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News

New TRI Data Now Available!

Posted: July 21, 2014
Source: US EPA TRI

TRI – it’s your right to know. For more information about EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory: http://www.epa.gov/tri

The 2013 Toxics Release Inventory preliminary dataset containing the most current TRI data is now available.

You can find out:

  • What toxic chemicals a particular industrial facility is using
  • How much is being released into the environment
  • Whether the facility is recycling or treating any of the toxic chemical waste, or burning any of it for energy recovery
  • Whether a facility initiated any pollution prevention activities in the most recent calendar year

You can access the data through Envirofacts or downloadable data files on the TRI website. With the Envirofacts TRI Search, it’s simple – just enter a facility name, location, industry sector, or chemical name.

New to TRI? Why not get familiar with some common TRI terms before you start using the data? Or, you can explore a TRI facility to learn about how and where TRI chemicals are used in one type of industry.


Google maps methane leaks

Posted: July 20, 2014
Source: Nature News Blog.com

Google’s fleet of city-mapping cars are now working to measure urban natural gas leaks.

The technology giant’s collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), announced on 16 July, equips Google’s Street View cars with sensors to detect methane leaking from ageing city pipes, through city streets and into the atmosphere. The sensors were developed by researchers at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

The project has released online methane maps for Boston, Massachusetts; Staten Island in New York; and Indianapolis, Indiana. The team found thousands of leaks in Boston and Staten Island at a rate of roughly one per every mile (1.6 kilometres) of road driven, whereas Indianapolis’s roads are leaking only once every 200 miles (322 kilometres) — a sign of newer infrastructure.

These leaks are too small to be a health or explosion risk, but they are also a growing climate concern; methane is 86 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, over a 20-year period, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Massachusetts passed legislation in June that requires utilities to speed up their pipe replacement, and California is considering following suit.
Read more


Roughly $80 Billion Wasted on Power for Networked Devices, Report Says

Posted on July 3, 2014
Source: Yale Environment 360

Click to Enlarge
Game console energy consumption

Energy consumption of a typical game console.

The world’s 14 billion online electronic devices, such as modems, printers, game consoles, and cable boxes, waste around $80 billion in electricity annually because of inefficient technology, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In 2013, networked devices consumed around 616 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, with most of that used in standby mode. Roughly 400 TWh — equivalent to the combined annual electricity consumption of the United Kingdom and Norway — was wasted because of inefficient technology. The problem will worsen by 2020, the agency projects, with an estimated $120 billion wasted as devices such as refrigerators, washing machines, and thermostats become networked. Much of the problem boils down to inefficient “network standby,” or maintaining a network connection while in standby mode. Most network-enabled devices draw as much power in this mode as when fully active, the report notes. Using today’s best technology could cut energy consumption by 65 percent, the IEA said, and applying better efficiency measures over the coming years could save 600 TWh. That’s equivalent to closing 200 standard 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants, which would cut emissions by 600 million metric tons of CO2, the report says.


NPDES News: Pathogen FAQs Posted

Posted: July 1, 2014
On June 30, 2014, the Water Permits Divison in EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management posted a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to the NPDES web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/pathogenfaq.cfm

This set of FAQs provides an overview of NPDES permitting applicable to continuous dischargers (such as Publicly Owned Treatment Works) based on water quality standards for pathogens and pathogen indicators associated with fecal contamination.

These FAQs answer questions to help EPA, state, tribal and territorial NPDES permit writers understand implications of changes to state water quality standards based on the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), published November 29, 2012.

The 2012 RWQC recommendations are for two bacterial indicators of fecal contamination - enterococci and E. coli. Section 304(a)(9) of the Clean Water Act directed EPA to publish new or revised water quality criteria recommendations for pathogens and pathogen indicators for the purpose of protecting human health. A pathogen indicator, as defined in section 502(23) of the CWA, is “a substance that indicates the potential for human infectious disease.” Most strains of enterococci and E. coli do not cause human illness (that is, they are not human pathogens); rather, they indicate the presence of fecal contamination.

If you have any questions regarding the FAQs, please contact David Hair [hair.david@epa.gov] at 202-564-2287.


TRI-related research: University of California, Los Angeles – Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Posted: June 27, 2014
UCLA students published Cal EcoMaps a website integrating TRI data with toxicology, demographic, ecological, and revenue data. Through this interactive map, you can find information on profiled facilities from four major industries in Los Angeles County. Each facility is assigned an Environmental Impact Score based on its percentile rank within its respective industry for five environmental impact indicators developed by the students.

To view the maps, environmental impact scores, and facility- and industry-level analyses, visit www.environment.ucla.edu/ccep/calecomaps


To learn more about our 2013-2014 partners and to read the selected proposals for the 2014-2015 school year, visit the TRI University Challenge website.


I-CAR Releases NACE Training Schedule

Posted: June 27, 2014
Source: Body Shop Business.com

I-CAR will offer multiple Professional Development Program (PDP) training courses during Industry Week in Detroit July 31 through Aug. 2. The program will feature some of I-CAR’s newest courses, including the 2015 Ford F-150 Structural Repair Training Course (FOR06).

I-CAR collision repair training experts worked alongside Ford Motor Company engineers during the 2015 Ford F-150 design and development process to create FOR06. In conjunction with I-CAR’s Welding Training & Certification: Aluminum GMA (MIG) Welding course, FOR06 also meets the 2015 F-150 training requirements for the Ford National Body Shop Program.

“I-CAR is thrilled to bring this lineup of training to NACE during Industry Week,” said Josh McFarlin, I-CAR director of curriculum and product development. “This is an excellent opportunity for I-CAR to reach industry professionals with some of I-CAR’s newest and most exciting courses available.”

The training schedule is as follows:
Read more


EPA Proposes Approval of New Climate-Friendly Refrigerants

Posted: June 27, 2014

Proposal supports president’s Climate Action Plan by curbing emissions of potent greenhouse gases

WASHINGTON – In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to increase the options for refrigerants in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. This is the agency’s first action that addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan, which calls on EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to identify and approve additional climate-friendly chemicals.

Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA’s SNAP Program evaluates substitute chemicals and technologies that are safe for the ozone layer. This proposed action would expand the list of SNAP-approved substitutes to include more low-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives that can replace both the ozone-depleting substances and high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

“Last June, President Obama introduced a broad set of initial steps designed to slow the effects of climate change, including reducing potent greenhouse gases,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This proposal is a great example of how businesses and EPA can foster innovation by working together to identify refrigerants that better protect our environment.”
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EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment on Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Posted: June 25, 2014
Source: EPA Headquarters
Agency begins process to address potential human health risks

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE). The assessment identified health risks from TCE exposures to consumers using spray aerosol degreasers and spray fixatives. It also identifies health risks to workers when TCE is used as a degreaser in small commercial shops and as a stain removing agent in dry cleaning.

“EPA calls on Congress to enact legislation that strengthens our current federal toxics law,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention. “Until that time, we are using the best available science to assess and address chemical risks of TCE that now show that it may harm human health and the environment.”

The final TCE risk assessment was developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified chemicals for review and assessment of potential risks to people’s health and the environment. EPA developed the draft TCE risk assessment based on the best available information and finalized the assessment after careful consideration of comments from the public and experts during an independent, scientific peer review of the assessment. TCE is the first chemical to complete the work plan risk assessment process under TSCA.

EPA is conducting a workshop from July 29-30, on potential TCE degreaser alternatives and risk reduction approaches. EPA will conduct other activities to address TCE uses as a stain removing agent in dry cleaning and as a clear protective spray fixative.

In the meantime, EPA recommends that people take precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside or in an extremely well-ventilated area and wearing protective equipment to reduce exposure.

Additional information on the TCE risk assessment, the July 29-30 public workshop, and TSCA workplan chemicals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/riskassess.html>/a>

Consumer Fact Sheet on Trichloroethylene (TCE)


Vampires at home? Household items draining energy

Posted: June 20, 2014
Source: Fuel Fix.com by: R.A. Dyer

Experts at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory have analyzed the consumption of "standby" power by many common household items.

Not using that coffee maker? Turn it off and unplug it. The same goes for your computer and your fax machine.

Like vampires, household appliances quietly suck up electricity while you sleep and while you’re away at work. This is true even if you’ve completely shut down the item, but still have it plugged into a wall outlet. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California tells us that between 5 and 10 percent of all the electricity consumed by residential users comes from devices not in use.

The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power has analyzed data provided by the Berkeley Lab to get a sense as to how much these vampire devices are costing you. We’ve found that idled laser printers and similar multi-use devices may put you out $50 to $130 a year. Digital cable boxes also are big energy hogs.
Read more


Battery Recycling Model Bill Proposed

Posted: June 20,2014
Source: Environmental Leader.com

Four of the nation’s battery interest groups – the Corporation for Battery Recycling, battery manufacturers from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, The Rechargeable Battery Association, and Call2Recycle – announced the creation of a model recycling bill for consumer batteries June 12 at the Product Stewardship Institute’s National Batteries Stewardship Dialogue Meeting in Hartford, Conn.

According to Call2Recycle, the bill is the first time the four groups have teamed up to take shared responsibility for the collection and recycling of all single-use and rechargeable batteries. The model bill only covers consumer batteries, such as those found in portable electronic equipment, home smoke alarms and remote devices. The organizations behind the model bill expect that it will be introduced in selected state legislatures in 2015.

The model bill comes after the nation’s first single-use battery recycling law was passed in Vermont last month.

Under the Vermont law, manufacturers or sellers of single-use household batteries in Vermont will be required to plan, implement, and manage a statewide battery collection program by 2016. The law is a type of extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation.

There is currently a voluntary collection program in place for rechargeable batteries in Vermont.

More than 10 million batteries are sold in Vermont each year, according to estimates from PSI. However, the Institute notes there are very few recycling programs available to consumers.

Scott Cassel, founder and CEO of PSI, praised the four interest groups for working together in the area of product stewardship, and made a point of saying that their work will have long-term benefits.