News

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:
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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.
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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.


Finding a Narrative: ‘Sustainability’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Real to Consumers

Posted: June 19, 2014
Source: Triple Pundit (People, Plant, Profit).com by Raz Godelnik

Last week at the Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, gDiapers CEO, Jason Graham-Nye said: “I think sustainability is like fight club. The first rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club. The first rule of sustainability is the word is so dead.”

And he’s not alone. In one of the conference events, Raphael Bemporad – co-founder and chief strategy officer at BBMG and Tensie Whelan, president of Rainforest Alliance – presented a new report entitled The New Sustainably Narrative, which tries to address the following problem:

“Sustainability doesn’t mean anything real to consumers. Too often, it brings to mind technical issues or seemingly insurmountable environmental challenges.”

I guess this problem statement shouldn’t be surprising news to anyone involved in or following the many efforts to engage consumers in sustainability.  The issue it raises has long become the Achilles’ heel of the sustainability movement, making companies wonder what on earth can be done to get consumers on board.

So, what can be done to change the status quo when it comes to consumers with or without using the ‘S’ word?

Well, to answer this exact question a group of industry experts in consumer behavior met in a workshop hosted by the Rainforest Alliance. The group brainstormed “a new global narrative that taps into the consumer shift towards a broader and more meaningful set of values around mindful living and sustainability.” And the results of this effort can be found in The New Sustainably Narrative report, which was sponsored by Domtar and authored by BBMG.

The first part of the report includes some compelling information about consumer trends that was introduced by industry experts, including:

  • Consumers don’t connect sustainability to their own wellbeing or success (BuzzBack Market Research)
  • Consumers want brands to empower a meaningful life, and yet … Most people would not care if 73 percent of brands disappeared (Havas)
  • Brands must evolve to deliver on social and cultural benefits – caring for my wellbeing and the wellbeing of my family, for the wellbeing of my community and for the wellbeing of the planet (Coca-Cola).

When you look at these findings in the context of narrative then it becomes quite clear that the challenge is to translate sustainability into concepts people understand and find compelling — wellbeing, betterment, purpose and so on.
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Shop Your Values: What Does ‘Sustainable’ Really Mean?

Posted: June 19, 2014
Source: Triple Pundit (People, Planet, Profit).com by

3P_header_Setting_the_Standard
How do you measure sustainability? Most of us would have two to four quick answers: Energy usage, quality of materials, longevity or carbon footprint.

Now, how exactly do you quantify that? In other words, how do customers figure out if a clothes dryer is going to use an affordable amount of energy and be worth the purchase? How do they know if that lotion or conditioner they bought is really made of ingredients that are not only healthy but okay for the environment once rinsed down the drain?  What if they need construction materials that are mold resistant and won’t create allergens or decompose from humid weather?

The answer, says Scot Case, director of Market Development for UL Environment, is the same approach we have, for years, relied on to ensure that toaster in the kitchen is safe to use, or the inspection that was used when your office was wired for lighting: validation and certification that sets thresholds and manufacturing standards.

“So if someone wants to make recycled content claim,” says Case, “[UL Environment] can validate that claim. If they want to make an energy efficiency claim, or a biodegradability claim, or a compostability claim, we can validate those specific environmental claims [as well].”
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OEMs to Offer Educational Sessions and Training at NACE/CARS 2014

Posted: June 18, 2014
Source: Body Shop Business.com

Auto manufacturers are showing their support of the collision repair and mechanical service industries by promising a larger presence at NACE/CARS 2014.

Companies who have pledged their support include Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Chrysler and Audi, who will appear alongside other large-scale companies such as Alcoa and 3M. The manufacturers’ presence includes conducting several classes at NACE, all of which will take place at the COBO Center in Detroit.

“For example, Ford’s recent announcement of its using military-grade aluminum alloy in the construction of the 2015 F-150 is causing the entire industry to take notice and seek information and training,” said Dan Risley, president and executive director of the Automotive Service Association, which sponsors NACE and CARS. “This year’s event is focused on ensuring that repairers have access to the information, tooling, training and equipment they need to repair today’s vehicle as well as those in the future. Repairers need to know the differences between repairing aluminum and steel.”
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