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Envirobytes - Archive

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EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Weeks Ending December 31, 2009 and January 8, 2010

JANUARY IS NATIONAL RADON ACTION MONTH

EPA's designation of January as National Radon Action month is to bring public attention to radon's dangers and to help reduce the 20,000 or so deaths attributed annually to this toxic and potentially fatal gas. Radon (an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas found in soil) is considered the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the second highest cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.  An inexpensive test kit can reveal if a home has dangerous radon levels, and several simple and affordable venting techniques can be used to reduce or eliminate the gas in buildings. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/radon/index.html

EPA TO HOLD CHESAPEAKE BAY STATES ACCOUNTABLE IN MEETING THEIR WATERSHED POLLUTION REDUCTION PLANS

EPA is accelerating cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay with a plan that will hold the six bay states (Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – and D.C) more accountable for improving the performance of their pollution control programs and reducing water pollution in their jurisdictions. An additional $11.2 million in grants will be provided for fiscal year 2010 to improve regulatory activities such as permitting, and enforcement and to increase the states' accountability for reducing water pollution. For an overview of EPA's Chesapeake Bay Accountability Framework, go to http://www.epa.gov/region03/chesapeake/bay_letter_1209.pdf

EPA STRENGTHENS ITS HAZARDOUS WASTE SHIPMENT REGULATIONS

EPA is strengthening its hazardous waste shipment regulations with other countries and internally. The new measures will increase the level of regulatory oversight, and provide stricter controls to ensure that procedures are done in an environmentally sound manner.  EPA's new measures will make U.S. international shipment regulations more consistent with those of the international Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of which the U.S. is a member. This rule will become effective on July 7 in all states.   For information on the final rule, go to http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/international/oecd-slab-rule.htm

EPA SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT TO LOWER DIOXIN CLEANUP LEVELS IN SOIL AT SUPERFUND, BROWNFIELD AND OTHER SITES

EPA is seeking public comment to lower dioxin cleanup levels in soil at Superfund, Brownfield and other sites. Dioxins are cancer causing contaminants absorbed from the air into the food chain. From the current 1,000 part per trillion (ppt) for dioxin in residential soil and a level within the range of 5,000-20,000 ppt in commercial/industrial soil, acceptable  levels will be reduced to 72 ppt for residential land uses and 950 ppt for commercial/industrial land uses. EPA will be taking public comment for 50 days after publication in the Federal Register, and anticipates issuing the final interim preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) draft in June 2010.  The Dioxins reassessment completion is expected by end of 2010. To comment, go to http://www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/remedy/sfremedy/remedies/dioxinsoil.html

EPA HOLDS PUBLIC LISTENING SESSIONS TO STRENGTHEN STORMWATER RULE

EPA will hold five listening sessions on a potential new rule to strengthen stormwater regulations and to reduce discharges harming the water quality of nearby waterways. As described in the Federal Register Notice (PDF), EPA seeks input on preliminary regulatory considerations to expand the federal stormwater regulatory area; establish specific requirements to control stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment; develop a single set of consistent stormwater requirements for all municipal separate storm sewer systems; and require those sewer systems to address stormwater discharges through retrofitting the sewer system drainage with improved stormwater control measures. Submit written comments before Feb. 26:  http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/rulemaking

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