or other bioactive compounds, and blooms of toxigenic cyanobacteria pose a particular threat if they occur in drinking water sources.”
A lot of new words and jargon that say in essence that these blooms can’t be good.

Seriously, as lake managers, we cannot ignore HABs. HABs pose threats beyond what we have traditionally dealt with as lake managers. HABs threaten water supplies, human health, and fish and wildlife.

What we don’t know or at least don’t know well includes risk assessment, analytical methods, toxicity pathways, or the appropriate response framework. The report provides an assessment and roadmap to better attend to these needs.

Of course, if we confront lakes experiencing HABs, we cannot wait for the answers to all the unknowns. We can fall back on our tried-and-true approaches to lake management - lake management basics – which ought to be relied upon to minimize and manage the impacts of HABs.

This means priority ought to be given to nutrient management. Specifically,
  • Top priority for watershed protection for those lakes not yet affected by HABs
  • For lakes already experiencing HABs, watershed rehabilitation may be too slow, so in addition, we should initiate in-lake nutrient reduction methods.
  • In cases where nutrient reduction may not be timely or sufficient, other in-lake techniques should be used.
These strategies and techniques are explained fully in the textbook, Restoration and Management of Lakes and Reservoirs or the manual, Managing Lakes and Reservoirs – both available in the NALMS Bookstore (currently off-line). You may also purchase Managing Lakes and Reservoirs through Amazon.com using the Lake Stewardship Store.

Article by Dick Osgood, President of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS), used by permission. Click on the Title for more information and to read NALMS' latest newsletter.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

EPA releases information guides to help public water systems comply with the Ground Water Rule

EPA has released a new information guides to assist states and public water systems understand requirements of the Ground Water Rule (GWR). The GWR, which was finalized in November 2006, will provide for increased protection against microbial pathogens in public water systems that use ground water as a source of drinking water. Public water systems need to begin actions to comply with the GWR in December 2009.

A Quick Reference Guide provides a simple and straight-forward description of the rule, critical deadlines, requirements for drinking water systems and states, and information on monitoring requirements. A series of fact sheets provide more detail about specific topics covered by the rule, including monitoring, sanitary surveys, and public notification.

Electronic versions of the documents are available on the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/gwr/compliancehelp.html.

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WaterSense Program: More Educational Materials for Kids and Teachers

EPA has announced The WaterSense program has an exciting new set of educational materials for kids and teachers.

A Day in the Life of a Drop teaches students about the connections between the sources of the water they use and how that use affects human health and the environment. These fun learning materials include a teachers guide, two student worksheets, a spreadsheet to track water use at home, and a pledge for students and their families to filter out bad water habits. The new curriculum can be found on EPA's Web site at www.epa.gov/watersense/water/drop.htm.

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA's WaterHeadlines.

Water Quality Modeling Workshop in Baltimore, Maryland

EPA will convene a 1 day water quality modeling workshop, "Water Quality Modeling to Support Management Actions," from September 9 to 10, 2008, at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The meeting is being coordinated with a Water Environment Federation (WEF) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) conference scheduled for September 11, 2008. Attendees of the workshop will obtain an understanding of EPA-supported models that can be used to address regulatory and water quality planning objectives. The workshop will focus on tools available to meet multiple objectives like watershed planning, smart growth, trading, TMDL development, and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit development. The workshop will identify objectives that can be addressed within EPA's BASINS environment and provide participants with an opportunity to provide feedback to guide future development of BASINS and other modeling-related tools. (BASINS or "Better Assessment Science Integrating Point & Nonpoint Sources" is a multi-purpose environmental analysis system that integrates a geographical information system (GIS), national watershed data, and environmental assessment and modeling tools.)

More information about the workshop is available at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/ftp/basins/training/training-200809.html

Click on Title link for more information. Source: EPA WaterHeadlines

A look at Lake Michigan invaders

Jane Dauffenbach, regular contributor to the Lake Stewardship Blog, offers this link on invasive species, adding
Great underwater video and nice summary of the current Lake invaders

Underwater, a disturbing new world

A Tribune team follows researchers to the bottom of Lake Michigan as they try to explain the rapidly shifting ecosystem

OFF ATWATER BEACH, Wis.—This place should be an underwater desert.

But as the three researchers wearing scuba tanks and lead weights drop through the water, the landscape of rounded stones 30 feet below is disturbingly full of strange, new life.

In just a few years, the gravel and white boulders that for centuries covered the bottom of Lake Michigan between Chicago and the Door County, Wis., peninsula have disappeared under a carpet of mussels and primitive plant life.

The change is not merely cosmetic. In the last three years or so, scientists say, invasive species have upended the ecology of the lakes, shifting distribution of species and starving familiar fish of their usual food supply.

Click on Title link to view entire article. Thanks to Jane Dauffenbach of Aquarius Systems for the submission.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Drought in Spain exposes Relic Church

A drought in the vicinity of Barcelona, Spain has recently exposed the medieval San Romà de Sau church, which has been inundated since 1964 when the Sau dam was built on the Ter River.

Water levels typical hovered about halfway up the tower. Barcelona is even having drinking water shipped in from other parts of the Mediterranean. They project that these shipments of water will go on until October of 2008. (click church for larger image)

In a year that so far ranks as Spain's driest since records began 60 years ago, the reservoir is currently holding as little as 18% of its capacity - at a time of year after which winter rains would usually have provided an essential boost.

Sources/For More information:

Be Bold

Be bold. We manage lakes to protect them or to improve them. If some policy, process, or technique is not working, change it. I can think of no better example than the prevention of aquatic invasive species. Because most of these nasty plants, animals, and viruses cannot be eradicated once established in a lake, bold measures must be on the table. We must be open to cultural changes such as inspections or quarantines in some cases if we are serious about protecting lakes. Simply, we must be as aggressive as these exotic pests.

Another area where we must be open to new thinking is adapting to climate change. Changing climate may undermine the design criteria for many of our stormwater management and control facilities, thereby threatening to under-protect the lakes downstream. As well, many native flora and fauna in our lakes may not be able to weather (sorry, pun) altered climate patterns and our lakes may be less able to stand insults. Again, we are managing lakes in a changing environment (the theme of our symposium in November, see below) – so we will need to be open to different policies, processes, and techniques.

If you have developed a new approach or technique, please share it with NALMS members and the lake management community. Consider submitting your thoughts and observations in this newsletter, in LakeLine, in the Journal, or at a technical session in our symposium. We become better lake managers and our lakes become better managed the more we share our collective wisdom and experience.

Article by Guest Author, Dick Osgood, President, North American Lake Management Society (NALMS)
Visit the NALMS Notes newsletter for more information about NALMS at http://www.nalms.org/Publications/NALMSNotes/notes08-6.html

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds 2007 Annual Report Released

The Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW) 2007 Annual Report provides a snapshot of OWOW's notable accomplishments in calendar year 2007. Accomplishments include: the completion of more than 4,000 watershed cleanup plans in 2007, the 20th anniversary celebration of the National Estuary Program, and the release of the Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox, an on-line repository of watershed outreach materials, including nearly 800 public service announcements, radio, TV and print ads. To download the report, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owow/pdf/owowannualreport07.pdf

Source: EPA Water Headlines

New EPA Website: Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads

EPA recently released a new "Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads" (TMDLs) homepage at www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl. The new Web page features an overview of the Clean Water Act section 303(d) program activities, highlights new resources, and provides easier access to program resources, such as EPA?s new Water Quality Assessment and TMDL Information (ATTAINS) Web site. The Web site revamping was prompted by the desire to improve navigation for a variety of audiences and to distinguish two key activities, e.g., 303(d) listing of impaired waters and development of TMDLs. The site also features a new "TMDL Stormwater Resources" page that hosts several stormwater-source TMDLs and case studies highlighting the innovative approaches states are using to address stormwater (see www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/stormwater/). Additional pages that are coming soon include a new "TMDLs at Work" page, which will highlight successful restoration efforts where TMDL/303(d) activities were an important part of the process, and a "TMDL Mercury Air Deposition" page that will host a variety of resources and examples for developing TMDLs for waters impaired by mercury.

Source: EPA Water Headlines for June 9, 2008

EPA Announces "Green" Podcast Series about Smart Growth and Green Development

EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds Posts First Podcast About Green Streets: From Gray Funnels to Green Sponges

EPA's OWOW posted its inaugural podcast, the first audio program in a planned series about smart growth and green development entitled, From Gray Funnels to Green Sponges.

Hosted by EPA's Jamal Kadri, this program features a discussion with EPA's senior urban designer and smart growth expert Clark Wilson on how communities can more effectively manage rainwater and snow melt where it falls. Green streets can make great places, preserve water quality and restore our nation's waterways. These and other practices like rain gardens and green roofs are helping many urban communities like Portland, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. manage stormwater runoff as well as provide aesthetic benefits. In addition, green streets and other environmentally-friendly landscape designs can help minimize urban heat island effect, reduce a community's carbon footprint, and cool the planet.

To access the podcast, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owow/podcasts. Watershed Academy Webcasts are also available as podcasts from iTunes. Visit http://www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts.

Source: EPA Water News

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Look for LakeStewardship.org

Check out the new, streamlined look for LakeStewardship.org where you can find links to information about Critical Issues -- addressing critical environmental issues affectng lake and watershed management, with links to web pages and reports on such topics as acid rain, algal toxins, invasive species, wetlands and wildlife, and water quality.

You will also find loads of links to useful web resources related to lake management and lake stewardship.

Be sure and check out the ever-changing lake and water related quotes provided each time you visit the home page.

"There is nothing softer and weaker than water,
And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.
For this reason there is no substitute for it."
-Lao-Tzu- (c. B.C. 550)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Has EPA failed to implement the Clean water Act?

The following article has been contributed by invited guest author Peter Maier. The editor takes no side in this issue, but presents it for your cogitation. You may comment directly to this post on the LakeStewardship Blog and to Peter using the contact information at the end of this article. The author's website provides a variety of additional information on this topic - Michael R. Martin, LakeStewardship.org -

Why EPA failed to implement the Clean water Act.

As long as EPA does not consider nitrogenous waste (urine and protein) pollution, we will never implement the Clean Water Act, as it was intended. This waste not only, like fecal waste, exerts an oxygen demand, but also is a fertilizer for algae and aquatic plant growth, causing eutrophication and eventually dead zones.

The reason EPA ignored this pollution is caused by a worldwide incorrect applied pollution test, EPA used to implement the Clean Water Act and although EPA in 1984 acknowledged this incorrect use, in stead of correcting the test, it allowed an alternative test and thereby officially ignored this type of pollution and by doing so lowered the goal of the CWA from 100% treatment (elimination of all pollution by 1985) to a measly 35% treatment, without even notifying Congress.

Other problems caused by this incorrect applied test are that we do not know the real performance of a sewage treatment plants and have no idea what the effluent waste loading is on receiving water bodies, besides also the possibility that such plants are designed to treat the wrong waste in sewage.

In an attempt to correct its mistake, EPA initiated watershed programs, where all contributing pollution form different runoff sources is established, among others the effluents of sewage treatment plants or also called point-source pollution. Though this program, EPA hoped that much better treatment would be required for what it determined to be secondary treatment.

This program, however, violates the intend of the CWA as Congress demanded the Act to be implemented with a ‘technology-based’ program, demanding ‘bets available technology’ and not a ‘water quality-based’ program, whereby effluent standards of sewage treatment plant could be set based on the water quality of receiving water bodies. Such a program, Congress felt, could be easily manipulated by local politicians and would defeat the original intend of the act to set uniform nation-wide standards to treat sewage.

Sal Lake County recently published a draft report of such a watershed TMDL study and whiles it, besides the actual flow rates, monitors ten different chemical analyzes for the non-point sources, while it only has two water quality analyses of the effluents of the point sources, while these flows clearly dominate the water quality of the river.

If interested in my comments of the study contact me at pmaier@erda.net or if you like know about incorrect test that caused the failure of the CWA, visit www.petermaier.net and read the description of this test (BOD) in the Technical PDF section.

Peter Maier, PhD, PE