Wednesday, March 31, 2010

EPA Proposes Veto of West Virginia Mine Permit Under the Clean Water Act

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposal under the Clean Water Act to significantly restrict or prohibit mountain top mining at the Spruce No. 1 surface mine in Logan County, W. Va. Spruce No.1 mine is one of the largest mountaintop removal operations ever proposed in Central Appalachia. The project was permitted in 2007 and subsequently delayed by litigation. The Spruce No. 1 mine would bury over 7 miles of headwater streams, directly impact 2,278 acres of forestland and degrade water quality in streams adjacent to the mine.

EPA's proposed determination comes after extended discussions with the company failed to produce an agreement that would lead to a significant decrease of the environmental and health impacts of the Spruce No. 1 mine. EPA has used its Clean Water Act veto authority in just 12 circumstances since 1972 and never for a previously permitted project. The proposed determination identifies numerous potential adverse impacts associated with the Spruce No. 1 project including water quality impacts, fish and wildlife impacts, mitigation impacts, and cumulative mining impacts.

Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404(c) authorizes EPA to restrict or prohibit placing certain pollutants in streams, lakes, rivers, wetlands and other waters if the agency determines that the activities would result in "unacceptable adverse impacts" to the environment, water quality, or water supplies. This authority applies to proposed projects as well as projects previously permitted under the CWA. A final decision to restrict or prohibit the Spruce No.1 mine will be made at EPA Headquarters based on a recommendation from the Regional Administrator, public comments, and discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Mingo Logan Coal Company.

The proposed determination is being published in the federal register and EPA is taking public comment for 60 days. EPA is also scheduling a public hearing in West Virginia to provide an additional opportunity for public input.

The proposed determination:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

EPA's Watershed Academy Webcast on Monitoring and Assessment Under the Clean Water Act

EPA is announcing a Watershed Academy Webcast on April 7, 2010 at 1:00 - 3:00 pm Eastern to learn about "Monitoring and Assessment Under the on the Clean Water Act." This is a third in a series of Webcasts on the Clean Water Act (CWA). Earlier Webcast topics included an introduction to the CWA and an introduction to water quality standards.

This Webcast will focus on key aspects of monitoring and assessment under the CWA including:
1) collection, assembly and evaluation of water quality data and other relevant information, 2) inferring current waterbody condition based on such data and information, and 3) determining whether or not individual waterbodies meet applicable state water quality criteria.

To register for this Webcast, visit

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Virtual Water Trade Show

Introducing a new, completely virtual water event!

VirtualH2O, taking place April 20-21, 2010, will combine virtual tradeshow exhibits and conference presentations to deliver attendees an innovative -- and convenient -- opportunity to network with and learn from leaders in the water and wastewater industries.

Conference Program

VirtualH2O will offer attendees access to 30 presentations across the following tracks: Municipal Drinking Water, Municipal Wastewater, Industrial Water/Wastewater, Urban Water Management, and Municipal Water Utility Management. Click here ( to view the conference agenda.

Conference sessions will be delivered as pre-recorded webcasts, with instructors on-hand for a live Q & A session after the presentation.

Registration is FREE and absolutely no travel is required.

Virtual Trade Show

Exhibitors will be on-hand in virtual booths to share information about their latest water and wastewater products and network with attendees. Visiting a virtual booth provides attendees with an innovative way to learn about and evaluate products that interest them -- without traveling to a physical tradeshow or walking an exhibit hall.

VirtualH2O takes networking efforts to the next level, enabling real-time interaction between vendors and attendees in the form of live chat and email exchanges. Exhibitors can also share information about their products and services through the use of video as well as literature downloads.

More information available at

Register at