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Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funds $23 Million of Water Infrastructure Projects in Puerto Rico

EPA Air - Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

PUERTO RICO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced approval of $23 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fund Puerto Rico water infrastructure projects in Caguas, Coamo, Jayuya, Naranjito and Orocovis. EPA has formally approved work plans that will allow the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources to proceed with the projects under this historic investment.

“When water infrastructure fails, it threatens people’s health and the environment. This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investment will improve the lives of Puerto Rico communities facing major water challenges,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a unique and historic opportunity to correct longstanding environmental and economic injustices across America. This funding will create jobs while upgrading the island’s aging water infrastructure.”

The Secretary for the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Anais Vega Rodríguez, stated, “This historic EPA grant is an important additional step to improve the quality of our waters by allowing the management of a series of polluting sources and renewing deteriorated infrastructure.  Likewise, projects like these are truly essential for environmental protection and contribute to the socioeconomic development of the impacted regions. The close collaboration between EPA and the DNER to solve specific problems will continue with another series of projects during the next years.”

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program provides low-cost financing, in some cases at zero percent interest, for local projects. To allow for the program to support more water quality and infrastructure improvement projects, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides additional capitalization grants to each state for the recipient’s program. Puerto Rico will receive $23,214,000 to use on the planning, design, and construction of eligible water quality improvement and protection projects in the five targeted municipalities. After consultation, EPA and the government of Puerto Rico have identified specific projects which are vital to protect and improve water quality, aquatic life, recreation, and natural habitat. Specifically, the EPA approved projects are for the design and construction of sanitary sewer systems in four municipalities (Coamo, Jayuya, Naranjito and Orocovis and), eliminating many private septic systems and sewer discharge around the Island. A fifth project will eliminate a Caguas wastewater treatment facility that will turn into a wastewater pump station, thereby eliminating a major discharge point.

President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law on November 15, 2021. The law’s investment in the water sector is nothing short of transformational. It includes $50 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen the nation’s drinking water and wastewater systems—the single largest investment in clean water that the federal government has ever made. A significant portion of water infrastructure dollars will flow through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which represent a partnership between the Agency, states, tribes, territories, and local communities. Under this funding, Puerto Rico will receive $78,404,000 in total in fiscal year 2022. The $23,214,000 is a portion of this total. More projects will be announced in the future and EPA is committed to maximizing the impact of these funds in addressing urgent water challenges facing communities.

To access more information, visit Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Resources for Clean Water.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook.

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Ley bipartidista de infraestructura financia $23 millones en proyectos de infraestructura de agua en Puerto Rico

EPA Air - Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

PUERTO RICO – Hoy, la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) anunció la aprobación de una inversión de $23 millones de la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura para financiar proyectos de infraestructura de agua en Puerto Rico en Caguas, Coamo, Jayuya, Naranjito y Orocovis. La EPA ha aprobado formalmente los planes de trabajo que permitirán al Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales de Puerto Rico proceder con los proyectos conforme a esta inversión histórica.

“Cuando falla la infraestructura hídrica, amenaza la salud y el medioambiente de las personas. Esta inversión de la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura mejorará las vidas de las comunidades de Puerto Rico que enfrentan grandes retos relacionados con el agua,” dijo la Administradora Regional de la EPA, Lisa F. García. “La Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura es una oportunidad única e histórica para corregir injusticias ambientales y económicas de larga data en todo Estados Unidos. Estos fondos crearán empleos y a la vez mejorarán la infraestructura de agua envejecida de la isla.”

Secretaria del Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales, Anais Rodríguez Vega, señaló, “Esta histórica donación de la EPA es un importante paso adicional para mejorar la calidad de nuestras aguas al permitir el manejo de una serie de fuentes contaminantes y la renovación de infraestructura deteriorada. Asimismo, proyectos como estos son verdaderamente esenciales para la protección del medio ambiente y contribuyen al desarrollo socioeconómico de las regiones impactadas. La colaboración cercana entre la EPA y el DRNA para resolver problemas específicos continuará con otra serie de proyectos durante los próximos años.”

El programa del Fondo Rotatorio Estatal de Agua Limpia proporciona financiamiento de bajo costo, en algunos casos a un interés del cero por ciento, para proyectos locales. A fin de permitir que el programa apoye más proyectos de mejora de la calidad del agua y la infraestructura, la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura proporciona subvenciones de capitalización adicionales a cada estado para el programa del beneficiario. Puerto Rico recibirá $23,214,000 para usar en la planificación, diseño y construcción de proyectos elegibles de mejora y protección de la calidad del agua en los cinco municipios seleccionados. Después de consultar, la EPA y el gobierno de Puerto Rico han identificado proyectos específicos que son vitales para proteger y mejorar la calidad del agua, la vida acuática, la recreación y el hábitat natural. Específicamente, los proyectos aprobados por la EPA son para el diseño y la construcción de sistemas de alcantarillado sanitario en cuatro municipios (Coamo, Jayuya, Naranjito y Orocovis), eliminando muchos sistemas sépticos privados y descarga de alcantarillado alrededor de la isla. Un quinto proyecto eliminará una planta de tratamiento de aguas residuales de Caguas que se convertirá en una estación de bombeo de aguas residuales, eliminando así un importante punto de descarga.

El presidente Biden firmó la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura el 15 de noviembre de 2021. La inversión de la ley en el sector del agua es nada menos que transformadora. Incluye $50 mil millones para la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA) a fin de fortalecer los sistemas de agua potable y aguas residuales del país, la mayor inversión en agua limpia que el gobierno federal haya realizado. Una parte significativa de los dólares de infraestructura de agua se canalizará a través de los Fondos Rotatorios Estatales de Agua Limpia y Agua Potable, que representan una asociación entre la Agencia, los estados, las tribus, los territorios y las comunidades locales. Con este financiamiento, Puerto Rico recibirá un total de $78,404,000 en el año fiscal 2022. Los $23,214,000 son una parte de este total. Se anunciarán más proyectos en el futuro y la EPA se compromete a maximizar el impacto de estos fondos para abordar los desafíos urgentes del agua que enfrentan las comunidades.

Para acceder a más información, visite Recursos de la Ley Bipartidista de Infrastructura para Agua Limpia.

Siga a la Región 2 de la EPA en Twitter y visite nuestra página en Facebook.

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

EPA Air - Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, 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.”

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.”

“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.”

“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 water 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.”

“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.”

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. Learn more about water technical assistance for communities and the Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators.

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 Recognizes Chicopee, MA Industrial Pretreatment Program for Outstanding Service

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

BOSTON (Jan. 26, 2023) – The City of Chicopee's Industrial Pretreatment Program staff, led by Laurie Goff, was honored for exceptional work inspecting, permitting, and sampling industrial users that discharge industrial waste into the collection system.

"Every time we flush or wash ourselves, our kids, clothes, cars, dishes and dogs, we create wastewater," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David Cash. "All facilities that capture our wastewater and ensure it is safely treated for reuse and release are to be applauded, and I am proud to acknowledge and thank Ms. Goff, and staff for their outstanding contributions to help protect public health and water quality for so many years."

The EPA Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality through outstanding oversight of its industrial users discharging to the municipal sewer system. 

EPA Recognizes Suffield, Connecticut Wastewater Facility Operator for Outstanding Service

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

BOSTON (Jan. 26, 2023) – Jamie Kreller, of Suffield, Connecticut., was recently honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) New England Office for his work maintaining the Suffield Water Pollution Control Facility.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Awards Program recognizes personnel in the wastewater field who have provided invaluable public service managing and operating wastewater treatment facilities throughout New England. Wastewater operators and staff work diligently to protect public health and the environment, often with limited resources.

"Every time we flush or wash ourselves, our kids, clothes, cars, dishes and dogs, we create wastewater," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David Cash. "All facilities that capture our wastewater and ensure it is safely treated for reuse and release are to be applauded, and I am proud to acknowledge and thank Mr. Kreller for his outstanding contributions to help protect public health and water quality for so many years."

Mr. Kreller, who is the Superintendent of the Suffield Water Pollution Control Facility, received a 2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award for his outstanding work over the years in operating and maintaining the facility. Mr. Kreller was one of only three individuals across New England to receive this award.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) was instrumental in Kreller's nomination.

EPA reaches proposed $5.4 million settlement with Dow for Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River & Bay Superfund site in Midland, Michigan

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed $5.4 million settlement with The Dow Chemical Co. to recover costs for EPA’s cleanup work at the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River & Bay Superfund site in Midland, Michigan. EPA began a 30-day public comment period today.

In 1897, the 1,900-acre Dow facility began producing various chemicals along the Tittabawassee River. Most of the plant is located on the east side of the river and south of the city of Midland. At various times, the Midland Plant produced more than 1,000 different organic and inorganic chemicals. Historical operations at Dow’s Midland Plant caused the release of toxic chemicals known as dioxins into the Tittabawassee River which moved downstream and mixed with sediment in the Saginaw River and Bay. 

The costs recovered by the proposed settlement are associated with EPA performing sampling work at the site, negotiating time critical and non-time critical removal orders with Dow prior to 2010, as well as negotiating the 2010 Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent for the remedial investigation, feasibility study, and remedial design at the site.

Public comments on the proposed settlement will be accepted online until Feb. 26.

Comments can be submitted here.

More information can be found on EPA’s website.

EPA awards $26M in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to protect, improve water quality in Idaho 

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

SEATTLE (Jan. 26, 2023) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality $26,730,000 to protect and improve water quality and infrastructure across the state.  

Idaho’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund received $17,992,000 and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund received $8,738,000. All the funding is a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

“Once again, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is providing a once-in-a-generation funding opportunity that allows EPA and our partners to improve water quality and infrastructure. We’re laying the groundwork today for future decades of clean water for the people of Idaho,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Casey Sixkiller.   

“The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality appreciates the ongoing support from EPA to protect and improve water quality and infrastructure across our state, and we welcome any assistance that helps make these services more accessible and affordable for our communities," said Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Director Jess Byrne

The funds were awarded Dec. 28, and are intended to provide low interest financing to plan, design and construct water quality improvement and protection projects, drinking water treatment projects and the infrastructure needed to protect human health.   

Examples of projects in Idaho utilizing previous State Revolving Funds include: 

  • City of New Meadows ($2,845,500) to replace the failing storage tank, install a new well pump and pump house, and construct a new booster pump station.  
  • Cabinet Mountain Water District ($5,000,000) for improvements to three new water storage reservoirs, two new booster pump stations, a new well facility and distribution system upgrades. 
  • City of Challis ($3,000,000) to drill a new well and construct a well house, booster station and transmission lines.  

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents the largest-ever funding opportunity for investing in water infrastructure. More than $50 billion is allocated to EPA toward repairing the nation’s essential water infrastructure, which helps communities access clean, safe and reliable drinking water, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, clean up pollution and safeguard vital waterways.  

EPA Recognizes Rhode Island Wastewater Treatment Entities for Excellence

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

BOSTON (Jan. 26, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) New England Office recently awarded three 2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Awards to Rhode Island wastewater facilities and individuals to recognize them for their commitment to improving water quality.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Awards Program recognizes personnel in the wastewater field who have provided invaluable public service managing and operating wastewater treatment facilities throughout New England.

"Every time we flush or wash ourselves, our kids, clothes, cars, dishes and dogs, we create wastewater," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David Cash. "All facilities that capture our wastewater and ensure it is safely treated for reuse and release are to be applauded, and I am proud to acknowledge and thank these entities and individuals for outstanding contributions to help protect public health and water quality for so many years."

2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award

Edward Davies of Quonset Point

Mr. Davies, who is the Superintendent of the Quonset Development Corporation Wastewater Treatment Facility, was recognized for his outstanding work over the years operating and maintaining the facility. Mr. Davies was one of only three individuals across New England to receive this award. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) was instrumental in Davies' nomination.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance. Wastewater operators and staff work diligently to protect public health and the environment, often with limited resources.

2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award

East Greenwich Wastewater Treatment Facility

The East Greenwich Wastewater Treatment Facility, led by Superintendent Shawn T. O'Neill, was recognized for exceptional work in operating and maintaining the wastewater treatment plant during the past year. The facility was one of only two facilities across New England to receive this award. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) was instrumental in the facility's nomination.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance. Especially with the smaller facilities, conscientious operators and staff continue to perform exceptionally with limited resources.

2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award

Adam Federau of Westerly

Mr. Federau, who is the Project Manager of the Westerly Wastewater Treatment Facility, was recognized for his outstanding work at the treatment plant. Mr. Federau was one of only three individuals across New England to receive this award. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) was instrumental in Federau's nomination.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance. Wastewater operators and staff work diligently to protect public health and the environment, often with limited resources.

City of Westminster to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency for local businesses through HVAC system upgrades

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

DENVER – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the City of Westminster, Colorado (City) as a recipient of $180,000 in EPA Source Reduction Assistance grant funding to implement pollution prevention practices. The City will use the funding to provide energy assessments and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system upgrades to owners of local commercial buildings, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving building energy performance.

“Climate change continues to be the challenge of our lifetime, and it takes work at the local, state, and national level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change,” said EPA Regional Administrator, KC Becker. “This grant will provide energy and cost savings to businesses in Westminster, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the data collected from this project will provide valuable information for other organizations and government agencies considering energy efficiency projects. We commend the City of Westminster for working with local building owners to prevent pollution at the source and congratulate the City on this award.”

"The City of Westminster is excited to receive the EPA Region 8’s Source Reduction Assistance-Pollution Prevention Grant,” said Jody Andrews, Deputy City Manager for the City of Westminster. “Through these funds, the City is proud to launch a new program that will provide technical and financial assistance to large commercial property owners to adopt high-efficiency HVAC and energy systems and reduce their energy-use. This project will help Westminster businesses save money on new, efficient equipment and reduce their utility bills while supporting the City’s mission to foster economic resilience for our community.”

A ductless mini-split heat pump, one example of the types of energy efficient equipment anticipated to be installed through the City of Westminster’s project. (Photo Credit: Boulder County)

With the grant funds, the City will provide technical and financial analysis tools and corresponding assistance services to commercial building owners in Westminster. The project will exclusively focus services on approximately 115 large commercial buildings located in Westminster who, in accordance with the State of Colorado’s Building Performance Colorado (BPC) program, are required to report annual building energy use data through the EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

Through the project, the City will:

  • Provide free information on energy performance improvement opportunities and technical assistance to all owners of commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or larger in size;
  • Provide customized reports showing cost-benefit analyses for energy efficiency equipment replacement scenarios to owners of the 50 lowest performing/least efficient large commercial buildings;
  • Provide partial rebates to building owners who install energy efficient equipment;
  • Host educational energy efficiency workforce development training sessions for HVAC contractors that service Westminster and the surrounding region; and
  • Create case studies that highlight the energy efficiency/HVAC upgrades completed by building owners through the project, and present information to regional and state partners and governments.

The City estimates the project will generate:

  • $25,000,000 total lifetime cost savings (average savings of $500,000/building)
  • 120,000,000 Kilowatt Hours (kWh) total lifetime energy unit savings (average savings of 2,400,000 kWh/building)
  • 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) total lifetime GHG emissions reduced (average emissions reduced of 2,000 MTCO2e/building)

EPA’s Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program supports research, experiments, surveys, demonstration projects, education and training related to source reduction approaches which is also known as “pollution prevention” or “P2.” Pollution prevention practices reduce the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering a waste stream or otherwise released into the environment prior to recycling of discarded material, treatment, or disposal. P2 reduces the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of those substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

For these grants, EPA prioritized funding for projects that are designed to achieve measurable reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, projects that result in reduced generation and use of hazardous materials, projects that address reducing use of natural resources such as energy or water, and projects that support environmental justice for underserved communities.


Learn more about P2 and the SRA and P2 grant programs.

Learn more about the City of Westminster’s Sustainability Program.

New Hampshire Wastewater Treatment Entities Recognized by EPA for Excellence in Service to their Communities

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

BOSTON (Jan. 26, 2023)The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) New England Office recently awarded four 2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Awards to New Hampshire wastewater facilities and individuals to recognize them for their commitment to improving water quality.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Awards Program recognizes personnel in the wastewater field who have provided invaluable public service managing and operating wastewater treatment facilities throughout New England.

"Every time we flush or wash ourselves, our kids, clothes, cars, dishes and dogs, we create wastewater," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David Cash. "All facilities that capture our wastewater and ensure it is safely treated for reuse and release are to be applauded, and I am proud to acknowledge and thank these entities and individuals for outstanding contributions to help protect public health and water quality for so many years."

2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award

Sunapee Wastewater Treatment Facility

The Sunapee Wastewater Treatment Facility, led by Superintendent David Bailey, was recognized for exceptional work in maintaining and operating the wastewater treatment plant during the past year. The facility was one of only two facilities across New England to receive this award. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) was instrumental in the facility's nomination.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance. Especially with the smaller facilities, conscientious operators and staff continue to perform exceptionally with limited resources.

2022 Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award

City of Manchester Industrial Pretreatment Program

The City of Manchester's Pretreatment Program staff, led by Christopher Crowley, was honored for exceptional work inspecting, permitting, and sampling industrial users that discharge industrial waste into the collection system.

The EPA Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality through outstanding oversight of its industrial users discharging to the municipal sewer system.

2022 Regional Wastewater Trainer of the Year Award

Anthony Drouin of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES)

Mr. Drouin is a Supervisor of the Residual Management Section at NH DES. Over the past year, Anthony has trained wastewater operators all over New Hampshire on a variety of industry-specific topics, such as PFAS and biosolids sampling. NHDES was instrumental in Drouin's nomination.

2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award

David Lovely of Portsmouth

Mr. Lovely, who is the Chief Operator of the Pease Wastewater Treatment Facility, was recognized for his outstanding work over the years. Mr. Lovely was one of only three individuals across New England to receive this award. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) was instrumental in Lovely's nomination.

The EPA Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance. Wastewater operators and staff work diligently to protect public health and the environment, often with limited resources.

EAN Holdings, Operator of Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Hilo, to Pay $132K to Resolve Claim of Drinking Water Violations

EPA Air - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO  – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with EAN Holdings, LLC, the operator of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Truck in Hilo, Hawaii, to resolve a claim of violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Since February 2017, EAN has operated illegal, pollution-causing large capacity cesspools (LCC) serving its check-in site for car and truck rentals. Use of an LCC is a violation of federal regulations.

“Large capacity cesspools have been banned throughout Hawaii since 2005,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA will continue to use our enforcement authority to close unlawful cesspools, as they pose a serious risk of contaminating Hawaii’s precious groundwater and coastal resources.”

EPA is authorized to issue compliance orders and/or assess penalties to violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act’s underground injection control regulations. EPA engaged with EAN in September 2021 to seek information on the method of wastewater disposal at the Hilo property and discovered that EAN was operating two illegal large capacity cesspools at the site. As a result, EAN agreed to pay a $132,402 penalty and properly close the unlawful LCCs by October 30, 2023.

Cesspools collect and release untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams, and the ocean.

Since the 2005 federal ban, more than 3,750 large capacity cesspools in Hawaii have been closed; however, hundreds remain in operation. Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state and pose a unique challenge as groundwater provides 95 percent of all water supply for the islands.

To encourage regulated entities to voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously close these pollution-causing systems, EPA provides penalty mitigation and other incentives for companies that proactively find and close LCCs on their property. Information on how to self-disclose potential large-capacity cesspool violations is available here. 

You can view the public notice of this settlement 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.

PathStone Corporation to Receive $500,000 for Job Training in Puerto Rico

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

PUERTO RICO  - PathStone Corporation is one of among 29 organizations receiving $14.3 million across the country through EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Program to recruit, train and place workers for community revitalization and cleanup projects at brownfield sites. The organization will get a $500,000 grant for job training funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This funding triples the amount normally granted by EPA for Brownfields job training, ensuring stronger environmental benefits and more economic opportunities in overburdened and underserved areas.

EPA Region 2 Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia highlighted the work on a visit today in Juncos, Puerto Rico. Other participants included Manuel Cidre, Secretary Department of Economic Development and Commerce; Anais Vega Rodríguez, Secretary Department of Natural and Environmental Resources; Hon. Alfredo Alejandro Carrión, Mayor of Juncos, Brenda Soto Colón, Senior Vice President, PathStone, Mr. Alberto Grau, General Manager DANA Puerto Rico and Magaly Méndez from the office of the Housing and Urban Developement.

Figure 1 EPA and Puerto Rico government officials pose standing with representatives from PathStone under a white tent. Figure 2 EPA Regional Administrator Lisa Garcia visits a job training facility and stands with other tour participants listening to a representative talking about the facility.

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is supercharging EPA’s Brownfields Program, which is transforming blighted sites, protecting public health, and creating economic opportunities in more overburdened communities than ever before,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “The investments announced will not only support the cleanup of some of our nation’s most polluted areas, but they will also equip a new generation of workers to take on the significant environmental challenges that plague overburdened neighborhoods, and jumpstart sustainable, long-term careers in the communities that need these jobs the most.”

“With this unprecedented amount of funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can provide people the tools and skills they need to find long-term employment,” said EPA Region 2 Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This funding will provide under- and unemployed people in Puerto Rico critical training so they can reimagine and revitalize their neighborhoods and bring environmental justice to their communities, which have been so often overlooked.”

PathStone Corporation, a Rochester, New York-based organization, will use the funding to train up to 120 students in Puerto Rico and place at least 80 in environmental jobs. The program will target students from the rural municipalities of Caguas, Guaynabo, Humacao, Juncos, and Las Piedras and the City of San Juan. The training program includes 334 hours of instruction in 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training, Pesticide Safety Worker Protection Standard, AED and CPR Training, among many others. Students who complete the training will earn up to nine state and one federal certification. This is PathStone Corporation’s fifth grant under the EPA Brownfields Job Program, totaling over $1.2 million in funding.

"The mission of building family and self-sufficiency can only be achieved by empowering individuals to make a change in their lives,” said Brenda Lee Soto Colón, senior vice president of Direct Services at PathStone Corporation. “Having the opportunity to continue our partnership with EPA in order to provide training and employment opportunities in the environmental industry is key to the change we want to see in the lives of those we serve. Our goal is to assist participants with improving their education and employability skills. We are appreciative of this new opportunity." 

President Biden’s leadership and bipartisan Congressional action have delivered the single-largest investment in U.S. brownfields infrastructure ever through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which invests more than $1.5 billion over five years through EPA’s highly successful Brownfields Program. This historic investment enables EPA to fund more communities, states, and Tribes, and provides the opportunity for grantees to build and enhance the environmental curriculum in job training programs that support job creation and community revitalization.

The Brownfields Job Training Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Based on data from the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, approximately 97 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.

Individuals completing a job training program funded by the EPA often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many trainees are from historically underserved neighborhoods or reside in areas that are overburdened by pollution.

Graduates of Brownfields Job Training programs learn valuable, sought-after skills and have the opportunity to earn a variety of certifications, ensuring employment opportunities result not just in temporary contractual work, but in long-term environmental careers. This includes certifications in:

  • Lead and asbestos abatement,
  • Hazardous waste operations and emergency response,
  • Mold remediation,
  • Environmental sampling and analysis, and
  • Other environmental health and safety training

Background:

Brownfields Job Training (JT) grants allow nonprofits, local governments, and other organizations to recruit, train, and place unemployed and under-employed residents of areas affected by the presence of brownfield sites. Through the JT Program, graduates develop the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in various aspects of hazardous and solid waste management and within the larger environmental field, including sustainable cleanup and reuse, and chemical safety. These green jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for communities.

Since 1998, the EPA has awarded 371 Brownfields Job Training grants. With these grants, more than 20,341 individuals have completed trainings and over 15,168 individuals have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety.

For more information on the selected Brownfields Job Training grant recipients, including past grant recipients, please visit the Brownfields Grant Fact Sheet Search

For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields Program grants, please visit the Brownfields Job Training Grants webpage.

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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PathStone Corporation recibirá $500,000 para capacitación laboral en Puerto Rico

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

PUERTO RICO - PathStone Corporation es una de las 29 organizaciones que recibirán $14.3 millones en todos los Estados Unidos a través del Programa de Capacitación Laboral sobre terrenos abandonados o contaminados (“Brownfields”) de la EPA para reclutar, capacitar e integrar a trabajadores para proyectos de revitalización y limpieza. La organización recibirá una subvención de $500,000 para capacitación laboral financiada a través de la Ley de Infraestructura Bipartidista del presidente Biden. Este financiamiento triplica la cantidad normalmente otorgada por la EPA para la capacitación laboral sobre terrenos “brownfields”, garantizando beneficios ambientales más fuertes y más oportunidades económicas en áreas impactadas y desatendidas.

La Administradora Regional de la Región 2 de la EPA, Lisa F. García, realzo el trabajo en una visita realizada hoy en Juncos, Puerto Rico. Otros participantes hoy fueron Manuel Cidre, Secretario del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Comercio de Puerto Rico; Anais Rodríguez Vega, Secretaria Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales; Honorable Alfredo Alejandro Carrión, Alcalde de Juncos, Brenda Soto Colón, Vicepresidenta, PathStone, Sr. Alberto Grau, Gerente General DANA Puerto Rico y Magaly Méndez de la oficina del Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano.

Ilustración 1 Funcionarios de la EPA y del gobierno de Puerto Rico posan de pie con representantes de PathStone bajo una carpa blanca. Ilustración 2 La administradora regional de la EPA, Lisa García, visita un centro de capacitación laboral y se para con otros participantes del recorrido escuchando a un representante hablar sobre el centro.

"La Ley de Infraestructura Bipartidista del presidente Biden está apoyando significativamente al Programa de “Brownfields” de la EPA, que está transformando terrenos deteriorados, protegiendo la salud pública y creando oportunidades económicas en comunidades,” dijo la subadministradora de la EPA, Janet McCabe.  "Las inversiones anunciadas no solo apoyarán la limpieza de algunas de las áreas más contaminadas en los Estados Unidos, sino que también equiparán a una nueva generación de trabajadores para enfrentar los importantes desafíos ambientales que afectan las comunidades desventajadas e impulsar carreras sostenibles a largo plazo en las áreas donde más se necesitan estos trabajos.”

"Con esta cantidad sin precedentes de fondos a través de la Ley de Infraestructura Bipartidista, podemos proporcionar a las personas las herramientas y habilidades que necesitan para encontrar empleo a largo plazo", dijo la Administradora Regional de la Región 2 de la EPA, Lisa F. García.  "Estos fondos proporcionarán a las personas subempleadas y desempleadas en Puerto Rico capacitación crítica para que puedan reimaginar y revitalizar sus vecindarios y llevar justicia ambiental a sus comunidades, que tan a menudo se han pasado por alto."

PathStone Corporation, una organización con sede en Rochester, Nueva York, utilizará los fondos para capacitar hasta 120 estudiantes en Puerto Rico y establecer al menos 80 en empleos ambientales. El programa estará dirigido a estudiantes de los municipios rurales de Caguas, Guaynabo, Humacao, Juncos y Las Piedras y la ciudad de San Juan. El programa de capacitación incluye 334 horas de instrucción en 40 horas de capacitación en Operaciones de Desechos Peligrosos y Respuesta a Emergencias (HAZWOPER), Estándar de Protección de Trabajadores de Seguridad de Pesticidas, DEA y Capacitación en RCP, entre muchos otros. Los estudiantes que completen la capacitación obtendrán hasta nueve certificaciones estatales y una federal. Esta es la quinta subvención de PathStone Corporation bajo el Programa de Trabajo de terrenos “Brownfields” de la EPA, por un total de más de $ 1,2 millones en fondos.

"La misión de construir familia y autosuficiencia solo se puede lograr empoderando a las personas para que hagan un cambio en sus vidas", dijo Brenda Lee Soto Colón, vicepresidenta senior de Servicios Directos de PathStone Corporation.  "Tener la oportunidad de continuar nuestra asociación con la EPA para proporcionar oportunidades de capacitación y empleo en la industria ambiental es clave para el cambio que queremos ver en las vidas de aquellos a quienes servimos. Nuestro objetivo es ayudar a los participantes a mejorar sus habilidades educativas y de empleabilidad. Estamos agradecidos por esta nueva oportunidad".

El liderazgo del presidente Biden y la acción bipartidista del Congreso han generado la mayor inversión en infraestructura de terrenos "Brownfields” de los Estados Unidos a través de la Ley de Infraestructura Bipartidista, que invierte más de $1,500 millones en cinco años a través del exitoso Programa de terrenos "Brownfields” de la EPA. Esta inversión histórica permite a la EPA financiar más comunidades, estados y tribus, y brinda la oportunidad a los concesionarios de construir y mejorar el currículo ambiental en programas de capacitación laboral que apoyan la creación de empleos y la revitalización de la comunidad.

El Programa de Capacitación Laboral sobre terrenos "Brownfields” también promueve la Iniciativa Justice40 del presidente Biden, que tiene como objetivo otorgar al menos el 40 por ciento de los beneficios de ciertos programas gubernamentales a las comunidades menos favorecidas. Con base en los datos de la Herramienta de Evaluación de Justicia Climática y Económica, aproximadamente el 97 por ciento de las comunidades seleccionadas para recibir fondos como parte del anuncio de hoy han propuesto proyectos en áreas históricamente desatendidas.

Las personas que completan un programa de capacitación laboral financiado por la EPA a menudo superan una variedad de barreras para el empleo. Muchos aprendices provienen de vecindarios históricamente desatendidos o residen en áreas sobrecargadas por la contaminación.

Los graduados de los programas de capacitación laboral sobre terrenos baldíos aprenden habilidades valiosas y buscadas y tienen la oportunidad de obtener una variedad de certificaciones, asegurando que las oportunidades de empleo resulten no solo en trabajo contractual temporal, sino en carreras ambientales a largo plazo. Esto incluye certificaciones en:

  • Reducción del plomo y del amianto,
  • Operaciones de residuos peligrosos y respuesta a emergencias,
  • Remediación de moho,
  • Muestreo y análisis ambiental, y
  • Otra formación en materia de salud y seguridad ambiental

Antecedentes:

Las subvenciones del Programa de Capacitación Laboral en terrenos "Brownfields” permiten a las organizaciones sin fines de lucro, gobiernos locales y otras organizaciones reclutar, capacitar y colocar a residentes desempleados y subempleados de áreas afectadas por la presencia de terrenos abandonados. A través del Programa de Capacitación Laboral, los graduados desarrollan las habilidades necesarias para asegurar un empleo sostenible a tiempo completo en diversos aspectos de la gestión de residuos peligrosos y sólidos y dentro del campo ambiental más amplio, incluida la limpieza y reutilización sostenibles y la seguridad química. Estos empleos verdes reducen la contaminación ambiental y construyen futuros más sostenibles para las comunidades.

Desde 1998, la EPA ha otorgado 371 subvenciones de capacitación laboral sobre terrenos "Brownfields”. Con estas subvenciones, más de 20,341 personas han terminado capacitaciones y más de 15,168 personas han sido asignadas en carreras relacionadas con la remediación de tierras y la salud y seguridad ambiental.

Para obtener más información sobre los beneficiarios seleccionados de la subvención de capacitación laboral sobre terrenos "Brownfields”, incluidos los beneficiarios de subvenciones anteriores, visite la Búsqueda de la hoja informativa de subvenciones sobre terrenos baldíos

Para obtener más información sobre esta y otros tipos de subvenciones del Programa de terrenos baldíos, visite la página web de Subvenciones de capacitación laboral sobre terrenos baldíos.

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La EPA alienta a los residentes de las regiones de las Montañas Rocosas y las Grandes Llanuras a “probar su hogar” y reducir los niveles de radón en el hogar

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

DENVER - Enero es el Mes Nacional de Acción contra el Radón y la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) está trabajando con nuestros socios para correr la voz sobre los riesgos para la salud que presenta el radón en los hogares, la importancia de las pruebas y las medidas que los propietarios pueden tomar para reducir el riesgo en los estados de las Montañas Rocosas y las Grandes Llanuras de Colorado, Montana, Dakota del Norte, Dakota del Sur, Utah y Wyoming.

El radón es un carcinógeno conocido y se estima que causa más de 20,000 muertes por cáncer de pulmón cada año en los EE. UU. De hecho, el gas incoloro e inodoro es la principal causa de cáncer de pulmón en los no fumadores. La buena noticia es que los riesgos e impactos en la salud se pueden prevenir: es fácil probar y reducir los niveles de radón en su hogar, y salvar vidas.  

El llamado a la acción de este año: “¡Probar su hogar!”  - es especialmente importante para los residentes de nuestra región, ya que hay grandes porciones de estos estados que están en riesgo de altos niveles de radón en interiores, los cuales pueden causar cáncer de pulmón. La mejor manera de protegerse contra el radón es realizar una prueba simple y de bajo costo en su hogar. La EPA recomienda que los propietarios tomen medidas para reducir los niveles de radón cuando excedan el nivel de acción de 4.0 picocurios por litro (o 4pCi/L).

Mapa de las zonas de radón en los Estados Unidos

“Comprender los niveles de radón en su hogar es uno de los pasos más importantes que puede tomar para protegerlo a usted y a su familia”, explicó el administrador regional de la EPA, KC Becker. “Aconsejo tomarse el tiempo de probar su hogar este invierno, para poder estar seguro de que el tiempo de calidad que pasa al interior con amigos y seres queridos no solo sea cómodo, sino seguro”.

¿Quieres saber más detalles? ¡La información y los recursos a continuación pueden ayudar!

Lo que puede hacer

  • Conocer lo básico – Visite el sitio web de radón de la EPA para ver una amplia gama de información, incluso publicaciones gratuitas sobre el radón.
  • Probar su hogar– La EPA y el Cirujano General de los EE. UU. recomiendan que todos los hogares estadounidenses sean sometidos a pruebas de radón. Conozca más detalles sobre probar su hogar, incluyendo cómo obtener un kit de prueba fácil de usar.
  • Reparar su hogar si es necesario – Si los resultados de sus pruebas son elevados, la EPA recomienda contratar a un especialista certificado en mitigación de radón para instalar un sistema de mitigación que evite que el radón ingrese a su hogar. Lea acerca de las maneras de reducir el radón en su hogar en la “Guía de reducción del radón para el consumidor.”
  • Correr la voz – Consulte Recursos de redes sociales aquí y comparta infografías en las redes sociales y en su comunidad para ayudar a correr la voz sobre la importancia de las pruebas de radón. Informe a su familia y amigos sobre el riesgo para la salud del radón.
  • ¿Está construyendo una casa nueva? Hágala resistente al radón. Lea más sobre las construcciones nuevas resistentes al radón, "Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide to Build Radon-Resistant Homes [Construir para eliminar el radón: Una guía paso a paso para construir hogares resistentes al radón].”

INFORMACIÓN ESTADO POR ESTADO para la Región 8 de la EPA

Datos rápidos sobre el radón en COLORADO

  • La mitad de todos los hogares en Colorado tienen altos niveles de radón.
  • Vivir en una casa con el nivel promedio de radón de Colorado (6.4pCi/L) es como someterse a 200 radiografías del tórax cada año.
  • Aproximadamente 500 personas en Colorado mueren cada año de cáncer de pulmón causado por la exposición al radón. 
  • Colorado tiene un programa de asistencia para la mitigación del radón para familias de bajos ingresos (LIRMA, por sus siglas en inglés) que puede pagar la mitigación del radón si se cumplen los requisitos de elegibilidad: www.coloradoradon.info

Expertos en radón de COLORADO

  • Chrystine Kelley: Gerente del Programa de Radón, Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado, (303) 692-3442, chrys.kelley@state.co.us  
  • Patty Dooley-Strappelli: Salud Pública del Condado de Boulder,  www.radonawarecolorado.org, (303) 441-1560, pdooley-strappelli@bouldercounty.org 
  • Heidi Nafman Onda: Sobreviviente de cáncer de pulmón inducido por radón, defensora de la concienciación acerca del radón, (303) 594-4787, nafonda@comcast.net 
  • Sally A. Madden: Sobreviviente de cáncer de pulmón inducido por radón, defensora de la concienciación acerca del radón, (303) 807-6438, smadden@wlgore.com  

Datos rápidos sobre el radón en MONTANA

  • Casi la mitad de todos los hogares en Montana tienen altos niveles de radón. 

Expertos en radón de MONTANA

  • Michael L. Gustafson: Defensor de Pequeñas Empresas de Montana, Coordinador de Radón, Departamento de Calidad Ambiental de Montana, (406) 444-6592, Michael.Gustafson@mt.gov 
  • Paul Tschida: Profesional de Recursos Energéticos, Departamento de Calidad Ambiental de Montana, (406) 444-6464, ptschida@mt.gov   

Datos rápidos sobre el radón en DAKOTA DEL NORTE

  • La EPA enumera todos los condados de Dakota del Norte como Zona 1, el mayor potencial de niveles elevados de radón. 
  • 63 por ciento de los hogares en Dakota del Norte tienen un radón elevado por encima del nivel de acción de la EPA de 4.0 picocurios por litro (pCi/L). 

Expertos en radón de DAKOTA DEL NORTE

  • Justin Otto: Gerente del Programa de Radón, Departamento de Calidad Ambiental de Dakota del Norte, (701) 328-5246, jotto@nd.gov  
  • Gary G Schwartz: Profesor, Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud de la Universidad de Dakota del Norte, (701) 777-6598, gary.schwartz@und.edu    

Datos rápidos sobre el radón en DAKOTA DEL SUR

  • Vivir en una casa con el nivel promedio de radón de Dakota del Sur (9.6 pCi/L) es como someterse a 300 radiografías de tórax cada año.

Expertos en radón de DAKOTA DEL SUR

  • Duncan Jakubowski: Coordinador de Radón, Departamento de Agricultura y Recursos Naturales de Dakota del Sur, Duncan.Jakubowski@state.sd.us  

Datos rápidos sobre el radón en UTAH

  • 1 de cada 3 hogares probados en Utah tienen niveles elevados de radón. 
  • Utah tiene la tasa más baja de tabaquismo en la nación, pero el cáncer de pulmón es la principal causa de muerte por cáncer en el estado. 

Expertos en radón de UTAH

Datos rápidos sobre el radón en WYOMING

  • El nivel promedio de radón en Wyoming es de 5.1 pCi/L, que es más alto que el nivel de acción de la EPA de 4 pCi/L. 
  • De los 99 municipios de Wyoming, 18 han adoptado medidas de control de radón en su código de construcción. 
  • En promedio, 1,397 hogares de Wyoming son sometidos a prueba cada año para detectar radón y 118 hogares son mitigados cada año. 
  • Los kits de prueba de radón están disponibles de forma gratuita hasta agotar existencias para los residentes de Wyoming en health.wyo.gov/radon.

Expertos en radón de WYOMING

  • Randi Norton-Herrington: Coordinador de Difusión y Redes Sociales, Programa de Cáncer de Wyoming, Departamento de Salud; (307) 777-6015; randi.norton@wyo.gov 

EPA and DOJ Extend Comment Period for Proposed Lower Passaic River Cleanup Agreement in New Jersey

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

NEW YORK - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have extended the public comment period on a proposed consent decree to March 22, 2023. The agreement involves 85 potentially responsible parties who will be required to pay a total of $150 million to support the cleanup and resolve their liability for discharging hazardous substances into the Lower Passaic River, which is part of the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site in Newark, New Jersey.

EPA and DOJ alleged that these 85 parties are responsible for releases of hazardous substances into the Lower Passaic River, contaminating the 17-mile tidal stretch, including the lower 8.3 miles. The proposed consent decree seeks to hold the parties accountable for their share of the total cost of cleaning up this stretch of the river.

On behalf of EPA, DOJ lodged the consent decree with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. If and when the settlement becomes final, EPA expects to use the settlement funds to support ongoing efforts to clean up the site, specifically the lower 8.3 miles and the upper 9 miles which make up the entire 17-mile Lower Passaic River Study Area. In addition to the proposed consent decree, EPA has reached several related agreements, including one whereby many parties investigated the 17-mile Lower Passaic River, another whereby Occidental Chemical Corporation, a potentially responsible party, is designing the cleanup chosen for the lower 8.3 miles, and several cost recovery agreements that resulted in payments to EPA of millions of dollars.

This consent decree is subject to a 90-day public comment period that began in December 2022 and ends on March 22, 2023 and is available for public review on the Justice Department website. The original comment period was scheduled to close on February 5, 2023.

After the close of the comment period, DOJ and EPA will evaluate any comments received and prepare a response to the comments. If the government still considers the settlement appropriate, it will seek approval of the consent decree by the court.

For additional information and site background, visit Diamond Alkali Superfund Profile Page.

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 Region 6 Releases 2022 Year in Review

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS – (January 25, 2023) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 released the 2022 Year in Review outlining major accomplishments and environmental progress over the past fiscal year.

“The first year of my tenure is complete and I am proud that EPA Region 6 continues to show accomplishments in regulatory action to protect communities and public health,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Our accomplishments range from increasing our presence in the most impacted communities to developing a new air monitoring system for inspections to issuing Region 6’s first ever RCRA 3008 consent agreement for the Denka facility. I am honored to serve alongside the dedicated staff of Region 6 as we continue the hard work of delivering better protection and improved outcomes for residents in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.”

2022 EPA accomplishments include:

  • Dr. Nance traveled extensively in the Region, visiting communities, cleanup sites, and important infrastructure. She met with communities 29 times in FY2022, in-person and virtually, to establish trust and identify next steps.
     
  • Region 6 is following up on the Administrator’s tour, taking on each site in turn, knowing it can take years to resolve each one. You can read about these actions on the Journey to Justice website, but we’d like to highlight two of them in this report.
     
  • In St. John the Baptist Parish, we used our authority to require the Denka Performance Elastomers facility to install fenceline monitors to identify sources of emissions onsite, allowing the EPA and communities to better understand air pollutants in a quick, reliable way. Data is posted regularly to our St. John the Baptist Parish website. We also issued a RCRA 3008 Consent Agreement requiring the Denka facility to improve its handling and disposal of chloroprene, the first ever such order in Region 6.
     
  • At the Union Pacific Railroad Houston Wood Preserving Works site in Houston’s Fifth Ward, we met regularly with the city, the state, non-profit organizations, and community groups to develop a feasible solution for the site. For the first time, we have been at the table with these stakeholders making decisions about sampling and next steps.
     
  • Region 6 managed more than $546 million in funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the American Rescue Plan. In addition to grants to other states, Region 6 distributed more than $105 million in BIL funding to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board for water infrastructure improvements.
     
  • In Region 6, 47 school districts were selected to receive more than $130 million in BIL rebate funds to purchase approximately 350 electric and low-emission school busses in the Clean School Bus program’s first round of funding.
     
  • Region 6 received Clean School Bus applications from more than 240 school districts. Ninety percent of these applications and all of the selectees came from priority school districts comprised of high-need, rural and tribal school districts.
     
  • Region 6 also embedded environmental justice and/or climate change principles into our decision-making on the Colfax, SPOT, Matagorda, and Corpus Christi projects.
     
  • To help identify EJ impact areas, we created a regional map that revealed more than 11,000 EJ census blocks in R6, which is 44% all Region 6 census blocks. This map is being used to orient staff to the geographic extent of environmental justice problems in Region 6, and as an overlay for further analysis of impacts on EJ communities.
     
  • To improve our relationships with states, Dr. Nance participated in 28 meetings with Region 6 state officials, including monthly one-on-one meetings with the five state environmental heads, three Environmental Council of the States events, delivery of keynote addresses at events attended by state officials, press events with state officials, and collaborations with other agencies on project delivery.
     
  • We also strengthened relationships across the board by hosting a successful National Brownfields Conference in Oklahoma City, and providing access to grants that help maximize economic, environmental and social performance to more than 2,000 attendees from across the country. We added a first-ever environmental justice caucus for community leaders to provide feedback and insights to EPA staff and managers as well as the first all-tribe meet and greet.
     
  • Region 6 strengthened relationships with tribes by participating in multiple formal SAFETEA sessions, National Tribal Operations Committee and Regional Tribal Operations Committee sessions, and formal consultations with tribes. Dr. Nance visited several tribes in person and toured their lands. Region 6 staff participated in many other meetings with tribes.
     
  • EPA is in the process of updating the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) under the Clean Air Act to reflect our increased understanding of risk from ethylene oxide (EtO) and technologies available to reduce this risk. We reached out to affected communities in Region 6 with four public meetings to explain EtO risk to residents in Ardmore, Oklahoma; Athens, Texas; Laredo, Texas; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Dr. Nance attended the Laredo meeting to hear community concerns first-hand. Region 6 feedback prompted the Agency to revise the format of the meetings and improve the way ethylene oxide risk was communicated in these public meetings nationwide.
     
  • Region 6 influenced EPA’s national Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage policy. We developed an innovative safe siting methodology for CCUS and a "whole of government" plan to evaluate CCUS impacts on communities. We worked with EPA’s Region 9 and the Department of Energy to deliver virtual CCUS sessions with community groups.
     
  • Region 6 developed a new model for air monitoring called the Pollution Accountability Team, or PAT. The PAT model involves mobile monitoring vehicles traveling in the vicinity of selected facilities, a monitoring airplane flying over the facilities, and certified inspectors with handheld instruments entering the facilities as needed to take verifiable readings.
     
  • In our field tests, the path of the mobile monitoring vehicle was determined in collaboration with local community experts. The resulting data was posted on our website and discussed with the community. In many cases, the data have triggered formal enforcement actions, such as the Notice of Potential Violation and Opportunity to Confer letter to Sasol Chemicals USA, LLC – a facility that uses natural gas and by-products from refinery operations to produce specialty chemicals. The PAT model is now ready for future enforcement at other sites and in other regions.

To read the full report, please visit our webpage.

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

EPA encourages Rocky Mountain and Great Plains region residents to “Test Your Nest” and reduce home radon levels

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

DENVER - January is National Radon Action Month and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with our partners to spread the word about radon health risks in homes, the importance of testing, and steps homeowners can take to reduce risk in the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. 

Radon is a known carcinogen and is estimated to cause more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S.  In fact, the colorless, odorless gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. The good news is the health risks and impacts are preventable-- testing and reducing radon levels in your home, and saving lives, is easy.

This year’s Call to Action - “Test Your Nest!” - is especially important to our region’s residents as large portions of these states are at-risk for high indoor radon levels that can cause lung cancer. The best way to protect against radon is to perform a simple, low-cost test of your home.  EPA recommends homeowners take action to reduce radon levels when they exceed the action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter (or 4pCi/L).

Map of Radon Zones in the United States

“Understanding your home’s radon levels is one of the most important steps you can take to protect you and your family’s health,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “I encourage you to take some time to check your nest this winter, so you can be sure that quality time spent inside with friends and loved ones is not just comfortable, but safe.”

Want to learn more? The information and resources below can help!

Things You Can Do

  • Learn the basics – Visit EPA’s Radon website for a wide range of information, including free radon publications
  • Test your home – EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. Learn more about testing your home, including how to obtain an easy-to-use test kit. 
  • Fix your home if needed – Should your test results come back elevated, EPA recommends hiring a certified radon mitigation specialist to install a mitigation system that will prevent radon from entering your home. Read about ways to reduce radon in your home in EPA’s “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction.”
  • Spread the word – Check out Media Resources here and share infographics on social media and around your community to help get the word out about the importance of radon testing. Tell your family and friends about the health risk of radon.
  • Building a new home? Make it radon-resistant. Read more about radon-resistant new construction, "Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide to Build Radon-Resistant Homes." 

STATE-by-STATE INFO for EPA Region 8

COLORADO Radon Fast Facts

  • Half of all homes in Colorado have high radon levels.
  • Living in a home with Colorado’s average level of radon (6.4pCi/L) is like having 200 chest x-rays each year
  • Approximately 500 people in Colorado die every year from lung cancer caused by radon exposure. 
  • Colorado has a low-income radon mitigation assistance (LIRMA) program that can pay for radon mitigation if eligibility requirements are met: www.coloradoradon.info

COLORADO Radon Experts

MONTANA Radon Fast Facts

  • Nearly half of all homes in Montana have high radon levels. 

MONTANA Radon Experts

  • Michael L. Gustafson:  Montana Small Business Ombudsman, Radon Coordinator, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, (406) 444-6592, Michael.Gustafson@mt.gov 
  • Paul Tschida: Energy Resource Professional, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, (406) 444-6464, ptschida@mt.gov   

NORTH DAKOTA Radon Fast Facts

  • EPA lists all North Dakota counties as Zone 1, the highest potential for elevated radon levels. 
  • 63 percent of homes in North Dakota have an elevated radon above the EPA Action Level of 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). 

NORTH DAKOTA Radon Experts

  • Justin Otto: Radon Program Manager, North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, (701) 328-5246, jotto@nd.gov  
  • Gary G Schwartz: Professor, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, (701) 777-6598, gary.schwartz@und.edu    

SOUTH DAKOTA Fast Facts

  • Living in a home with South Dakota’s average level of radon (9.6 pCi/L) is like having 300 chest x-rays each year. 

SOUTH DAKOTA Radon Experts

UTAH Radon Fast Facts

  • 1 in 3 tested Utah homes have elevated radon levels. 
  • Utah has the lowest rate of smoking in the nation, but lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the state. 

UTAH Radon Experts

WYOMING Radon Fast Facts

  • The average level of radon in Wyoming is 5.1 pCi/L, which is higher than the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L. 
  • Of the 99 municipalities in Wyoming, 18 have adopted Radon Control Measures in their building code. 
  • On average, 1,397 Wyoming homes are tested each year for radon and 118 homes are mitigated each year. 
  • Radon test kits are available free of charge while supplies last to Wyoming residents at  health.wyo.gov/radon.

WYOMING Radon Experts

  • Randi Norton-Herrington: Outreach and Media Coordinator, Wyoming Cancer Program, Department of Health; (307) 777-6015; randi.norton@wyo.gov 

EPA Begins Hazardous-Waste Cleanup at Former Auto Shop in Edenville, Michigan

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

CHICAGO (Jan. 25, 2023) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a hazardous-waste cleanup at the Vincent’s Marathon site, 6674 M-30, Edenville, Michigan. At the state of Michigan’s request, EPA will remove 55-gallon drums and small containers of hazardous waste including benzene, perchloroethylene, and chlordane from the former gas station and auto repair shop. EPA anticipates that the cleanup will be completed by mid-spring.

Safety measures are in place to ensure that surrounding buildings and neighborhoods aren’t affected by the work. Residents may see workers wearing protective suits and gear. There will be some noise from the use of equipment, but work will be limited to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

 The 0.64-acre site is in a residential area and includes a building that had been used as an auto service station. The building also contained a restaurant and garage. Historical operations included cleaning car parts, drum and container storage, and fuel services. After the property was flooded during the Edenville Dam failure in March 2020, the property closed and never reopened.

For more information on the Vincent’s Marathon site, please visit EPA’s website.

EPA Announces Latest Actions to Protect Groundwater and Communities from Coal Ash Contamination

EPA Air - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the latest action to protect communities and hold facilities accountable for controlling and cleaning up the contamination created by coal ash disposal. The Agency issued six proposed determinations to deny facilities’ requests to continue disposing of coal combustion residuals (CCR or coal ash) into unlined surface impoundments.

For a seventh facility that has withdrawn its application, Apache Generating Station in Cochise, Arizona, EPA issued a letter identifying concerns with deficiencies in its liner components and groundwater monitoring program.

“With today’s proposed denials, EPA is holding facilities accountable and protecting our precious water resources from harmful contamination, all while ensuring a reliable supply of electricity to our communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “We remain committed to working with our state partners to protect everyone, especially those in communities overburdened by pollution, from coal ash contamination now and into the future.” 

Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal in coal-fired power plants that, without proper management, can pollute waterways, groundwater, drinking water, and the air. Coal ash contains contaminants like mercury, cadmium, chromium, and arsenic associated with cancer and various other serious health effects.

Today’s action delivers protections for underserved communities already overburdened by pollution, and reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing environmental justice in impacted communities.

EPA is proposing to deny the applications for continued use of unlined surface impoundments at the following six facilities:

  • Belle River Power Plant, China Township, Michigan.
  • Coal Creek Station, Underwood, North Dakota.
  • Conemaugh Generating Station, New Florence, Pennsylvania.
  • Coronado Generating Station, St. Johns, Arizona.
  • Martin Lake Steam Electric Station, Tatum, Texas.
  • Monroe Power Plant, Monroe, Michigan.

EPA is proposing to deny these applications because the owners and operators of the CCR units fail to demonstrate that the surface impoundments comply with requirements of the CCR regulations. Specifically, EPA is proposing to deny these applications due to:

  • Inadequate groundwater monitoring networks.
  • Failure to prove groundwater is monitored to detect and characterize any elevated levels of contaminants coming from the coal ash surface impoundment.
  • Evidence of potential releases from the impoundments and insufficient information to support claims that the contamination is from sources other than the impoundments.
  • Inadequate documentation for the design and performance of the impoundment liners.
  • Failure to meet all location restrictions.

If EPA finalizes these denials, the facilities will have to either stop sending waste to these unlined impoundments or submit applications to EPA for extensions to the deadline for unlined coal ash surface impoundments to stop receiving waste.

In the significant interest of maintaining grid reliability, the Agency is also proposing a process for these facilities to seek additional time, if needed to address demonstrated grid reliability issues. This process relies in part on reliability assessments from the relevant regional transmission organizations, ensuring a reliable supply of electricity while protecting public health.

EPA is collecting public comments on these proposals for 30 days through dockets in Regulations.gov. For more information, visit the Part B implementation webpage.

Background

The CCR Part B Final Rule, published November 12, 2020, allowed facilities to demonstrate to EPA that, based on groundwater data and the design of a particular surface impoundment, the operation of the unit has and will continue to ensure there is no reasonable probability of adverse effects to human health and the environment. EPA approval would allow the unit to continue to operate.

EPA received applications for alternate liner demonstrations from eight facilities with 17 CCR surface impoundments. These applications were from facilities in Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas. One Arizona facility and the Louisiana facility have since withdrawn their applications.

Learn more about coal ash.

Two Organizations in California Receive EPA Grants to Combat Food Waste, Climate Change

EPA Air - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced two grants to organizations in California – Monterey One Water and the Yurok Tribe – to divert food waste from landfills by expanding anaerobic digester capacity. Anaerobic digestion is a process in which microorganisms break down organic materials, such as food scraps, manure, and sewage sludge, in the absence of oxygen. The process produces biogas, which can be captured and used for energy production, and digestate, a nutrient-rich product used for fertilizer.

“These innovative zero waste projects will turn food waste into renewable energy, reduce pollution and support California and Tribal communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Anaerobic digestion projects not only cut food waste that could end up in landfills, but combat climate change by capturing methane for use, instead of having it go into the atmosphere.”

The selected grant recipients in California and anticipated award amounts are:

Monterey One Water (Monterey County, $169,000) plans a study to evaluate the conversion of anaerobic digesters at its wastewater treatment facility to equip them to co-digest sewage sludge with food and other organic wastes.

“Completion of this study and implementation of co-digestion will be key in helping Monterey One Water and our project partner, ReGen Monterey, adapt to the changing climate and enhance the services we provide the community,” said Paul A. Sciuto, Monterey One Water General Manager. “Thanks to this funding from EPA, we hope to be a model for cross-sector collaboration as we work together to meet State requirements to divert organics from landfills and increase our renewable energy production to help secure the power needs our essential, 24/7 operations require.”

Yurok Tribe (Klamath, $200,000) plans to divert food waste from a landfill by establishing a pilot anaerobic digestion facility and supporting food sovereignty by using digestate and biogas for food production at the Klamath Food Village.

“This grant allows the Yurok Tribe to establish an anaerobic digestion facility to divert the food waste generated on and near the Yurok Indian Reservation. Digestate will be utilized to support food sovereignty efforts and be added to food production spaces,” said Louisa McCovey, Environmental Director of the Yurok Tribe Environmental Department. “The grant progresses the Tribe’s mission of a sovereign food system and helps to ensure that every Yurok Tribal member has access to sufficient food to meet their nutritional and cultural needs in order to thrive, with food that is provided and procured in culturally and environmentally responsible ways.”

By decreasing the amount of wasted food in landfills, anaerobic digestion reduces landfill methane emissions, in turn reducing impacts of climate change. Methane traps 28 to 36 times more heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period than carbon dioxide. Additionally, anaerobic digestion is a strategy included in EPA’s food recovery hierarchy that is preferable to landfilling and incineration because it reclaims valuable resources, contributing to a circular economy. Keeping food waste out of landfills by transforming it into fuel or fertilizer can save money and reduce environmental impacts.

EPA is prioritizing environmental justice by ensuring nearly half of the funds announced today will be awarded to projects or recipients located in underserved communities. Specifically, EPA considered the effects of this program on people of color, low-income, tribal, and indigenous populations, and other vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and children. Last year, EPA selected 11 organizations nationwide to receive a total of approximately $2 million in funding to divert food waste from landfills by expanding anaerobic digester capacity nationwide.

Read more about anaerobic digestion.

Read more about EPA resources and possible funding opportunities related to the food system.

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

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