Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Important changes pending for EPA WaterSense "New Home Specifications"

         Visit WaterSense
WaterSense is announcing its intent to modify certain aspects of the WaterSense single-family new homes specification. WaterSense periodically revisits its specifications and may modify or revise the specification as new information becomes available, new technologies come to market or market conditions change. WaterSense believes there is an opportunity to expand program water savings by taking advantage of improvements in construction forecasts for the multi-family housing sector.

With this notification of intent (NOI), WaterSense outlines several modifications to the specification currently under consideration including: expanding the scope of the specification so that some types of multi-family buildings will qualify for the WaterSense label, modifying the landscape design options, and addressing other minor technical issues.

In addition to describing the potential modifications, the NOI describes technical issues that still need to be more fully defined and resolved. If you have comments, information or suggestions on these issues please contact us at: watersense-homes@erg.com. Currently, WaterSense is only considering modifications to the issues outlined in the NOI. To view the NOI, please visit www.epa.gov/watersense/nhspecs/homes_final.html.

For any questions regarding the WaterSense program in general, please contact the WaterSense Helpline at (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) or e-mail watersense@epa.gov.

Because Water Matters 

Aqua Environmental Resource Center

And the leak goes on and on and on

And the leak goes on, and on, and on!

Readers may recall a story posted in February 2010 wherein I attempted to bring attention to the challenges of Asheville’s aging Asheville water distribution system infrastructure. The story focused on a particular section of large diameter iron pipe with lead packed joint seals. This pipe is part of the primary water distribution system that transmits water from the North Fork and or Bee Tree reservoirs to Asheville and beyond.

In my previous reporting the visible water leak from this pipe was calculated at approximately 200,000 gallons per year. During my most recent inspection, on September 5th 2011, I again found a leak, considerably worse than I had seen during any of my prior inspections. The current rate of leak was measures at approximately 650,000 gallons per year or 1780 gallons per 24 hour period. On September 4th 2011, I measured the rate of leak at approximately 630,000 gallons per year. Clearly the leak is worsening on a daily basis. Keep in mind the rate of leakage increase as water usage diminishes at night which and pressure builds within the system.

Asheville 's water maintenance department has again been alerted of the condition and they will certainly act to address the leak. The effort will likely be no more than previous, which is to re-pack the existing lead seal rather than replace the failing pipe joint. During the 8 years that I have been monitoring the section of piping, this routine has played out several times, and each time the leak has resumed worse than the previous. This type of repair is a temporary fix and will not last; the leak will reoccur with a couple months. Sections of Asheville’s antiquated system can not accommodate the pressures necessary to meet growing consumer demands.

As this system continues to age, the risk of catastrophic failure rises. If we take into consideration the added potential stresses caused by recent movements in Eastern fault lines that have been quite for decades, our worry is even greater. Asheville’s 10 year strategic plan does not include replacement of this failing water distribution infrastructure. Surely Asheville has this in their Planned Obsolescence Strategy? Even if this necessary upgrade were in their plan, current financial conditions would almost certainly prevent implementation for many years to come. Catastrophic failure is likely to be the catalyst that will bring about upgrading Asheville’s failing water system.

I wonder if they are better prepared for such an occurrence than they were when flooding of Asheville occurred in September 2004. The severity of the flooding that occurred in 2004 was due to the failure of a primary transmission line that draws from the North Fork reservoir. Emergency release of water from the reservoir washed washed away a section of this very old pipe. As I recall the majority of Asheville residents were without water for a more than week. The reason it took so long to repair the pipe was due to a lack of available materials due to it’s age. Does Asheville have a stock of materials to make emergency repairs to this section of piping when we have the next catastrophic failure? 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

ENVIRO-NEWS: EPA Climate Change and Water News

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Makuch, Joseph" <Joseph.Makuch@ars.usda.gov>
Date: Oct 6, 2011 4:50 PM
Subject: [ENVIRO-NEWS] EPA Climate Change and Water News
To: <Enviro-News@ars.usda.gov>

From: water_climate_change@epa.gov [mailto:water_climate_change@epa.gov]
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 4:04 PM
Subject: EPA Climate Change and Water News

EPA Climate Change and Water News

U.S. EPA News

U.S. EPA Releases Report: An Assessment of Decision-Making Processes: Evaluation of Where Land Protection Planning can Incorporate Climate Change Information

This report, prepared by the Global Change Research Program (GCRP) in the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at the U.S. EPA, is a review of decision-making processes of selected land protection programs. The goal of this report is to assess the feasibility of incorporating climate change impacts into the evaluation of these programs. The assessment revealed that there are several strategies that might be useful for incorporating climate change into decision making. As part of a portfolio of adaptation strategies, land protection may become more important for jurisdictions, particularly to ameliorate climate change impacts on watersheds and wildlife.  To view the report, visit:  http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/global/recordisplay.cfm?deid=238091 .  To view the Federal Register notice, visit: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-09-22/html/2011-24365.htm

U.S. EPA Releases Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) National Framework and Action Plan 2011

The Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) National Framework and Action Plan 2011 is a collaborative product of the EPA and State and Federal partners, with input from non-governmental organizations.  State partners include both the Association of Clean Water Administrators and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.  The Action Plan presents a clear, consistent framework for action, both internally among EPA's own programs and externally in working with partners.  The Action Plan describes the HWI, including its vision, guiding principles, goals and objectives; and presents an implementation framework for actions by EPA and States.  To view the Action Plan, please visit: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/watershed/hwi_action.cfm?CFID=6186452&CFTOKEN=50855028.

Save the Date - U.S. EPA, the Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Program, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry to Host Conference: Climate Change in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands on November 15 - 16, 2011 at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, School of Law

This free two-day conference will provide participants the opportunity to learn directly from experts in the field about climate change impacts and projections for the U.S. Caribbean, strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and steps that can be taken in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to increase resilience in the face of a changing climate.  For more information on the conference, please visit: http://www.drna.gobierno.pr/oficinas/arn/recursosvivientes/costasreservasrefugios/pmzc/cc-conference/Invitation.pdf .

Other Federal Agency News

U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Seeks Public Comment until November 29, 2011 on 2012 - 2021 Strategic Plan

On September 30, 2011, a Federal Register Notice announced the opening of the public comment period for the U.S. Global Change Research Program's 2012-2021 Strategic Plan.  Every ten years, in accordance with the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (Sec 104, P.L. 101-606), the USGCRP must produce a 10 year National Global Change Research Plan (i.e., a Strategic Plan for the USGCRP). For further information on USGCRP, visit: http://www.globalchange.gov.  The public comment period for the 2012-2021 Strategic Plan is open for 60 days and comments are due by November 29, 2011.  All comments are encouraged to be submitted through this website: http://strategicplancomments.globalchange.gov/ .  Comments may also be addressed to strategicplancomments@usgcrp.gov. Please read the [guidelines] (http://strategicplancomments.globalchange.gov/email-guidelines )  on the 2012-2021 USGCRP Strategic Plan before emailing them.

U.S. Department of the Interior Releases Report: Strengthening the Scientific Understanding of Climate Change Impacts on Freshwater Resources of the United States

The report, released October 3, 2011, assesses the status of scientific information available to help understand the impacts of climate change and other stressors on U.S. freshwater resources and calls for modernization of systems to help monitor and sustain water supplies. The report was prepared by a federal interagency panel led by USGS and developed in concert with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), NOAA, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The report reviews the state of existing science and identifies strategies for improving systems to collect climate-related data and water monitoring information. The improvements are intended to help water managers predict, respond and adapt to the effects of climate change on the nation's freshwater supplies so that they can help ensure adequate water quantity and quality. For more information and to view the report, visit: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Interior-Report-Assesses-Scientific-Water-Monitori!
 ng-and-Modeling-Systems-and-Calls-for-Modernization-to-Help-Sustain-Water-Supplies.cfm . [or http://go.usa.gov/91V ]

Other News

Save the Date - The German Federal Government to Host Bonn2011 Conference: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus, Solutions for the Green Economy on November 16 - 18, 2011 at the World Conference Center, Bonn

The German Government has recognized a clear need for new approaches which address the interconnections within the water, energy and food security nexus.  The conference will focus on the three action fields of sustainable development: The social dimension: Accelerating Access, integrating the bottom of the pyramid; The economic dimension: Creating more with less; and, The ecologic dimension: Investing to sustain ecosystem services.  The conference will put a nexus lens on the three action fields while focusing on better understanding the interlinkages between the three securities. Further, the discussions will focus on identifying enabling conditions which facilitate the transition to a greener economy.  For more information on the conference, please visit: http://www.water-energy-food.org/en/conference/home.html.

The Clean Water America Alliance Releases Report: Barriers and Gateways to Green Infrastructure

The report summarizes the results of a survey of utilities, academics, and government officials regarding barriers to green infrastructure, informed by the ongoing green infrastructure research and education programs of The Clean America Water Alliance. Recommendations were developed and refined through conversations with partner organizations including American Rivers, The Conservation Fund, Low Impact Development Center, Smart Growth America, and the Alliance's Urban Water Sustainability Council. To read the report, please visit: http://bit.ly/gireport.

State of Massachusetts Releases Report: Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report, September, 2011

This report, prepared by the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee, is the first broad overview of climate change as it affects Massachusetts, the impacts of this change, vulnerabilities of multiple sectors ranging from natural resources, infrastructure, public health, and the economy. It also provides an analysis of potential strategies.  To read the report, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eoeeaterminal&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Air,+Water+%26+Climate+Change&L2=Climate+Change&sid=Eoeea&b=terminalcontent&f=eea_energy_cca-report&csid=Eoeea .

EPA Climate Change and Water News is produced by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). For more information on EPA's climate change activities, visit http://epa.gov/climatechange.  For an overview of climate change and water issues, visit http://www.epa.gov/ow/climatechange.

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