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

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:

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

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 ). 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 and .

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:

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.