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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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.

EPA Orders Two Illinois Drinking Water Suppliers to Comply with Requirements of America’s Water Infrastructure Act

EPA Air - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 19:00

CHICAGO (Nov. 21, 2022) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued orders to drinking water systems in Maywood and Lansing, Illinois, for failing to meet requirements under America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. EPA took action to ensure Lansing certifies its risk assessment and Maywood certifies its risk assessment and emergency response plan.

“Local water suppliers must be fully-prepared to anticipate, detect and effectively respond to threat or incidents,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “Compliance is vital to reassure residents of Lansing and Maywood who rely on these systems for safe drinking water.”

A risk and resilience assessment evaluates the vulnerabilities, threats, and consequences from potential hazards to drinking water systems. An emergency response plan describes strategies, resources, plans, and procedures systems can use to prepare for and respond to an incident, natural or man-made, that threatens life, property, or the environment. Incidents can range from localized flooding or hacking to large scale hurricanes, earthquakes, or terrorist attacks, among other examples.

Under AWIA, any drinking water system which serves more than 3,300 people must develop or update a risk and resilience assessment and an emergency response plan. The law also establishes deadlines for certifying completion to EPA. Nationwide, more than 94% of water systems have complied with the requirements under AWIA.

EPA is ordering each system to submit a detailed compliance plan within 30 days for review and approval.

More information on AWIA requirements is available on EPA’s website.

California Trucking Company to Pay $71K Penalty for Three Spills into Lake County Waterways

EPA Air - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with the owner and operator of Steve Wills Trucking and Logging LLC to resolve claims of violations of the Clean Water Act. Tanker trucks transporting milk from the Steve Wills facility near Fortuna, California, were involved in three separate driving incidents, all of which resulted in discharges of raw milk into waterways. One of the three incidents resulted in the death of a driver.

“Improper transport of goods can negatively impact waterways and compromise the safety of workers,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “When companies fail to manage substances that have the potential to impact waterways the local community, environment, and worker safety is put in danger.”

On January 19, 2020, a tanker truck carrying raw milk on Highway 20 near Glenhaven, CA overturned down an embankment and released raw milk into Clear Lake. On April 12, 2020, a second incident took place when a truck on Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, CA overturned down an embankment and released raw milk into Clear Lake. Finally, on December 11, 2021, a truck on Highway 20 east of Lance Road in Lake County overturned down an embankment into Grizzly Creek, a tributary of Cache Creek.

Drivers were cited for the January 19 and April 12, 2020, incidents. The third incident is still pending the results of an ongoing investigation.

Steve Wills Trucking and Logging agreed to a penalty in the amount of $71,967 to resolve claims that the company discharged to Waters of the United States without a permit, which is a violation of the Clean Water Act.

U.S. law requires the safe management of materials to protect public health, the environment, and limit the need for costly and extensive cleanups. It is unlawful to discharge pollutants into Waters of the United States, except as authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued under the Clean Water Act.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

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

EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal Program Honors 12 Partners for Accomplishments in Appliance Recycling

EPA Air - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — This month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has awarded 12 partners under the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program for outstanding achievements in appliance recycling. The honors were announced as EPA marks the 16th year of program implementation and third annual RAD Leadership Awards Ceremony, which was hosted virtually as part of the Annual RAD Partner Meeting. 

“The RAD Partners always inspire us to aim higher through their appliance recycling achievements that protect the ozone layer, combat climate change, and reduce needless landfill volume, all while supporting the health of communities,” said Joe Goffman, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “It is a privilege to celebrate the RAD Leadership Award Winners of 2022. These partners are leading by example, demonstrating dynamic innovation and collaboration, and showing the highest standards and levels of processing in the safe disposal of appliances.”

For 16 years, Partners in EPA’s RAD program have leveraged best environmental practices to collect and dispose of old refrigerated appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, window air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. By committing to recover appliance insulation foam, RAD Partners take an admirable step beyond solely complying with federal laws on the recovery of refrigerant, used oil, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). RAD partners are leaders in advancing recycling of durable goods, and promoting the permanent retirement of older, inefficient refrigerators from our energy grids. Since the inception of RAD in 2006, the dedication of RAD partners has produced significant environmental benefits: recycling more than 9.4 million refrigerated appliances and reducing emissions of ozone-depleting substances by 1,996 ODP-weighted tons.

The RAD Leadership Award winners were honored in three categories: the RAD Champion Award, the RAD Program Growth Award, and the RAD Ambassador Award.

  • The RAD Champion Award recognizes the RAD Partners with the highest rates of insulation foam recovery in refrigerated appliances. The ten recipients of the award this year are General Electric Appliances (Louisville, Ky.), Turlock Irrigation District (Turlock, Calif.), Palo Alto Utilities (Palo Alto, Calif.), Silicon Valley Power (Santa Clara, Calif.), Modesto Irrigation District (Modesto, Calif.), City of Burbank (Burbank, Calif.), Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (Los Angeles, Calif.), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (Sacramento, Calif.), Georgia Power (Atlanta, Ga.), PNM (Albuquerque, N.M.).
  • The RAD Program Growth Award recognizes the top three RAD Partners with the greatest annual percentage increase in refrigerated appliance units processed. This year’s winners are Delmarva Power (Washington, D.C.), Georgia Power (Atlanta, Ga.), City of Burbank (Burbank, Calif.).
  • The RAD Ambassador Award was presented to Exquisite Property Services (EPS) (Newark, N.J.), who has demonstrated exemplary Partner practices and promoted sustainability at every turn. EPS is a leader in the RAD network and their community, initiating key engagement with the RAD team that elevated environmental justice and resonant communication about RAD’s benefits to communities, fostering relationships with new RAD Partners, and catalyzing a novel appliance recycling partnership model with local collaborators, which enables EPS and any like-minded Newark community organization to recycle units according to RAD best practices.

Learn more about the RAD Program and its awards.

EPA Releases Evaluation of Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan

EPA Air - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 19:00

PHILADELPHIA (Nov.  21,  2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today after concluding its final evaluation of Pennsylvania’s final Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) that the state has not fully demonstrated how it will meet the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Partnership’s 2025 bay restoration goals.  

States within the watershed committed to developing WIPS that document how they will each achieve and maintain water quality standards for the Chesapeake Bay. Despite recent investments and progress in some sectors, Pennsylvania’s final plan still does not meet the Partnership’s targets for nitrogen and sediment reduction.

As a result, EPA will maintain the enhanced enforcement position it has held since April 2022. This includes increased agriculture, industrial and municipal stormwater inspections, increased permit oversight, heightened enforcement actions, amplified presence across all sectors, and a review of certain federal funds to ensure they are spent more efficiently in Pennsylvania to ensure adequate progress toward meeting the CBP partnership’s 2025 targets.

A full copy of the evaluation and amended Phase III WIP can be viewed here.

Environmental Study Released for Projects to Mitigate San Diego – Tijuana Transborder Water Pollution

EPA Air - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 19:00

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Section, (USIBWC) release the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Final PEIS) for a set of proposed projects that comprise the Comprehensive Infrastructure Solution to mitigate transborder water pollution.

The Final PEIS, prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, involves the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure to reduce transborder flows from Tijuana, Mexico, that carry treated and untreated wastewater, trash, and sediments into the U.S. These transborder flows impact public health and the environment and have been linked to beach closures in southern San Diego County, California.

“Achieving today’s milestone affirms EPA and USIBWC’s commitment to our border communities and our shared watershed, and it demonstrates tangible progress towards reducing transborder pollution,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman.  “We look forward to continuing this critical work and hearing directly from communities across the watershed.”

“Release of the Final PEIS is an important step as we work to implement a comprehensive solution to the border sanitation problems affecting public health and beaches in San Diego County,” said USIBWC Commissioner Maria-Elena Giner.

EPA and USIBWC have identified the PEIS Alternative 2 (Core and Supplemental Projects) as the Preferred Alternative. This alternative includes:

  • Expansion of the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant capacity from 25 million gallons per day (MGD) to 60 MGD
  • New infrastructure to divert additional flows from the Tijuana River
  • Construction of a new advanced primary treatment plant in San Diego to treat up to 60 MGD of river flows
  • One or more trash booms in the Tijuana River to capture solid waste
  • Rehabilitation of sewer pipelines in Tijuana
  • Construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Mexico at San Antonio de los Buenos to address untreated wastewater discharges at that site that currently contaminate U.S. beaches, depending on the direction of marine currents
  • Infrastructure for effluent reuse in Mexico

According to the Final PEIS, implementing Alternative 2 would reduce the number of days of transborder flow in the Tijuana River from an average of 153 to an estimated 36 per year – a 76% reduction. It would also eliminate raw sewage discharges into the Pacific Ocean at San Antonio de los Buenos, Mexico. Descriptions of all the alternatives, including descriptions of Core and Supplemental Projects, can be found in the Final PEIS and on the project website here.

EPA and USIBWC invite review and comment on the Final PEIS by the public and interested stakeholders. Comments on the Final PEIS can be submitted no later than December 19, 2022, to the following email address: Tijuana-Transboundary-EIS@epa.gov. EPA and USIBWC will issue a Record of Decision and announce its availability no sooner than 30 days after this notice of availability, and after considering public comments on the Final PEIS.

EPA Takes Final Action to Protect Groundwater from Coal Ash Contamination at Ohio Facility

EPA Air - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 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 decades of coal ash disposal. The agency has issued the first final decision to deny a facility’s request to continue disposing of coal combustion residuals (CCR or coal ash) into an unlined surface impoundment after the deadline to stop such disposal has passed.

“For too long, communities already disproportionately impacted by high levels of pollution have been burdened by improper coal ash disposal,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today’s action reaffirms that surface impoundments or landfills cannot be closed with coal ash in contact with groundwater, ensuring safe water resources for these communities while protecting public health and ensuring a reliable supply of electricity.”

EPA is taking final action to deny the deadline extension request submitted by Gavin Power, LLC for the General James M. Gavin Power Plant in Cheshire, Ohio. EPA proposed to deny this request on January 11, 2022. This decision advances the agency’s commitment to protecting communities and the environment from CCR contamination.

Limiting the contact between coal ash and groundwater after closure is critical to minimizing releases of contaminants into the environment and will help ensure communities near these facilities have access to safe water for drinking and recreation. Today’s action is the first final determination for any facility that sought an extension request.

EPA is denying the request for an extension because Gavin has failed to demonstrate that it is in compliance with the CCR regulations. In particular:  

  • One of the unlined coal ash impoundments known as the Fly Ash Reservoir closed with waste sitting in groundwater.
  • The groundwater monitoring system for the Bottom Ash Pond is inadequate; Gavin failed to conduct appropriate statistical analyses of data and failed to support alternative source demonstrations.
  • The groundwater monitoring systems for the Fly Ash Reservoir and the Residual Waste Landfill are inadequate because monitoring wells in the systems are too far apart to detect all potential pathways of groundwater contamination.

This facility must stop placing CCR and non-CCR waste streams into its Bottom Ash Pond no later than 135 days after notice of the final determination is published in the Federal Register.

EPA’s final decision recognizes the importance of maintaining grid reliability and establishes a process for Gavin to seek additional time if needed to address demonstrated grid reliability issues. Because Gavin is in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM) region, EPA closely considered the comments from and discussions with PJM and developed a process that relies on and is consistent with PJM’s existing approach to scheduling outages and protecting electric grid reliability.

Specifically, PJM’s process of maintaining grid reliability requires a facility like Gavin to request a planned outage at least 30 days prior to the start of the outage. PJM confirmed in EPA discussions that 30 days is generally sufficient time to assess a facility’s planned outage request. To ensure that PJM has adequate time to evaluate a request, EPA’s final action also requires Gavin to submit any request for a planned outage to PJM within 15 days of publication of EPA’s final decision in the Federal Register. Following today’s announcement, EPA will continue consultations with relevant electric grid authorities to maintain reliability.

Background

Produced primarily from the burning of coal in coal-fired power plants, coal combustion residuals can contain harmful levels of contaminants and are one of the largest types of industrial waste generated in the United States. These regulations address the risks from coal ash disposal.

The CCR Part A Final Rule, published on August 28, 2020, grants facilities the option to request an extension to the deadline for unlined CCR surface impoundments to stop receiving waste under two circumstances. These facilities could submit a demonstration showing a continued need to use the surface impoundment due to lack of capacity. Under both scenarios, facilities had until November 30, 2020, to submit demonstrations to EPA for approval.

EPA received and reviewed 57 applications from CCR facilities requesting deadline extensions and determined 52 were complete, four were incomplete, and one was ineligible for an extension. Of the 52 complete applications received, EPA proposed determinations for seven facilities, four in January, two in July, and one in October of 2022. Of the seven determinations, three were proposed denials and four were proposed conditional approvals.

Access the final determination, on EPA’s implementation webpage.

Learn more about coal ash.

La EPA organizará una reunión comunitaria virtual del 1 de diciembre para los residentes de Allentown

EPA Air - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 19:00

FILADELFIA (18 de noviembre de 2022) – La Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) organizará una reunión comunitaria virtual para los residentes de Allentown, Pensilvania, a fin de compartir información sobre los riesgos para la salud que plantea el agente químico llamado óxido de etileno (EtO, por sus siglas en inglés). La reunión comunitaria se llevará a cabo virtualmente el 1 de diciembre a las 6 p.m. Durante la reunión, el personal de la EPA discutirá la información de riesgo revisada en relación con la instalación del esterilizador comercial B. Braun, ubicado en 901 Marcon Blvd. en Allentown. 

A finales de este año, la EPA espera proponer una regulación de la contaminación del aire para proteger la salud pública al abordar las emisiones de EtO en los esterilizadores comerciales. La EPA comparte datos e información sobre las emisiones de EtO con el público para solicitar comentarios. La agencia tiene como objetivo mejorar la comprensión pública del riesgo; ayudar a los estados, las tribus, las comunidades y la industria a reducir el riesgo del EtO en el corto plazo; además de escuchar comentarios a medida que la agencia continúa desarrollando regulaciones destinadas a reducir la contaminación del aire de los esterilizadores comerciales.

La EPA estará acompañada por funcionarios ambientales y de salud federales y estatales para responder preguntas, comentarios e inquietudes del público, incluido el personal del Departamento de Protección Ambiental de Pensilvania que discutirá el trabajo que se está haciendo en asociación con B. Braun para reducir las emisiones y el riesgo.

Habrá un intérprete de habla hispana disponible. Para registrarse en esta reunión virtual, visite:

https://usepa.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_NhtV-LuOQ2qgsXH-Rp1HgQ

Para obtener más información sobre los esfuerzos de la EPA para abordar el óxido de etileno.

Para ponerse en contacto con nosotros, vaya a:  eto@epa.gov

EPA to Host December 1 Virtual Community Meeting for Allentown Residents

EPA Air - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 19:00

PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 18, 2022) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will host a virtual community meeting for residents of Allentown, Pennsylvania, to share information about health risks from the chemical, ethylene oxide or EtO. The community meeting will take place virtually on December 1 at 6 p.m. During the meeting, EPA staff will discuss revised risk information related to the B. Braun commercial sterilizer facility, located at 901 Marcon Blvd. in Allentown. 

Later this year, EPA expects to propose an air pollution regulation to protect public health by addressing EtO emissions at commercial sterilizers. EPA is sharing EtO emissions data and information with the public to solicit feedback.  The agency aims to improve public understanding of the risk; help states, Tribes, communities and the industry reduce risk from EtO in the near-term; and hear input as the agency continues to develop regulations to reduce air pollution from commercial sterilizers.

EPA will be joined by federal and state environmental and health officials to address questions, comments, and concerns from the public, including Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection staff who will discuss work they are doing in partnership with B. Braun to reduce emissions and risk.

A Spanish-speaking interpreter will be available.  To register for this virtual meeting, visit:

https://usepa.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_NhtV-LuOQ2qgsXH-Rp1HgQ

For more information about the EPA’s efforts to address ethylene oxide.

To contact us, go to:  eto@epa.gov 

EPA Announces 22 Healthy Communities Grants worth over $740,000 Awarded in New England

EPA Air - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 19:00

BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of Healthy Communities Grants across Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Two of the awarded grants will provide benefits throughout New England. Today's announcement represents a $744,000 investment in community-based projects that will help to make progress on crucial public health, environmental and climate resilience related challenges ranging from much needed food waste diversion to floodplain protection and toxics awareness.

"Across New England, communities are grappling with climate change impacts, food waste management challenges and other public health related challenges, and these issues are exacerbated in communities that have environmental justice concerns based on a history of being overburdened by pollution," said EPA Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "EPA is thrilled to use its Healthy Communities Grant program to help fund projects that empower communities to address these challenges."

EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program is community focused funding that selects projects that will work to strategically address critical environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities.

The grant selections are listed below by state.

Connecticut- $110,000 total funding

  • Center for EcoTechnology (CET)- $40,000- Accelerating Wasted Food Solutions in Connecticut: This project will focus on a food recovery and food waste diversion focused on sensitive populations and Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern, especially in Hartford and New Haven Counties.
  • Operation Fuel, Inc. - $30,000- Better Homes and Buildings Program: This project will increase education and outreach on home energy best practices for low and moderate income single family homeowners and residents of residential units in the New Haven region.
  • City of Middletown, CT- $40,000- Fostering Circular Solutions for Takeout Containers: This project will foster new and emerging industries that support reusable takeout containers and will directly advance the U.S.'s National Recycling Strategy put forth by the EPA in 2021. It will support Connecticut in moving towards its goal of a 60% waste diversion rate with a specific focus on single-use trash

Massachusetts- $266,255 total funding

  • Groundwork Lawrence- $30,000- Groundwork Lawrence's Connecting Residents and Businesses with Resources - an Energy Efficiency Initiative: This project will focus on education and outreach to residents in small buildings (1-4 units) and small businesses in the Merrimack Valley (Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill) to connect them with energy assessments and energy efficiency retrofits for their homes and small businesses.
  • Loving Spoonfuls, Inc.- $40,000- Food Rescue and Hunger Relief in Massachusetts: This project seeks to relieve food insecurity in Greater Boston, MetroWest, Hampden County, and Worcester County by increasing access to fresh, healthy food; and reduce the environmental impact wasted food has on communities.
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational and Healthy Safety (MassCOSH)- $30,000- Using a Peer Leadership Model to Ensure Clean, Green and Healthy Schools: This project focuses on developing the capacity of low-income communities of color to achieve healthy environments at work and in neighborhoods.
  • Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)- $39,992- Restaurants Building Back Better with Less Packaging and Plastic Waste: This project focuses on education and outreach materials, technical support, and funding to reduce the use of single use foodservice ware in small restaurants in low‐income areas where English is a second language.
  • Growing Places Project, Inc. - $39,997- Local Food Works – Closing the Loop: This project focuses on preventing food waste in North Central Massachusetts (NCMA) over two years. With a focus on Fitchburg and Leominster.
  • Centre de Apoyo Familiar- $26,674- Healthy Families/ Healthy Communities Asthma Prevention and Indoor Air Quality Grant: This project will equip the communities of Lawrence, Worcester, Fall River, Boston, Springfield, and Methuen with information and resources about environmental and public health issues through educational workshops in asthma, lead, mercury, and other issues.
  • Appalachian Mountain Club- $29,592- Living Downstream: Community engagement in assessing and understanding legacy mercury pollution in the Northeast: This project will engage the Lowell and Lawrence communities in developing indicators of mercury risk throughout the Merrimack River watershed in Massachusetts in 2022-2023.
  • Center for EcoTechnology (CET)- $30,000- Catalyzing the Induction Stove Market in Massachusetts: This project aims to raise consumer awareness about the vast and multi-faceted benefits of induction stoves, from their energy and cost savings potential to improvements in indoor air quality and resident health, to the cooking experience

Rhode Island- $191,335 total funding

  • Center of EcoTechnology (CET) $40,000- Sustaining Wasted Food Solutions for Providence County: This project will reduce the quantity of wasted food entering the municipal solid waste stream by working with target entities, including K–12 schools, event venues, healthcare facilities, colleges/universities, hospitality facilities, and food rescue and donation organizations.
  • MEANS Database partnering with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine- $30,000- Rhode Island & Bristol County Food Recovery Extension: This project aims to significantly improve both food sustainability and food equity in the state of Rhode Island and in neighboring Bristol County, MA.
  • Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council- $30,000- Frontline Communities First! Residents Build Climate Resilience in the Woonasquatucket River Watershed: This project builds capacity of resident and student leaders in the impaired and climate vulnerable lower Woonasquatucket River Watershed to develop plans and projects that address the environmental and public health challenges these communities already face; climate change related flooding from both excessive stormwater and sea level rise; poor water and habitat quality; urban heat island; and riverbank erosion and scouring.
  • Environment Council of Rhode Island- $40,000- Rhode Island Schools Recycling Club (RISRC) Get Food Smart, RI; Phase 3: This project will be a catalyst for the behavioral changes that will be required of all RI schools to understand the problems associated with food waste and comply with the new RI school food waste diversion law.
  • Childhood Lead Action Project (CLAP)- $30,000- Central Falls Lead Safety Project: This project will work to reduce lead poisoning in Central Falls by participating in a multi-stakeholder community outreach, funding, and enforcement strategy that will proactively target a never-before-available citywide list of rental properties lacking lead safety certificates.
  • Refugee Development Center- $21,335- Healthy Homes, Healthy Lives for Refugees: This program, in alignment with the Rhode Island Asthma State Plan 2014-2019, will provide asthma management and prevention interventions that serve communities of color and low-income communities in the core cities of Rhode Island.

New Hampshire- $76,530- total funding

  • Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association, Inc. (NEWMOA)- $40,000- Green Cleaning & Disinfecting in Southern New Hampshire EJ Communities: This project will educate janitorial employees and residents in the environmental justice communities of Nashua and Manchester about the benefits of and methods for adopting green cleaning products and practices.
  • Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA)- $36,530- Increasing C&D Diversion in Coos County: This project will enable Coos County communities to increase construction and demolition diversion through reuse and recycling instead of landfilling.

Maine- $29,999- total funding

  • Defend Our Health - Environmental Health Strategy Center- $29,999- Healthy Housing with the Rwandan Community in Maine: This project will reduce the prevalence of housing-linked health conditions amongst new Mainers, specifically in the Rwandan community, in southern Maine by equipping them with information and resources to identify and address hazardous conditions.

New England- $70,000 total funding

  • Health Resources in Action (HRiA)- $30,000 - Building Capacity and Supporting Collaboration to Reduce the Burden of Asthma Across New England: This project will build knowledge, identify opportunities, and strengthen cross-state collaborations and regional partnerships to address the environmental causes and triggers for asthma, and work collectively with a focus on reducing asthma health inequities to improve quality of life for everyone living with asthma in New England.
  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR)- $40,000, Composting for Community Initiative: This project will help cultivate community-scale composting in the region's 6 states and 10 tribal communities.

Background

The Healthy Communities Grant Program allows EPA New England to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health and improve the quality of life. To qualify as eligible projects under the Healthy Communities Grant Program, proposed projects must: be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the Target Investment Areas; and identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the Target Program Areas.

To learn more about the Healthy Communities Grant Program in Region 1:

https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/uep/hcgp.html

To learn more about on children's environmental health research: https://www.epa.gov/children/childrens-environmental-health-research.

To learn more about what EPA is doing to protect children's health: https://www.epa.gov/children

EPA Announces 6 Healthy Communities Grants worth over $190,000 Awarded in Rhode Island

EPA Air - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 19:00

BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of six Healthy Communities Grants in Rhode Island out of 22 grants across New England. Today's announcement represents a $191,000 investment for Rhode Island community projects that will help to make progress on crucial public health, environmental and climate resilience related challenges ranging from much needed food waste diversion to floodplain protection and toxics awareness.

"Across New England, communities are grappling with climate change impacts, food waste management challenges and other public health related challenges, and these issues are exacerbated in communities that have environmental justice concerns based on a history of being overburdened by pollution," said EPA Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "EPA is thrilled to use its Healthy Communities Grant program to help fund projects that empower communities to address these challenges."

"There is a strong, direct connection between the environment, public health, economic health, and community well-being. And it takes collaboration between both public and private entities to reach our goal of a stronger, safer, healthier Rhode Island. This $191,000 in federal funding to six outstanding Rhode Island recipients will empower local organizations to address critical environmental and public health challenges and make our communities and the state, a cleaner, healthier place for all," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

"These Healthy Communities Grants will help solve pressing environmental and public health issues in the Ocean State," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "I'm grateful to the grant recipients for their work to improve the quality of life for Rhode Islanders, especially in our environmental justice communities."

"The $191,000 in federal funding announced today through the EPA's Healthy Communities Grant Program will strengthen the health and well-being of more Rhode Islanders, particularly in communities that have experienced the heaviest burden of environmental and health hazards," said U.S. Representative David Cicilline. "These funds will help our most vulnerable communities through key investments in environmental risk prevention, public health resources, and food waste management. Thank you to the organizations leading the projects that will benefit from this federal funding, and to EPA New England for their support in reducing environmental risks and improving the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders."

"The EPA knows that the health of our environment is inextricably tied to the health of our communities," said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. "The Healthy Communities Grants allow local community organizations and advocates to strategically address the intersection of the climate change crisis and local public health emergencies. By funding this important work, we can invest in our most vulnerable neighborhoods and make Rhode Island a greener, healthier place to live and visit."

"When everyone, regardless of zip code, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and has equal access to the decision-making process that leads to a healthier environment, then Rhode Island will be a fairer, better place," said Department of Environmental Management Director Terry Gray. "I am pleased that these six organizations – which exemplify environmental justice in action – will receive grant funding to pursue their vital work and appreciate all the good that EPA accomplishes through its Healthy Communities Grant Program."

EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program is community focused funding that selects projects that will work to strategically address critical environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities. This year entities across New England are receiving a total of $744,000 in Healthy Community Grant funding.

Rhode Island- $191,335 total funding

  • Center of EcoTechnology- $40,000- Sustaining Wasted Food Solutions for Providence County: This project will reduce the quantity of wasted food entering the municipal solid waste stream by working with target entities, including K–12 schools, event venues, healthcare facilities, colleges/universities, hospitality facilities, and food rescue and donation organizations.
  • MEANS Database partnering with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine- $30,000- Rhode Island & Bristol County Food Recovery Extension: This project aims to significantly improve both food sustainability and food equity in the state of Rhode Island and in neighboring Bristol County, MA.
  • Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council- $30,000- Frontline Communities First! Residents Build Climate Resilience in the Woonasquatucket River Watershed: This project builds capacity of resident and student leaders in the impaired and climate vulnerable lower Woonasquatucket River Watershed to develop plans and projects that address the environmental and public health challenges these communities already face; climate change related flooding from both excessive stormwater and sea level rise; poor water and habitat quality; urban heat island; and riverbank erosion and scouring.
  • Environment Council of Rhode Island- $40,000- Rhode Island Schools Recycling Club (RISRC) Get Food Smart, RI; Phase 3: This project will be a catalyst for the behavioral changes that will be required of all RI schools to understand the problems associated with food waste and comply with the new RI school food waste diversion law.
  • Childhood Lead Action Project (CLAP)- $30,000- Central Falls Lead Safety Project: This project will work to reduce lead poisoning in Central Falls by participating in a multi-stakeholder community outreach, funding, and enforcement strategy that will proactively target a never-before-available citywide list of rental properties lacking lead safety certificates.
  • Refugee Development Center- $21,335- Healthy Homes, Healthy Lives for Refugees: This program, in alignment with the Rhode Island Asthma State Plan 2014-2019, will provide asthma management and prevention interventions that serve communities of color and low-income communities in the core cities of Rhode Island.

Background

The Healthy Communities Grant Program allows EPA New England to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health and improve the quality of life. To qualify as eligible projects under the Healthy Communities Grant Program, proposed projects must: be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the Target Investment Areas; and identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the Target Program Areas.

To learn more about the Healthy Communities Grant Program in Region 1:

https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/uep/hcgp.html

To learn more about on children's environmental health research: https://www.epa.gov/children/childrens-environmental-health-research.

To learn more about what EPA is doing to protect children's health: https://www.epa.gov/children

EPA Takes Action to Hold School Bus Idling Violators Accountable in Four Massachusetts Communities

EPA Air - Thu, 11/17/2022 - 19:00

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled enforcement actions against two companies that violated state and federal clean air standards by allowing excessive idling of school buses at locations in four Massachusetts communities.

The first settlement resolved EPA's allegations that AA Transportation Co., Inc. of Shrewsbury, Mass. allowed excessive idling of school buses at three locations: two locations in Shrewsbury, and one in Webster, Mass. A separate settlement resolved EPA's allegations that Michael J. Connolly & Sons, Inc. of Walpole, Mass. allowed excessive idling of school buses at two locations, in Sharon, and Natick, Mass.

"Pollution from diesel-powered vehicles is a serious health concern for people throughout New England – that's why idling diesel school buses is unacceptable" said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "Children, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments, are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust. We also know that chronic ailments are more likely for people living in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities. Following existing rules to limit school bus idling helps protect the health of school children in communities across the country."

Idling diesel engines emit pollutants that can cause or aggravate a variety of health problems including asthma and other respiratory diseases, and the fine particles in diesel exhaust are a likely human carcinogen. Diesel exhaust not only contributes to area-wide air quality problems, but more direct exposure can cause lightheadedness, nausea, sore throat, coughing, and other symptoms. Drivers, school children riding on the buses, facility workers, neighbors and bystanders are all vulnerable.

AA Transportation will pay a $23,587 penalty, and Michael Connolly & Sons will pay a $28,500 penalty. Both companies have certified that they are now in compliance with federal and Massachusetts regulations limiting idling of vehicles. In both settlements, the companies agreed to implement various measures to promote compliance, including the use of GPS systems to track instances of excessive idling, modification of automatic shutoff timing systems to prevent excess idling, and increased driver awareness training.

 In fall 2021, EPA inspectors observed AA Transportation school buses idling for extended periods of time in school bus lots at 648 Lake Street and 605 Hartford Turnpike in Shrewsbury, and at 175 Thompson Road in Webster. During four separate inspections, EPA observed approximately 48 buses idling, resulting in a total idling time of 407 minutes in excess of the 5-minute Massachusetts anti-idling limit.

In early 2022, an EPA inspector observed Michael Connolly & Sons school buses idling for extended periods of time in school bus lots at 67 High Plain Street in Sharon, and 67 Rockland Street in Natick. During three separate inspections, EPA observed approximately 35 buses idling resulting in a total idling time of 360 minutes in excess of the 5-minute Massachusetts anti-idling limit.

More information: EPA School Bus Idle Reduction

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