EPA Air

EPA Lauds Recycling and Zero Waste Efforts by Pacific Islands Partners

Fri, 12/02/2022 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO – As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrated America Recycles Day and marked the anniversary of the agency’s national recycling strategy recently, EPA’s territorial partners in the Pacific Islands are making significant progress to improve waste reduction and recycling. 

“EPA is proud to recognize zero waste achievements in American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. These efforts are making real improvements in how island communities manage their waste and protect the environment,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “These local programs across the Pacific Islands protect communities from pollution by reducing waste going to landfills and reduce methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas warming the earth. 

American Samoa: Over the last year, 2,000 pounds of electronic waste from the local Department of Education was diverted from landfills and collected for recycling. A youth education program on waste reduction and management was featured in American Samoa EPA’s “Lumana’i Initiative,” a week-long environmental online classroom for high school students across the island.

“Sustainable waste management is a multifaceted approach in which recycling is a critical component that focuses on resource recovery and reuse -- an approach appropriate for our island home,” said William Sili, Acting Director, American Samoa environmental Protection Agency.

Guam: The territory established a $400,000 grant program for waste reduction and zero waste initiatives on Guam and is dedicating up to 10 percent of the territory’s recycling revolving fund for Guam EPA’s recycling and zero waste initiatives. Guam EPA’s abandoned derelict vessel removal group brought local and federal government agencies together to survey, remove and recycle off-island 11 abandoned vessels weighing over 60 tons.

“Our administration celebrates America Recycles Day every day by continuing to pay special attention to climate resiliency, sustainability and zero waste with the overarching goal of environmental protection in mind,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “Local programs such as Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio’s Island-wide Beautification Task Force, the Mayors Council of Guam Island-wide Environmental Clean-up Program, the Guam Green Growth Circular Economy Makerspace and Innovation Hub, and Guam EPA’s Abandoned Derelict Vessel Removal have shown us that diversification in recycling provides us with great opportunities highlight the natural beauty of Guam, showcasing it to those who cross our shores and to those who call Guam home.”

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Tinian established a municipal recycling program, provided recycling bins to Tinian Jr. Sr. High School’s junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps and announced plans to end the use of single-use plastics on Tinian. The Sinapalo Elementary School hosted CNMI’s recycling coordinator to educate students about recycling and the benefits of waste reduction. 

Governor Ralph DLG Torres held a CNMI Recycles Week ceremony to encourage the CNMI community to “acknowledge and take part in the efforts to combat climate change, promote sustainable living, and protect our environment for our children and the future generations of our great Commonwealth.”

On America Recycles Day this year, EPA announced the availability of $100 million in grants for recycling infrastructure and recycling education and outreach projects across the country. EPA has published two requests for applications for new recycling infrastructure grants and education and outreach grants totaling $70 million. EPA also announced a new grant program for states and territories totaling $30 million.

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

  

Settlement with Republic Steel Requires Reduction of Lead Emissions at Canton, Ohio Facility

Fri, 12/02/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a proposed Clear Air Act settlement with Republic Steel, a steel manufacturer in Canton, Ohio, which will require the company to reduce its facility’s lead emissions that have caused airborne lead levels in the surrounding area to exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead. The settlement terms are included in a proposed consent decree filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In addition to securing air pollution reductions, the settlement requires Republic Steel to pay a $990,000 civil penalty.

The United States’ complaint, filed simultaneously with the consent decree, alleges that Republic Steel is operating in violation of its Clean Air Act permit for failing to conduct emissions tests and for exceeding lead emission limits. Under the consent decree, Republic Steel will install and operate new control technologies at its Flexcast Vacuum Tank Degasser and associated cooling tower to reduce lead emissions from the facility. EPA estimates that the new controls will result in the reduction of over 1,000 pounds of lead emissions per year. 

“Even relatively low levels of lead exposure can cause harm to a child’s cognitive development,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  “This settlement will help protect local communities, and particularly children, by lowering airborne lead levels.”

“This is an important settlement and reflects our continuing commitment to enforce vigorously the Clean Air Act to protect public health, the environment, and the most vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Exposure to lead pollution can affect almost every organ and system in the human body. It is especially harmful to young children, as they are most susceptible to some adverse effects of lead.  This is of significance here, as there is a residential community with three schools within a one-mile radius of the Republic Steel facility. Additionally, this is an area with environmental justice concerns.  

The settlement is subject to a public comment period that will end on Jan. 13, 2023, and final court approval. The consent decree will be available for viewing at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.

EPA Takes Next Step in Consideration of Protections for Bristol Bay

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 19:00

 

SEATTLE – On December 1, 2022, EPA Region 10 Regional Administrator Casey Sixkiller transmitted to EPA’s Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, a Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Recommended Determination to prohibit and restrict the use of certain waters in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed as disposal sites for certain discharges of dredged or fill material associated with developing the Pebble Deposit. 

After evaluating an extensive record, including scientific and technical information covering nearly two decades, and after considering public comments received on the 2022 Proposed Determination, EPA Region 10 determined that these discharges would be likely to result in 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.

“EPA Region 10’s action represents the third step in EPA’s four-step Clean Water Act Section 404(c) review process,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Casey Sixkiller. “If affirmed by EPA’s Office of Water, this action would help protect salmon fishery areas that support world-class commercial and recreational fisheries and that have sustained Alaska Native communities for thousands of years, supporting a subsistence-based way of life for one of the last intact wild salmon-based cultures in the world.”

The Recommended Determination proposes to prohibit the specification of certain waters of the United States in the South Fork Koktuli River and North Fork Koktuli River watersheds as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material for the construction and routine operation of the mine plan described in Pebble Limited Partnership’s June 8, 2020 CWA Section 404 Permit application, as well as 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 Recommended Determination also proposes to restrict 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.

EPA’s Office of Water will now review the Recommended Determination and the administrative record supporting Region 10’s decision, as well as any information provided by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the owners of record, and the applicant about their intent to take corrective action to prevent unacceptable adverse effects, before issuing a Final Determination affirming, modifying, or rescinding the Recommended Determination.

EPA’s regulations do not require public notice of Recommended Determinations and EPA is not seeking additional public comment. Given the considerable interest in this process, an informational copy of the Recommended Determination is available on EPA’s Bristol Bay website at: http://www.epa.gov/bristolbay.

Background

In May 2022, EPA Region 10 released for public review and comment, a revised Proposed Determination under Clean Water Act Section 404(c) to prohibit and restrict the use of certain waters in the Bristol Bay watershed as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble Deposit.

Bristol Bay’s salmon resources have significant nutritional, cultural, economic, and recreational value, both within and beyond the region. 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. The Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery generates the largest component of this economic activity, resulting in 15,000 jobs and an economic impact of $2.0 billion in 2019, $990 million of which was in Alaska. 

EPA Settlement Results in Closure of Four Big Island Cesspools

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 19:00

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken an enforcement action against American Savings Bank to close an illegal, pollution-causing large capacity cesspool at the bank’s former branch in Kealakekua. The settlement includes a penalty of $30,427 for having operated an illegal large capacity cesspool at the branch, and a supplemental environmental project that requires the conversion of three single-family home cesspools to state-approved wastewater systems.

“As part of our enforcement action against American Savings Bank, a supplemental environmental project will be included in addition to the penalty,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “These projects are targeted cesspool closures that will provide localized benefits to communities and further protect the Big Island’s groundwater and surface water from pollution found in cesspools.”

As part of the supplemental environmental project, American Savings Bank will select no fewer than three Big Island single-family homes for closure of their cesspools. These homes must be located in areas where the median household income is less than $75,000 per year, in an area with a high density of cesspools, and in close proximity to surface or coastal waters. American Savings Bank will replace the cesspools with state-approved, individual wastewater systems by the end of 2024.

Cesspools collect and release untreated sewage directly into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater and migrate to nearby streams and the ocean. The EPA banned large capacity cesspools in 2005. Since the federal ban, more than 3,750 large capacity cesspools in Hawaii have been closed; however, hundreds remain in operation. The State of Hawai‘i has banned new cesspools and passed a law requiring all cesspools be converted by 2050. Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state and pose a unique challenge, as groundwater provides 95% of all water supply for the islands.

Supplemental Environmental Projects

A supplemental environmental project is an environmentally beneficial project or activity that is not required by law, but that a party agrees to undertake as part of the settlement of an enforcement action. Such projects or activities go beyond what could legally be required of the defendant, and secure environmental and/or public health benefits in addition to those achieved by compliance with the law.

The settlement is subject to a 30-day comment period. For more information and to submit comments.

Information on how to self-disclose potential large-capacity cesspool violations is available here.

Learn more about the federal ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool.

Learn more about cesspools in Hawai’i.

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

EPA seeks public comment on proposed cleanup plan for Hegeler Zinc Superfund site in Vermilion County, Illinois

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 19:00

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began a 30-day public comment period on its proposed cleanup plan for the Hegeler Zinc Superfund site in Vermilion County, Illinois. EPA will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, December 7, from 5:30 – 8 p.m. to discuss the proposal and accept comments.

The former zinc smelting facility produced zinc products, sulfuric acid and cadmium.  The smelting operation resulted in large amounts of slag, which was stored in piles on the site. Soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water are contaminated with metals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and zinc.

Under the proposed cleanup plan, EPA will excavate contaminated sediment and soil and add the material to the existing slag pile. The Agency will then install a low-permeability cover over the pile, reroute portions of a creek to ensure a safe distance from the slag pile and continue monitoring groundwater and surface water in the area.

 EPA plans to hold a public meeting on Wednesday, December 7, from 5:30 – 8 p.m. in the Bremer Conference Center at the Danville Area Community College, 2000 E. Main St. in Danville. EPA invites the public to meet with Agency staff, ask questions and listen to a short presentation about the cleanup plan. A formal public hearing begins at 7 p.m., during which attendees can provide on-the-record comments. Local COVID-19 protocols will be followed during the event and are subject to change without notice.

 In addition, EPA invites the public to provide comments on the proposed cleanup plan until December 31. Comments may also be submitted by:

Kirstin Safakas, U.S. EPA Region 5
External Communications Office
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, Illinois 60604

 

To learn more, visit EPA’s website.

United States and State of Wisconsin Reach Settlement with Container Life Cycle Management on Air Emissions and Waste Management Violations

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON - The United States and State of Wisconsin announced a settlement with Container Life Cycle Management LLC (CLCM) that addresses Clean Air Act (CAA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) violations at the company’s container reconditioning facilities in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area. The company will pay a $1.6 million civil penalty to be split evenly between the United States and the State.

In a complaint filed with the proposed settlement, the United States alleged violations of the CAA, most notably at CLCM’s St. Francis facility, for failure to control emissions of volatile organic compounds as required by the EPA-approved Wisconsin state implementation plan. The complaint also alleges RCRA violations related to storage and handling of hazardous waste at the company’s facilities in St. Francis and Oak Creek, Wisconsin and its then-operating facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“Today’s settlement will help us protect nearby residents and improve the region’s air quality,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This is a good example of EPA working cooperatively with our state partners to ensure environmental compliance and secure emissions reductions.”

“Today’s settlement benefits public health and the environment by ensuring proper handling of hazardous wastes at Container Life Cycle Management’s container reconditioning facilities and will significantly limit harmful emissions of volatile organic compounds,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Highlights of the settlement include:

  • The company has installed and must continuously operate a regenerative thermal oxidizer to control air emissions of volatile organic compounds at the St. Francis facility. The company will also construct additional emissions capture systems within the facility and conduct performance testing.
  • At the Oak Creek facility, the company must install and continuously operate a new digital data recorder to record the temperature of the drum reclamation furnace afterburner. The company must maintain the afterburner temperature at or above 1,650 degrees and conduct performance testing.
  • The company must implement a container management plan, or CMP, for a two-year period established by the consent decree. The CMP provides for storage of heavy and non-empty containers in RCRA-compliant hazardous waste storage areas. Certain reporting requirements continue beyond the initial two-year period.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. To view the consent decree or to submit a comment, visit the Justice Department’s website.

EPA Takes Next Steps in Renewable Fuel Standard Program for 2023-25

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, EPA issued a multi-part proposal that will build on the strong foundation for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program started in the Biden-Harris Administration and seeks to advance the priorities of energy security, less pollution, and consumer protection. The RFS “Set” proposal requests public input on required volumes of biofuel for the next one to three years and on a series of important modifications to strengthen and expand the program. The agency is seeking public input on the proposal to help shape the RFS program in the years ahead.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard program is critical to helping incorporate more homegrown biofuels into the market,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This proposal supports low-carbon renewable fuels and seeks public input on ways to strengthen the program. With this proposal, EPA seeks to provide consumers with more options while diversifying our nation’s energy mix. EPA is also focused on strengthening the economics of our critical energy infrastructure, needed to maintain and boost our energy security. We’re eager to continue the dialogue on how biofuels can bolster U.S. energy security, protect consumers from high fuel costs, strengthen the rural economy, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

This proposal includes steady growth of biofuels for use in the nation’s fuel supply for 2023, 2024, and 2025. Because the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) does not include volumes after 2022, this is the first time that EPA is setting these proposed biofuel volume targets without using those outlined in statute. When setting biofuel volumes for years after 2022, EPA must consider a variety of factors specified in the statute, including costs, air quality, climate change, implementation of the program to date, energy security, infrastructure issues, commodity prices, and water quality and supply.

The agency is seeking comment on the proposed volumes and how to appropriately balance these factors so that the program works for renewable fuel growers and producers, refiners and the union workers who operate these facilities, and fuel consumers. Because this rule is an opportunity to take a fresh look at many aspects of the program, EPA is also seeking comment on how this rule can intersect with continued viability of domestic oil refining assets, including merchant refineries, how best to support novel fuels like sustainable aviation fuels and clean hydrogen, and how to account for the new and updated incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.

EPA is also proposing new regulations governing the generation of qualifying renewable electricity made from renewable biomass that is used for transportation fuel in electric vehicles. The agency is seeking comment on this new component of the RFS program that would tie electricity generation from renewable biomass into the program for the first time.

This proposed rule would increase U.S. energy security by reducing U.S. oil imports by roughly 160,000 to 180,000 barrels of oil per year over the time frame of the proposed rule, 2023 to 2025. The anticipated value of the energy security benefits over the time frame of the proposed rule ranges from $200-$223 million per year. 

An accompanying analysis shows the proposal would have minimal impacts on the price of refined products.

A summary of the proposed volume requirements for 2023-2025 is provided below:

Proposed Volume Targets (billion RINs)

2023

2024

2025

Cellulosic biofuel

0.72

1.42

2.13

Biomass-based diesel*

2.82

2.89

2.95

Advanced biofuel

5.82

6.62

7.43

Renewable fuel

20.82

21.87

22.68

Supplemental standard

0.25

n/a

n/a

*Biomass-based diesel is in gallons

EPA will be soliciting public comment on the proposed rule and holding a public hearing in January. Learn more information on RFS volume requirements.

Learn more information on the RINs program.

EPA awards New Jersey nearly $169 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for water infrastructure improvements

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 19:00

NEW YORK — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded nearly $169 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to New Jersey for water infrastructure improvements that will help communities access clean, safe and reliable drinking water, increase resilience, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, clean up pollution, and safeguard vital waterways.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents a unique opportunity to provide historical amounts of funding over five years for critical water infrastructure projects, especially in underserved communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This is just the beginning, and we look forward to providing additional Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for this critical work to New Jersey in the years ahead.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 2022 funding allocation awards announced today are distributed through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF)—over $73 million through the Clean Water SRF and over $95 million through the Drinking Water SRF for a total of $169 million. The Clean Water SRF primarily funds wastewater infrastructure improvement projects. These funds supplement nearly $48 million in regular funding to New Jersey’s Clean Water SRF program in fiscal year (FY) 2022.

EPA has awarded New Jersey a total of over $95 million in FY 2022 grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the Drinking Water SRF, which includes $31 million for supplemental drinking water projects, $48 million to identify and replace lead service lines, and nearly $17 million to address emerging contaminants like PFAS. The funding supplements approximately $12 million in regular funding to New Jersey’s Drinking Water SRF program in FY 2022.

New Jersey has submitted and obtained EPA’s approval of its plans for the use of the FY 2022 funding announced today. These grants will continue to be awarded, on a rolling, state-by-state basis, as more states receive approval throughout FY 2023; states will also receive awards over the course of the next four years. Once grants are awarded, state programs will begin to deliver the funds as grants and loans to communities across their state.

“Thanks to the determined advocacy of New Jersey’s congressional delegation, the arrival of nearly $169 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will further advance our progress toward fortifying the state’s water infrastructure,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “Now more than ever, we recognize the crucial importance of high-quality drinking water and wastewater systems, especially in our environmental justice communities. This funding will help us deliver on the promise of securing safe, reliable drinking water and resilient wastewater and stormwater management systems for every New Jerseyan.” 

“Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding from EPA is helping to power New Jersey's Water Infrastructure Investment Plan, enabling the Murphy Administration to reach even more communities with needed improvements to drinking water and wastewater systems," said New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “Together, we can ensure that generations of New Jerseyans receive reliably clean drinking water and enjoy fishable and swimmable waterways free of pollution – creating thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs in the process."

“I was proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill last year. This additional funding will move our state closer to ensuring every New Jerseyan has safe and clean drinking water in their homes, schools, and businesses,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “Our state and municipalities need federal support to upgrade our water infrastructure and I’ll continue fighting for the resources we need to improve water quality and ensure the health and well-being of New Jersey’s families.” 

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure, and it will do much more than just fix our crumbling roads and bridges,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Communities all across New Jersey need resources to replace their aging water infrastructure, which is why I proudly worked to deliver these resources. We know that disadvantaged communities disproportionately bear the impact of contaminants in water, from PFAS to lead exposure. Over the next five years, this historic infusion of federal funds will allow New Jersey to provide an unprecedented amount of funding to projects that will replace lead pipes, improve drinking water, and update wastewater infrastructure across the state.” 

Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. said: “I’m thrilled New Jersey is receiving federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to ensure families can trust the water coming out of their tap. New Jersey has been working hard to address contaminants like PFAS and lead in drinking water, and this funding provides a critical opportunity to bolster that work and invest in water infrastructure projects that tackle these public health issues. I fought to include this funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and I’ll keep fighting to make sure our state receives all the resources it needs to deliver the safe, clean drinking water every American deserves.” 

U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. said: “Democrats passed the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to rebuild our roads, bridges, tunnels, and water infrastructure. Today we are announcing nearly $169 million from our bill to guarantee clean and safe water for New Jersey. This is tremendous news for our state. Clean air, water, and soil are essential to our health. If we fail to preserve our natural resources, our health will suffer as a result. I’m proud that I was able to play a role in securing this environmental funding for our state and I’ll continue bringing home funds that protect our environment and defend against the effects of climate change.”

U.S. Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. said: “I am proud to help secure this $169 million to improve New Jersey’s water infrastructure. I fought to include that money 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. Infrastructure is more than simply roads and bridges. I look forward to the clean water projects this funding will support throughout New Jersey.”   

U.S. Representative Donald Norcross said: “It wasn’t long ago I walked through a local high school with water fountains that couldn’t be used because of lead piping. I’m proud to have helped deliver this funding to New Jersey and ensure that every community has access to safe, clean drinking water.”

U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman said: “I’m proud to have voted to mitigate lead lines, address potential contaminants in our water, and ensure our state has clean drinking water for everyone. This historic investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a crucial step toward building a sustainable, secure and healthy future for New Jersey.” 

U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer said: “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. With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that I helped shape and pass, we’re helping get lead and forever chemicals out of our drinking water and making significant investments to address water pollution in communities across the country — all while creating millions of jobs. The more federal tax dollars that we get back to North Jersey, the less our towns have to charge in local taxes — and I’m all about lowering taxes.”

U.S. Representative Andy Kim said: “When I voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I knew that projects like these would change people’s lives and give them faith that the water coming into their house to drink, shower, brush their teeth, and wash their dishes would be clean and safe. This also brings investments in good paying New Jersey jobs, pollution cleanup, more resources for desperately needed flood mitigation in both Burlington and Ocean counties, and ecosystem restoration to help create healthy animal and marine habitats from the Delaware River to the Jersey Shore. I’m glad to see this important work getting underway and look forward to more infrastructure projects coming to New Jersey soon.”

U.S. Representative Tom Malinowski said: “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the largest investment in clean water infrastructure in American history – and today’s announcement shows, once again, that it’s delivering for New Jersey. This initial award of nearly $169 million will help our small towns fund their long-overdue clean water and wastewater infrastructure projects and finally bring our aging water infrastructure into the 21st Century.”

U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill said: “New Jersey built this nation but has the legacy pollution to show for it. Throughout my time in Congress, I have fought on behalf of my constituents to improve water quality and update our aging water infrastructure. This investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will bring much needed federal support in our efforts to make these changes, better our public health, and move our state forward. I look forward to continuing my work with the EPA to bring federal resources to NJ-11 to solve our communities’ most pressing environmental issues, such as PFAS remediation, flood risk mitigation, and lead pipe replacements.”

Background

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates more than $50 billion to EPA toward repairing the nation’s essential water infrastructure.

EPA’s SRFs are part of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the benefits from certain federal programs to underserved communities. Furthermore, nearly half the funding available through the SRFs thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law must be grants or principal forgiveness loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents the largest-ever funding opportunity for investing in water infrastructure. Find out more about Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs and other programs that help communities manage their water resources on EPA's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law page.

EPA finds Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program effective

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 19:00

DENVER  – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Denver Water’s comprehensive approach for reducing lead in drinking water through the issuance of a final variance under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The variance allows Denver Water to continue to implement a set of actions, called the Lead Reduction Program Plan, which work together to reduce lead in Denver’s drinking water. Denver Water is also receiving $76 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to accelerate the pace of the lead service line replacement actions specified in the plan.

“Denver Water’s approach to tackling lead in drinking water has been remarkable and an example for other communities across the country,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “Thanks to new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law the utility’s customers can expect an even faster lead service line replacement schedule delivering health protections for children and adults across the Denver area.

As a result of EPA’s first-of-its-kind lead variance approval, Denver Water will continue to:

  • Replace all lead service lines at no direct cost to customers
  • Control lead corrosion with pH and alkalinity treatment
  • Determine the locations of lead service lines that connect homes and buildings to water mains
  • Provide a water pitcher filter certified to remove lead to customers with lead service lines
  • Conduct extensive community outreach and education
Lead service lines (Photo Credit: Denver Water)

In 2019, EPA issued the first lead variance in the country for Denver Water. EPA approved the initial variance to evaluate if Denver Water’s alternative approach to addressing a lead action level exceedance could be effective. After evaluating data, EPA is approving another variance to allow Denver Water to continue with the current plan which has been shown to be more effective than orthophosphate treatment, the method of water treatment which would have been required under federal and state regulations. 

EPA is committed to incorporating environmental justice into all decisions. Denver Water's variance does not result in disproportionate impacts to areas with health equity and environmental justice concerns, and the utility is placing a priority on underserved communities and homes with large numbers of infants and children. Specifically, Denver Water is ensuring that areas with environmental justice concerns receive the same or better rates of both lead service line replacements and filter outreach and education compared to the overall service area.

Worker holds replacement copper water line. (Photo Credit: Denver Water)

“Denver Water’s first priority is sustaining our communities by protecting the health of our customers,” said Jim Lochhead, Denver Water’s CEO/Manager. “We thank EPA and our community partners for working with us to ensure we successfully implement this program. The water we deliver to our customers is lead-free, but lead from customer-owned service lines can enter the water supply to homes. Removing these lines is the most effective way to eliminate this source of lead exposure, and we are committed to this program until every lead service line has been removed.”

“Water contaminated by lead is a significant health concern, especially for our disproportionately impacted communities that most often are also People of Color,” said Sondra Young, President of NAACP Denver. “Through our partnership with Denver Water, the Denver NAACP seeks to help provide more inclusive outreach and solutions for the communities most impacted by this significant health issue.”

“We are proud to partner with Denver Water through the Ambassador Program to help eliminate barriers and promote its Lead Reduction Program in Latinx and immigrant communities throughout the Denver area,” said Fernando Pineda-Reyes, Chief Executive Officer of CREA Results. “CREA is looking forward to continuing our outreach to ensure Denver area residents are informed and engaged in efforts to ensure access to clean, lead-free drinking water.”

"Local, state and federal partners collaborated to develop and implement this innovative approach, which has proven to be a success for public health, environmental protection and environmental justice over the last three years," said Ron Falco, Safe Drinking Water Program Manager for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is excited to continue overseeing this great work."

Since the 1970s, the United States has made significant progress in lowering children's blood lead levels. No safe level of lead exposure has been identified for children, making them particularly vulnerable. Lead exposure can pose a significant health and safety threat to children and can cause irreversible and life-long health effects.  Denver Water customers enrolled in the filter program should use the provided pitcher filter for all water used for drinking, cooking, and preparing infant formula.

Learn more about EPA’s Variance Approval.

Learn more about Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program.

EPA Announces Proposal to Protect Tribal Reserved Rights in Water Quality Standards and Best Practices for Tribal Treaty and Reserved Rights

Wed, 11/30/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, during the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced a proposal to revise the federal water quality standards regulations to better protect Tribal rights under the Clean Water Act (CWA). With this action, EPA is working to ensure that state and federal water quality standards will protect tribal rights such as the right to fish or gather aquatic plants—that are reserved through treaties, statutes, executive orders, or other sources of federal law.

“We know that our shared goal of protecting water resources for Tribes is strongest – and most effective – when it’s informed by the lived experiences of those impacted by pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “By explicitly recognizing Tribal reserved rights in water quality standards, this proposal will help EPA ensure Tribal aquatic resources are abundant and safe to consume and reaffirms the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to our Nation-to-Nation partnership.”

This proposal, once final, would create a regulatory framework that would be applied on a case-specific basis to help ensure that water quality standards protect resources reserved to tribes, such as fish and wild rice. Additionally, the proposed regulatory framework would provide transparency and predictability for tribes, states, regulated parties, and the public.

The proposal also carries out the commitments to honor the federal trust responsibility and protect tribal reserved rights related to water resources outlined in EPA’s 2021 action plan, Strengthening the Nation-to-Nation Relationship with Tribes to Secure a Sustainable Water Future. It also delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to uphold the United States’ treaty and trust responsibilities to the 574 federally recognized tribes.

“The National Tribal Water Council strongly supports EPA’s proposal to revise federal water quality standards regulations to protect tribal reserved rights in areas on and off reservations,” said National Tribal Water Council Chairman Ken Norton. “In this way, water quality standards will fulfill federal obligations by requiring a level of water quality that supports tribally significant waters and water-dependent resources consistent with tribal treaties and the federal trust responsibility. Allowing for increased tribal participation in water quality management will better protect precious tribal waters and bolster the resilience of indigenous communities and families.”

“As the first medicine, GLIFWC's member tribes understand that clean water is fundamental to life. In fact, the health of nibi (water) is directly tied to the quality of life. Because of the deep importance of nibi and its vital role in supporting resources located within our member tribes’ treaty ceded territories, GLIFWC supports this draft rule,” said Executive Administrator of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Michael J. Isham, Jr. “It appropriately recognizes the unique status of treaty-reserved resources and the special consideration they deserve.”

“The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission supports EPA’s framework to incorporate the protection of treaty-reserved fishing rights into its implementation of the Clean Water Act, said Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) Executive Director Aja DeCoteau. “The health of all people, as well as the overall ecosystem, is directly related to the health of our nation’s waters. This is especially true for Pacific Northwest tribes whose cultures are centered on salmon and other First Foods, where we depend on clean water for our physical health, the exercise of our treaty-reserved rights to fish, and our overall cultural well-being. The EPA rule revisions will not only honor the United States obligation to protect tribal rights and resources, but it will also improve the quality of our nation’s water and the health of all Americans.”

“EPA’s proposal is a positive step towards protecting treaty rights because it expressly recognizes that state water quality standards are subject to the reserved rights of tribal nations. The proposal is also consistent with EPA’s fiduciary trust obligation to tribes: where a tribe has reserved rights, the federal government has a duty to protect those rights,” said Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) Executive Director Justin Parker. “In this case, EPA is recognizing that water quality standards must be stringent enough to protect treaty-reserved resources and treaty rights. This action would have meaningful benefits to NWIFC’s member tribes and their treaty resources and rights.”

“In Washington state, we strive to protect water quality and uphold the Tribal reserved rights of the 29 federally recognized local Tribes and nearby tribes with reserved rights,” said Laura Watson, director of the Washington State Department of Ecology. “I am encouraged to see EPA develop a national framework to recognize tribal reserved rights under the Clean Water Act. This will help all of us in our work to protect water quality.”

The agency will accept comment on this proposal for 90 days. EPA will also hold two online public hearings on this proposal. Learn more about the proposed rule and public hearings.

Additionally, today, at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit, Administrator Regan together with 16 other federal agencies, announced new best practices for Tribal Treaty and Reserved Rights. This set of documents will further the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to engage in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal governments and strengthen the protection of Tribal treaty rights

The best practices include three documents: (1) Best Practices for Identifying and Protecting Tribal Treaty Rights, Reserved Rights, and other Similar Rights in Federal Regulatory Actions and Federal Decision-Making; (2) a shorter Best Practices Field Guide; and (3) a Decision Flow Chart. These best practices were developed in consultation with Tribal Nations and implements the agencies’ Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Interagency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Tribal Treaty Rights and Reserved Rights.

For more information about the best practices documents visit the EPA’s Clean and Safe Water in Indian Country website.

EPA’s Design for the Environment Program Highlighted in Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly Program

Wed, 11/30/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON  The Climate Pledge Friendly program on Amazon now includes antimicrobial products like disinfectants and sanitizers certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) program. DfE joins EPA’s Safer Choice and 46 other sustainability certifications in Climate Pledge Friendly, which helps customers shop for over 300,000 more sustainable  products in the company’s online store.

“We’re thrilled that Amazon is making it easier to identify antimicrobials that meet our program’s stringent criteria for people and the planet in this initiative,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention Jennie Romer. “Increasing awareness of EPA’s Design for the Environment program through Climate Pledge Friendly will help consumers make environmentally and health-conscious buying decisions. This also encourages companies to seek Design for the Environment certification for their products, reducing pollution at its source and benefiting workers, families and the environment.”

DfE products meet criteria that evaluate human health and environmental effects, product performance, packaging and ingredients. The requirements are intended to:

  • Minimize possible risks to human health by excluding ingredients that might have the potential to negatively impact young children, cause cancer, or have other negative effects;
  • Further protect fish and other aquatic life;
  • Minimize pollution of air or waterways and prevent harmful chemicals from being added to the land; and
  • Ensure products have no unresolved compliance, enforcement or efficacy issues.

The addition of DfE to the Climate Pledge Friendly program on Amazon follows EPA's recent modernization of the DfE logo. Products with the new label are expected to be available late next year. EPA redesigned the logo to make it more appealing and recognizable to retailers, consumers and purchasers following a request from a coalition that included the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Clorox Company, the Procter and Gamble Company, and Reckitt. This coalition’s efforts were recognized in early November with a 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award.

Products identified as Climate Pledge Friendly are distinguished on Amazon’s shopping results and featured in a dedicated section of Amazon’s online store. Amazon also provides its customers with detailed web pages that include information on how and why products are certified as sustainable.

Learn more about EPA’s DfE program.

Learn more about EPA’s Safer Choice program.

Learn more about Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly program.

EPA Announces More Than $105 Million in Funding for Oklahoma Water Infrastructure Improvements

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS (Nov. 29th, 2022) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $105 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board for water infrastructure improvements.  

At an event this afternoon at the state capitol in Oklahoma City, EPA Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance presented a ceremonial check to Secretary of Energy and Environment Ken McQueen, who accepted on behalf of all recipients.  

The grants are part of the nationwide distribution of water infrastructure funds following the passage of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BIL allocates more than $50 billion toward repairing the nation’s essential water infrastructure, in turn helping communities access clean, safe, and reliable drinking water, prevent flooding, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, and safeguard vital waterways.  

“Maintaining water quality infrastructure must continue to remain a high priority among states,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “We are pleased to see Oklahoma ensure public health by using these funds to improve upon water quality standards. EPA remains committed to working with state partners to safeguard public health and the environment.”  

"We are delighted to partner with EPA Region 6 on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Our highly experienced Oklahoma water professionals at Department of Environmental Quality and Water Resources Board aggressively pursued all of these grant opportunities, which resulted in over one-hundred million dollars of additional funding for communities across Oklahoma,” said Ken McQueen, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment. “These grants will provide much needed assistance in reducing nitrates and manganese from drinking water supplies, as well as providing targeted loan forgiveness in communities needing additional funding assistance.”  

"The investment in Oklahoma's water infrastructure, made possible through BIL funding, will be instrumental in guiding our state into the future.  Several small and rural communities will soon benefit from this funding, and we want to thank DEQ staff and our state and federal partners for their hard work and dedication,” said DEQ Chief of Staff, Robert Singletary. “For Oklahoma to be a Top Ten state, we must be able to meet water needs for our people, our businesses, our agriculture and our way of life."  

"BIL represents another historic investment into Oklahoma's critical water infrastructure needs. We remain eternally grateful for all of our partners, stakeholder and our delegation and all the hard work they put in behind the scenes to keep Oklahoma moving in the right direction,” said OWRB Executive Director Julie Cunnningham. “We look forward to finishing what they started and continuing to meet the needs of Oklahoma communities and rural district.”  

The Oklahoma Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) capitalization grant is being awarded to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality in the amount of $71,433,624 for their drinking water program. The DWSRF is a financial assistance program to help water systems and states to achieve the health protection objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The focus of this program is to improve drinking water treatment, fixing aging water distribution system, improve sources of water supply and replace or repair water storage tanks.  


The Oklahoma Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) capitalization grant is being awarded to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board in the amount of $15,134,000. The CWSRF is a financial assistance program to provide loans to eligible recipients to construct municipal wastewater facilities, control nonpoint sources of pollution, build decentralized wastewater systems, create green infrastructure projects, protect estuaries, and fund other water quality projects. Nearly half of the grant will focus on assisting disadvantaged communities across the state.   

Capitalization grants will continue to be awarded, on a state-by-state basis, over the course of the next four years. As grants are awarded, the state SRF programs can begin to distribute the funds as grants and loans to communities across their state. 

While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents the largest low-cost and no-cost funding opportunity for investing in water infrastructure, other programs do exist to help communities manage their water resources. More information about funding is available here.  

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage. 

EPA aims to reduce lead exposure with free Lead-Safe Renovation Training for Pueblo, Colorado-area contractors on December 5

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 19:00

Pueblo, Colo.  – As part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness about childhood lead exposure and protect communities in Pueblo, Colorado, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging all Pueblo-area contractors to attend a free lead-safe work practices training and certification course on Tuesday, December 5, at the Springhill Suites by Marriott at 150 S. Santa Fe Avenue. The EPA Lead-Safe Renovator Certification for Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) course will take place from 8 am to 4 pm and will provide contractors with important information on how to comply with EPA’s RRP rule requirements when working on construction and renovation projects in homes where lead paint may be present.  

Addressing lead exposure is a high priority in Pueblo County due to the presence of historic metals production and processing sites and a high percentage of pre-1978 housing potentially containing lead-based paint.    

“While EPA has made great progress in reducing lead exposure in Pueblo through our work at the Colorado Smelter Superfund site, it’s clear that protecting community health requires a whole-of-government approach to address other sources of lead, including the widespread presence of lead-based paint in homes,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “Our new lead strategy takes a comprehensive approach to reducing lead exposure, and we look forward to further strengthening local partnerships, resources, and expertise to improve children’s health in Pueblo and throughout Colorado.”

"Pueblo has a rich history and has many historic homes that were built early in the last century.  Because lead-based paint was commonly used during that time, our data in Colorado EnviroScreen shows that many neighborhoods in Pueblo may have lead paint. This training can give contractors the tools they need to help families reduce their risk of exposure,” said Joel Minor, Environmental Justice Coordinator with Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

“Although the federal government banned residential use of lead-based paint in 1978, it is still present in millions of older homes and remains a significant risk for families and children here in Pueblo and our agency is seeing higher blood lead levels in children living in older housing,” said Aaron Martinez, Environmental Director at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.

WHAT:

FREE 8-hour Initial Lead-Safe Renovator Certification Training for Pueblo-area contractors

Note: Please sign-up soon because seats are limited, and this free training certification opportunity normally costs $275.

REGISTER:

For more details, visit this registration page  or call (312) 491-0081 to register by phone.

WHERE:

The free training will occur December 5th from 8 am to 4 pm at the Springhill Suites by Marriott, 150 S. Santa Fe Avenue in Pueblo, Colo.

BACKGROUND:

EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule requires all contractors who may disturb lead-based paint on homes and child-care facilities built before 1978 to be trained and certified. The one-day training and certification course offered on December 5 meets EPA and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements for lead-safe work practices. Pueblo County records identify more than 32,000 homes in the county built prior to 1978, with 28,825 within the City of Pueblo. EPA expects workers at these homes, and pre-1978 child-care facilities, to get trained and follow lead-safe work practices.

For more information on how families can protect themselves and reduce lead exposure, visit EPA’s Protect Your Family from Lead site. 

More information about EPA’s multifaceted lead strategy.

More information on the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) requirements.

Report lead-based paint or other environmental violations online


 

 

 

 

Statement by Administrator Regan on Department of Justice Filing Court Order to Stabilize Jackson, Mississippi Water System

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, in response to the Department of Justice filing a proposal in federal court that, if approved by the court, would appoint an Interim Third Party Manager to stabilize Jackson, Mississippi’s public drinking water system, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan issued the following statement:

“Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege to spend time with people on the ground in Jackson – many who’ve struggled with access to safe and reliable water for years. I pledged that EPA would do everything in its power to ensure the people of Jackson have clean and dependable water, now and into the future. While there is much more work ahead, the Justice Department’s action marks a critical moment on the path to securing clean, safe water for Jackson residents. I’m grateful to the Attorney General for his partnership and commitment to this shared vision.”

North Pacific Seafoods penalized $345,000 for Clean Air Act violations

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 19:00

(Seattle – November 29, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that North Pacific Seafoods, Inc. of Seattle, Wash., paid a $345,000 penalty for Clean Air Act violations at two of its facilities in Naknek, Alaska. 

As a result of an investigation, EPA discovered North Pacific Seafoods was operating three solid waste incinerators that lacked any emission control or monitoring systems. The company did not notify EPA or the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation of the construction and operation of the incinerators and did not hold a permit to operate them, as required by the Clean Air Act. North Pacific Seafoods also failed to meet waste management plan requirements; operator training and qualification requirements; emission testing, recordkeeping and monitoring requirements.  

The incinerators were primarily used to burn clean paper, cardboard and clean wood waste. Emissions from the incinerators could expose communities to harmful air pollutants that can cause eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation; reproductive effects; and cancer. The company agreed to shut down the three incinerators rather than bring them into compliance with Clean Air Act requirements. 

“We recognize that rural Alaska communities face unique challenges with waste disposal,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Division. “But it is important that facilities comply with federal and state environmental regulatory requirements aimed at protecting people and the environment.”  

In addition, between 2017 and 2021, EPA found the company failed in many instances to conduct required maintenance or keep records of such maintenance on stationary engines used to generate power for the facilities. The Clean Air Act requires certain maintenance activities be conducted on stationary engines, such as periodic oil changes and testing, to minimize air pollution. 

Details of the violations EPA documented at the facilities of North Pacific Seafoods, Inc. can be found in the Consent Agreement and Final Order (PDF). 

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 (NCIs). This settlement supports EPA’s National Compliance Initiative for cleaner air. Learn more on EPA’s webpage

EPA Announces $52M in Grants for States to Support Clean Water, Flood Resilience, and Water Equity

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $52 million in grants to help communities improve essential stormwater infrastructure. EPA’s Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants will be used by states to invest in projects that reduce flooding and help prevent contaminants from polluting waterways. The agency is also implementing new requirements under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help states support projects in small and financially distressed communities.

“With this grant funding, EPA is investing in stormwater systems that are aging and often overwhelmed by increased stress from the climate crisis,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Small and disadvantaged communities are often the most vulnerable to these climate impacts and challenges. EPA is committed to working with our state partners to ensure this funding reaches the communities that need it most.”

EPA’s Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants program addresses a significant source of water pollution and a public health concern. Stormwater can collect various pollutants including trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment and convey them to nearby waterways. When mixed with domestic and industrial wastewater in combined sewers, excess stormwater can also contribute to overflows of untreated sewage into our waterways during heavy storm events.

EPA is inviting states to apply for $52 million in available grant funding for stormwater projects in their local communities. This funding is available through annual agency appropriations. EPA will work with states to implement new requirements created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that direct states to invest at least 25 percent of allotted funds in projects in small or financially distressed communities. The agency is enhancing flexibility related to non-Federal cost share, to remove a potential barrier from investing in these communities.

This grant funding is in addition to $11.7 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that EPA is investing in the Clean Water State Revolving Funds to improve wastewater and stormwater infrastructure in communities across the country.

Managing stormwater remains a complex environmental challenge for communities across the country. The costs to construct, operate, and maintain stormwater infrastructure can be significant, which can be a strain on ratepayers, especially those in small and financially distressed communities.

Learn more about the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program.

Learn more about water infrastructure investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

EPA Appoints New Members to Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and Announces Next Meeting

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the appointment of 28 members, 14 new and 14 returning, to the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC). The Agency also announced the next meeting of the committee, to be held on December 1-2, 2022. Members of the public can register for the meeting now.

“As a former member of the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, I know how important this committee’s input is to ensuring that our children—our future leaders—have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and a healthy environment where they can live, grow, and thrive,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “It is an honor to welcome such a diverse group of expert members to this crucial panel, and we look forward to receiving their recommendations to advance children’s health protections.”

CHPAC is a body of external representatives from a cross-section of stakeholder perspectives including research, academia, healthcare, legal, state, environmental organizations, and local and tribal governments. CHPAC advises EPA on regulations, research, and communications related to children's environmental health. Members of the committee are appointed by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

EPA selected new members from a pool of more than 60 highly qualified candidates. Selections for the three-year term were made in accordance with the CHPAC charter to achieve balance and diversity in terms of geographic location, gender, ethnicity, and stakeholder perspective.

The new and returning (denoted with *) CHPAC members and their affiliations are:

  • Albert Lin, JD, MPP – University of California, Davis School of Law, Davis, CA
  • Anthony Oliveri, PhD, MPH, CIH – Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Lansing, MI
  • *Carmen M. Velez Vega, PhD, MSW – University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, PR
  • *Daniel Price, PhD – University of Houston, Houston, TX
  • *Diana Felton, MD – Hawaii Department of Health Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, Honolulu, HI
  • Erika Eitland, MPH, ScD – Perkins&Will, Boston, MA
  • Isadore Leslie Rubin, MD – Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
  • Jean-Marie Kauth, PhD, MPH – Benedictine University, Lisle, IL
  • Jennifer Roberts, DrPH, MPH – University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD
  • Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD – Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • *Katie Huffling, MS, RN – Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Mount Rainier, MD
  • *Ke Yan, PhD, MS – Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
  • Kevin Lanza, PhD – UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, Austin, TX
  • *Kristie Trousdale, MPH – Children’s Environmental Health Network, Washington, DC
  • *Linda McCauley, PhD, RN – Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  • Lyle Burgoon, PhD – Raptor Pharm & Tox, Ltd, Apex, NC
  • Mary Jean Brown, ScD, RN – Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
  • *Marya Zlatnik, MD, MMS – University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • *Natasha DeJarnett, PhD, MPH – University of Louisville Department of Medicine, Louisville, KY
  • *Perry E. Sheffield, MD, MPH – Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
  • *Ruth Ann Norton – Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, Baltimore, MD
  • S. Eliza Dunn (Halcomb), MD – Bayer Crop Sciences, Chesterfield, MO
  • *Shirlee Tan, PhD (Incoming Committee Chair) – Public Heath-Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA
  • Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, MD, MS – Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY
  • Sumita Khatri, MD – Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • *Veena Singla, PhD – Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco, CA
  • *Virginia Rauh, ScD, MSW – Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Wallace Chambers, PhD, MHA, MAS, REHS – Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Parma, OH

EPA would like to thank the following departing CHPAC members:

  • Alicia Smith, PhD – Junction Coalition Leaders, Toledo, OH
  • Deanna Scher, PhD (Outgoing Committee Chair) – Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN
  • Derek Shendell, DEnv, MPH – Rutgers School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
  • José Cordero, MD, MPH – University of Georgia, Atlanta, GA
  • Joyce Thread, MS – Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, Florissant, MO
  • Julie Froelicher, MEM – The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH
  • Leif Albertson, MS – University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
  • Lori Byron, MD, FAAP – St. Vincent’s Hospital, Billings, MT
  • Mark Miller, MD, MPH – California Environmental Protection Agency, Chico, CA
  • Maureen Little, DrPH – NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY
  • Olga Naidenko, PhD –Environmental Working Group, Washington, DC
  • Peter Lee, MD, MPH – Amazon, Denver, CO
  • Rebecca Bratspies, JD – CUNY School of Law, Long Island City, NY
  • Yolanda Whyte, MD – Taylor Health Care Group Pediatrics Hospital and Clinics, Atlanta, GA

The next CHPAC public meeting is on December 1-2, 2022. This free meeting is open to all members of the public. Register now.
Learn more about CHPAC.

View the Federal Register notice, Request for Nominations to the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Funding for Nationwide Brownfields Technical Assistance and Research Grants and Technical Assistance to Brownfields Providers

Tue, 11/22/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Requests for Applications for $57 million in funding that is available for two new Brownfields technical assistance opportunities: one for new Brownfields Technical Assistance and Research cooperative agreements, and another for Technical Assistance to Brownfields communities. Both grant funding opportunities will help provide technical assistance for expansion of community-driven planning for assessment, cleanup, and reuse of Brownfield sites across the country, while creating good-paying jobs and supporting local economies.

The grants are funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included a historic $1.5 billion to scale up community-led Brownfields cleanup and revitalization.

“We know that technical assistance is a huge priority for communities and local governments overburdened with environmental challenges. So, beyond our grant tools, we’re significantly expanding our technical assistance to communities and stakeholders at no cost, specifically targeting communities who have not yet benefited from EPA brownfields investments,” said Carlton Waterhouse, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management. “With this funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will remove longstanding barriers to brownfields reuse and spur new redevelopment to transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.”

Brownfields Technical Assistance and Research Cooperative Agreements

EPA is seeking Request for Applications to award five entirely new Brownfields Technical Assistance and Research cooperative agreements where each selected provider will do one of the following activities:

  1. Provide Nationwide Technical Assistance for Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund programs;
  2. Provide Technical Assistance to Nonprofits Seeking to Reuse Brownfields;
  3. Technical Assistance to Local Government Leaders on Developing and/or Operating Brownfields Programs Within Their Jurisdictions;
  4. Research, Technical Assistance, and related Outreach on Minimizing Displacement Resulting from Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup and Reuse; or
  5. Research, Technical Assistance and Related Outreach on Land Banking Approaches for Brownfields Revitalization.

Applicants can apply for multiple activities.

The awards will range from $500,000 to $1 million depending on the subject area of focus, for an approximate total of $4 million, and the period of performance will be four years.

EPA will host an outreach webinar for prospective applicants on December 8, 2022 from 1-2:30pm EST. No advance registration is required. Those who are interested can join via Zoom

Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program

The second funding opportunity EPA is seeking Request for Applications for is $5 million in grants to provide training and technical assistance to communities across the country through the Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program. EPA will award a total of $5 million over a 5-year period of performance for each geographical region that corresponds to EPA’s 10 Regions and $3 million for nationwide support for a total of $53 million across five years.

For the technical assistance providers conducting research on behalf of EPA’s Brownfields Program, the period of performance will be five years and the award will be up to $500,000.

The existing Technical Assistance to Brownfields program is funded by EPA and available to all stakeholders at no cost to communities. Technical Assistance to Brownfields providers serve as an independent resource and can provide specialized technical knowledge, research, and training to help stakeholders understand the complex brownfields-related subject matter, and guide them through the brownfield assessment, cleanup, and revitalization process.

Additional technical assistance is provided to brownfields communities on the integration of environmental justice and equitable development when developing solutions to brownfields cleanup and revitalization challenges via Groundwork USA. Groundwork USA provides nationwide technical assistance to coach and train brownfields communities on a variety of innovative and effective community engagement approaches to promote brownfields revitalization that supports uses that all community members can enjoy and from which they can benefit.

EPA will host an outreach webinar for prospective TAB applicants on December 7, 2022 from 1-2:30pm EST. No advance registration is required. Those who are interested can join via Zoom

The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities.

Applications for both funding opportunities are due by February 14, 2023, via grants.gov. The Request for Application notices are now posted on the FY2023 Application Resources for Brownfields Technical Assistance page.

Learn more about Brownfields Technical Assistance.

EPA and State Partners Announce Major Improvement in Clean Water Act Permit Compliance

Tue, 11/22/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has achieved major improvement in compliance with Clean Water Act (CWA) permits over the past five-year period. In FY 2018, EPA and 47 states agreed to collaborate on a goal to reduce significant noncompliance among facilities permitted under the Clean Water Act by 50 percent over five years. EPA is now announcing that this collaborative effort has achieved its goal – the national significant non-compliance (SNC) rate has been reduced from 20.3 percent at the start of 2018 to 9.0 percent today. This reduction in violations advances EPA’s strategic plan goal to ensure clean and safe water for all communities. This tremendous improvement in CWA compliance will produce substantial benefits for public health and the environment.

“Five years ago, EPA set an ambitious goal for cutting the rate of significant noncompliance with Clean Water Act permits in half,” said Larry Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today I’m pleased to announce that we have met and exceeded that target achieving a historically low rate of 9 percent. This notable achievement speaks to what EPA and the states can accomplish together to improve compliance and reduce Clean Water Act violations.”

For decades prior to this initiative, over 20 percent of CWA individually permitted facilities had “significant non-compliance” (SNC) level violations with their water discharge permit, including violations for exceeding permitted pollutant discharge limits, not meeting enforcement order or permit requirements, and not timely reporting compliance data or sometimes at all. In response to these persistent CWA non-compliance problems, EPA in 2018 set a goal to cut the level of SNC violations at roughly 46,000 CWA regulated facilities in half over 5 years. EPA immediately reached out to the states to partner with them in this effort and to find ways to achieve the goal together. In 2020, EPA took another step and made this effort one of the EPA enforcement program’s National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs).

“Virginia is honored to have been invited to serve as the state co-chair of this initiative. Over the long term, Virginia has achieved a low rate of SNC, and we are pleased to provide leadership in this area,” said Travis Voyles, Virginia Acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. “This initiative is a tremendous example of the importance of an effective partnership between EPA and the states.”

“DEC applauds EPA’s development of effective tools that are enhancing New York’s sustained regulatory efforts and bringing facilities into full compliance with stringent federal and state clean water standards,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “New York continues to be a leader in national compliance efforts and in collaborating with our federal partners on compliance initiatives, sharing our expertise in overseeing thousands of facilities to help make meaningful progress in improving water quality, holding polluters accountable, and benefitting communities across New York State and the U.S.”

Achieving a 50 percent cut in the rate of facilities with SNC level CWA violations improves public health and the environment by:

  1. Reducing the number of permitted facilities with SNC-level violations by roughly 4,000 fewer facilities.
  2. Reducing the amount of illegal discharges of water pollution by 23.7 million pounds through enforcement cases concluded over the past three years.
  3. Creating lasting, strong, reliable EPA/state partnerships which can be mobilized to achieve additional successes.
  4. Assuring EPA and states have a complete compliance data set to allow quick recognition of and proactive response to CWA non-compliance. 
  5. Increasing attention on the remaining non-compliant facilities and, in turn, increasing the level of compliance across all CWA permittees.

Underlying this achievement is EPA’s 2015 CWA rule that requires all facilities to electronically report water discharge pollutant monitoring data to EPA and the states. Prior to this effort, EPA was unable to determine compliance and calculate a reliable rate for SNC for the full 46,000 CWA permitted facilities due to a lack of consistent or accurate data reporting. As a result, improving the completeness of the data became a key focus of the initiative to assure that EPA could accurately determine noncompliance and the SNC rate. Access to electronic data on compliance by the universe of regulated parties is not available under most environmental programs.

EPA now has accurate data for determining compliance for CWA facilities for about 96 percent of CWA individually permitted facilities for almost every state in the country. Now, EPA and states can clearly see which facilities are in violation of their permit and prioritize these violators for notification, compliance assistance, financial assistance, or enforcement to assure that public health and the environment are protected. Additionally, data improvement increases public transparency, helping communities understand what pollutants are being discharged into local waterways and where violations are occurring.

How EPA Achieved It

Contributing to the success of this initiative were strong EPA-state partnerships and a close working partnership with the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA). EPA met with individual states over 600 times to discuss strategies for reducing SNC and how to address specific SNC violators. ACWA supported the initiative from its inception, providing leadership and advice, and played a key role in obtaining input from states to plot a collaborative path to success.

In 2023, EPA and the states will continue to focus on assuring that the progress gained is not lost and on addressing the worst CWA violators across the country.

More information about EPA’s National Compliance Initiatives.

More information about the National Compliance Initiative for “Reducing Significant Non-Compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits.”

More information about the FY 2022 – FY 2026 EPA Strategic Plan.

EPA Calls for Applications for the 2023 President’s Environmental Student and Teacher Awards

Tue, 11/22/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced that EPA’s Office of Environmental Education is now accepting applications for the 2023 President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) and Presidential Innovation Awards for Environmental Educators (PIAEE).

“Students, educators, and young people have contributed so much to EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. Today I am encouraging students and teachers who are working on important issues from climate change to environmental justice and more to apply for the President’s Environmental Youth Awards and Presidential Innovation Awards for Environmental Educators,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I’m looking forward to honoring teachers and students that are working hard to advance environmental education.”

“From cleaning up ocean pollution to expanding access to clean drinking water, America’s young people are making hugely consequential strides in addressing our nation’s biggest environmental challenges,” said Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. “These Presidential awards are an opportunity to recognize the work of students and educators who are boldly taking on environmental stewardship projects and building healthier, safer communities across the country.”

Applications for both awards programs are due no later than January 11, 2023.

Established by the 1990 National Environmental Education Act, PEYA recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects from students in grades K-12, by promoting environmental awareness and encouraging community involvement. Also established by the 1990 National Environmental Education Act, PIAEE recognizes outstanding K-12 grade educators who integrate environmental, place-based experiential learning into school curricula and school facility management across the country. The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with EPA, administers the PIAEE awards program.

Additional Information on the 2023 Awards

EPA is seeking 2023 PEYA and PIAEE award applications for projects on a variety of environmental topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Climate change;
  • Environmental justice;
  • Water infrastructure;
  • Lead in drinking water;
  • Reducing contributions to ocean and marine litter;
  • Solutions in recycling;
  • Using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to teach environmental education;
  • Environmental sustainability and agricultural practices;
  • Healthy school environments; and
  • Reducing food waste and loss and excess food recovery efforts.

For the PEYA awards, EPA will select up to two winners in each of the agency’s 10 Regions – one regional winner for grades K-5 and one regional winner for grades 6-12. The winning projects will be highlighted on EPA’s website. All student projects must be sponsored by at least one adult over the age of 21 and, if the sponsor is not a teacher, the project must have a teacher as a co-sponsor. The application and eligibility information are available on EPA’s PEYA page.

Up to two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive the PIAEE award. Teachers will receive a presidential plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further professional development in environmental education. Winning teachers’ local education agencies will also receive awards of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs. Next year’s winners will be highlighted on EPA’s website. The application and eligibility information are available on EPA’s PIAEE page.

For more information on the youth awards (PEYA), please contact: PEYA@epa.gov.

For more information on the teacher awards (PIAEE), please contact: PIAEE@epa.gov.