Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ENVIRO-NEWS: EPA Water Headlines for the week of January 30, 2012

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From: "Makuch, Joseph" <Joseph.Makuch@ars.usda.gov>
Date: Jan 31, 2012 9:46 AM
Subject: [ENVIRO-NEWS] EPA Water Headlines for the week of January 30, 2012
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-----Original Message-----
From: Amy Han [mailto:han.amy@epamail.epa.gov]
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 6:48 PM
Subject: [waterheadlines] Water Headlines for the week of January 30, 2012

Water Headlines for the week of January 30, 2012

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

Visit EPA's Water Is Worth It Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/EPAWaterIsWorthIt, and follow our Water Is Worth It tweets at http://twitter.com/epawater

In This Week's Water Headlines:

1) Office of Water Twitter Name Change
2) Water is Focus of Rachel Carson Intergenerational Contest
3) New Tool Provides Access to Water Pollution Data
4) Handbook to Help Water Utilities Plan for Sustainability
5) Listening Session to Focus on Consumer Confidence Report Rule
6) 2010-2011 Climate Change and Water Progress Report Available Online
7) First Community of Homes Earns WaterSense Label

1) Office of Water Twitter Name Change
On January 25, 2012, the Office of Water changed its Twitter name to @EPAwater.  Be sure to follow @EPAwater on Twitter for the latest water news, activities, opportunities and resources.  Share your thoughts and experiences as we explore the many ways that water is worth it at: http://twitter.com/epawater

2) Water is Focus of Rachel Carson Intergenerational Contest
EPA invites the public to submit creative projects to the 6th annual Rachel Carson intergenerational "Sense of Wonder" contest.  There are four categories: photography, essay, poetry and dance.  This year, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the contest will focus on a "Sense of Water."  Contest submissions are encouraged to focus on the various properties of water - how it sounds, feels, tastes and looks - and what water means to the entrants.

The deadline for entries is June 1, 2012, and winners will be announced in September 2012.  A panel of judges will select finalists in each category, and the winners will be determined by a public online vote that will begin in August 2012.  For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/thesenseofwonder/index.htm.

3) New Tool Provides Access to Water Pollution Data
EPA announced the release of a new tool that provides the public with important information about pollutants that are released into local waterways.  The discharge monitoring report pollutant loading tool brings together millions of records and allows for easy searching and mapping of water pollution by local area, watershed, company, industry sector and pollutant.  The public can use this new tool to protect their health and the health of their communities.

Searches using the pollutant loading tool result in "top 10" lists to help users easily identify facilities and industries that are discharging the most pollution and impacted waterbodies.  When discharges are above permitted levels, users can view the violations and link to details about enforcement actions that EPA and states have taken to address these violations.

Facilities releasing water pollution directly into our nation's waterways, such as wastewater treatment plants or industrial manufacturers, must receive a permit to discharge under the Clean Water Act.  Each permit sets specific limits for how much can be discharged.  It also requires the permittee to frequently sample their wastewater discharges and report the data to their state or EPA permitting authority.

The tool is available at: http://www.epa.gov/pollutantdischarges

4) Handbook to Help Water Utilities Plan for Sustainability
EPA has released a comprehensive handbook to help water sector utilities build sustainability considerations into their planning. "Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities" will help utilities ensure that water infrastructure projects across the nation, including those funded through the state revolving fund programs, are sustainable and support the long-term sustainability of the communities these utilities serve.

The handbook represents an important milestone in EPA's ongoing efforts to help ensure the sustainability of the nation's water infrastructure based on the Agency's clean water and safe drinking water infrastructure sustainability policy, which was issued in September 2010.  In developing the handbook, EPA worked closely with a number of utility and state program managers around the country.  The handbook describes four core elements where utilities can explicitly build sustainability considerations into their existing planning processes.  Each element contains relevant examples from utilities around the country and other implementation tips for utilities to consider.  For additional information and to view a copy of the handbook, please visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/sustainable_systems.cfm.

5) Listening Session to Focus on Consumer Confidence Report Rule
EPA will be holding a public meeting via the Internet on February 23, 2012, to obtain stakeholder input on the consumer confidence report rule as part of the Agency's retrospective review of existing regulations.  EPA plans to discuss electronic delivery of the reports, resource implications for implementing report delivery certification, use of reports to meet public notification requirements, and how contaminant levels are reported in the consumer confidence reports.  EPA invites the public to participate in this information exchange on the consumer confidence report rule.  Registration information is found below.

The consumer confidence report is an annual water quality report that a community water system is required to provide to its customers each year.  The report lists the regulated contaminants found in the drinking water, as well as health effects information related to violations of the drinking water standards.  More information on these reports can be accessed on EPA's website at: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/ccr/index.cfm

Individuals planning on participating in the listening session must register for the meeting at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/396514342

Individuals planning on participating in the web dialogue discussions must join the community at http://CCRRetrospectiveReview.ideascale.com.  The web dialogue will be available from February 23, 2012, to March 9, 2012, for the public to share and post comments on the dialogue.

For more information please email CCRRetrospectiveReview@epa.gov.

6) 2010-2011 Climate Change and Water Progress Report Available Online
EPA has released the "U.S. EPA National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change 2010 - 2011 National and Regional Highlights of Progress."  This is the third and final progress report covering the 2008 version of EPA's climate change strategy.  Future annual progress reports will reflect activities related to the 2012 version that is under development.  The progress report highlights the accomplishments of EPA's water programs during 2010 and 2011, and touches upon EPA activities and efforts undertaken across headquarters, regions, and the large aquatic ecosystem programs to address climate change impacts on our water programs.  The report is available at: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/climatechange/implementation.cfm.

7) First Community of Homes Earns WaterSense Label
On January 25, 2012, the zHome community in Issaquah, Wash. was acknowledged as the first community of homes in the nation in which every home had earned the WaterSense label.  In addition to the homes each earning the WaterSense label, the community has also received the Forest Stewardship Council's 2011 award for the best residential project in North America. 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.

To learn more, visit http://www.epa.gov/watersense/new_homes/zhome.html.  For the full press release: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/EE79C979798335AF85257990006206D6

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