EPA Air

EPA Administrator Regan Marks Delivery of Kansas’ First Electric School Buses, Announces Electric Utility Pledge to Support Successful Deployment of Electric School Buses Nationwide

Wed, 02/08/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan visited Wabaunsee USD 329 School District in Alma, Kansas to celebrate the delivery of the state’s first all-electric school buses and mark the historic investment in America under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Administrator Regan, joined by students, school officials, and community leaders, highlighted how initiatives like EPA’s Clean School Bus (CSB) Program are delivering environmental and economic benefits for communities like Wabaunsee. During the visit, Administrator Regan also announced a new pledge from electric utility partners to support efforts to electrify the nation’s school bus fleet.

“We are moving faster than ever to accelerate the transition to electric and low-emission school buses, and new electric school buses in rural school districts like Wabaunsee USD 329 are a shining of example of what we can accomplish when we invest in America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building on this work and making investments accessible to more rural communities by partnering with electric utilities who have pledged to support school bus electrification.” 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided EPA with $5 billion between FY22 and FY26 to replace diesel school buses with low- and zero-emission alternatives. In May 2022, EPA launched the first funding competition, initially making $500 million in rebates available to school districts nationwide. Given overwhelming demand, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding for the 2022 rebates and awarded $965 million in rebates to 400 school districts for over 2,500 new clean school buses.

Wabaunsee USD 329 – a rural school district – is among the 400 school districts benefiting from these rebates. Their partner, Lion Electric, received $790,000 in rebates for two Type C electric school buses that will serve Wabaunsee USD 329. The new electric buses were delivered to the school district in December 2022 and are already transporting kids to and from school every day. The school district partnered with the City of Alma’s Municipal Utility to quickly deploy electric charging infrastructure to support the transition to electric charging.

“We are grateful for being chosen to receive this support for our students through the Clean School Bus program. This grant allows us to transport students cleaner and more safely to and from school. By the same token, we get the added benefit of cost-savings on transportation, redirecting funds normally spent on operations back into instruction,” said USD 329 – Wabaunsee Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Troy Pitsch.

Partnering with Utilities to Advance the Transition to Clean School Buses

During the event in Wabaunsee, Administrator Regan also announced a new pledge to promote seamless collaboration between school districts and their electric utility providers, ensuring the successful deployment of electric school buses nationwide. Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies, and the Beneficial Electrification League (BEL), a non-profit organization that works closely with rural electric cooperatives and public power utility providers on electrification initiatives, have joined with EPA to pledge their support for school bus electrification. EEI members and BEL partners have pledged to proactively work with school districts to:

  • Facilitate communication between electric providers and school districts
  • Provide technical support and assistance
  • Work together to increase funding and deployment for electric school buses

"EEI is proud to be working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Beneficial Electrification League on the Clean School Bus Program," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "This program is a crucial step for reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The new electric school buses will lower maintenance costs and help to improve local air quality while providing clean and reliable transportation for students. America's electric companies are committed to helping their local school districts plan for their new electric school bus fleets."

“Rural and small-town electric providers have a long tradition of assisting their communities with using electricity to improve quality of life for the local people they serve. The Beneficial Electrification League is honored to help its stakeholder utilities ensure that schools and the children they educate have a positive experience with electric school buses,” said Keith Dennis, President of the Beneficial Electrification League.

School districts that received rebate awards can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. If they have not done so already, selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

Annual Report to Congress

The progress under this program is highlighted in the second Clean School Bus Report to Congress, which was also announced today during the visit. The report outlines activities and progress made in fulfilling responsibilities under EPA’s Clean School Bus Program to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission school buses. The Second Report to Congress summarizes the program’s activities and progress from January 2022 through December 2022 and includes detailed information on the 2022 Rebate funding initiative.

Highlights of the program’s first full year include:

  • Extensive outreach and a widespread enthusiasm from schools across the country in the rebate program, especially among low-income, rural and Tribal stakeholders.
  • Over 99% of the rebate selectees met the priority definition under the 2022 criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and EV infrastructure for schools in areas that need them most.
  • A new online system to facilitate a straightforward and accessible rebate application process that proved to be highly effective.
  • An interactive dashboard on epa.gov to provide up-to-date information about the awarded 2022 CSB Rebates.

Access the report here.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritized low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The rebates also delivered on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.

EPA is also currently designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

More information on the Clean School Bus program.

La EPA Ordena al Parque de Casas Móviles del Valle de Coachella que Proporcione Agua Potable Segura

Wed, 02/08/2023 - 19:00

La Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) ha emitido una Orden Administrativa de Emergencia conforme a la autoridad de la Ley de Agua Potable Segura para D&D Mobile Home Park. El parque sirve predominantemente a los trabajadores agrícolas y se encuentra dentro de la Reserva Indígena Cahuilla del Desierto de Torres Martínez en Thermal, California, un pequeño pueblo en el Valle de Coachella.

La orden de emergencia de la EPA exige que los propietarios del parque proporcionen agua potable alternativa segura a los residentes, aborden las deficiencias en su sistema de reducción de arsénico y obtengan un operador certificado dentro de un mes. Esta acción forma parte de los esfuerzos continuos de la EPA para garantizar que los pequeños sistemas de agua potable en el Valle de Coachella cumplan con la Ley de Agua Potable Segura.

“La EPA está comprometida a proteger la salud de nuestras comunidades, incluidas las comunidades que históricamente han enfrentado la inequidad en la protección ambiental, asegurando que tengan agua potable segura y confiable”, comentó Martha Guzmán, administradora de la región Suroeste del Pacífico de la EPA. “Continuaremos utilizando plenamente nuestro conjunto de herramientas de la EPA para asegurarnos de que se cumplan las normas de agua potable segura”.

Los resultados trimestrales de muestreo de arsénico del parque en 2022 alcanzaron un promedio anual de 11.6 partes por billón (ppb), lo que infringe el nivel máximo de contaminantes de arsénico de 10 ppb. Además, una inspección de la EPA en 2021 del sistema de agua potable del parque encontró que los propietarios no habían abordado las deficiencias significativas anteriores. Debido a los hechos acumulativos, la EPA ha determinado que las condiciones del sistema de agua del parque pueden presentar un peligro inminente y sustancial para la salud de las personas, lo cual hace que esta orden de emergencia actual sea necesaria para proteger la salud pública.

Desde el momento en que se emitió la orden de emergencia, el parque de casas móviles tenía 24 horas para comenzar a proporcionar a todas las personas atendidas por el sistema de agua del parque al menos un galón de una fuente alternativa segura de agua, como agua embotellada, por día. La orden requiere que el agua alternativa se proporcione sin costo directo para los residentes, ni como aumentos de alquiler o cargos extra. Además, el parque debe notificar a la EPA de su intención de cumplir con la orden de emergencia y emitir un aviso público, en inglés y español, a todos sus residentes con respecto a la orden y los riesgos asociados con el arsénico.

Los requisitos adicionales en la orden incluyen:

  1. Contratar un operador certificado para su sistema de agua
  2. Reemplazar los medios de adsorción del sistema de agua
  3. Una evaluación independiente del sistema de eliminación de arsénico e implementación de las acciones correctivas necesarias

El incumplimiento de las órdenes de la EPA podría ocasionar multas impuestas contra el parque de casas móviles de hasta $28,239 por día.

El arsénico es inodoro e insípido y puede ingresar a los suministros de agua potable a partir de depósitos naturales en la tierra o de prácticas agrícolas e industriales. La exposición al arsénico puede provocar efectos agudos y crónicos para la salud. El arsénico es un carcinógeno conocido y beber altos niveles de agua que contiene arsénico durante muchos años puede aumentar la posibilidad de cáncer de pulmón, vejiga y piel, así como enfermedades cardíacas, diabetes y daño neurológico.

La Tribu Torres Martínez no tiene control directo ni propiedad del sistema de agua del D&D Mobile Home Park. La EPA trabaja en estrecha colaboración con la Tribu Torres Martínez y ha consultado a sus líderes sobre las infracciones.

Conozca más detalles sobre la Ley de Agua Potable Segura.

Conozca la manera en que la Oficina de Agua Subterránea y Agua Potable de la EPA, junto con los estados, tribus y muchos otros socios, protege la salud pública garantizando agua potable segura y protegiendo las aguas subterráneas.

Conozca más detalles sobre la Región Suroeste del Pacífico de la EPA. Conecte con nosotros en Facebook y en Twitter.

EPA Orders Coachella Valley Mobile Home Park to Provide Safe Drinking Water

Wed, 02/08/2023 - 19:00

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an Emergency Administrative Order under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act to D&D Mobile Home Park. The park serves predominantly agricultural workers and is located within the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Reservation in Thermal, California, a small town in the Coachella Valley.

The EPA emergency order requires the park owners to provide safe alternative drinking water to residents, address deficiencies with their arsenic reduction system, and obtain a certified operator within one month. This action is part of ongoing EPA efforts to ensure small drinking water systems in Coachella Valley comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“EPA is committed to protecting the health of our communities, including communities that have historically faced inequity of environmental protection, by ensuring their drinking water is safe and reliable,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “We will continue to fully utilize our EPA toolset to make sure that safe drinking water standards are met.”

The park’s quarterly sampling results for arsenic in 2022 reached a running annual average of 11.6 parts per billion (ppb), which violates the arsenic maximum contaminant level of 10 ppb. In addition, a 2021 EPA inspection of the park’s drinking water system found the owners had not addressed previous significant deficiencies. Based on these cumulative facts, EPA has determined that the conditions of the park’s water system may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons, making this current emergency order necessary to protect public health.

From the time the emergency order was issued, the mobile home park had 24 hours to begin providing all persons served by the park’s water system with at least one gallon of a safe alternative source of water, such as bottled water, per day. The order requires the alternative water to be provided at no direct cost to the residents, including as rent increases or fees. In addition, the park must notify EPA of its intent to comply with the emergency order and issue a public advisory, in English and Spanish, to all its residents regarding the order and the risks associated with arsenic.

Additional requirements in the order include:

  1. Retention of a certified operator for its water system
  2. Replacement of the water system’s adsorption media
  3. A third-party evaluation of the arsenic removal system and implementation of necessary corrective actions

Failure to comply with the EPA orders could result in penalties levied against the mobile home park of up to $28,239 per day.

Arsenic is odorless and tasteless and can enter drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices. Exposure to arsenic may result in both acute and chronic health effects. Arsenic is a known carcinogen and drinking high levels of water containing arsenic over many years can increase the chance of lung, bladder, and skin cancers, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and neurological damage.

The Torres Martinez Tribe has no direct control or ownership of the D&D Mobile Home Park water system. EPA works closely with the Torres Martinez Tribe and has consulted their leadership about the violations.

Learn more about the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Learn how EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, together with states, tribes, and many other partners, protects public health by ensuring safe drinking water and protecting ground water.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

EPA invites Spring Park, Minn. residents to talk about the Spring Park Superfund site

Mon, 02/06/2023 - 19:00

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invites residents of Spring Park, Minnesota, to talk with EPA representatives about the investigation and cleanup of the Spring Park Municipal Wellfield Superfund site.

During the 30-minute session, EPA representatives will ask questions to help understand community concerns about ongoing work at the site. The information gathered from residents will be used to create a Community Involvement Plan, a guide EPA uses to enable community involvement throughout the Superfund investigation and cleanup process.

Cheryl Allen, EPA community involvement coordinator, and Kelly Poulos, EPA remedial project manager, will be available to talk over the phone on February 21, 22 and 23, between 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.

To schedule a time to talk, residents should:

  • Contact Meg Moosa by phone at 440-688-4006 or email at meg.moosa@tetratech.com
  • Or Cheryl Allen (on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) toll-free by phone at 800-621-8431, ext. 36196, or by email at allen.cheryl@epa.gov.

Visit EPA’s website for more information.

EPA Opens Public Comment Period on Ozone Data Determination for Detroit

Fri, 02/03/2023 - 19:00

CHICAGO (February 3, 2023) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began a 31-day public comment period on a determination that the Detroit metropolitan area has attained the health-based air quality standard for ground level ozone, or smog. This determination is based on an analysis from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) that high ozone values in June 2022 were caused by wildfires. EPA is also taking comment on the state’s analysis.

EGLE’s analysis relies on meteorological data, modeling of air mass trajectories, comparisons to historical data, and measurements of brown carbon and black carbon, or soot. Considered together, the analysis concludes that high smog values measured at an air monitor in Wayne County on June 24 and 25, 2022, were caused by Canadian wildfires. Under EPA rules, wildfire impacts may be excluded when calculating attainment of the smog standard.

The air quality data now show that the Detroit area meets the federal smog standard. Air quality that shows attainment of the standard is one of the requirements for areas to receive formal air quality “attainment” status under the Clean Air Act.

 Comments may be submitted at Regulations.gov (search for docket number EPA-R05-OAR-2023-0058) or via email to arra.sarah@epa.gov until March 6. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Additional information about the proposal can be found on EPA’s website.

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EPA and HUD Officials Present Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert with $34.3M to Protect Children from Lead at Homes in City

Fri, 02/03/2023 - 19:00
EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Edward Chu presents Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert with a ceremonial check for nearly $30 million, joined by other officials. (Photo credit: U.S. EPA)

LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 3, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presented ceremonial checks worth $34.3 million to the City of Omaha, Nebraska, to protect children from lead at homes in the city.

EPA awarded $29.9 million celebrating the renewal of a seven-year, $29.9 million cooperative agreement that enables the city to perform remedial activities within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site, including cleaning up contaminated yards. HUD presented $4.4 million the City of Omaha to address interior lead-based paint.

EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Edward Chu and Michelle Miller, deputy director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, joined Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert to celebrate the agreements that highlight a whole-of-government approach to removing lead from the environment at homes where our children spend much of their time. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children.

“The partnership between EPA and the City of Omaha has reduced lead in the environment by remediating lead-contaminated soil and removing exterior lead-based paint from properties within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Renewing our cooperative agreement with the city helps continue to ensure that the children and citizens of Omaha are protected from the dangers associated with lead exposure.”

"Even though lead-based paint was in fact banned many years ago in residential housing, its harmful legacy remains,” said HUD Region 7 Administrator Ulysses Clayborn. “With today's funding from HUD and through our continuing interagency coordination with EPA, the city of Omaha will be able to continue its ongoing work with medical and social service providers to substantively address lead and other health hazards.”

“Every child, every family, should live in a safe and healthy environment,” Mayor Stothert said. “We have made tremendous progress in Omaha; however, children are still at risk. The continuation of our cooperative agreement with the EPA makes safer and healthier homes for families and children possible.”

Omaha was once home to a large lead smelter and lead battery recycling plant that are estimated to have released more than 400 million pounds (200,000 tons) of lead particles into the environment. Much of that ended up in residential areas within the 27 square miles of downtown Omaha where the lead processing facilities operated.

The Record of Decision for the Omaha Lead Superfund Site includes remediation of lead-impacted soil from historic smelting and lead processing activities at the site. The remedy also includes exterior lead-based paint stabilization, which was included to protect the soil remedy at the site.

HUD presented the city with approximately $4.4 million in combined grants through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Program. These funds will enable the city to address interior lead-based paint hazards in 160 housing units, providing safer homes for low-income families with children.

Also in attendance were officials from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) and the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD). EPA and DCHD have a separate cooperative agreement in place to provide DCHD with funding for the county’s free blood lead screening services, indoor lead screening, and education and outreach to medical professionals within the site boundary.

Learn more about the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.

Learn more about the City of Omaha’s Lead Hazard Programs.

Learn more about Douglas County’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

Read more about HUD’s Healthy Homes Program.

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $340 Million for Water Infrastructure and Lead Pipe Replacement Projects in Philadelphia

Fri, 02/03/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $340 million financing commitment to upgrade the City of Philadelphia’s aging drinking water infrastructure, including replacing customers’ lead service lines. This Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) low-interest loan will jumpstart the work to modernize the drinking water system with an initial investment of nearly $20 million.

“At EPA, we’re committed to ensuring access to clean, safe water for all. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investment in water infrastructure upgrades, we’re delivering on that commitment for communities across this nation,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With the funds announced today, the City of Philadelphia will be able to upgrade its aging system for the 1.6 million people that depend on it, ensuring no one has to worry about access to safe, affordable drinking water.”

The announcement was made by President Biden, Vice President Harris and Administrator Regan at an event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to highlight the progress we have made and the Administration’s work implementing the Biden-Harris economic and environmental agenda that continues to deliver results for the American people.

Portions of the City of Philadelphia’s drinking water systems are approaching the end of their useful life and need significant upgrades to continue to deliver clean and safe water to the residents of Philadelphia. With this announcement, EPA is committing over $340 million in WIFIA financing to the city. The initial loan of $19.8 million will modernize critical drinking water infrastructure by replacing approximately 160 lead service lines and 15 miles of watermains throughout the city.

“This commitment will provide an immense boost to Philadelphia’s ongoing efforts to ramp up water main replacement and help sustain our recently launched 25-year, multibillion-dollar Water Revitalization Plan, investments that will result in direct health and safety benefits for all Philadelphians,” said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman. “Replacing miles of water mains in these neighborhoods will also strengthen our campaign to replace customers’ lead service lines as we renew and improve the City’s infrastructure. This represents the biggest investment in drinking water infrastructure in a generation, and we would not be able to do this work without this level of federal investment.”

The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to revitalizing the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure to ensure every community has access to clean, safe and reliable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services. In addition to WIFIA loans and other federally funded programs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a historic $50 billion investment in water infrastructure and allocates $15 billion specifically for lead service line replacement and removal. To date, more than $4.7 billion of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has been invested through the State Revolving Funds to support states, Tribes and territories in improving water infrastructure.

By financing this first project with a WIFIA loan, EPA estimates the City of Philadelphia will save approximately $4 million. Construction and operation under this first loan are estimated to create approximately 100 jobs.

Background 

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. The WIFIA program’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. 

The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. With this loan closing, EPA’s WIFIA program has announced 97 loans that are providing $17 billion in credit assistance to help finance $36 billion for water infrastructure while creating 122,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion. 

EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. In June, EPA announced the availability of $5.5 billion under the 2022 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability and an additional $1 billion under the SWIFIA program. Together, this newly available funding will support more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs.

1023 Diesel & Fleet of Wasilla, AK., fined $65,000 for Clean Air Act Violations

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 19:00

SEATTLE (February 2, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that 1023 Diesel and Fleet, Inc., of Wasilla, Alaska paid a $65,000 penalty for the illegal sale and installation of aftermarket products that disable vehicle emission control systems, known as defeat devices.  
 
"Diesel emissions are known health threats," said Ed Kowalski, Director of Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. "The sale and installation of defeat devices like these is a fast track to a significant penalty.”   
 
Between January 1, 2019 and March 1, 2021 EPA found that 1023 Diesel and Fleet sold at least 211 defeat devices and installed some of those devices on at least 32 heavy-duty diesel motor vehicles. The penalty amount was reduced based on the company’s inability to pay a higher penalty and continue in business. 
 
To meet emission standards intended to protect public health, vehicle and engine manufacturers install certain hardware devices to reduce the amount of particulate matter and other harmful pollutants released into the air. These hardware systems are operated and monitored by software systems. The Clean Air Act prohibits manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, and installing aftermarket devices that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative the emission control systems. As a result of EPA's regulations, cars and trucks manufactured today emit far less pollution than older vehicles.  
 
A November 2020 study found that sales of defeat devices for certain diesel trucks between 2009 and 2020 resulted in more than 570,000 tons of excess nitrogen oxide and 5,000 tons of excess particulate matter over the lifetime of the trucks. These pollutants contribute to serious health effects including premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to increased incidence of lung cancer. 
 
EPA focuses its enforcement and compliance assurance resources on the most serious environmental violations by developing and implementing national program priorities, called National Compliance Initiatives. This settlement is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative, “Stopping Aftermarket Parts Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines.” 
 

EPA Opens Public Comment Period for Indoor airPLUS Program Update

Wed, 02/01/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — In order to advance indoor air quality protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing proposed updates to the Indoor airPLUS program, and will be taking public comment for 60 days. Comments will be accepted until April 3, 2023.

Indoor airPLUS is a voluntary partnership and labeling program designed to improve indoor air quality in homes to help reduce the likelihood of common and serious health problems like heart disease, cancer, asthma and other respiratory issues. Builders that participate in the program must use construction practices designed to minimize exposure to airborne pollutants and contaminants in the home. The indoor airPLUS program also requires that these practices are inspected and certified by qualified verifiers.

The updates to the program being proposed today take into consideration the broad range of feedback EPA received in response to a December 2020 opportunity for public comment on revised Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications proposed at that time. This 2023 proposal is designed to address feedback received on the 2020 proposal and to encourage broad industry participation to advance indoor air quality protections, while strengthening program integrity with an improved verification and quality assurance framework.

Under this proposed program update, builders will have an opportunity to choose between two Indoor airPLUS labels: Indoor airPLUS Certification, and Indoor airPLUS Gold. The proposed “Indoor airPLUS Certification” specifications focus on strategies to improve indoor air quality without a pre-requisite of ENERGY STAR certification. The proposed “Indoor airPLUS Gold” specifications include more advanced protections for improved indoor air quality in conjunction with ENERGY STAR certification.

Other features of the proposed program update include changes to the training requirements for verifiers, a Home Certification Organization model to improve quality assurance, and a five-year expiration date to the new Indoor airPLUS labels and specifications for voluntary recertification by the home/building owner after the five-year expiration.

Following the 60-day comment period, EPA expects to release the final Indoor airPLUS Certification and Gold specifications in January 2024. During the first 12-months of implementation beginning January 2024, partners could continue to use Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications Version 1, Rev.4 or begin to use one of the new two-tier specifications, if finalized. EPA anticipates that the Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications Version 1, Rev. 4 will be sunset by January 2025. These dates are subject to change.

More about the Indoor airPLUS program:

Indoor airPLUS homes are healthier by design, improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and comfort. Labeled homes can help reduce the likelihood of common and serious health problems like heart disease, cancer, asthma, allergies, respiratory issues, headaches and more through comprehensive IAQ approaches. These approaches include mold and moisture control; radon resistance; pest management; improved heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; combustion venting; healthier building materials; and homeowner education.

Find more information on:

EPA Announces Financial Capability Guidance to Support Communities and Ensure Clean, Affordable Water

Wed, 02/01/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its updated Clean Water Act Financial Capability Assessment (FCA) Guidance to help communities ensure public health protections and financial feasibility as they make plans to comply with the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Guidance outlines strategies for communities to follow to support affordable rates while planning investments in water infrastructure essential to protecting our Nation’s waters.

“EPA is committed to ensuring all communities have access to clean water and critical water services. We also recognize that a growing number of people struggle to afford their water bills,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The updated FCA Guidance provides a better process to assess communities’ ability to afford water quality improvements, and also highlights a variety of tools, including assistance programs, grants, and subsidized loans, to help communities plan and pay for necessary water infrastructure improvements.”  

When discharges from municipal wastewater treatment facilities violate the CWA, EPA sets a schedule for the municipality to implement control measures to address the discharges as soon as possible. When negotiating CWA compliance schedules, EPA considers public health, environmental protection, and a community’s financial capability. The FCA Guidance outlines the financial information and formulas used to assess a community’s financial ability to make the needed water infrastructure investments essential for CWA implementation. The FCA Guidance is also used to evaluate the economic impacts on public entities of certain water quality standards (WQS) decisions.

For communities seeking extended CWA compliance schedules or certain changes to water quality standards, the updated FCA Guidance provides a clear process to demonstrate financial capability and ensure that a financial strategy is in place to support needed infrastructure upgrades without overburdening their most vulnerable ratepayers. The updated FCA Guidance also contains new measures that provide a better description of a community’s ability to afford water services, including community-specific poverty factors that are available and easy to find from census data. The FCA Guidance incorporates feedback from nearly 3,000 comments received during the public comment period and provides clear, step-by-step instructions for evaluating financial capability, including options for communities with less capacity.

The FCA Guidance is a starting point for negotiations and is not legally binding. The FCA Guidance recognizes that a variety of factors should be included in CWA schedule negotiations and encourages communities to bring their individual circumstances to those discussions. If a community has additional information that justifies a longer schedule than the general schedule benchmarks, this information can be submitted to EPA. Where appropriate, this information can result in different schedules than those suggested by the baseline analysis in the FCA Guidance.

The updated FCA Guidance provides ideas for working within legal boundaries and broadly consider how to minimize rate impacts to residents. For example, the FCA Guidance provides links to resources for obtaining available federal funding or for establishing programs to help low-income customers. In addition, EPA’s Water Finance Center can connect communities to technical assistance providers who can help with rate design and analysis, asset management planning, identifying sources of funding, and/or developing State Revolving Fund applications.

The FCA Guidance is available here.

Background
The Updated FCA Guidance supersedes the 1997 Guidance for Financial Capability Assessment and Schedule Development to evaluate a community’s capability to fund CWA control measures in both the permitting and enforcement context. The FCA Guidance also supplements the public sector sections of the 1995 Interim Economic Guidance for Water Quality Standards to assist states and authorized tribes in assessing the degree of economic and social impact of potential WQS decisions.

During a 60-day public comment period on the proposed FCA Guidance, EPA received nearly 3,000 public comments from a wide range of stakeholders, including local governments, state governments, utilities and municipalities, environmental organizations, NGOs, and private citizens. The final FCA Guidance has been informed by the input provided during the comment period.

EPA Announces Community Meeting Feb. 23 to Discuss Groundwater Contamination in St. Charles, Missouri

Tue, 01/31/2023 - 19:00

LENEXA, KAN. (JAN. 31, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 will hold a Community Meeting at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish on Thursday, Feb. 23. The session will begin at 6 p.m. with a formal presentation held at 7 p.m. Following the presentation, EPA staff will facilitate a question-and-answer session until 8:30 p.m.

“We are committed to providing the residents of St. Charles with timely and accurate information regarding EPA’s work at the Findett Corp. Superfund Site,” said EPA Region 7 Superfund and Emergency Management Division Director Bob Jurgens. “EPA will be available to address community concerns in St. Charles on Feb. 23.”

The purpose of the meeting is to provide members of the public with an update on the field sampling conducted by EPA to identify the source of new contamination found near the Ameren Huster Road substation. EPA conducted this field work in January 2023.

This meeting follows a November 2022 Public Meeting in which EPA shared information about the Consent Decree for the Operable Unit 4 Remedial Design/Remedial Action and response actions at the site.

The Community Meeting will be held:

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023

Public Availability: 6 to 7 p.m.
Presentation: 7 to 7:30 p.m.
Question and Answer: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The meeting location will be:
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish Gymnasium
534 N. 5th Street
St. Charles, MO 63301

During the public availability portion, representatives from EPA will be available for one-on-one discussions and to answer questions. Following the availability, EPA will provide a site update presentation at 7 p.m. After the presentation, EPA will facilitate a question-and-answer session until 8:30 p.m.

Site project information is available to the public on EPA’s Site Profile page. If you do not have internet access, you can view these documents online at this location: Kathryn Linnemann Branch, St. Charles City-County Library, 2323 Elm Street, St. Charles, MO 63301; 636-946-6294.

EPA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. For reasonable accommodations at the Community Meeting, including the public availability portion, please contact Euleashia Embry at embry.euleashia@epa.gov or 1-800-223-0425.

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EPA Cites Flint Scrapyard for Alleged Clean Air Act Violation

Tue, 01/31/2023 - 19:00

CHICAGO (Jan. 31, 2023) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a finding of violation to Fritz Enterprises Inc., a scrapyard in Flint, Michigan, alleging Clean Air Act violations by failing to prevent the release of ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere.

Fritz Enterprises failed to verify that all refrigerants had been properly recovered from the appliances accepted by their scrapyard. These violations caused emissions of substances, including chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the stratospheric ozone layer that protects life on earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. These violations also caused emissions of substitute refrigerants that contribute to global warming and climate change.

EPA has notified Fritz Enterprises of their noncompliance and met with company representatives on Jan.18 to discuss next steps.

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA has several enforcement options to address the alleged violations, including administrative or judicial civil action.

Learn more about EPA’s air enforcement on the website.

Potential environmental violations may be reported on EPA’s compliance website.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Action to Help Protect Bristol Bay Salmon Fisheries

Tue, 01/31/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, EPA issued a Final Determination under the Clean Water Act to help protect Bristol Bay, the most productive wild salmon ecosystem in the world. With this action, the Biden-Harris Administration is protecting certain waters that are important to sustaining Southwest Alaska’s salmon resources from disposal of dredged or fill materials associated with developing the Pebble deposit.

Protecting Bristol Bay builds on a series of recent actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to conserve and restore some of America’s most cherished lands and waters, many of which are sacred to Tribal Nations. Last week the Administration finalized protections for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska and the Boundary Waters Area Watershed in Minnesota.

“The Bristol Bay watershed is a vital economic driver, providing jobs, sustenance, and significant ecological and cultural value to the region,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “With this action, EPA is advancing its commitment to help protect this one-of-a-kind ecosystem, safeguard an essential Alaskan industry, and preserve the way of life for more than two dozen Alaska Native villages.”

“After reviewing the extensive scientific and technical record spanning two decades, EPA has determined that specific discharges associated with developing the Pebble deposit will have unacceptable and adverse effects on certain salmon fishery areas in the Bristol Bay watershed,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Our Final Determination helps prevent those adverse effects while helping protect a vibrant and magnificent watershed. It’s also important to note that EPA’s action does not apply to current or future resource development projects in Alaska.”

The Bristol Bay watershed’s fishery resources are a thriving economic driver for the region, generating significant nutritional, cultural, economic, and recreational value. The total economic value, including subsistence uses of the Bristol Bay watershed’s salmon resources, was estimated at more than $2.2 billion in 2019 and results in 15,000 jobs annually. The Bristol Bay Watershed is home to 25 Alaska Native villages and communities and supports one of the last intact, sustainable salmon-based cultures in the world. Salmon provides more than half of the subsistence harvest for some Alaska Native communities in the Bristol Bay region.

After reviewing the Recommended Determination provided by EPA’s Region 10 office, including the scientific and technical information spanning nearly two decades, EPA has determined that the discharges evaluated in the Final Determination will have unacceptable adverse effects on salmon fishery areas in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds of Bristol Bay. Ecologically valuable streams, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats, like those found in these watersheds, provide the foundation for the productive fishery areas in the region.

Final Determination
The Final Determination prohibits certain waters of the United States in the South Fork Koktuli River and North Fork Koktuli River watersheds from being used as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material for the construction and routine operation of Pebble Limited Partnership’s mine plan described in its June 8, 2020 CWA Section 404 permit application. It also prohibits future proposals to construct and operate a mine to develop the Pebble deposit that would result in the same or greater levels of loss or change to aquatic resources. The Final Determination also restricts the use of certain waters of the United States in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with future proposals to develop the Pebble deposit that would result in adverse effects similar or greater in nature and magnitude to those associated with the 2020 Mine Plan.

In the 50-year history of the Clean Water Act, EPA has used its Section 404(c) authority judiciously. Today’s action marks the third time in 30 years, and only the 14th time in the history of the Clean Water Act, that EPA has used this authority. This highlights the value of the Bristol Bay watershed’s fishery resources.

The federal government, the State of Alaska, federally recognized Tribal governments, the Pebble Limited Partnership, and many interested stakeholders have devoted significant resources over many years of study, engagement, and review. Considering the extensive record, it is not reasonable or necessary to engage in additional multi-year National Environmental Policy Act or Clean Water Act Section 404 processes for future proposals to develop the Pebble deposit involving discharges of dredged or fill material that would result in adverse effects that EPA has already determined are unacceptable in this Final Determination. By acting now, based on an extensive and carefully considered record, EPA promotes regulatory certainty for all stakeholders and avoids unnecessary expenditure of additional resources by all stakeholders.

The prohibition and restriction in EPA’s Final Determination only apply to certain discharges of dredged or fill material associated with developing the Pebble Deposit. This action does not apply to any current or future resource development projects in the state of Alaska.

A copy of the Final Determination is available on EPA’s Bristol Bay website at: www.epa.gov/bristolbay.

Background
The Pebble deposit, a large, low-grade deposit containing copper-, gold-, and molybdenum-bearing minerals, is located at the headwaters of the pristine Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska. The Pebble deposit underlies portions of the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds, which drain to two of the largest rivers in the Bristol Bay watershed, the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers.

Efforts to evaluate the effects of developing a mine at the Pebble deposit have been underway for more than a decade. The Pebble Limited Partnership’s 2020 Mine Plan underwent the CWA Section 404 permit review process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was evaluated in the context of an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. In November 2020, USACE denied Pebble Limited Partnership’s permit application; Pebble Limited Partnership appealed the permit denial with USACE, and review of the appeal is ongoing.

The diverse, abundant, and high-quality streams, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds provide important spawning and rearing habitat for Coho, Chinook, and Sockeye salmon and provide high-quality habitat for other fishes, such as Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling, and Northern Pike. The aquatic habitats of the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds also provide critical support for downstream habitats. By contributing water, organic matter, and macroinvertebrates to downstream systems, these headwater areas help maintain downstream habitats and fuel their fish productivity. Together, these functions—direct provision of high-quality habitat and indirect provision of other resources to downstream habitats— support the valuable fisheries of the Bristol Bay watershed.

The objective of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers share responsibilities for implementing Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Section 404(a) of the Clean Water Act requires a permit from the Corps of Engineers to discharge dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act authorizes EPA to prohibit the specification of or restrict the use for specification of any defined area as a disposal site for the discharge of dredged or fill material whenever it determines that such discharges will have an unacceptable adverse effect on fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas

EPA and DOJ Announce Settlement with Logan Square Aluminium Supply Over Lead Violations

Mon, 01/30/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice announced a settlement with Logan Square Aluminum Supply Inc., resolving alleged violations of the federal Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting regulations, known as the RRP rule, at renovation projects Logan Square and its contractors performed in Chicago and Chicago suburbs.

Under the court settlement, Logan Square will implement a comprehensive program to ensure that its contractors are certified and trained to use lead-safe work practices to avoid creating lead dust during home renovation activities. Under a parallel administrative settlement agreement, Logan Square will also pay a $400,000 penalty, and perform $2 million of lead-based paint abatement work in lower-income properties located in Chicago and Chicago suburbs in communities with a higher incidence of childhood lead poisoning.

“Lead exposure from lead-based paint continues to be a hazard for American families living in older homes, and children in those homes are particularly vulnerable,” said Larry Starfield, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement requires Logan Square Aluminum Supply, Inc. to take necessary steps to ensure that it meets appropriate safety requirements in future renovation projects that may disturb lead-based paint.”

“Companies that renovate homes built before 1978 must ensure that they hire EPA-certified contractors and follow other EPA rules requiring lead safe work practices,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will take aggressive action against companies that do not take these important steps.”

Renovation is any activity that disturbs painted surfaces and includes most repair, remodeling, and maintenance activities, such as electrical work, plumbing, carpentry and window replacement. Both Logan Square and its contractors are responsible for compliance with the RRP rule to protect the health and safety of families, especially children under the age of six who are most susceptible to lead hazards. For these projects, Logan Square must contract with only EPA-certified firms and renovators, ensure they maintain certification, use lead-safe work practices, and document their work with checklists during renovations.

Logan Square will add a link on its website to EPA’s content on lead-safe work practices. In addition, Logan Square will take action to respond to situations where a contractor is not operating in compliance with the RRP rule; investigate all reports of potential noncompliance; and ensure that any violations are corrected and reported to EPA.

EPA first discovered the alleged violations through customer complaints about a project performed in Evanston, Illinois. EPA learned that Logan Square frequently subcontracted work to uncertified firms and did not use lead-safe work practices, perform required post-renovation cleaning, provide the EPA-required lead-based paint pamphlets to occupants, or establish records of compliance. Logan Square also conducts business under other names, including Climate Guard Thermal Products Co. and Studio 41.

The consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Notice of the lodging of the consent decree will appear in the Federal Register allowing for a 30-day public comment period before the consent decree can be entered by the court as final judgment. View the consent decree here

Further information is available from the National Lead Information Center (800-424-LEAD) and on EPA’s Lead webpage. Available resources include additional information about the RRP program; information for contractors and property managers about program requirements; and downloadable lead-safety education materials.

To report a possible violation of the RRP Rule requirements, please visit EPA’s website.

U.S. EPA begins cleanup of Nelson Knitting site in Rockford, Illinois

Mon, 01/30/2023 - 19:00

CHICAGO (January 30, 2023) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began cleanup of a former sock-knitting mill at 909 S. Main St., Rockford, Illinois. EPA anticipates the cleanup of asbestos-contaminated debris and other hazardous waste will be completed by mid-March.

The Nelson Knitting site was referred to EPA for cleanup by Illinois EPA in July 2020, due to the presence of asbestos. Access restrictions limited EPA’s ability to start the cleanup until now. The city of Rockford condemned the building; however, trespassers have continued to enter. The city and EPA have found evidence of scrapped building materials and asbestos debris on the floor. People entering the building are exposed to this material and risk transporting asbestos fibers off-site on their clothes and shoes.

 During the cleanup, EPA will remove asbestos-containing material at the property. The cleanup also involves:

  • Transport and disposal of the asbestos-contaminated waste at an approved facility.
  • Following a safety plan, including air monitoring and dust control, to protect the health of workers and the public.
  • Removal of hazardous materials found within the building, including PCB-containing light fixtures, lead-acid batteries, miscellaneous chemicals, mercury switches, and fluorescent light tubes.

Cleanup is anticipated to occur only inside the building. After EPA’s cleanup is complete, the Winnebago County Trust will pursue demolition and potential redevelopment.

To learn more, please visit EPA’s website.

EPA Launches New Initiative to Accelerate Lead Pipe Replacement to Protect Underserved Communities in Wisconsin

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (January 27, 2023) – Today, EPA announced a major new initiative to accelerate progress toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving 100% lead service line removal and replacement. The “Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators” initiative was introduced during a White House convening with Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, alongside state and local leaders celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. The new Accelerator will provide targeted technical assistance services to help underserved communities in Wisconsin access funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and replace lead pipes that pose risks to the health of children and families. The initiative is a partnership with the Department of Labor, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and will work with 40 communities across those states in 2023.

“The science is clear—there is no safe level of exposure to lead,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is committed to partnering with states and communities to protect children and families and ensure our nation's drinking water pipes are lead-free. Our Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators demonstrate our commitment to ensuring every community has access to safe, clean drinking water. By leveraging the historic investment made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are moving one step closer to achieving President Biden’s vision of 100% lead-free water systems for all.”

Through the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Accelerators, EPA will provide hands-on support to guide communities through the process of lead service line removals, from start to finish. This will include support in developing lead service line replacement plans, conducting inventories to identify lead pipes, increasing community outreach and education efforts, and supporting applications for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. As a result, more communities will be able to access their fair share of federal funds to secure a lead-free future.

Partnership is core to the LSLR Accelerators initiative. EPA will collaborate each step of the way with Wisconsin and applauds their leadership in seeking innovative new ways to accelerate lead pipe removal. The Accelerators initiative will support Wisconsin in more strategically deploying funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for lead service line replacements while developing best practices and creative approaches that can serve as a roadmap for the rest of the country. As this program moves forward, EPA and the Department of Labor will collaborate to provide tools aimed at increasing job quality standards, equity, and resources to accelerate the development of the skilled water workforce needed to undertake these community and system-wide lead service line replacement programs.

“Every Wisconsinite deserves access to safe, clean drinking water. We’ve been working to address the lead crisis and other water quality issues affecting our state since Day One of my administration—from declaring 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water to our ongoing work with the EPA to replace lead service lines across our state,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. “The Biden Administration and the EPA have been critical partners in these efforts. I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure Wisconsinites can trust the water coming from their taps.”

“With its dedicated funding for lead pipe replacement, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help remove this toxin from homes and from our communities. I am proud to have supported legislation that takes action on this pressing crisis in Milwaukee,” said U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore. “I am glad that the EPA will work with our state to reach affected communities in Wisconsin and help identify where the lead laterals are in order to expedite the process of removing these pipes. This new initiative will help ensure that affected and under-resourced communities can access tools and information they need to finally get these pipes out of the ground and soon. ”

The LSLR Accelerators initiative represents another step forward by the Biden-Harris Administration to achieve 100% lead free water systems. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested an unprecedented $50 billion in the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure, including $15 billion dedicated to lead service line replacement and $11.7 billion of general Drinking Water State Revolving Funds that can also be used for lead service line replacement. And in 2021, with the boost from these water infrastructure investments, the Biden-Harris Administration released its Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. EPA is committed to this work and using every tool available— statutory authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, technical assistance, funding for lead service line replacement, and more—to protect all Americans from lead in drinking water.

With the help of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, EPA is strengthening its technical assistance efforts in order to ensure every community gets its fair share of this historic investment. For more information about water technical assistance for communities and the Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators, please visit:  https://www.epa.gov/water-infrastructure/water-technical-assistance

Background
All communities deserve access to safe, clean, lead-free water. Yet too many families and children across America are still impacted by lead pipes. The science is clear that lead pipes pose serious health risks, particularly for children. However, many communities, particularly underserved communities and communities in rural and inner urban areas, lack necessary tools and resources to make rapid progress on lead service line replacement.

The primary source of lead in drinking water, when present, is pipes. Lead can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels and can accumulate in the body over time. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. 

EPA Launches New Initiative to Accelerate Lead Pipe Replacement in Pennsylvania to Protect Underserved Communities

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

PHILADELPHIA (January 27, 2023) – Today, EPA announced a major new initiative to accelerate progress toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving 100% lead service line removal and replacement.  The “Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators” initiative was introduced during a White House convening with Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, alongside state and local leaders celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. The new Accelerator will provide targeted technical assistance services to help underserved communities access funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and replace lead pipes that pose risks to the health of children and families. The initiative is a partnership with the Department of Labor, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and will work with 40 communities across those states in 2023.

“The science is clear—there is no safe level of exposure to lead,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is committed to partnering with states and communities to protect children and families and ensure our nation's drinking water pipes are lead-free. Our Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators demonstrate our commitment to ensuring every community has access to safe, clean drinking water. By leveraging the historic investment made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are moving one step closer to achieving President Biden’s vision of 100% lead-free water systems for all.”

Through the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Accelerators, EPA will provide hands-on support to guide communities through the process of lead service line removals, from start to finish. This will include support in developing lead service line replacement plans, conducting inventories to identify lead pipes, increasing community outreach and education efforts, and supporting applications for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. As a result, more communities will be able to access their fair share of federal funds to secure a lead-free future.

Partnership is core to the LSLR Accelerators initiative. EPA will collaborate each step of the way with Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and applauds their leadership in seeking innovative new ways to accelerate lead pipe removal. The Accelerators initiative will support these states in more strategically deploying funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for lead service line replacements while developing best practices and creative approaches that can serve as a roadmap for the rest of the country. As this program moves forward, EPA and the Department of Labor will collaborate to provide tools aimed at increasing job quality standards, equity, and resources to accelerate the development of the skilled water workforce needed to undertake these community and system-wide lead service line replacement programs.

“Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water, but far too many communities here in Pennsylvania suffer from old and outdated lead pipes that endanger the health of our children and families,” said Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro. “My Administration is ready to work with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and our federal partners to make life-saving investments that will deliver clean drinking to families across the Commonwealth, especially in communities that have been left behind for too long. Working with our federal partners, we can rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, and guarantee that constitutional right holds for all Pennsylvania, regardless of their zip code.”

“Too many people and families in Pennsylvania and across the Nation don’t have reliable access to safe drinking water. That’s unacceptable. But thanks to the infrastructure law, underserved communities in our state will be eligible to replace harmful lead pipes faster than we thought possible. I will keep working with the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that all Pennsylvanians can access the clean drinking water they need to live healthy lives,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).

“This initiative is a home-run to provide clean drinking water to communities in Pennsylvania and throughout the region. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s unprecedented investment in water and sewer lines will help build on previous progress and ensure that all communities, including the most vulnerable and forgotten, have access to safe water systems,” said U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA).

“EPA’s partnership with Pennsylvania will go a long way in helping thousands of small drinking water systems begin to address aging lead pipes and ultimately provide safe drinking water to their communities,” said EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz.  “This historic funding is going to improve lives and we’re eager to get started in the Commonwealth.”

The LSLR Accelerators initiative represents another step forward by the Biden-Harris Administration to achieve 100% lead free water systems. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested an unprecedented $50 billion in the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure, including $15 billion dedicated to lead service line replacement and $11.7 billion of general Drinking Water State Revolving Funds that can also be used for lead service line replacement. And in 2021, with the boost from these water infrastructure investments, the Biden-Harris Administration released its Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. EPA is committed to this work and using every tool available— statutory authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, technical assistance, funding for lead service line replacement, and more—to protect all Americans from lead in drinking water.

With the help of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, EPA is strengthening its technical assistance efforts in order to ensure every community gets its fair share of this historic investment. For more information about water technical assistance for communities and the Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators, please visit.  https://www.epa.gov/water-infrastructure/water-technical-assistance.

Additional Quotes:

“One intention of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was to modernize our region so that our communities are not just better connected but better protected — and I’m glad to see these historic investments being used to replace lead pipes in Pennsylvania,” U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean (D-PA, 4th) said. “Clean water is a right, and every community deserves access to clean and safe drinking water. I’m grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration and the EPA Mid-Atlantic Region for helping to create better environments for underserved communities in our commonwealth.”

“I’m proud to have voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and its funding to address lead pollution in our water is one of the many reasons why I voted for this law,” said U.S. Representative Dwight Evans (D-PA, 3rd).

“It’s unacceptable that any Pennsylvanian still has to deal with lead-contaminated water pipes and faucets,” said U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA, 6th). “In my community, the cities of Reading and Coatesville have contended with this public health issue for decades, particularly in rental properties. I look forward to partnering with the EPA on their Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators initiative and collaborating with the Administration to deliver these vital federal resources from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District.”

"I'm thrilled to see funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law flowing into Pennsylvania to address lead contamination in our water supply," said U.S. Representative Mary G. Scanlon (D-PA, 5th). "Investing in the health of Pennsylvania’s children and families is one of my highest priorities, and I am proud to help our most underserved communities tap into the financial and operational assistance needed to identify and replace lead service lines."

“Drinking a glass of water from your own sink or giving your children a bath in your own home should not constitute a health risk, which is why it is urgent to deploy the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investment in replacing lead pipes across the United States. The EPA’s collaborative Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators initiative will give communities across Pennsylvania the tools and resources they need to identify and replace dangerous lead service lines,” said U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA, 7th)

EPA Launches New Initiative in Connecticut to Accelerate Lead Pipe Replacement to Protect Underserved Communities

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

CONNECTICUT (January 27, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will announce a major new initiative to accelerate progress toward the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of achieving 100% lead service line removal and replacement. The "Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators" initiative will be introduced during a White House convening with Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, alongside state and local leaders celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. The new Accelerator will provide targeted technical assistance services to help underserved communities access funds from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and replace lead pipes that pose risks to the health of children and families. The initiative is a partnership with the Department of Labor, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and will work with 40 communities across those states in 2023.

"The science is clear—there is no safe level of exposure to lead," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "EPA is committed to partnering with states and communities to protect children and families and ensure our nation's drinking water pipes are lead-free. Our Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators demonstrate our commitment to ensuring every community has access to safe, clean drinking water. By leveraging the historic investment made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are moving one step closer to achieving President Biden's vision of 100% lead-free water systems for all."

"Protecting children and families by reducing lead exposure is a top priority for EPA under the Biden-Harris Administration, and when you turn on your tap you should never have to worry about what's in the water," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "Through EPA's Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerator, and through our partnership with the State of Connecticut, we can fast-track resources and assistance for Connecticut communities who need it most."

Through the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Accelerators, EPA will provide hands-on support to guide communities through the process of lead service line removals, from start to finish. This will include support in developing lead service line replacement plans, conducting inventories to identify lead pipes, increasing community outreach and education efforts, and supporting applications for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. As a result, more communities will be able to access their fair share of federal funds to secure a lead-free future.

Partnership is core to the LSLR Accelerators initiative. EPA will collaborate each step of the way with Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and applauds their leadership in seeking innovative new ways to accelerate lead pipe removal. The Accelerators initiative will support these states in more strategically deploying funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for lead service line replacements while developing best practices and creative approaches that can serve as a roadmap for the rest of the country. As this program moves forward, EPA and the Department of Labor will collaborate to provide tools aimed at increasing job quality standards, equity, and resources to accelerate the development of the skilled water workforce needed to undertake these community and system-wide lead service line replacement programs.

"Connecticut is proud to be one of the four states involved with the Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators Community Initiative which is critical toward investing in safe drinking water and ultimately protecting the health of our communities," said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. "The Lead Service Line Accelerators will address existing barriers and accelerate progress on these projects. Inviting input from our residents, providing educational resources, and engaging affected members of the community are necessary components in identifying and ultimately replacing these lead service lines."

"This initiative will help rid water of one of the most pernicious poisons— lead— that can do irreversible, crippling damage to children and families. People deserve clean, healthy water and these new pipes will make it possible. The federal legislation replacing lead service lines is a godsend for safe drinking water," said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

"Too many families in Connecticut face serious health risks because their water flows through old lead pipes. Everyone needs access to clean, safe drinking water, and I'm glad to see funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law put these pipe replacement projects on a fast track," said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.

"Lead service removal is pivotal to keeping families and our communities safe," said U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro. "This initiative announced by the Biden-Harris Administration is welcome news, and puts us on a path to reduce lead exposure and enhance the safety of those most at-risk to lead poisoning. Too many families and children across Connecticut are still impacted by lead pipes, and we know this poses a serious long-term threat to children's health. With the help of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are now leveraging every tool to deliver clean drinking water and replace lead pipes."

"The Connecticut Congressional delegation worked together to secure a historic investment in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve our state's water infrastructure," said U.S. Representative John B. Larson. "The Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerator will ensure communities have the resources and assistance they need to safely remove and replace lead pipes, and make safe drinking water for all residents a reality."

"People throughout eastern Connecticut are seeing long-overdue infrastructure projects finally getting underway and completed thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law we passed in late 2021," said U.S. Representative Joe Courtney. "The IIJA has brought about improved roads and bridges, major investments in our local economy like support for the new Train Station in Enfield and the new deepwater port in New London, and now it's going to help improve the health and wellbeing of residents throughout our state by helping us replace old lead service lines—an important but costly project that has long been out of reach for local municipal budgets. It wasn't long ago that the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers graded our state's wastewater infrastructure at a paltry D+, but with funding through the IIJA we've finally got the resources to change that. I'm proud to have voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure Law."

"It is unconscionable that all communities in our state do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. Every American deserves access to this basic right, and I am glad that the Administration and the EPA are using funding from Congress' Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to rectify that issue. Connecticut's partnership in this program will help pave the way to protect children across the country from lead-related health risks," said U.S. Representative Jim Himes.

"Every community deserves access to clean drinking water. This new initiative will expeditiously replace centuries-old lead pipes that continue to contaminate water in our most vulnerable cities. These critical upgrades and technical assistance will directly impact the health and safety of Connecticut families while promoting economic development in historically underserved areas. I applaud the administration for its commitment to delivering clean drinking water and fortifying our water infrastructure. I look forward to working with federal, state, and local leaders to make a lead-free future a reality," said U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes.

The LSLR Accelerators initiative represents another step forward by the Biden-Harris Administration to achieve 100% lead free water systems. President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested an unprecedented $50 billion in the nation's water and wastewater infrastructure, including $15 billion dedicated to lead service line replacement and $11.7 billion of general Drinking Water State Revolving Funds that can also be used for lead service line replacement. And in 2021, with the boost from these water infrastructure investments, the Biden-Harris Administration released its Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. EPA is committed to this work and using every tool available— statutory authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, technical assistance, funding for lead service line replacement, and more—to protect all Americans from lead in drinking water.

With the help of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, EPA is strengthening its technical assistance efforts in order to ensure every community gets its fair share of this historic investment. For more information about water technical assistance for communities and the Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/water-infrastructure/water-technical-assistance.

Background

All communities deserve access to safe, clean, lead-free water. Yet too many families and children across America are still impacted by lead pipes. The science is clear that lead pipes pose serious health risks, particularly for children. However, many communities, particularly underserved communities and communities in rural and inner urban areas, lack necessary tools and resources to make rapid progress on lead service line replacement.

The primary source of lead in drinking water, when present, is pipes. Lead can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels and can accumulate in the body over time. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

NJ Selected as One of Four States to Test New Program to Remove Lead Water Pipes in Underserved Communities

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

NEW YORK - Today, EPA announced a major new initiative to accelerate progress toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of 100% lead service line removal and replacement. EPA introduced the “Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators” initiative at a White House summit celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan and convened state and local leaders to discuss the program. New Jersey is among the first states to participate in the Accelerator initiative, an ambitious program aimed at providing targeted technical assistance services to underserved communities to replace lead pipes that endanger the health of children and families. This initiative is a partnership with the Department of Labor, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and will work with up to 40 communities across these states in 2023. The full list of communities that will benefit from this program will be announced in the coming weeks.

"New Jersey is a trailblazer in environmental stewardship by participating in this pilot program," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "Far too many communities in the state and across the nation are still facing the challenge of replacing aging pipes, particularly in communities that have been historically underserved and overburdened. This program will provide crucial support and assistance to these communities and help to address this pressing issue."

“Access to safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental human right which is why replacing lead service lines and modernizing our nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is a matter of public health, environmental safety, and racial and environmental justice,” said Sen. Menendez. “Towns and cities across New Jersey are home to some of the oldest water infrastructure in the nation, which is why I have fought to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding back to the state for lead pipe replacements and drinking water improvements. I applaud the Biden-Harris administration for their commitment to 100% lead service line replacement nationwide and for including New Jersey in this four-state initiative that aims at providing assistance to underserved communities.” 

“Since the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, communities in New Jersey and across the nation have received historic levels of funding to replace lead service lines that pose a danger to the health and well-being of children and families,” said Sen. Booker. “With the launch of the new Service Line Replacement Accelerators initiative in New Jersey and three other states, underserved areas will receive targeted technical assistance as part of an ongoing and critical effort to make sure all Americans have access to safe, clean drinking water.”  

“Every person, school, and business in South Jersey deserves lead-free drinking water,” said Representative Norcross. “I’m proud to have supported the funding that is now delivering for New Jersey communities by providing clean drinking water and creating good-paying jobs in replacing lead pipes that pose health risks to children and families.”

“Lead-free drinking water shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a basic right guaranteed to everyone. I am proud to have voted for the bipartisan infrastructure law that will fund projects like this one and so many more that will work towards repairing New Jersey’s crumbling infrastructure,” said Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03). “Many towns in my district know what it’s like being unable to trust the water coming into their home or business. That’s why I’m glad to see the EPA’s new initiative is taking the step forward that we need to make sure risk-free, safe, and healthy water is a reality for everyone in New Jersey. I look forward to keeping tabs on this project through to its conclusion because everyone deserves reliable, clean water.”

“Contaminated drinking water threatens the health and safety of our families, in our schools and in our homes — whether that’s elevated lead levels or forever chemicals like substances known as PFAS. For years now, I’ve been fighting to get clean drinking water for our families, to protect our local waters, and to claw more federal tax dollars back to Jersey from Washington. The EPA’s new ‘Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators’ initiative will help ensure Jersey’s most underserved communities receive the start-to-finish assistance they need to replace lead pipes and claw back investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that I helped shape and pass. With these federal tax dollars that we get back to North Jersey, we’re able to ease the burden on town and county budgets, help us lower taxes for our families, and, most importantly, protect our families,” said U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5).

“Every American has a fundamental right to safe, clean drinking water. That’s why I fought for funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to replace lead service lines quickly and equitably. No community should be left to face the health risks stemming from lead pipes any longer,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I’m thrilled that EPA is providing much needed assistance to fast-track the removal and replacement of toxic lead pipes, and I commend Administrator Regan for working diligently to target those communities most impacted. This is another significant step toward ensuring that every family can trust the water coming out of the tap. I look forward to this resource expanding to help other communities in need.”

“I commend the Biden Administration for their steadfast efforts to ensure clean and safe drinking water for our residents. I have for years led federal efforts to replace lead pipes in our communities and I am thrilled to have partners in the White House as well as on the state and local levels here in New Jersey. Last week we announced $2.4 million in federal funds to replace lead pipes in Garfield. That funding combined with this announcement today shows that Democrats on all levels of government are committed to modernizing our infrastructure and guaranteeing clean water for all. This is tremendous news for the Garden State.” - U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. 

“I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration and EPA for this new initiative to help provide clean drinking water to underserved communities,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “This issue is extremely important to me because underserved communities suffer the most from lead-contaminated water pipes.  I have worked diligently to provide resources to these communities to remove these dangerous pipes.  I helped secure $169 million to improve New Jersey’s water infrastructure in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help our state.  In addition, I worked to include $55 billion to replace lead-contaminated water pipes in New Jersey and nationwide.  Again, I am proud to support this initiative because all Americans deserve clean drinking water.”

“Old lead pipes threaten the health and safety of too many towns and families throughout my district and New Jersey. That’s why I am proud to have fought for the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides our state with the federal support it needs to improve our water infrastructure without putting a financial burden on our local municipalities,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11). “I look forward to seeing this initiative come to fruition and supporting local communities.”

“I’m proud to have voted for measures that would mitigate the harmful effects of lead water pipes, address potential contaminants in our water, and ensure that everyone in our state has access to clean drinking water,” said Rep Watson Coleman. “This historic investment made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a crucial step toward building a sustainable, secure and healthy future for New Jersey."

“Our historically underserved communities know all too well the severe damage that lead exposure can inflict upon children and families,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “As a result of my Administration’s aggressive and ongoing lead pipe replacement efforts, we also know that no state in the country is better suited to continue serving as a national model for lead remediation than New Jersey. We are eager to continue working alongside our federal and regional partners to eradicate this grave public health threat once and for all.”
“In partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration, New Jersey is accelerating its efforts to better protect every resident from the risk of lead exposure by helping communities to identify lead pipes and access funding for their replacement," said Shawn M. LaTourette, New Jersey's Commissioner of Environmental Protection. "Thanks to the historic amount of investment made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, New Jersey will be home to a Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerator program that will empower communities large and small with the knowledge and resources necessary to get the lead out of our water and away from our kids. The Murphy Administration is proud to lead this new effort alongside several of our sister states and the incredible people of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its Office of Water."

Through the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Accelerators, EPA will provide hands-on support to guide communities through the process of lead service line removals, from start to finish. This will include support in developing lead service line replacement plans, conducting inventories to identify lead pipes, increasing community outreach and education efforts, and supporting applications for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. As a result, more communities will be able to access their fair share of federal funds to secure a lead-free future.

Partnership is core to the LSLR Accelerators initiative. EPA will collaborate each step of the way with Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and applauds their leadership in seeking innovative new ways to accelerate lead pipe removal. The Accelerators initiative will support these states in more strategically deploying funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for lead service line replacements while developing best practices and creative approaches that can serve as a roadmap for the rest of the country. As this program moves forward, EPA and the Department of Labor will collaborate to provide tools aimed at increasing job quality standards, equity, and resources to accelerate the development of the skilled water workforce needed to undertake these community and system-wide lead service line replacement programs.

The LSLR Accelerators initiative represents another step forward by the Biden-Harris’s commitment to achieve 100% lead free water systems. In November 2021 President Biden signed the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which invested an unprecedented $50 billion in the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure, including $15 billion dedicated to lead service line replacement and $11.7 billion of general Drinking Water SRF funding that can also be used for lead service line replacement. In December 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration released its Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. EPA is committed to using every tool available— statutory authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, technical assistance, funding for lead service line replacement, and more—to protect all Americans from lead in drinking water.

With the help of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, EPA is boosting its technical assistance efforts in order to ensure every community gets its fair share of this historic investment. For more information about water technical assistance for communities and the Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators, please visit.  https://www.epa.gov/water-infrastructure/water-technical-assistance.

Background

All communities deserve access to safe, clean, lead-free water. Yet too many families and children across America are still impacted by lead pipes. The science is clear that lead pipes pose serious health risks, particularly for children. However, many communities, particularly underserved communities and communities in rural and inner urban areas, lack necessary tools and resources to make rapid progress on lead service line replacement.

The primary source of lead in drinking water, when present, is pipes. Lead can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels and can accumulate in the body over time. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

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EPA Takes Key Step to Stop Unsafe PFAS from Reentering Commerce

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule that would prevent companies from starting or resuming the manufacture, processing or use of an estimated 300 per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have not been made or used for many years without a complete EPA review and risk determination. In the past, these chemicals, known as “inactive PFAS,” may have been used in many industries in a variety of ways, including as binding agents, surfactants, in the production of sealants and gaskets, and may also have been released into the environment. Without this proposed rule, companies could resume uses of these PFAS absent notification to and review by EPA. The proposal reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to address the impacts of these forever chemicals, and is a key action in EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.

“This proposal is part of EPA’s comprehensive strategy to stop PFAS from entering our air, land and water and harming our health and the planet,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “The rule would put needed protections in place where none currently exist to ensure that EPA can slam the door shut on all unsafe uses of these 300 PFAS.”

When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was first passed in 1976, thousands of chemicals were grandfathered in under the statute and allowed to remain in commerce without additional EPA review. Before TSCA was amended in 2016, EPA completed formal reviews on only about 20% of new chemicals and had no authority to address new chemicals about which the Agency lacked sufficient information, which is part of the reason why many chemicals, including PFAS, were allowed into commerce without a complete review.

Under the new law, the Agency must formally review the safety of all of new chemicals before they are allowed into commerce. Today’s proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) would ensure that modern, robust reviews happen before any of these old chemicals could be used again.

TSCA also requires EPA to compile, keep current and publish a list of each chemical that is manufactured (including imported) or processed in the United States for uses under TSCA, known as the TSCA Inventory. TSCA also requires EPA to designate each chemical on the TSCA Inventory as either “active” or “inactive” in commerce. An “inactive” designation means that a chemical substance has not been manufactured (including imported) or processed in the United States since June 21, 2006.

The proposed SNUR would apply to all PFAS that are designated as “inactive” on the TSCA Inventory and which are not already subject to a SNUR. The proposal would first require companies to notify EPA before they could use any of these 300 chemicals. The Agency would then be required to conduct a robust review of health and safety information under the modernized 2016 law to determine if their use may present unreasonable risk to human health or the environment and put any necessary restrictions in place before the use could restart.

EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0876 at www.regulations.gov.

Read and comment on the proposed rule.