Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New York Joins New England States to Fight Out-of-Region Mercury Emissions

New York State has joined the six New England states in petitioning the federal government to take stronger steps to reduce mercury pollution in lakes and rivers by limiting mercury emissions that originate from sources beyond the region, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced recently. New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont have formally requested the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use a federal Clean Water Act provision to convene a conference of all the states whose emissions contribute to mercury deposition in the petitioning states.

The purpose of the conference would be to craft an agreement on how to reach mercury reduction targets. This is the latest development in a series of efforts taken by New York and the New England states to collaboratively curb mercury emissions, a major factor in unsafe mercury levels in fish, and to prevent the chemical from impacting their natural resources and public health.

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NYS DEC Annoucnes 2008 Environmental Excellence Awards

The New York State Department of Conservation has annouced the 2008 recipients of the Environmental Excellence Award. Recipients include:

The Golden Arrow Resort in Lake Placid for its "green roof"-a rooftop expanse of native plants that provides wildlife habitat, reduces water runoff and helps keep the inn warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Brewster School District in Putnam County for its "Environmental Education/Sustainable Practices Project," that includes capital improvements and managerial processes to save energy and protect the region's water supply by preventing excessive plant growth, loss of oxygen and fish kills in the receiving waters.

Union College, Schenectady County, which has instituted the U-Sustain initiative--an innovative, campus-wide program that involves faculty, staff, students and administrators in reducing the ecological footprint of the college, increasing environmental awareness on campus and in the community and making the college more sustainable.

Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District and Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, Chemung County for working together to develop an innovative guide, Stream Processes: A Guide to Living in Harmony with Streams, that describes how streams work and why functioning floodplains are integral parts of stream systems.

Aslan Environmental and City of Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant, Ulster County for developing the first system for managing wastewater treatment plant residuals in an economical and environmentally sound manner.

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, Albany County for using Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM)-Farming New York Cleaner and Greener Program to show that a voluntary, incentive-based approach to agricultural management can successfully protect and enhance soil and water resources, while preserving the economic viability of a diverse agricultural community.

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

EPA Seeks Advice on Perchlorate in Drinking Water & Issues Interim Perchlorate Health Advisory

EPA Seeks Advice on Perchlorate in Drinking Water & Issues Interim Health Advisory

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking advice from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) before making a final determination on whether to issue a national regulation for perchlorate in drinking water.

The agency also is issuing an interim health advisory of 15 parts per billion (ppb) to assist state and local officials in addressing local contamination of perchlorate in drinking water and making a corresponding change to the factors it considers in cleaning up Superfund sites. 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 expects to issue a final health advisory concurrent with the final regulatory determination for perchlorate.
administrator for water.

On Oct. 10, 2008, the agency issued a preliminary regulatory determination for public comment in the Federal Register. The notice described the agency's decision that there is not a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction" through a national drinking water regulation for perchlorate. The agency received more than 32,000 comments on the notice.

After considering public comments, as well as recommendations from EPA advisory groups and offices, EPA is asking the NAS to provide additional insight on various issues. Specifically, EPA is asking the NAS to evaluate its derivation of the Health Reference Level of 15 ppb, the use of modeling to evaluate impacts on infants and young children, and the implication of recent biomonitoring studies. The agency is also asking the NAS how it should consider the role of perchlorate relative to other iodide uptake inhibiting compounds and if there are other public health strategies to address this aspect of thyroid health.

EPA is replacing the existing preliminary remediation goal of 24.5 ppb with the interim health advisory value of 15 ppb. This goal will be used as a consideration when establishing cleanup levels for perchlorate at Superfund sites.

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 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.

More information on the perchlorate health advisory: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/unregulated/perchlorate.html

Source: Waterheadlines

Monday, January 12, 2009

Acid Rain Harms Streams in Western Adirondacks

A new scientific study of streams in the western region of the Adirondack Mountains has found that two-thirds of them have been harmed by acid rain produced by the burning of fossil fuels. This equates to 450 miles of acidified streams. The western Adirondacks receive some of the highest levels of acidic deposition in the United States

This study is the first-ever regional assessment of Adirondack streams since the early 1980s and the only assessment conducted in the United States to characterize episodic acidification on a regional level. For this study, 200 headwater streams were sampled in five surveys conducted from 2003 to 2005.

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

Friday, January 09, 2009

EPA Seeking Comment on Draft Handbook for Developing Watershed Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

EPA’s Office of Water has issued a draft “Handbook for Developing Watershed TMDLs” available for public comment starting this week at: http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/techsupp.html. The public comment period closes on February 18, 2009.

EPA is looking for ways to help states expedite development of scientifically defensible TMDLs. One strategy is to use a watershed framework for developing TMDLs. Grouping multiple impaired segments into a single watershed TMDL development effort not only provides a number of cost and time efficiencies to the TMDL development process, but it can also better represent source-impairment dynamics to facilitate more effective allocations and implementation for reducing point and nonpoint source loads to restore impaired waterbodies to water quality standards.

The draft document identifies the issues for practitioners to consider and tools and resources that can help them when planning for and developing watershed TMDLs. The draft document also identifies the benefits of developing watershed TMDLs, as well as the challenges and ways to address them. Throughout the draft document, there are examples, tips and resources provided to further support TMDL practitioners in understanding how to develop watershed TMDLs to cost-effectively develop allocations to restore their impaired waters. Finally, the draft document evaluates the connections between watershed TMDLs and other water programs and identifies opportunities for integrating watershed TMDLs and their results into other watershed management efforts, such as monitoring, watershed planning, watershed-based permitting and water quality trading.

Please send any comments or questions you have on this draft document to Michael Haire in OWOW’s Watershed Branch at haire.michael@epa.gov.

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Thursday, January 08, 2009

John Rapanos agrees to pay for Clean Water Act violations

I haven't been following this case, but here is an EPA release on penalties for wetlands violations.
 
John A. Rapanos and related defendants have agreed to pay a civil penalty and recreate approximately 100 acres of wetlands and buffer areas to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act at three sites in Midland and Bay counties, Michigan, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Rapanos has agreed to pay a $150,000 civil penalty and will spend an estimated $750,000 to mitigate for 54 acres of wetlands that were filled without authorization under the Clean Water Act. Rapanos has also agreed to preserve an additional 134 acres of wetlands that were unaffected by the unauthorized activity. Under the agreement, the preservation of these areas will be enforced via a conservation easement held by the State of Michigan.

The original enforcement action was filed against Rapanos in 1994 and the case drew national attention after the District Court ruling was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and subsequently sent back to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings. Rapanos challenged EPA's findings that the filled wetlands were under federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The litigation determined that Rapanos did fill wetlands under federal jurisdiction.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rapanos attempted to level three different parcels of land by uprooting vegetation and filling low spots with sand and dirt. He also dug an extensive network of ditches to dry out the sites, which resulted in excavated dirt being sidecast into wetlands. The parcels of land were intended to be developed for a shopping mall and residential homes.

There is a parallel criminal matter that is still pending and is not affected by the settlement under the agreement. The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval. A copy of the proposed consent decree is available on the Justice Department Web site at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Monday, January 05, 2009

Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc. Founder Passes Away

It is with great sadness that Aquatic Ec0-Systems, Inc. announces the passing of its founder and former President, Robert “Bob” Heideman, at the age of 59. Mr. Heideman passed away quietly in his home last week after a yearlong battle with lung cancer.

After serving his country as a Navy Seal, Bob Heideman turned his interest in lake and wastewater aeration into a business, founding Aquatic Eco-Systems in 1978. Though at first it was necessary to keep part-time jobs as a carpenter and bartender to finance his dream, he quickly developed his company into an industry leader. Bob actively served as President until 2007, and he remained a valued advisor to the company's Board of Directors until his passing. The fruit of his labor is a global aquaculture company that today has 150 employees operating out of a 139,000-sq.ft. warehouse/office building in Apopka, Florida.

Bob led a very active personal life, fueled by a sense of adventure and exploration, which included a solo kayak trip to the Arctic Circle and an ultralight flight to the Amazon to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus' landing in America. Bob also devoted much of his time to community service, including the Bear Lake Preservation Society, Little League baseball, national and global aquaculture societies, and the Grant Committee for the Institute of Humanist Studies, where he served as chairman. He mentored many young entrepreneurs and can be credited for helping launch dozens of small businesses.

Todd Childress, President of Aquatic Eco-Systems, commented,
"As a pioneer in the aquatics industry, Bob was an inspiration to so many, and a true hero to the environment. Bob cared about our environment and our natural resources many years before it was the 'trendy' thing to do. Bob has left a legacy that we-and generations to come-can all be proud of, and he is a terrific example of how one individual can make a difference."

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Bob's name to the Institute of Humanist Studies or the Hospice of the Comforter.

Founded in 1978, Aquatic Eco-Systems (AES) has become the largest source of aquatic products and systems worldwide. AES caters to a variety of aquatic interests and industries, from aquaculture and lake management to aquariums and water gardens.

For more information about AES, visit www.AquaticEco.com.

Reprinted from PondBiz Magazine.

Friday, January 02, 2009

In Further Memory to Jim LaBounty

James "Jim" F. LaBounty

December 14, 1942-December 18, 2008, 66, of Castle Rock, Colorado. 

James F. LaBounty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Francis W. LaBounty and Audrey R. LaBounty and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1958. He graduated from Rancho High School in 1960. He earned his B.Sc. (1967) and his M.Sc. (1968) degrees at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a Ph.D. in ichthyology from Arizona State University in 1974. He began his professional career in 1969 as an Environmental Specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation's Lower Colorado Regional Office in Boulder City, Nevada where he was one of the first biologists ever to be hired by the agency. In 1974 he transferred to the Bureau of Reclamation's Engineering and Research Center in Denver as a Research Biologist. Through his research he became regarded as a National and International expert on the impacts of water resource projects on lakes, reservoirs and streams. In 1982, Jim became the Manager of the Ecological Research and Investigations Group along with working as a researcher and technical specialist until his retirement in 2000. Since 2000, he has been on contract as an Aquatic Specialist with the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas and has been instrumental in several environmental and water quality studies on Lake Mead designed to protect and improve water quality. Throughout the years Jim has published extensively, been a member of numerous environmental and fisheries organizations, served as Editor of the International Journal of Lake and Reservoir Management published by the North American Lake Management Society and served in various capacities for Toastmasters International.

Jim passed away in Miami, Florida after contracting pneumonia while on a transatlantic cruise. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Carole; children Jennifer M. LaBounty (Ben Krieger) and James F. LaBounty, Jr.; grandchildren Zane F. Claypool and Shaelyn M. Claypool; sister-in-law Marcela LaBounty, niece Daniela LaBounty and Nephew Julian LaBounty, sister-in-laws Rosemary Giampapa (Jim Stegeman), Roberta Smith (Bruce Childress) and Robin O'Rourke (Mark O'Rourke); in-laws Robert and Rosemary Smith; Aunt Bernice Anderson and Uncle William LaBounty and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Jim was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather and friend to all who knew him. His interests included gardening, stamp collecting, exercising, publishing and travelling. He was passionate about his family, his work and lived every day to the fullest. A celebration of his life will be Sunday December 28, 2008, at 1:00 pm at Horan & McConaty in Lakewood CO, 3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd. In lieu of Flowers the family requests donations be made in his name to The Children's Hospital Foundation 13123 E. 16th Ave. Box 045 Aurora, CO. or online at http://www.thechildrenshospital.org/give/index.aspx, or to the NALMS scholarship fund P.O. Box 5443 Madison, WI 53705-0443.

Reprinted from Horan and McConaty Funeral Services