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News Releases - 2010


All Hazards Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis Tools for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing two software tools for risk assessment and consequence analysis:

The release of VSAT and WHEAT will provide drinking water, wastewater, and combined utilities of all sizes with the capability to assess, plan for, and better respond to man-made threats and natural disasters.

Access VSAT & Wheat on EPA

VSAT is an interactive desktop software tool that employs a proven methodology to enable users to perform customized risk assessments. The upgraded tool not only evaluates man-made threats but has a new feature that allows users to assess four different natural disaster scenarios: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes. VSAT has the flexibility for the user to assess other types of natural disasters as well.

WHEAT is an intuitive desktop software tool that assists drinking water utility owners and operators in quantifying public health impacts, utility financial costs, and regional economic impacts of an accidental or adverse event. Currently, WHEAT generates consequence results based on two scenarios for drinking water utilities:

1) release of a hazardous gas and,
2) loss of operating assets. There are future plans to develop similar wastewater utility modules.

The benefits to drinking water and wastewater utilities using these tools are the following:

The VSAT and WHEAT tools are available for download free of charge through EPA's website at:
http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/techtools/index.cfm

For more information about either tool, contact John DeGour at degour.john@epa.gov or Curt Baranowski at baranowski.curt@epa.gov of EPA.

Posted November 10, 2010


 

EPA Provides Information on Innovative and Emerging Energy Conservation Measures to Help Wastewater Utilities Reduce Energy Consumption

As part of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) EPA's commitment to expanding cost saving, energy conservation, and efficiency programs, it is releasing a new technical document to assist municipal utility owners and operators in finding information on cost-effective energy management and energy conservation measures and technologies to reduce total energy usage at their wastewater treatment facilities.

Access EPA Publications

The document, "Evaluation of Energy Conservation Measures for Wastewater Treatment Facilities," presents technical and cost information about energy management and energy conservation measures and technologies.

Technical and cost data were developed from literature sources and provided by manufacturers and operating facilities. The document provides preliminary information on innovative and emerging energy conservation measures and technologies that have the potential for substantial energy savings.

In addition, the document includes nine in-depth facility studies that further examine application and cost information for various full-scale, operational energy conservation measures and technologies.

For more information and to view a copy of the document, please visit: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/publications.cfm.

Posted October 25, 2010


 

Water We Drink Website Has New Articles

The Water We Drink: Small Community Outreach Campaign, which offers information about maintaining safe, sustainable, and secure water supplies in small and rural communities, has added new content to its website.

The website, located at www.nesc.wvu.edu/waterwedrink/, is a joint effort by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the National Environmental Services Center (NESC), located at West Virginia University, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Access Water We Drink website

New articles about source water protection, setting water and sewer rates, water and energy, and the benefits of joining your state's Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN) are available to complement previous articles related to pharmaceuticals and personal care products in our waters, impending labor shortages, and aging infrastructure. The articles are written especially for those who oversee local water and wastewater services, and may be downloaded at no charge and used for educational purposes, such as reprinting in newsletters and magazines, training sessions, and websites.

RCAP's Director of Training and Technical Services Joy Barrett, Ph.D., says, "Our main message is that local leadership is essential in protecting water resources and maintaining critical water and wastewater services, and there are practical options for ensuring the short- and long-term viability of these systems. The new articles encourage local officials and small water utility board members to be proactive in working with local utilities to determine adequate rates, prevent water pollution, conserve water and energy, and partner with neighboring utilities to plan and respond to emergencies."

The website also offers a brochure, a PowerPoint presentation and instructor's guide, and fact sheets about keeping pharmaceuticals and personal care products out of our waterways. The Water We Drink project strives to raise awareness about crucial water issues and solutions, and invites everyone to use the articles and resources to support or complement state and local efforts.

Learn more by going to www.nesc.wvu.edu/waterwedrink/. Contact Sandra Fallon by calling (800) 624-8301, ext. 5582, or e-mailing sfallon@mail.wvu.edu.

Posted October 11, 2010


 

RDUS Loan Rates

Interest rates for Rural Development Utilities Service (RDUS) water and wastewater loans—issued quarterly at three different levels: the poverty line rate, the intermediate rate, and the market rate—have been announced. The rate applied to a particular project depends on community income and the type of project being funded.

RDUS map

To qualify for the poverty line rate, two criteria must be met. First, the loan must primarily be used for facilities required to meet health and sanitary standards. Second, the median household income of the area being served must be below 80 percent of the state's non-metropolitan median income or fall below the federal poverty level. As of May 31, 2010, the federal poverty level was $22,050 for a family of four.

To qualify for the intermediate rate, the service area's median household income cannot exceed 100 percent of the state's non-metropolitan median income.

The market rate is applied to projects that don't qualify for either the poverty or intermediate rates. The market rate is based on the average of the Bond Buyer index.

The rates, which apply to all loans issued from October 1 through December 31, 2010, are:

poverty line: 2.25 percent;
intermediate: 3.00 percent; and
market: 3.75 percent.

RDUS loans are administered through state Rural Development offices, which can provide specific information concerning RDUS loan requirements and applications procedures.

For the phone number of your state Rural Development office, contact the National Environmental Services Center at (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191. The list is also available on the Rural Development Web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.

Posted September 27, 2010


 

Total Coliform Rule Revisions
EPA Seeks Public Input on Proposed Changes

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing revisions to the 1989 Total Coliform Rule (TCR), a national primary drinking water regulation.

The TCR was published in 1989 and became effective in 1990. The rule set both health goals (MCLGs) and legal limits (MCLs) for the presence of total coliform in drinking water. The rule also detailed the type and frequency of testing that water systems must undertake. In 2003, EPA announced its intent to revise the TCR.

The purpose of the TCR is to protect public health by ensuring the integrity of the drinking water distribution system and monitoring for the presence of microbial contamination. EPA anticipates greater public health protection under the proposed revised requirements, which are based on recommendations by a federal advisory committee. According to EPA, the proposed revisions to the TCR will:

EPA is accepting comments and suggestions—via e-mail to prtcr_acaguide@epa.gov—through November 30, 2010.

Learn more about the TCR by visiting EPA's website devoted to the topic at: water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/tcr/regulation.cfm.

Posted September 22, 2010


 

NESC Hosts Moldovan Civic Leaders

The dots may not appear connected when you mention the National Environmental Services (NESC), Moldova, drinking water and sanitation, but when you add a recent partnership including West Virginia University (WVU) and GlobalPittsburgh with a Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation grant, the pattern is clearer.

On September 16th, six visitors from Moldova—a former Soviet state wedged between Romania and the Ukraine—stopped at NESC to discuss water quality issues and their intersection with the environment and government as part of a 10-day trip to the U.S. The team was participating in the Library of Congress' Open World Leadership Center program.

Members of NESC meet with visitors from Moldova.
Moldova_NESC

The visitors hoped to learn more about issues ranging from water treatment methods, water quality monitoring and health assessment, environmental law, renewable energy and recycling.

WVU President James P. Clements meets with visitors from Moldova.
Clements

"Meeting with the Moldovan delegation reminded me just how much we have in common with other members of our global community," said NESC Director Gerald Iwan. "Water and wastewater disposal, and the environmental condition, are as important to the quality of life in Moldova as they are in the here in Morgantown, West Virginia. Coming together on these issues from different cultures and life experiences allowed us to share perspectives and adds new dimensions to our efforts to address the challenges our small and rural communities face daily. We intend to build upon this relationship."

The visitors included Nina Nicolai Bandiu, a teacher and project coordinator for a non-governmental organization called Consult-Nord; Vasile Tudor Bitca, the chairman of the Apa Canal coordinating council; Tudor Ilie Cislaru, director of the Tighina Information Center; Iulian Vasile Rotaru, chairman of the Izvorasul Water Users Association; and Ion Salaru, deputy director of the National Center of Public Health. The five leaders were accompanied by a facilitator, Liliana Ursu.

Coordinated through WVU's Office of International Students and Scholars, the Moldavians visited with experts from the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design; Department of Chemical Engineering; the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Technical Assistance Center; WVU Research Corporation; and the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority.

Learn more about GlobalPittsburgh by visiting their website at www.globalpittsburgh.org.

Posted September 21, 2010


 

Climate Ready Water Utilities Working Group Meeting, September 23-24

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Drinking Water Advisory Council's Climate Ready Water Utilities Working Group Meeting to be Held on September 23-24, 2010 in Alexandria, Virginia.

EPA will hold the fifth and final in-person meeting of the Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) Working Group of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) on September 23, 2010, from 9 a.m.—5:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and September 24 from 8:30 a.m.—1:00 p.m., EDT in Alexandria, VA. The purpose of this meeting is to review and discuss final changes to the Working Group's report and finalize the document. The meeting is open to the public and there will be an opportunity for public comment. It will be held in Salon A at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town, which is located at 1767 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.

For additional information about the CRWU Working Group, please visit:
http://water.epa.gov/aboutow/ogwdw/ndwac/climatechange/index.cfm

Or contact Lauren Wisniewski, wisniewski by e-mail lauren@epa.gov or phone (202) 564-2918.

Posted September 15, 2010


 

Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Climate Resiliency Tool for Water Systems Available

EPA has developed an updated tool to assist utilities and other interested parties in planning and facilitating tabletop exercises that focus on water sector-related issues. Mini-DVD copies are now available. The Tabletop Exercise Tool for Water Systems: Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Climate Resiliency (TTX Tool) includes materials users can modify, allowing them to conduct a tabletop exercise to meet their specific needs.

The TTX Tool introduces users to the potential impacts of climate change on the water sector within the context of an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness and response. The 15 scenarios in the tool include natural hazards, man-made incidents, and potential climate change impacts. Five climate change-related scenarios provide an opportunity for utilities to consider and implement long-term planning measures in order to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change.

To request copies of the TTX Tool, please e-mail ttxtool@epa.gov with your mailing address and number of copies. Contact: Jenny Thomas (202) 564-4524; Amy Posner (202) 564-3338.

Posted September 15, 2010


 

EPA Seeks Drinking Water Strategy Input

Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the third Contaminant Candidate List and suggested that a new approach was needed to address regulations. To further this effort, EPA is seeking comments about four integrated principles designed to protect drinking water from source to tap.

The four principles in the Drinking Water Strategy are:

Blog

Provide your comments about this strategy by visiting http://blog.epa.gov/dwstrat/.

Posted August 25, 2010


 

Pacific Institute Introduces WECalc:
Online Home Water-Energy-Climate Calculator

You can save water at home, and save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and spend less money in the process.

WECalc, the Pacific Institute's Water-Energy-Climate Calculator, asks you a series of questions about your home water use habits and, based on your replies, estimates your water use, and provides personalized recommendations for reducing it.

WECalc logo

WECalc also estimates your water-related energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions and shows you how much you can save (and how to do it).

Saving water saves energy because capturing, transporting, treating, and using water is highly energy intensive, and energy use releases greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Check out WECalc at www.wecalc.org.

Learn more about water efficiency on NESC's Future Water site at www.nesc.wvu.edu/futurewater/.

Posted August 23, 2010


 

New Conservation and Efficiency Article on Future Water Site

A new study released by the Water Research Foundation found the top reason consumers conserve water is to save money.

Researchers surveyed 6,000 residential customers, interviewed water agencies, analyzed billing, and reviewed utility literature to measure the effectiveness of conservation communications campaigns in changing customer behavior.

Go to Future Water site

The study found few customers were aware of conservation rebate programs, yet their desire for such programs was high. Many customers felt they were already conserving as much water as they could.

The study provides an opportunity for utilities to promote cost-effective measures that are under used, such as repairing leaking plumbing and appliances and replacing water fixtures.

The report, Water Conservation: Customer Behavior and Effective Communication released this month by the AWWA, can be accessed on the Future Water site.

Posted August 18, 2010


 

Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a voluntary Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program, effective October 1, 2010. The program will enable qualified drinking water operators at public water systems in Indian country to be recognized as certified operators by EPA. This program will provide the benefits of certification to both the public water system operators and the Tribal communities they serve.

Through the training required to receive and maintain certification, operators learn how to supply drinking water that meets national standards and gain understanding of the associated public health benefits. Certification designates the water system operator as a public health professional and demonstrates the operator has the skills, knowledge, education and experience necessary to deliver safe water, supporting consumer confidence.

You can access more information about the program by going to EPA's website at www.epa.gov/safewater/tribal.html, or by contacting the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
EPA Tribal Map

Posted August 18, 2010


 

EPA Launches a Septic Wiki

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started a wiki about septic issues and they invite interested people to join.

What is a Wiki?
A wiki is a collaborative website that can be directly edited by anyone with access to it.

Why should you participate in the Septic Wiki?
By participating in EPA's Septic Wiki you can:

EPA Septic Wiki

How do I register for the Septic Wiki?
To register, please follow these five steps:

Please direct any questions to Maureen Tooke at tooke.maureen@epa.gov or (202) 564-1162.

Posted August 11, 2010


 

Listening Sessions on Potential Revisions to Water Quality Standards Regulation Held by EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold two public listening sessions on potential changes to the water quality standards regulation before proposing a national rule. The current regulation, which has been in place since 1983, governs how states and authorized tribes adopt standards needed under the Clean Water Act to protect the quality of their rivers, streams, lakes, and estuaries. Potential revisions include strengthening protection for water bodies with water quality that already exceeds or meet the interim goals of the Clean Water Act; ensuring that standards reflect a continued commitment to these goals wherever attainable; improving transparency of regulatory decisions; and strengthening federal oversight.

Basin in Oroville, CA

Water quality standards are the foundation of the water quality-based approach to pollution control, including Total Maximum Daily Loads and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Standards are also a fundamental component of watershed management.

The public listening sessions will be held via audio teleconferences on August 24 and 26, 2010, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT.

At the sessions, EPA will provide a review of the current regulation and a summary of the revisions the agency is considering. Clarifying questions and brief oral comments (three minutes or less) from the public will be accepted at the sessions, as time permits. EPA will consider the comments received as it develops the proposed rulemaking.

EPA will also hold separate listening sessions for state, tribal and local governments. EPA expects to publish the proposed revisions to the water quality standards regulation in summer 2011.

Get more information at: www.epa.gov/waterscience/standards/rules/wqs/

Posted August 4, 2010


 

Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recently released the Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) Toolbox. The Toolbox provides a searchable database for water utilities to identify relevant climate change-related impacts and target resources for responding to those challenges, including:

Access the Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox

These resources are searchable by utility type and size, region, water resources, climate change impacts, and climate response strategies. The CRWU will be updated periodically so that it provides access to the latest available information.

The toolbox is available on EPA's Web Site at: www.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/climate/toolbox.htm

Posted August 4, 2010


 

Water Management Cycle Sourcebooks for Grades K-12

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) online "Water Sourcebooks" are useful educational tools that contain 324 activities for grades K-12 related to the water management cycle and its effect on the environment. The activities include hands-on investigations, fact sheets, and reference materials.

Water Sourcebooks for Kids

The "Water Sourcebooks" contain 324 activities for grades K-12 divided into four sections: K-2, 3-5, 5-8, and 9-12. Each section is divided into five chapters: Introduction to Water, Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment, Surface Water Resources, Ground Water Resources, and Wetlands and Coastal Waters.

This environmental education program explains the water management cycle using a balanced approach showing how it affects all aspects of the environment. All activities contain hands-on investigations, fact sheets, reference materials, and a glossary of terms. Activities are organized by objectives, materials needed, background information, advance preparation, procedures, and resources. All parts of the program may be printed and copied.

They are available in PDF format and can be printed or copied. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/safewater/kids/wsb/.

Posted July 26, 2010


 

N.C. State University Stormwater Video

An educational video entitled, "Too Big for Our Ditches" has been produced by North Carolina State University's Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology. It explains the impact that stormwater has on North Carolina's coastal plain watersheds. To watch the video please visit the www.ncsu.edu/wq/videos/stormwater%20video/SWvideo.html.

Posted July 26, 2010


 

Watershed Monitoring Through Google Earth

The Clean Watersheds Project is a watershed monitoring project that uses Google Earth Pro to store and share watershed data. The website is used to collect, post, and analyze data about watersheds in an effort to better understand how to maintain and improve them. If you're interested in learning more about the project or getting your local school involved, visit cleanwatersheds.wikispaces.com.

Posted July 26, 2010


 

EPA Launches Water Conservation Campaign
WaterSense Helps Consumers Save Money and Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense program has started a national "We're for Water" campaign to encourage Americans to make simple choices that save water. The program intends to spread the word about saving water by traveling cross-country, stopping at national landmarks and educating consumers about WaterSense labeled products. WaterSense products use about 20 percent less water than standard models.

"Whether by replacing an old, inefficient plumbing fixture with a WaterSense labeled product or adopting more water-efficient behaviors, together we can help save water for future generations," said Peter Silva, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Water. "WaterSense offers consumers simple tips that can help the environment and keep money in their pockets."

We're for Water, WaterSense

Consumers can start saving water today with three simple steps: check, twist and replace.

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes and services. In 2009, EPA's WaterSense program helped consumers save more than 36 billion gallons of water and $267 million on their water and sewer bills.

For more information on the We're for Water road trip, visit: www.epa.gov/watersense/wereforwater

Posted July 20, 2010


 

Free Memberships to WaterISAC Pro, 12 months
Special Offer to Rural and Small Water System Staff and Circuit Riders

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering 12 months of FREE memberships for rural and small water system staff and circuit riders for a service known as WaterISAC Pro. Hundreds of your colleagues have already taken advantaged of this offer—giving them access to a wealth of security and emergency response information.

Authorized by Congress, WaterISAC is the water and wastewater sector's official source of guides, tools and other information on infrastructure protection and recovery.

As a member, you can also pose questions to your colleagues and get answers on practical questions. WaterISAC Pro offers:

Plus WaterISAC Pro subscribers have the opportunity to take part in many timely, pertinent webinars. In June, the FBI briefed Pro subscribers live online about the current threat environment facing water systems. Other webinars have included lessons learned from natural disasters, insider threats and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Upcoming webinars on business continuity and contingency planning are in the works.

Access the fact sheet for further information or contact WaterISAC's, Michael Arceneaux, at (202) 331-2820.

Posted July 19, 2010


 

NESC Publications Are Now Exclusively Online

For several years, we've been talking about moving our printed publications—On Tap, Small Flows, and Pipeline—to an electronic-only format. As an environmental organization, it just makes sense to deliver information in as "green" a manner as we can. Not printing upwards of 100,000 copies of these publications several times each year saves a great deal in terms of the trees and ink needed to print them, not to mention the fuel needed to get them to your mailbox.

download latest issue of On Tap magazine

The latest On Tap is the first of our publications to be available exclusively on our website (www.nesc.wvu.edu/publications.cfm). The next issue of Small Flows will follow in August.

Even though there are (and have been) compelling reasons to move our publications exclusively to the web, we've held off primarily out of respect for our subscribers. Every time we've surveyed our readers, you've indicated that you prefer printed magazines and newsletters over those produced electronically. Frankly, many of us here also like to read a hard copy better than looking at a screen.

As with so many things, though, the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. Over the last few years, NESC has had to deal with reduced funding. By moving On Tap, Small Flows, and Pipeline, to web-only publications, we save scarce funds, allowing us to apply this money to other essential activities.

We encourage you to sign up for our listservs so that you’ll know when we post new issues of our publications, as well as learn about other interesting things going on in the world of water. You can find the listservs at www.nesc.wvu.edu/listserv/cfm.

Regardless of how we do it, NESC is still committed to creating the quality information you've come to expect from our publications.

Posted July 8, 2010


 

EPA Proposes Updating Drinking Water Rule to Better Protect Public Health

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revise the 1989 Total Coliform Rule to incorporate improvements recommended by a federal advisory committee that included representatives from a broad range of stakeholder groups, including public health and public interest groups, environmental groups, state drinking water agencies and drinking water utilities. EPA used a transparent, collaborative process with stakeholders to help make this regulation more effective.

Drinking Water Rule image

The revised rule will better protect people from potential exposure to dangerous microbes because it requires water systems to take action when monitoring results indicate that contamination or a pathway to contamination may be present.

Water utilities are required to regularly monitor for microbial contamination in the distribution system. Although microbes detected in monitoring are not necessarily pathogens themselves, the detection can indicate that there is a pathway that would allow pathogens to enter the system, such as a water main break or an opening in a storage tank. Under the proposed rule, when monitoring results are positive, systems must find and fix any pathways leading to microbial risk.

EPA is seeking public comment on this proposed rule for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Read more information about the proposed rule at www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/index.html.

Posted June 24, 2010


 

Water and Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARN) Website

A Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN) is a network of utilities helping other utilities to respond to and recover from emergencies. The purpose of a WARN is to provide a method whereby water/wastewater utilities that have sustained or anticipate damages from natural or human-caused incidents can provide and receive emergency aid and assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and other associated services as necessary from other water/wastewater utilities.

WARN logo

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) WARN resource website can be used to view information on preparing for emergencies, it is not designed for responding to or assisting in the event of an emergency. The information contained on the website does not provide a guarantee of response or offer the ability to lessen the impact of a disaster to your utility.

AWWA endeavor to maintain the accuracy of the material and information on the WARN website, but cannot guarantee that the information is complete, accurate, effective, or current.

View it at http://apps.awwa.org/ebusmain/WARN.aspx.

Posted June 20, 2010


 

Algae: A Mean, Green Cleaning Machine

It sounds like a late-night infomercial pitch: a plant that grows at a monstrous pace in polluted water, soaks up CO2, and cleans up manure runoff.

United States Department of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Walter Mulbry has been finding out there's more to algae than just stringy masses that muck up streams and ponds.

Analysis of air-dried algae photo

Though some scientists believe algae might be the next best thing in biofuel production, Mulbry thinks it can be used right now to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus in livestock manure—and then dried and sold as a slow-release fertilizer.

Livestock manure is used as a cheap and abundant field-crop fertilizer because it contains large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are both essential plant nutrients. But some of the nitrogen and phosphorus that isn’t used by the crops can be washed into nearby streams and rivers and end up in the Chesapeake Bay.

"Other researchers have looked at using algae-based systems to clean up municipal wastewater and other types of polluted water," says Mulbry, who is with the ARS Environmental Management and Byproduct Utilization Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

Read the full article about this research in the May/June 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at: www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may10/algae0510.htm.

Posted June 20, 2010


 

SORA/COI© Conference 2011 Date Announced

The 12th State Onsite Regulators Alliance and Captains of Industry (SORA/COI©) wrapped up on June 9, 2010. Sixty-four regulators from 28 states traveled to Albuquerque, as well as representatives from two Canadian provinces and two Indian Tribes. Joining these regulators were 42 Captains of Industry from 25 companies and 12 staff members from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as host organizations the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).

Thank you to all who attended for making the conference a tremendous success. A sincere thanks to all of the 2010 sponsors who made it possible: NSF International, Infiltrator Systems Inc., Presby Environmental Inc., Percolation Technologies, Jet Inc., Salcor Ultraviolet Disinfection, Orenco Systems, and Bord na Móna Environmental Products U.S. Inc.

Additional support was provided by the National Research Center for Coal & Energy at West Virginia University. Check the SORA website later this summer for conference highlights and proceedings.

Save the Date! For next year's conference, SORA/COI© will once again partner with NESC and NEHA. Slated for June 15 through 18, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio, this conference will also feature the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association in what's being dubbed a "super conference." Mark the dates in your calendar because this is one event you won't want to miss!

Posted June 16, 2010


 

Energy and Community Resilience Programs and Initiatives at West Virginia University

A research seminar on West Virginia University (WVU) Resilience Research Initiatives and participation opportunities is being held on June 16.

Clayton water rpoject

The seminar will address mission areas in the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; their research approach; and R&D participation opportunities. The initiatives are:

The Resilient Communities Initiative (RCI) is an element of the Energy and Community Resilience Programs and Initiatives at West Virginia University within the broader resiliency programs of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) is helping to develop RCI, aiding in the areas of drinking water and wastewater. For more information about RCI please visit www.nesc.wvu.edu/rci/.

For more information about WVU's Resilience Research Initiatives go to researchoffice.wvu.edu/special_notices/2010/5/25/energy-and-community-resilience-programs.

Posted June 15, 2010


 

EPA Releases Implementation Guidance on CAFO Regulations and New Alternative Drinking Water Testing Methods are Approved

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released to the public a guidance document, "Implementation Guidance on CAFO Regulations—CAFOs That Discharge or Are Proposing to Discharge," that the Agency has developed to assist in implementing the 2008 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) rule.

Santa Cruz Stormwater project

In 2008, EPA promulgated revised regulations for CAFOs to require that CAFOs that discharge or propose to discharge must seek coverage under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The rule also clarifies that a CAFO proposes to discharge if it is designed, constructed, operated, or maintained such that a discharge will occur.

Developing guidance that provides additional explanation for how to implement regulations is a routine part of how EPA fulfills its responsibilities to carry out Clean Water Act programs. This guidance will assist EPA and States with program implementation and assist CAFOs in evaluating whether they discharge or propose to discharge.

The guidance document is available at www.epa.gov/npdes/caforule.

EPA has also approved 12 new, alternative (and optional) testing methods for use in measuring the levels of contaminants in drinking water and determining compliance with national primary drinking water regulations. The Safe Drinking Water Act authorizes EPA to streamline approval of the use of alternative testing methods through publication in the Federal Register. This expedited approach provides public water systems, laboratories, and primacy agencies with more timely access to new measurement techniques and greater flexibility in the selection of analytical methods, thereby reducing monitoring costs while maintaining public health protection.

These 12 alternative methods test for Dalapon; Radium-226; Uranium; Radioactive Cesium, Iodine and Gamma emitters; Tritium; and E. coli in drinking water. The web site also describes the Expedited Method Approval Process for drinking water and provides a complete listing of the alternative testing methods approved under the program.

You can view or download the complete text of the Federal Register final action and fact sheet at:
epa.gov/safewater/methods/analyticalmethods_expedited.html.

Posted June 15, 2010


 

Call for Papers, ASDWA Annual Conference

The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), the professional Association serving state drinking water programs, are now accepting abstracts for their 2010 Annual Conference. The confernece will be held October 19-21, 2010 at the Pittsburgh Hilton in Pennsylvania.

ASDWA Conference Call for Papers

This year's presentation themes may include, but are not limited to the following:

When reviewing proposals, ASDWA will give priority to those received from state drinking water program administrators and their staff. If you would like to make a presentation submit a one-page abstract with the proposed presentation title, the name, and contact information for the speaker to Deirdre Mason, e-mail dmason@asdwa.org or download the pdf flyer for more information. The due date is June 25, 2010.

Posted June 2, 2010


 

"Water You Waiting For" Video

A new video, "Water You Waiting For," is now available for viewing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website. Produced by EPA as part of the Agency's efforts to promote water sector careers as green jobs, the video is designed for high school and vocational students.

Access Water You Waiting For Video

It shows vocational students with internships at drinking water systems located in the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and highlights the many different types of jobs available at water utilities.

Published reports indicate that approximately 30 percent of the water sector workforce is eligible to retire in the next 10 years. EPA, American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Water Environment Federation (WEF) are partnering in various efforts to highlight the need for qualified professionals to enter this important field.

The video can be accessed at www.epa.gov/safewater/operatorcertification/wateryouwaitingfor/index.html and is expected to be available for viewing on AWWA and WEF websites early this summer.

Posted May 25, 2010


 

EPA Sponsors Free Access to WaterISAC Security Resources

Information about infrastructure protection strategies is vital to the security of drinking water and wastewater utilities. To help drinking water and wastewater systems improve their security, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and WaterISAC are offering free access to WaterISAC's Pro service for one year.

WaterISAC Photo

This opportunity is available to staff of drinking water and wastewater utilities of all sizes, water association employees, state environment and homeland security agencies, and circuit riders.

"The offer of free access is one that every utility should take advantage of," said Patty Cleveland, Trinity River Authority of Texas's Northern Region Operations Manager. "The information is integral to risk management and planning."

WaterISAC was established in 2002 as a nonprofit water-sector organization in support of infrastructure protection. WaterISAC Pro's secure online library contains more than 2,000 white papers, best practices, three different contaminant databases, vulnerability assessment tools, research reports, and more. WaterISAC Pro also hosts free webinars on current topics such as lessons learned from natural disasters, emergency response planning and insider threats.

"The resources on WaterISAC Pro help utilities prepare for all hazards and develop response and recovery plans," said Robert Walters, Assistant Manager at Davidson Water in North Carolina.

To sign up for 12 months of free access to WaterISAC Pro, go to www.waterisac.org.

Posted May 18, 2010


 

Wastewater Database Call for Information:
10 Minutes for More Effective Wastewater Treatment

The Canaan Valley Institute (CVI), a nonprofit organization serving the Mid-Atlantic Highlands, is gathering information about operation and maintenance costs for non-traditional (sometimes called alternative or decentralized) wastewater treatment systems servicing small communities with less than 5,000 residents.

Canaan Valley Institute Rural Wastewater Photo

It their goal to provide accurate information to managers, decision makers, and residents about the performance and costs of operation for wastewater treatment options in small communities. With the information CVI is gathering, they will develop a database that will be a tool for communities considering alternative wastewater treatment systems to meet their infrastructure needs as well as a resource for those who have wastewater systems currently in place.

When the database is complete, CVI will post results on their website (www.canaanvi.org) as well as provide executive summaries. Their goal is to create a database which will be searchable and also allow those maintaining the systems to enter information directly into the database.

Enter your project data into the database by accessing the online form at
www.canaanvi.org/WasteWaterDB/public/wwdbform.asp.

If you would prefer to speak with CVI over the phone or if you have any other questions about this project, e-mail Tracy Coon at tracy.coon@canaanvi.org or call (304) 345-4550. Please forward this link to others who might provide valuable information.

Posted May 12, 2010


 

Office of Water Launches Updated, Reorganized Website

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water will launch an updated and reorganized website. The new site will be organized by topic and will feature a consistent navigation menu. If you regularly use certain content, it may be in a different place after the launch. Please take a moment to bookmark any frequently used pages, and use these bookmarks to locate your pages after this week. After the launch, take note of the new page addresses and update your bookmarks.

EPA is excited about this new look. They hope that you enjoy your experience with the new website which can be accessed at www.epa.gov/ow.

Posted May 12, 2010


 

Web Tools Inform Public About Clean Water Enforcement
Interactive Web tool allows the public to check water violations in their communities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new set of web tools, data, and interactive maps to inform the public about serious Clean Water Act violations in their communities. Improving water quality is one of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities and in 2009, Administrator Jackson directed the agency to develop concrete steps to improve water quality to better enforce the Clean Water Act and to use 21st Century technology to transform the collection, use and availability of EPA data. The web tools announced are part of EPA's Clean Water Act Action Plan to work with states in ensuring that facilities comply with standards that keep our water clean.

The new web page provides interactive information from EPA's 2008 Annual Noncompliance Report, which pertains to about 40,000 permitted Clean Water Act dischargers across the country. The report lists state-by-state summary data of violations and enforcement responses taken by the states for smaller facilities. The new web page also makes it easy to compare states by compliance rates and enforcement actions taken and provides access to updated State Review Framework reports.

Posted May 4, 2010


 

Opportunity for Educators: National Drinking Water Week, May 2-8

Of all the Earth's water, most of it is ocean or seas. (97%). About two percent of the world's water is frozen and therefore unusable. (2%) That leaves a little less than one percent of the Earth's water suitable for drinking water. (1%).

EPA's Thirstin

Please, take some time this month to think about how precious our water supply is and find out what you can do to help protect it!

You can join in the celebration by helping a child build an 'aquifer in a cup.' Visit EPA's "Kids Stuff" page for step-by-step instructions; complete with narration and visual support. Access the Kid's Stuff, For Teachers: Grades 4-8 page online at: www.epa.gov/ogwdw/kids/teachers_4-8.html.

Also visit www.epa.gov/safewater/kids/flash/flash_watercycle.html to use EPA's Thirstin's Water Cycle, an animated activity where you control the water cycle.

The National Environmental Services Center's offers an Educators: Environmental Education page at: www.nesc.wvu.edu/educators.cfm for more drinking water links, free lesson plans, and fun activities for children.

Posted May 4, 2010


 

"Tools for Protecting Coastal Wetlands" Webcast on May 4

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Watershed Academy is pleased to sponsor its 49th free Webcast Seminar.

"Tools for Protecting Coastal Wetlands"
by Dr. Bill O. Wilen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Danielle Bamford, The Baldwin Group on contract to NOAA's Coastal Service Center, and
Marcia Berman, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Atlantic Ocean Sunrise Photo

Join EPA for a special American Wetlands Month Webcast highlighting three valuable tools available for improving decision-making related to coastal wetland protection and restoration.

A recent report shows that despite a national trend of net gain of wetlands in the conterminous United States, the coastal watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico lost 354,000 acres, or about 59,000 acres per year during the period from 1998-2004. This Webcast will provide information on several tools that can help address impacts on coastal wetland ecosystems from immediate impacts (development) to long-term (sea level rise) in order to help improve decision-making and provide readily accessible information to practitioners.

Webcast participants are eligible to receive a certificate for their attendance. Webcast presentations are posted in advance and participants are encouraged to download them.

To register, go to the Watershed Academy Webcast Seminars page at www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts/.

Download the Webcast Flyer for May 4, 2010. [ PDF file . 122K ]

This 2-hour audio Web broadcast will be held at the following times on Tuesday, May 4, 2010:

Eastern: 1:00 p.m.—3:00 p.m. | Central: 12:00 p.m.—2:00 p.m. | Mountain: 11:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m. | Pacific: 10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.

Posted April 28, 2010


 

Improving Water Quality on Earth Day

"We are especially pleased with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Earth Day theme of improving water quality," says Gerald Iwan, Ph.D., NESC's director. "Having dedicated our work to helping small and rural communities with drinking water and wastewater issues and having just completed the source water protection project "SMART about Water," this is good news.

View our Educators Page

Our projects related to water efficiency, capacity development, resilient communities, and the annual State Onsite Regulators Alliance/Captains of Industry conference in June all in line with the theme and activities spelled out in the Earth Day statement by USDA Secretary Vilsack. Clean, safe drinking water for all is a worthy goal on Earth Day and every day."

View Secretary Vilsack's Earth Day statement online.

In honor of Earth Day, NESC has updated our "Educators" page with links to websites that offer interactive games, ideas for classroom activities, and many other projects for teachers, parents, and kids.

Visit the NESC Educators page at: www.nesc.wvu.edu/educators.cfm

Adding environmental education to regular curricular activities helps children understand why their actions contribute to the condition of the world. To create a better tomorrow, teach the children how to preserve the environment today.

Posted April 22, 2010


 

Updated SORA/COI© Conference Agenda Posted

This year's NESC State Onsite Regulators Alliance and Captains of Industry SORA/COI© Conference "Moving Forward . . ." on Wednesday, June 9, 2010—in conjunction with the National Environmental Health Association's (NEHA) 74th Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition offers attendees the benefit of two educational events at one venue. Participants will have access to four days of technical presentations, forums, networking, exhibitions and field trip opportunities.

This annual event brings together regulators and industry representatives to network and exchange information focusing attention on current wastewater issues and sustainable wastewater solutions. The conference offers a forum that focuses attention on current wastewater issues and increased opportunities for Captains (manufacturers) to present their products to those capable of permitting its use.

Reach state-level regulators from across the country, increase your exposure, and gain recognition for your company by sponsoring the SORA/COI© Conference. Find out how to be a sponsor online or call 1-304-293-4191 or toll free at 1-800-624-8301.

SORA/COI Conference

Get more information online at www.nesc.wvu.edu/SORA/ and view the draft agenda.

Posted April 15, 2010


 

Two Additional Tech Briefs Available in Spanish

The National Environmental Services Center announces two additional Tech Briefs are now available in Spanish: Iron and Manganese Removal and Disinfection.

"Tech Briefs" are four-page fact sheets included in our On Tap magazine. Each fact sheet provides concise, technical information about a drinking water treatment technology or issue relevant to small systems."Tech Briefs" are written for drinking water professionals, particularly small system operators.

Read the latest Tech Brief

Tables and descriptive illustrations are provided, as well as sources for more information. They are available for download at our website (www.nesc.wvu.edu/techbrief.cfm) or hard copies can be ordered by calling us toll free at (800) 624-8301.

Topics now available in Spanish include: Disinfection, Filtration, Corrosion, Iron and Manganese Removal, Water Conservation Measures, Slow Sand Filtration, Leak Detection and Water Loss Control, Reservoirs, Towers and Tanks, and Water Hammer.

A Tech Brief Fact Sheets Package is available on CD. The CD holds all the Tech Briefs. Cost is $10.00 plus shipping. Request Product # DWPKOM36. To order individual fact sheets please call for availability and pricing. Shipping charges apply.

Posted April 8, 2010


 

EPA Decentralized Wastewater Management E-Handbook Now Available

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Office of Wastewater Management has recently expanded its Handbook for Managing Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems with the addition of an E-Handbook.

Access Handbook

The E-Handbook features resource guides containing detailed information on the 13 management program elements featured in the existing management handbook: public education, planning, performance, site evaluation, design, construction/installation, operation/maintenance, inspections/monitoring, residuals management, training/certification, financial assistance, inventory/recordkeeping, and compliance assurance.

The E-Handbook focuses on individual and clustered wastewater systems that discharge to the soil, but the information can also be applied to small systems that discharge to surface waters through federal or state National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit programs. It is intended for health departments, wastewater system management entities, local governments, and others involved in managing multiple individual or clustered treatment systems. Each resource guide contains detailed information on each program element topic and links to other resources, case studies, and examples of successful management programs.

The resource guides in the E-Handbook can be accessed via hot-links in the current Management Handbook posted on EPA's Septic (Onsite) Systems web page.

Posted April 6, 2010


 

New Watershed Journal Seeks Articles

This fall, the Association of Watershed and Stormwater Professionals (AWSPS) will publish the first Watershed Science Bulletin, a peer-reviewed journal featuring practical, science-based solutions to important watershed and stormwater management issues. Watershed Science Bulletin will be the first publication to directly serve the watershed management community by synthesizing research and experience from the engineering, hydrology, planning, biological science, geoscience, environmental policy and other relevant disciplines and transmitting this valuable information to practitioners such as regulators, scientists, and educators who need it to protect and restore their watersheds.

AWSPS is currently soliciting short (five published pages or less) articles for the first issue of the Watershed Science Bulletin. This issue will feature new and unique approaches, applications, tools and methods for development and implementation of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) to restore water quality. It is scheduled for release in October 2010.

Learn more about AWSPS and theWatershed Science Bulletin by visiting the Center for Watershed Protection's website at www.cwp.org/AWSPS/index.html.

Posted March 18, 2010


 

Protect Yourself and Family When Working in Areas Exposed to Contaminated Flood Water - Website Available with Flooding Information

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) cautions the public and all responders about the potential hazards associated with flood waters.

Every effort should be made to limit contact with flood water due to potentially elevated levels of contamination associated with raw sewage and other hazardous substances. General precautions to reduce contact with contaminated flood include routine washing with soap, and not eating or drinking while in contact with flood water.

EPA has compiled other useful information on the web to assist individuals and municipalities address post-flooding clean up concerns. Issues include mold, septic systems, municipal water treatment plants, drinking water and food.

Go to EPA's News Releases - Water for the complete press relese and additonal web site information.

Access additional flood and disaster information at www.nesc.wvu.edu/subpages/emergency.cfm on the NESC web site. Many free products are featured online.

Posted March 17, 2010


 

Studies Reveal Why Drinking Water Wells are Vulnerable to Contamination

More than 100 million people in the United States receive their drinking water from public groundwater systems, which can be vulnerable to naturally occurring contaminants such as radon, uranium, arsenic, and man-made compounds, including fertilizers, septic-tank leachate, solvents and gasoline hydrocarbons.

New groundwater studies performed by the United States Geological Service (USGS) explain how, when, and what contaminants could reach public-supply water wells.

Factors that affect potential contamination include the chemistry of the aquifer, groundwater age, and direct paths within aquifer systems. The USGS has studied the movement of contaminants in groundwater in four aquifers in California, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Florida. This information will assist public-supply well managers in protecting drinking water sources.

Go to www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2403 for the complete article and additonal case study information.

Posted March 17, 2010


 

Residential Runoff: Slow It Down, Keep It Clean

The rain and snow that flows away from your home and property has great potential for adversely affecting your community's source water. According to the most recent National Water Quality Inventory, runoff from urbanized areas is the leading source of degradation to all water. As one of the earth's caretakers, there are steps you can take to help reduce these effects.

This latest issue of Pipeline discusses how building rain gardens and using rain barrels can help slow the flow. Recommendations for keeping stormwater runoff from picking up contaminants from your property are included. Access this issue at www.nesc.wvu.edu/pipeline.cfm.

All of our past issues of On Tap, Small Flows, Tech Briefs and Pipeline are available on line in our archive section at www.nesc.wvu.edu/publications.cfm.

Posted March 2, 2010


 

WaterSense "Fix a Leak Week" in March

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is promoting its second annual WaterSense "Fix a Leak Week," March 15 to 21, 2010, as a time to remind Americans to roll up their sleeves and save water.

Fix a Leak Week web site

Minor leaks from household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems account for more than 1 trillion gallons of water wasted each year in U.S. homes—enough to supply Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami with their water needs for a year. EPA created this week-long annual event to give its WaterSense utility, community, manufacturer, retail, and professional partners a call to action to encourage saving water.

For example, the City of Dallas and dozens of local plumbers will launch Fix a Leak Week by taking to the streets to repair leaks in low-income residences and replace fixtures with WaterSense labeled models. The Great Dallas Fix a Leak Week Roundup—a seven-day blitz to completely wipe out the waiting list for the city's leak repair program—is just one of many events WaterSense partners will be hosting in their communities across the country.

WaterSense is encouraging homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, and plumbing professionals to help find and fix leaks by promoting the following tips:

To learn more about Fix a Leak Week or to become a WaterSense partner, please visit www.epa.gov/watersense. Check back March 15 to 21 for updates and photos from events taking place across the nation.

WaterSense© is a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Its mission is to protect the future of our nation's water supply by promoting and enhancing the market for water-efficient products and services.

Posted February 18, 2010


 

Interactive Tool Created by SWC

The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) has launched a new interactive tool to help organizations reach out to local officials and land use decision makers. The Your Water Your Decision tool at www.yourwateryourdecision.org helps users create a professional-looking guide that highlights their community or state's specific source water protection needs by customizing subject matter, content, cover photos, contacts and resources.

Access the Your Water Your Decision tool

In addition, organizations can brand their guide by adding their own logo and contact information—making the guide unique for every organization. Use the guide to start a conversation with local officials about what can be done in your community by presenting best practices; people and resources that can help them protect their sources of drinking water.

Visit the tool online at www.yourwateryourdecision.org to see how you can create your own customized guide that downloads to your desktop in under 15 minutes.

The SWC is comprised of federal, state, and local partners who united to protect America's drinking water at the source—in the lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers they tap for drinking purposes. The SWC combines the strengths and tools of a diverse set of member organizations to act now and protect drinking water sources for generations to come.

Posted February 16, 2010


 

WVU Receives Grant to Study Water Efficiency

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) at West Virginia University (WVU), in partnership with the school's College of Business and Economics (B&E), has received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a social marketing campaign to raise awareness about water-efficient products—including low-flow faucets, toilets and showerheads.

Click to access Future Water web site

Many people may not take water efficiency into account when renovating or building a home. The objective of this grant is to understand the barriers that consumers face when purchasing water-efficient devices and then create compelling messages that will influence market demand. Saving water today ensures water for future generations.

In the grant's first phase, B&E's Paula Fitzgerald Bone, Ph.D., a marketing professor at the college, will research the current use of water-efficient products—investigating manufacturers and surveying consumer opinion.

"Conserving water is a hard sell; it is cheap and easily available. This partnership between the WVU's College of B&E and NESC provides an excellent opportunity to apply current thinking in psychology and social marketing to an increasingly important environmental issue," says Bone.

NESC will use Bone's research to develop messages for a social marketing campaign intended to change the purchasing behavior of a targeted audience. The organization also will publicize and support water-efficient programs and practices through a program titled Future Water using a Web site, listservs and magazines and newsletters.

"Water is an under-valued resource," says Gerald Iwan, NESC director. "Increasing knowledge about water-efficient products, as well as water-efficient programs and practices, helps to elevate the public's appreciation of our nation's water supplies. We believe that combining our expertise with that of WVU's College of B&E will yield important results for the effort to conserve water."

NESC has more than 30 years' experience as an information clearinghouse for drinking water and wastewater issues. WVU's B&E College is a fully accredited business school and is ranked among the top quartile of business school's in the U.S., according to a 2006 U.S. News & World Report.

For more information about the project, visit www.nesc.wvu.edu/futurewater/ or call Kathy Jesperson at (304) 293-4191 or 1(800) 624-8301, ext. 5533.

Posted February 4, 2010


 

Winners of MTAC's "Value of Water" High School Video Contest Announced

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.—Students from Bradley Bourbonnais High School have won first place in the Midwest Technology Assistance Center (MTAC) "Value of Water" high school video contest. Their video about a quest for water that's more precious than gold was completed as a project for Jim Schreiner's Biology Class. The winning video will receive a $1000 first-place prize.

The second- and third-place videos came from Resurrection High School in Chicago, and were part of Jessica Wojcik's Earth Science class that submitted 7 videos for the contest. Fourth place went to the video submitted by Brian Tylkowski's Chemistry of Nutrition class at Central High School in Champaign.

View the Videos on YouTube.com

The first-place team was awarded $1000, $500 for their school/organization, and an additional $500 for the teacher or sponsor of the project. The second, third, and fourth-place videos will receive $500, $300, and $200, respectively, also split equally between the school/organization and teacher.

The goal of the contest was to develop public service videos that demonstrate, in a funny, positive, and creative way, the value of community tap water to our everyday lives. Students were asked to consider what would happen if we no longer had tap water readily available at our homes, schools, and in our communities. The contest was open to any high school student or student group in Illinois. The judging was based on three factors: 40 percent on the delivery of the message about the value of tap water, 35 percent on creativity and originality, and 25 percent on the quality of the production. The complete rules are available at: mtac.isws.illinois.edu/cyber/videocontest.asp

Illinois American Water ($1000), the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association ($500), and the Illinois EPA's four regional Groundwater Protection Committees ($500) provided the funding for the prizes. Several organizations, in addition to those mentioned above, were involved on the contest committee. They included the Tazewell County Health Department, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the Illinois Science Teachers Association, and the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois' Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability.

The videos are all available for viewing on YouTube.com at the following web address:
www.youtube.com/user/mtacvideocontest#grid/user/F4EB8484D1063D32

The contest committee will be sending several of the videos to television stations around the state for airplay as public service messages. The Midwest Technology Assistance Center (MTAC) is a program of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois (U of I). The ISWS is a Division of the U of I Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability. MTAC is one of eight research and assistance centers (TACNet) funded by the US EPA to provide technical, managerial, and financial assistance to small public water systems across the country.

For more information contact Steve Wilson: e-mail sdwilson@illinois.edu, phone (217) 333-0956.

Posted February 2, 2010


 

EPA's Budget Proposal Seeks Efficiencies, Increased Environmental Protection
Budget proposal aligned with Administrator Jackson's key priorities

Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator

The Obama Administration today proposed a budget of $10 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This budget heeds the president's call to streamline and find efficiencies in the agency's operations while supporting the seven priority areas EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson outlined to guide EPA's work.

Budget Highlights:

For more information go to www.epa.gov/budget.

Posted February 2, 2010


 

Complete List of NESC Products Now Available
Take Our Questionnaire, Receive a Coupon Toward Your Purchase

A key component of the National Environmental Services Center's (NESC) is to offer free and low-cost products related to drinking water and wastewater. We now have more than 1,000 products featured in an up-to-date list on our website.

Access Our Complete Products List

The online catalog lists products in the following drinking water and wastewater categories: case studies, design, finance, management, general information, public education, operation & maintenance, research, resilience, regulations, security, training and more.

Please give the item number and title of the product when you place your order and note that shipping charges apply. To order, send an e-mail to NESC at info@ mail.nesc.wvu.edu or call toll free at (800) 624-8301 or local at (304) 293-4191.

Download the 2010 NESC Products Catalog [pdf file . 932 KB]

To receive a $5.00 coupon toward your next NESC product purchase, please take a few minutes to complete our Customer Questionnaire.

Posted January 27, 2010


 

WEF and NOWRA Announce Partnership

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) announced a partnership beginning February 1, 2010. Passed in January by the organizations' boards of trustees, the resolution formalizes a three-year agreement to closely collaborate and promote a shared vision of an integrated and holistic approach to water, stormwater, and wastewater management.

Under the agreement, WEF and NOWRA will partner on several initiatives including expanding knowledge sharing and training in common areas; promoting existing technologies and new applications for onsite and natural treatment systems; educating the public on proper use and benefits of onsite and natural system technologies; and promoting consistent regulation for effective management and oversight.

Specifically, WEF and NOWRA will explore collaboration on educational events; increased content and options for distance learning; joint publications; and offering more varied perspectives about water quality issues to their respective members. In addition, WEF and NOWRA will work closely to share association management resources to help direct emphasis to mission critical activities. Part of this special relationship will include NOWRA staff and offices relocating to WEF's Alexandria, Virginia-based headquarters.

"As a strong advocate for a holistic and integrated approach to drinking water and wastewater issues, we are pleased to hear about WEF and NOWRA working together in this fashion," says Gerald Iwan, Ph.D., director of the National Environmental Services Center. "And as fellow members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Memorandum of Understanding for Decentralized Wastewater Management, along with the State Onsite Regulators Alliance (SORA), we wish them every success and look forward to future collaboration related to this important work."

Visit the EPA MOU section on NESC's website at www.nesc.wvu.edu/subpages/mou.cfm to learn more about the MOU group.

Posted January 27, 2010


 

Small Drinking Water System Case Studies on System Partnerships for Achieving Sustainability

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a compilation of case studies, Gaining Operational and Managerial Efficiencies Through Water System Partnerships, to highlight various approaches small drinking water systems have taken to improve their technical and financial capacity by partnering with other water systems. Many small public water systems are challenged with limited resources, lack of trained operators, and complex regulations.

EPA Photo, Oxidized Iron, Water

As part of EPA's effort to promote sustainability of water systems, this report presents examples of different partnership options ranging from informal arrangements, such as sharing equipment, to transferring ownership of a system through consolidation. The potential benefits of partnerships are numerous and significant, including increased economies of scale, increased capital needed to replace and improve aging water delivery infrastructure, and enhanced environmental protection, resource conservation, and contingency planning for conditions of water scarcity. States can also realize the important benefits of such activities because water system partnerships can be an effective means of helping small water systems achieve and maintain technical, managerial, and financial (TMF) capacity, reducing the oversight and resources that the state will need to devote to these systems.

The document can be found on EPA's Web site at www.epa.gov/safewater/smallsystems/financialhelp.html.

You can also contact the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) at 1-800-490-9198 or e-mail nscep@bps-lmit.com to order hard copies of the document.

Posted January 26, 2010


 

Multinational Effort in Haiti Coordinated by USAID

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is coordinating a multinational effort in Haiti. For those interested in helping this effort, be it with cash donations or in-kind services, please visit the USAID website at www.usaid.gov/haiti/ for more information.

Also refer to NESC's Haiti Crisis Emergency Response Resources, Water and Sanitation page for information. These resources submitted by Dan Campbell, Web Manager of Environmental Health at USAID, provide free information such as Point of Use Water Treatment in Emergency Response, WHO Technical Notes for Emergencies, and Environmental health in emergencies and disasters: a practical guide.

Posted January 22, 2010


 

Lower Meramec Source Water Demonstration Project Completed

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is pleased to announce the completion of the Lower Meramec Source Water Demonstration Project. In partnership with the United States Forest Service, TPL recently completed this demonstration planning project in the Upper Mississippi River watershed.

Water Champions Logo
Greg Hoffman (Center for Watershed Protection), talks to Gary Pondrom (East-West Gateway), during a Strategy Exchange site visit.
Photo by Katherine Dockery.

Local experts and other partners collaborated with national experts, using sophisticated mapping technology and a focused forum to develop new solutions and tools to enable water suppliers, land-use planners, local foresters, and local and state officials to conserve and restore natural resources in drinking water supplies, including important wildlife habitat.

The Meramec River Tributary Alliance has come up with specific action plans to tackle problems around septic system maintenance, stormwater management shortcomings, identifying more voluntary land conservation opportunities and funding sources, and improving the public's knowledge about an important source of their drinking water.

Read more about this project at www.tpl.org/lowermeramecdemo.

Posted January 20, 2010


 

New Water Security Factsheets Available from EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Water Security Web site provides resources for water utilities, state and local governments, public health officials, emergency responders and planners, assistance and training providers, environmental professionals, researchers and engineers, and law enforcement, among others. The following factsheets are now final and available:

If you have questions about the factsheets please e-mail Nushat Thomas of EPA at thomas.nushat@epa.gov.

Access the Water Security Web site at cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/index.cfm.

Posted January 7, 2010