Envirobytes - An Environmental Newsletter
EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending September 25, 2009
SUSTAINABILITY PARTNERSHIP WEBSITE NOW AVAILABLE;
CITIES OF ROANOKE (VA) AND RANSON (W. VA) SIGN SUSTAINABILITY PARTNERSHIPS WITH EPA
EPA Region 3’s Sustainability Partnership website is now available to introduce the public and private organizations to EPA’s sustainable approach to reducing pollution and improving an organization’s environmental footprint. Members receive technical assistance from EPA to implement sustainable programs that save money through reduced material, disposal costs and improved operating efficiency. Since January more than 23 organizations have signed agreements to partner with EPA; 70 are discussing the opportunity; and many more are under consideration. Partners include Temple and Penn State Universities, Waste Management Inc., Keystone Industrial Port Complex, and the General Services Administration. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/spp/index.html.
The Cities of Roanoke (Va.) and Ranson (W. Va.) have joined EPA’s Sustainability Partnership Program to work collaboratively with EPA to reduce energy, emissions and waste while improving their economic performance through resource conservation, reuse, and community planning. The Partnership encourages broad multimedia assessment and collaboration to implement sustainable, cost effective pollution prevention programs. The local governments can also become community models through the environmental programs they set up and promote, the local laws they enact (particularly for zoning), and the planning they do. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/region3/green.
REGION 3 WARNS AGAINST SALES OF TOXIC OR UNREGISTERED PESTICIDES
Baltimore City residents are being urged to avoid using a highly toxic pesticide called Miracle Chalk or Chinese Chalk. The city health department is working with officials from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Department of Agriculture and the EPA on ridding the chalk from homes. The product is used as an insecticide to eliminate roach infestations by rubbing the chalk over household surfaces to kill insects. While effective in killing bugs, it's also very harmful to children or any person who's exposed to it and can cause serious health effects, including vomiting, tremors, convulsions and loss of consciousness. For more information on pesticide regulation and enforcement, please visit the EPA website at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/fifra/
EPA PRESENTS THE 2009 SOURCE WATER PROTECTION PROGRAM AWARD TO THE MEADVILLE AREA WATER AUTHORITY
EPA Region 3 presented the annual EPA Source Water Protection Award on Sept. 17 to the Meadville Area Water Authority, in Meadville, Pa., to honor the Meadville public drinking water system and local community organizations for protecting their drinking water sources. The award recognizes those systems that not only protect their drinking water quality but also inform neighboring communities on how they can protect their sources of drinking water. The Meadville Water Authority’s model plan to address stormwater management included compiling data on chemical usage and storage in the area, education and outreach, potential protective zoning, promoting good water quality for good economic growth, and ground water supply monitoring.
EPA JOINS GLOBAL CALL-TO-ACTION ON RADON CANCER DANGERS
The U.S. EPA has joined the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global call-to-action to prevent radon cancer risk in homes. Radon inhalation accounts for up to 14 percent of lung cancers worldwide, and next to smoking is the world’s second-leading lung cancer risk. The WHO is offering a “Handbook on Indoor Radon” describing radon risks, public health guidance, and recommendations on how to reduce and prevent radon health risks. The key elements of the International Radon Project include: developing evidence-based public health guidance to formulate policy and strategy including the establishment of radon levels; estimating the global burden of disease associated with exposure to radon, based on the establishment of a global radon database; providing guidance on methods for radon measurements and mitigation; and developing approaches for communicating radon risk. The WHO Radon Project: http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/env/radon/en/ For information on EPA’s radon prevention, go to: http://www.epa.gov/radon
EPA ADDS 11 HAZARDOUS WASTE SITES TO SUPERFUND’S NATIONAL PRIORITIES LIST; PROPOSES TO ADD 10 ADDITIONAL SITES
The EPA Superfund program investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and adds them to its National Priorities List to initiate cleanups, redevelopment and protect human health and the environment. EPA is adding 11 new hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List and proposing 10 other sites to add to the list. (There are now total of 1,337 final and proposed sites). Contaminants include antimony, arsenic, barium, benzo-a-anthracene, boron, cadmium, chloromethane, chromium, copper, dichloroethene, hexachlorobenze, lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, selenium, silver, tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethane (TCA), trichloroethene (TCE), vinyl chloride, and zinc. For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these final and proposed sites, go to http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm
TWO MID-ATLANTIC REGION 3 SITES PROPOSED FOR THE SUPERFUND NATIONAL PRIORITIES LIST
The Millsboro, TCE site in Millsboro, Sussex County, Del., a former poultry vaccine manufacturing building that was demolished in 1999, is a trichloroethylene (TCE) contaminated site. TCE was used in the manufacturing process and released to underground tanks and the onsite septic system. Millsboro’s two public wells are contaminated with TCE above EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act maximum contaminant level. The town supplies water to approximately 3,000 people and is being filtered to make it safe to drink. For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for this and other sites, please visit http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm
The Salford Quarry site in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery County, Pa. was used as a shale quarry and then as a dumping ground for industrial, commercial and industrial waste. In the 1960s, American Olean Tile Co. used the quarry to dispose of sludge and other waste from its nearby manufacturing plant. EPA has been addressing boron contamination in nearby residential wells and in the 1990s installed new municipal water lines to connect several residences with public water. The site has been added to the NPL in part because high levels of boron remain in the groundwater, which could migrate to wells not served by the water lines. For more details on the site and boron, go to http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/npl/PAD980693204.htm and http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ccl/pdfs/reg_determine2/healthadvisory_ccl2-reg2_boron_summary.pdf.
EPA FINALIZES THE NATION’S FIRST GREENHOUSE GAS REPORTING SYSTEM; MONITORING TO BEGIN IN 2010
On Jan. 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data under a new reporting system. This new program will cover approximately 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions and apply to roughly 10,000 facilities. EPA’s new reporting system will provide a better understanding of GHGs and will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and assist in identifying effective ways to reduce emissions in the future. The first annual reports covering calendar year 2010, will be submitted to EPA in 2011. For more information on the new reporting system and reporting requirements: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html
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