Friday, May 21, 2010

Stealth Toilet by Niagara Conservation getting noticed & making waves.

The stealth toilet continues to gain recognition from both consumers & trusted industry sources and for good reason. This toilet will do a lot for residential water conservation efforts and to improved the damaged reputation of the "water efficient toilet". From the same inventive minds that created the now very popular "flapperless" toilets. The business partnership between Hennessy & Hinchliffe and Niagara Conservation is clearly one of great benefit for efforts to improve water resource management.

Here is a quote from a review posted by Alex Wilson, executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC:
"The vacuum-assist flush mechanism helps the toilet effectively flush a significant quantity of waste using very little water. Using the now-industry-standard Maximum-Performance (MaP) testing protocol, the Stealth toilet is rated at 600 grams, in both the round-front and elongated-front models. This and other performance features have allowed the toilet to earn the EPA WaterSense label for high-efficiency toilets. According to Cecilia Hayward, the marketing manager at Niagara, the toilet also passes all IAPMO requirements for toilets, including a requirement that waste be effectively moved 40 feet along the drainline when the toilet is flushed."
You can read the full article here: 
Niagara’s Innovative 0.8 gpf “Vacuum-Assist” Stealth Toilet

Find more info and pricing by visiting here.

If you have information to offer regarding your experience with these products, please provide your comments for our readers to benefit from. 


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Drugs on tap; Keeping Pharmecuticals Out Of Our Water Supply

There is a lot to be concerned about when it comes to contaminants in our water supplies. One of the biggest concern in recent years has been the discovery of measurable concentrations of  Pharmaceutical drugs in public water supplies. Improvements in our ability to test for such contaminants has lead to the realization that  these drugs are present and in concentrations that are concerning to say the least. The EPA ha funded a Pilot "Mail-Back Program" in an effort to asses the viability of preventing consumers from disposing of leftover prescription medications in ways that allow them to get in into the water supply systems. With the amount of prescriptions being improperly disposed of, there is real cause for concern, especially for young children and the elderly. Below is a press release that came out today about the EPA funded program.

May 18, 2010

Report Released on Pharmaceutical Mail-back Pilot Program Funded by EPA

Agency provided $150,000 grant to University of Maine's Center on Aging
to undertake study

WASHINGTON -Through a grant awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), the University of Maine's Center on Aging has completed
the first statewide mail-back pilot program for managing pharmaceutical
waste from consumers. Studies show that pharmaceuticals are present in
our nation's waterbodies and that certain drugs may cause ecological
harm. EPA is currently evaluating the potential risks associated with
pharmaceuticals and personal care products on public health and aquatic

"This pilot is important because it has filled research gaps about the
volumes and types of medications that can end up in our waters, and
affect our ecosystems," said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for
EPA's Office of Water. "The pilot also gave residents a way to serve as
environmental stewards to reduce water pollution."

The program included the use of mailers to return unused and unwanted
medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, from households.

Maine Care (Maine's Medicaid program) established a limit for certain
drugs on the quantity that can be filled with an initial prescription.
This policy is targeted at reducing the supply and accumulation of
unused medications and to prevent pollution. The Maine legislature also
recognized the value of the take-back pilot and enacted legislation to
continue the program for an additional two years. As part of the EPA
grant, the University of Maine's Center on Aging  developed a handbook
on the project and collected data on the type and amount of unused

The grant is part of EPA's larger efforts to protect the health of older
adults and encourage older adults to engage in environmental stewardship
in their communities. Older adults were actively involved in the design
and implementation of the safe medicine disposal; for Maine pilot

To view the executive summary of the report:

Enesta Jones

Pharmaceuticals in my water is very bad news.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

EPA Water Headlines for the week of May 10, 2010

This EPA update includes an updated report for the EPA involvement with the BP Pool spill in the Gulf.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Makuch, Joseph" <>
Date: May 13, 2010 9:19 AM
Subject: [ENVIRO-NEWS] EPA Water Headlines for the week of May 10, 2010
To: <>

-----Original Message-----
From: Amy Han []
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 6:25 PM
Subject: [waterheadlines] Water Headlines for the week of May 10, 2010

Water Headlines for the week of May 10, 2010

Water Headlines is a weekly on-line publication that announces
publications, policies, and activities of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's Office of Water

In This Week's Water Headlines:
1) Office of Water Launches an Updated and Reorganized Website
2) Fiscal Year 2009 National Water Program Best Practices and End of
Year Report
3) EPA Responds to the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

1) Office of Water Launches an Updated and Reorganized Website
This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 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 now to bookmark any frequently
used pages, and use these bookmarks to locate your pages after this
week. After the launch, please take note of the new page addresses and
update your bookmarks.

We are excited about this new look and feel and hope that you enjoy your
experience with the new site which can be accessed at

2) Fiscal Year 2009 National Water Program Best Practices and End of
Year Report
The Office of Water has released the FY 2009 National Water Program Best
Practices and End of Year Report.  The Report describes the progress
made in fiscal year 2009 toward each of the 15 National Water Program
subobjectives identified in the FY 2009 National Water Program Guidance
and the EPA 2006 -2011 Strategic Plan.  Four key elements in the Report
are: an overview of performance for all FY 2009 National Water Program
measures; a description of innovative approaches and best practices in
program implementation; performance highlights and management challenges
for each subobjective; and an appendix of data for environmental and
program-related measures, including national and regional data (where
available).  The Report and supporting documents can be found at .

3) EPA Responds to the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
Since the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22, 2010, EPA has
mobilized resources to support the U.S. Coast Guard and protect public
health and the environment.  Our Emergency Operations Center at
headquarters has been activated, trained EPA responders are working on
the scene, and special mobile equipment has been sent to the Gulf area.
We have several online resources available:

1) We're posting updated data and other information on our BP oil spill
site ( ):
*       Get air quality and water data
*       Find answers to common questions
*       Submit technology solutions

2) Connect with us on social media sites:
*       Administrator Jackson's personal account of the response to the
oil spill: Facebook and Twitter
*       EPA's announcements about our response: Facebook and Twitter

3) Please subscribe to our oil spill updates at .

You can also visit the coordinated government response site
( for:
*       Information about the spill and efforts to stop the oil from
*       Hotlines to report oil on land or injured wildlife
*       Details of how you can volunteer


Enviro-News is a service of the Water Quality
Information Center at the National Agricultural
Library.  The center's Web site is at

The Enviro-News list facilitates information exchange.
Inclusion of an item in Enviro-News does not imply
United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) agreement,
nor does USDA attest to the accuracy or completeness of
the item. See
You can contact the list owner at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

EPA Reaches Settlement in Chesapeake Bay Lawsuit

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Makuch, Joseph" <>
Date: May 12, 2010 4:52 PM
Subject: [ENVIRO-NEWS] EPA Reaches Settlement in Chesapeake Bay Lawsuit
To: <>

From: U.S. EPA []
Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 12:15 PM
Subject: Water News Release (HQ): EPA Reaches Settlement in Chesapeake
Bay Lawsuit

Dave Ryan (News Media Only)

May 11, 2010

EPA Reaches Settlement in Chesapeake Bay Lawsuit

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today
that it reached settlement with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, four
former Maryland, Virginia and Washington,D.C. elected officials, and
organizations representing watermen and sports fishermen in resolving a
lawsuit filed in January 2009 claiming that EPA had failed to take
adequate measures to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. The
lawsuit, Fowler v. EPA, is pending in federal district court for the
District of Columbia.

The settlement agreement, negotiated with groups and individuals with a
long history of advocating protection and restoration of the bay, tracks
much of the comprehensive suite of strong regulatory and other actions
that EPA has initiated or pledged to take under the Obama administration
to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
These actions include establishing the stringent Chesapeake Bay total
maximum daily load (TMDL), putting in place an effective implementation
framework, expanding its review of Chesapeake Bay watershed permits, and
initiating rulemaking for new regulations for concentrated animal
feeding operations and urban and suburban stormwater. The agreement also
includes a commitment to establish a publicly accessible tracking and
accounting  system to monitor progress in reducing pollution through the
TMDL and two-year milestones.

"Because EPA and the co-plaintiffs share the same goals of clean water
in the Chesapeake Bay and the waterways flowing through communities in
the region, we felt that a settlement building on our common goals was
far more positive than defending a lawsuit filed in the Bush
administration " said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "Through
the executive order issued by President Obama, this administration is
committed to making real progress in restoring water quality, and our
strong actions and rigorous accountability system are evidence that EPA
is serious about reducing pollution."

By December 31, 2010, EPA will establish the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, a tool
of the federal Clean Water Act, that sets a strict "pollution diet" to
restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The Chesapeake TMDL will
be the largest and most complex ever developed in the nation, involving
pollution sources throughout a 64,000-square-mile watershed that
includes six states and the District of Columbia. In 2009, EPA announced
that it expects the six watershed states and D.C. to provide detailed
strategies for reducing pollutant loads to meet water quality standards.
EPA also expects detailed schedules for implementing pollution controls
and achieving pollution reductions. Progress will be measured through
milestones every two years, and EPA may take action for inadequate plans
or failure to meet the milestones.

Tomorrow, EPA will be announcing the final federal strategy for the
Chesapeake Bay, implementing the president's executive order. Many of
the commitments in the settlement agreement will be reflected in the

More information about the TMDL is available at:


Enviro-News is a service of the Water Quality
Information Center at the National Agricultural
Library.  The center's Web site is at

The Enviro-News list facilitates information exchange.
Inclusion of an item in Enviro-News does not imply
United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) agreement,
nor does USDA attest to the accuracy or completeness of
the item. See
You can contact the list owner at

Thursday, May 6, 2010

BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

When Oil Spills; the results can be devastating to the effected environment. Tarred beaches, dead and dying wildlife, damaged fisheries, contaminated water supplies; these are the short-term effects of an oil spill. In the long-term, toxic materials from oil can remain in the water and on the land for many years. They can build up in the food chain to lethal levels, and destroy or disrupt and area's ecosystem.

How Oil Spills Occur:
Petroleum is used as a vehicle fuel, heating source for homes and industry, for electricity generation, and as a feedstock for the chemical industry. Because of the huge demand for oil, enormous quantities are moved from production areas to where the oil is used. Oil is pumped from the ground, refined, transported and stored. There are many steps in this process during which oil can spill from well heads, drill rigs, tankers, pipelines and storage tanks. Oil may leak from ocean-going ships during accidental and deliberate spills. Oil spills can happen on land or water when oil is incorrectly handled, there are railway or truck accidents, tankers or barges collide, the insides of tankers are washed, and when natural oil deposits seep.

Not all spills are man-made. Crude oil is made by the earth from decayed plants and animals which lived millions of years ago. Oil has been in the environment for a long time. Some oil lies below the ocean floor and can seep into the ocean through cracks. As much as 1.5 million barrels of oil may enter the ocean from natural seeps each year. When these leaks occur, as when spills occur, natural organisms and chemical processes act to break down the oil over time. This process is called natural bio remediation.

What Happens When Oil Spills:

When oil spills and mixes with water it can contaminate drinking water, kill fish and poison wildlife. Just one quart of oil may pollute up to 200,000 gallons of water! Oil is harmful to shellfish, finfish, marine mammals and waterfowl living near the spill. Oil spills are ugly and are expensive to clean up. In addition, damage to fisheries places a hardship on those who make their living by fishing.

When oil enters the ocean it quickly begins to change and disperse. Though oil is toxic, it becomes less so with time. Winds and waves help spread and disperse the oil. Some oil will evaporate. Some will form into tar balls and sink to the bottom where they may remain for a long time, slowly releasing hydrocarbons into the water. Bacteria in the water attack and digest the oil. If people act quickly after the spill, they can scoop up some of the oil and stop it from causing worse damage to the environment.
Effects on the Food Chain:
Each tier of the marine food chain can be affected by an oil spill. Oil floating on the water may contaminate plankton (very small, swimming or floating plants and animals). When small fish eat the plankton, they also eat the oil. Larger fish, bears and humans who eat these fish will ingest oil too. Marine animals and birds can eat oil or it can get on their fur and feathers. When oil gets on a bird's feathers, the feathers lose their insulation capability and the bird can't adjust its body temperature and dies. Oil may obstruct the germination and growth of marine plants.

How Do We Clean Up Oil Spills:

It is important to act fast to clean up an oil spill and prevent the oil from spreading to a bigger area. Spills can happen in the open seas, close to shores, or in lakes, streams and rivers. Spills on land can contaminate groundwater or streams. How the spill is cleaned up depends on where it happened. In smaller bodies of water oil does not spread as much and cleanup is easier.

Oil floating on the surface can be held away from the shore by booms and cleared with skimmers. Booms are barriers that extend about three feet below the water surface. They are anchored near the shoreline. Booms intercept and contain the oil. Skimmers, such as vacuum machines or oil absorbent plastic ropes, are placed inside the boom to scoop up the oil. Booms and fences are often of little use in the open seas. They cannot contain a spill when there are big waves or strong currents. Once the oil is whipped into a froth called a mousse, skimming is difficult. Sometimes chemicals are used to speed the disposal of the oil into small globules that are more easily eaten by microorganisms.

Upon reaching the shoreline, oil clean up occurs in several ways:

    A) Manual pickup - hand tools are used to collect and bag oily materials. This method improves the appearance of the beaches.
    B) Tar mat breakup / removal – tar mats, which are thick asphalt-like coverings of oil, are slow to degrade, can be broken with hand tools and then scattered or collected.
   C) Tilling/raking - Oil that is under the surface is exposed by using a rake to turn over the topsoil. Raking or tilling helps in natural degradation or bioremediation (discussed below).
   D) Spot washing - hand-held high pressure washing tools are used to remove small accumulations of oil. The runoff water is collected and processed.

These techniques may not remove oil trapped under rocks or in beach sediments. A technique called Bioremediation has worked to remove underlying oil. Bioremediation involves covering the oiled area with "fertilizers" that contain microorganisms, like bacteria. These microorganisms speed the natural degradation processes already at work. It is thought that the more microorganisms at work, the faster the oil will be removed. Bioremediation is less disruptive to the environment than other techniques. It simply improves on nature's own way of destroying oil.

Several large oil spills have brought attention to the damage that can result from such occurrences.

1991 -The Persian Gulf War: Although the war in the Middle East was brief, it left behind a damaged environment. Huge quantities of oil (2.5 to 4 million barrels) were dumped into the Persian Gulf. It was the largest oil spill in history. The oil may have destroyed or severely disrupted the area's marine ecosystem. The oil covered some 600 square miles of sea surface and blackened 300 miles of coastline. The waters of the Gulf contain coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and beds of sea grass and algae, as well as birds, sea turtles, fish and marine mammals. All these plants and animals were affected by the oil. Mangrove swamps and other kinds of wetlands are very sensitive to oil because their root systems are above water and can become coated or clogged with oil.

Because this oil spill happened during a time of war, clean-up actions were delayed. Efforts were made to protect a few delicate areas. If action could have been taken earlier, less oil would have gotten into the water. Booms and skimmers were set up and used to protect some areas. People from all over the world went to the area to help with the cleanup.

March of 1989 -The Exxon Valdez: The worst spill in U.S. history occurred when the supertanker, Exxon Valdez, ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska. About 11 million gallons (260,000 barrels) of oil spilled from the tanker. It spread out to 900 miles of shoreline. This shoreline and neighboring islands are home to deer, bears, seals, otters, whales, birds and fish, and other plants and animals.

This was the first large spill in an enclosed, cold body of water. These conditions made clean-up very difficult. The oil slick spread quickly. Chemical dispersants could not be used because the seas were too calm for them to be effective. Then high winds drove the oil into a mousse. In the months following the spill, workers collected more than 36,000 oiled birds and more than 1,000 sea otters. The number killed was several times the number found. Some people say that it will be 20 to 70 years before the seabird population fully recovers. Cleanup costs of this spill exceeded $2 billion. The cleanup involved deployment of more than 10,000 people, several hundred boats, aircraft, and special equipment.

January 2, 1988-The Monongahela River Spill: Approximately one million gallons of oil accidentally spilled into the Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania when an above-ground oil storage tank failed. In a matter of seconds, a 30 foot wave of heavy oil surged over containment barriers and spilled into the river, threatening the water supplies of more than a million people living downriver. Swift action was necessary to safeguard these water supplies. Thousands of feet of booms were used to contain the oil as workers pumped it into barges and tanker trucks. Even with this massive cleanup effort, eight water suppliers in three states were forced to shut their intake for a few days.

Now we have the BP oil spill occurring in the Gulf of Mexico. The leak is the result of catastrophic failure of the drilling rig which now lies at the bottom of the ocean some 5000 feet below the surface. 29 lives were lost during this tragic event. It is widely believed that this spill will result in the largest man made ecological disaster U.S. History. Currently believed to be leaking at a rate of 200,000 gallons/5000 barrels per day and is expected to take at least 90 days to get this leak under control. It appears as though many avoidable mistakes were made to reduce drilling costs; but it will likely be many months before the whole truth is disclosed.

Oil Spill Laws:

Governments have laws regulating oil spills. In the United States, spills of oil and other chemicals must be reported to the National Response Center so action can be taken to contain the spill and clean it up to reduce pollution and assess environmental impacts. Many states and local governments have similar laws.

We may not know for years, if ever, the full extent of the environmental damages caused by oils spills. Finding ways to prevent the spills from occurring and better ways of mitigating the damages when they do occur should be of the highest priority. The USEPA regulates Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) and requires replacement of old tanks, corrosion protection for new tanks and pipes, and leak detection systems for tanks. After the Monongahela spill, some governments, including Pennsylvania, passed laws requiring Above-ground Storage Tanks (ASTs) to be inspected and built to modern technical standards to reduce future leaks.

The U.S. Congress enacted the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 which makes the Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) the official response group for oil spills from oil tankers. The bill also requires that all oil tankers have double hulls by 2010. The law also provides money for quick response teams in the 10 U.S. Coast Guard districts.

We will see how the situation unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico and how well or poorly the government manages this crisis and whether or not the corporations that are profiting in the billions of dollars are accordingly held responsible for the decisions that led to this avoidable disaster.



Monday, May 3, 2010

EPA Establishes Web site on BP Oil Spill

The environmental tragedy on the Gulf continues to expand.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Makuch, Joseph" <>
Date: May 3, 2010 9:17 AM
Subject: [ENVIRO-NEWS] EPA Establishes Web site on BP Oil Spill
To: <>

From: U.S. EPA []
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2010 5:20 PM
Subject: Emergency Response News Release (HQ): EPA Establishes Web site
on BP Oil Spill

Joint Information Center

April 30, 2010

EPA Establishes Web site on BP Oil Spill

EPA launches site to inform the public about health, environmental
impacts of spill

WASHINGTON - As part of the ongoing federal response to the BP oil spill
in the Gulf of Mexico, EPA today established a website to inform the
public about the spill's impact on the environment and the health of
nearby residents. The website - - will
contain data from EPA's ongoing air monitoring along with other
information about the agency's activities in the region. Also today,
Administrator Jackson joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary
Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to tour the region.
The Administrator will spend the next 36 hours visiting with community
groups and meeting EPA staff responding to the spill.

Additional information on the broader response from the U.S. Coast Guard
and other responding agencies is available at:

"We are taking every possible step to protect the health of the
residents and mitigate the environmental impacts of this spill," EPA
Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "For several days, EPA has been on
the ground evaluating air and water concerns and coordinating with other
responding agencies.  We are also here to address community members --
the people who know these waters and wetlands best.  They will be
essential to the work ahead."

EPA has established air monitoring stations along Plaquemines Parish on
the Louisiana coast. EPA established those facilities to determine how
oil set on fire in the gulf and oil that is reaching land is impacting
air quality. EPA is monitoring levels of a number of chemicals
potentially emitted by oil, including volatile organic compounds such as
xylene, benzene and toluene.

EPA has also deployed two Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzers - mobile
laboratories that collect and analyze air quality samples in real time -
to monitor air quality in the region.

EPA tested smoke from the controlled burn two days ago and found the
Louisiana coast had not been affected because an off-shore breeze was
blowing away from land and out to sea during that time. The agency will
continue to collect and share data with the public, and will coordinate
and share information with local health officials.

In addition to monitoring air quality, EPA is also assessing the coastal
waters affected by the spreading oil. EPA deployed our twin-engine
aircraft to assist in the collection of air sampling data and photograph
the spill and surrounding area.

All of the data EPA collects will be posted to , along with frequently asked questions, fact
sheets about potential health impacts of the spill, and links to more
information on the spill and the government's response.


Note: If a link above doesn't work, please copy and paste the URL into a

Enviro-News is a service of the Water Quality
Information Center at the National Agricultural
Library.  The center's Web site is at

The Enviro-News list facilitates information exchange.
Inclusion of an item in Enviro-News does not imply
United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) agreement,
nor does USDA attest to the accuracy or completeness of
the item. See
You can contact the list owner at