Envirobytes - An Environmental Newsletter
EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Weeks Ending January 16, 2009 and January 23, 2009
EPA SMARTWAY PROGRAM CERTIFIES ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CARS AND TRUCKS
The EPA SmartWay partnership is a voluntary partnership among government, business and consumers, to protect the environment, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality. The SmartWay program has established a brand (similar to the EnergyStar label) to certify products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions. When shopping for a new or used vehicle, consumers can look for the SmartWay logo on cars and trucks to ensure they are getting a cleaner, more fuel efficient means of transportation. For more information, go to SmartWay Vehicles, SmartWay Transport Partnership.
NEW EPA RESOURCE HELPS OLDER ADULTS PREVENT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless and colorless gas, is the most common cause of poisoning death in the United States. Unintentional CO poisonings are responsible for about 500 deaths and 15,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by installing a carbon monoxide alarm, yet less than one-third of homes have them installed. EPA has a new fact sheet targeting vulnerable older adults and their caregivers about preventing harmful exposure to environmental hazards such as carbon monoxide. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/factsheets/pcmp/pcmp_english_100-F-09-001.pdf
WINNING PROJECTS FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE BY CONVERTING LANDFILL METHANE GAS INTO USABLE ENERGY
EPA recognized seven landfill methane capture projects for generating renewable energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the 12th Annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program Annual Conference. The winners included the regional Granger, Conestoga Landfill Gas Utilization Project, of Morgantown, Pa. for winning one of three Landfill Methane Outreach Program Projects of the Year award. Methane, a primary component of landfill gas is a greenhouse gas with more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. The projects prevented landfill gas from escaping into the air from municipal solid waste landfills and created a new source of renewable energy to benefit communities. For more information on EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program and all the awardees, go to http://www.epa.gov/lmop For more information on methane, go to http://www.epa.gov/methane/
$2.6 MILLION BROWNFIELDS ENVIRONMENTAL JOB TRAINING GRANTS AWARDED NATIONWIDE; ONE IN BALTIMORE, MD.Thirteen communities in 12 states were awarded $2.6 million in job training grants to clean up contaminated properties and turn them into productive assets. EPA's Brownfields Program awarded grants of $200,000 each to 13 non-profit organizations, workforce investment boards, and state and local governments to teach environmental assessment and cleanup skills to individuals living near brownfields sites in 12 states including the Civic Works, of Baltimore, Md. The award will allow Civic Works to train low-income residents with the skills to cleanup and restore communities along the Baltimore waterfront and curb pollution that drains into the Chesapeake Bay.
ONLINE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS GREEN METHODS TO CONTROL STORMWATER RUNOFF
EPA and the U.S. Botanic Garden have produced an on-line video: "Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In," highlighting the use of rain gardens, green roofs, rain barrels and cisterns to manage stormwater runoff. Green stormwater management practices not only reduce the volume of runoff at its source by capturing harmful pollutants but also improve air quality by planting trees to absorb erosion, reduce the urban heat islands effect and a community's carbon footprint. The video highlights the green techniques displayed at the U.S. Botanic Garden's 2008 Exhibit and at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. To watch the video, go to http://www.epa.gov/nps/lid For more information on stormwater management, go to http://www.epa.gov/greeninfrastructure
EPA PROPOSES REVISIONS TO AIR QUALITY INDEX FOR PARTICLE POLLUTION
EPA is proposing to update its Air Quality Index (AQI) to reflect the latest standards for fine particle pollution (PM .2.5) and to protect public health as required by the Clean Air Act. EPA is seeking comment on its proposal for setting the 500 AQI level which under the proposed changes, would reach "code orange" – unhealthy for sensitive groups – when particle pollution levels reach 35.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3). EPA will take comment for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing on March 5, at the Intercontinental Dallas, 15201 Dallas Parkway, Addison, Tex. For more information about the AQI proposal: http://www.epa.gov/pm/actions.html For more information on AQI, go to http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.particle
EPA STAFF REACH A LARGE AGRARIAN AUDIENCE AT PENNSYLVANIA FARM SHOW
EPA staff participated in the Pennsylvania Farm Show from Jan. 10 through Jan.17. The Pennsylvania Farm Show is one of the largest farm shows in the nation and is visited by more than 400,000 citizens. Visitors learned how the state's agriculture industry is "Keeping Pennsylvania Growing," and how alternative and renewable energy efforts are being explored by Pennsylvania companies. Participating in the show allowed EPA staff to reach a large farm population to discuss the importance of protecting drinking water sources, distribute brochures, and conduct demonstrations on how watersheds are impacted and how water quality can be protected.
EPA ANNOUNCES ADDITION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE SURVEY TO ITS BIOSOLIDS WEB PAGE
The EPA biosolids division has added the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS) to its biosolids web page to bring about a better understanding of what is present in sewage sludge. The survey provides important input for EPA and others to use in evaluating biosolids generated by the nation's publicly-owned treatment works. It also provides the first national estimates on which pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones may be present in sewage sludge and at what concentrations. EPA is committed to ensure sewage sludge is managed in a manner that protects human health and the environment. To review the document, go to http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/biosolids
EPA STAFF PRESENT POSTER ON PROGRESS OF ESTUARY'S BENTHIC INVENTORY AT DELAWARE ESTUARY CONFERENCE AND SUMMIT
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary hosted its third biennial Science and Environmental Summit from Jan. 11 to Jan. 14 in Cape May, N.J. Posters and oral papers covered a variety of topics, including living resources, ecological processes, contaminants, indicators, wetlands, ecological restoration, outreach education, and marketing for change. Special sessions were devoted to the ecology and management of horseshoe crabs and the impact of climate change on the estuary. EPA staff contributed a poster depicting the progress of the Delaware Estuary Benthic Inventory, a program initiated last summer and funded by two EPA RARE grants to the Partnership For more information on the Delaware Estuary Benthic Inventory program, go to http://www.delawareestuary.org/scienceandresearch/PDE%20Factsheet%20-%20DEBI%20v%208-15-08.pdf. For information on EPA RARE grants, go to http://www.epa.gov/osp/regions/rare.htm