Sector: EPA

CONTACT:   Suzanne Skadowski, 415-972-3165, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

RELEASE DATE:   December 17, 2014

 

EPA awards $600,000 to Oakland, Calif. health nonprofit to help fight asthma in schools nationwide 

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $600,000 grant to the Public Health Institute’s Regional Asthma Management & Prevention (RAMP), in Oakland, Calif. to help school-based health centers across the country prevent and manage environmental asthma triggers for children.  Asthma, a chronic respiratory disease that causes the lung’s airways to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, is the most common chronic disease among school-aged children.

“Asthma affects over 7 million children in America and over 900,000 children in California,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s support for RAMP and its partners advances our commitment to help communities improve indoor air quality to prevent environmental asthma triggers such as dust, mold, smoke and poor ventilation.”

Under EPA’s grant, RAMP and its partner the California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA), will: develop an Asthma Environmental Intervention Guide for school-based health centers nationwide that identifies actions to prevent and manage environmental asthma triggers at school and at home; conduct trainings at state conferences of school-based health centers in California, Michigan, New York, and Connecticut – all states with high asthma prevalence; and convene a national learning collaborative among school-based health centers in California and nationwide.

“Children spend a significant amount of time at school, making schools a very important place to address asthma,” said Anne Kelsey Lamb, RAMP Director. “We look forward to partnering with the EPA, the CSHA, and school-based health centers across the country to collectively improve indoor air quality and reduce the burden of asthma.”

“Reducing exposure to environmental asthma triggers and improving indoor air quality can play a significant role in improving health for students with asthma,” said Kristin Andersen, CSHA Associate Director “We’re so pleased that EPA is giving us an opportunity to partner with RAMP and school-based health centers to do just that.”

RAMP is among eight organizations in the U.S. receiving grants from EPA to reduce risks to public health from indoor air pollution, for a total investment of $4.5 million.

EPA announced the grant award today with RAMP and its partners at LifeLong’s West Oakland Middle School Health Center, one of over 230 school-based health centers in California and 2,000 nationwide that will benefit from the grant project. School-based health centers are clinics typically located on a school campus to provide primary health care for students and families at no or low-cost.

While there is no cure for asthma, with access to medical care, appropriate medications, proper self-management, and prevention of environmental asthma triggers, people can control their symptoms.

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About Regional Asthma Management and Prevention

Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP), a project of the Public Health Institute, promotes comprehensive strategies for reducing asthma that include clinical management and environmental protection.  www.rampasthma.org The Public Health Institute (PHI) generates and promotes research, leadership and partnerships to build capacity for strong public health programs. www.phi.org/focus-areas/ 

About California School-Based Health Alliance

The California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA) is the statewide nonprofit organization that aims to improve the health and academic success of children and youth by advancing health services in schools. CSHA helps schools and communities put health care where kids are – at school – and our conference, webinars, resources, and technical assistance help school-based health centers offer high quality, age-appropriate care to kids.  Connect with us on Facebook and YouTube: schoolhealthcenters, Twitter: @sbh4ca. http://www.schoolhealthcenters.org/  

About U.S. EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest Region 9 administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations — home to more than 48 million people. While great progress has been made to reduce smog, improve water quality, clean up hazardous waste and create sustainable, healthy communities, much work remains to achieve EPA’s goals of protecting our environment and ensuring public health. Connect with us on Twitter: @EPAregion9, Facebook: EPAregion9, and our newsletter: www.epa.gov/region9/newsletter Learn more about our work to fight asthma:http://epa.gov/asthma/ 

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2014

Media Contact: Nahal Mogharabi, 213-244-1815, Mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov

 

EPA Celebrates 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

Agency tours small drinking water systems, discusses small system challenges in Coachella Valley

 LOS ANGELES — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). State, local and community representatives joined EPA Regional Administrator at an event held at the San Jose Community and Bea Main Learning Center in Coachella Valley, Calif.

“Every day more than 38 million Californians rely on clean water for cooking, washing, and bathing,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We have made incredible progress in improving water quality and are tackling the remaining challenges so that every American will have access to clean drinking water.”

Since 1997, EPA has provided the California Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) more than $1.5 billion for infrastructure projects throughout the state, much of which was used to help disadvantaged communities. EPA works with the California State Water Resources Control Board and other local and state agencies to assist providers who are working with small drinking water systems to enhance their technical, managerial, and financial capability to reliably provide safe drinking water to communities.

Drinking water in the lower Coachella Valley comes from groundwater wells impacted with high levels of naturally-occurring arsenic and chromium. Treatment technologies can be costly, especially for small systems which face unique challenges in financing upgrades and operating needed infrastructure.

Over the past 17 years, Riverside County has received $61 million from the DWSRF for drinking water infrastructure projects including construction of new water treatment plants, drinking water wells, storage tanks and consolidation projects connecting small drinking water systems with larger water districts. In 2008, EPA provided $900,000 in support of the Torres Martinez Tribe for the construction of an intertie with the Coachella Valley Water District due to high arsenic in the Tribe’s primary and backup well.  The project is expected to be completed in late 2015. The new system will service 17 connections for a total population of 53 residents.

As part of the event, Regional Administrator Blumenfeld viewed the water filtration system at the San Jose Community Center which provides drinking water to the center, learning facility and 14 residences. In addition, EPA viewed the point-of-use filtration systems at the Gamez Mobile Home Park. These point-of-use systems are small, individual reverse osmosis filtration units placed under the kitchen sink; each has its own distribution spigot that provides treated drinking water for the home.

More than 290 million people depend on 50,000 community water systems across the country for safe, reliable water every day. The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed by Congress on December 16, 1974. Over the past four decades, the SDWA has enabled EPA and partners to supply safe drinking water to more than 93 percent of the population served by community water systems. EPA has drinking water regulations for more than 90 contaminants, including microorganisms, disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, inorganic and organic chemicals and radionuclides. Since the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund was created in 1997, more than $25.8 billion have been provided for more than 10,000 drinking water infrastructure projects nationwide, including drinking water treatment systems, pipes for transmission and distribution of water, and storage.

For more information on the Safe Drinking Water Act, please visit: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/index.cfm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2014
MEDIA CONTACTS: Nahal Mogharabi, 213-244-1815, Mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov

EPA to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act, Highlight Past Successes and Small System Challenges
Agency tours small drinking water systems at mobile home communities in Coachella Valley

LOS ANGELES – On Tuesday, December 16th, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld will be joined by State, local and community representatives at the San Jose Community and Bea Main Learning Center in Coachella Valley to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Over the past four decades, the SDWA has enabled EPA and partners to supply safe drinking water to more than 93 percent of the population served by community water systems. Following the event, participants will view the water filtration system at the San Jose Community Center which provides safe drinking water to the center, its training facility and 14 residences. Additionally, attendees can view point-of-use filtration systems at the adjacent Gamez Mobile Home Park. These point-of-use systems are small, individual reverse osmosis filtration units placed under the kitchen sink; each has its own distribution spigot that provides treated drinking water for the home.

Drinking water in the lower Coachella Valley comes from groundwater wells impacted with high levels of naturally-occurring arsenic and chromium. Treatment technologies can be costly, especially for small systems which face unique challenges including funding shortfalls and aging infrastructure. Since 1997, EPA has provided more than $1.5 billion to California for their Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program which helps fund infrastructure projects throughout the state. Riverside County has received $61 million from the DWSRF for drinking water infrastructure projects including construction of new water treatment plants, drinking water wells, storage tanks and consolidation projects connecting small drinking water systems with larger water districts.

WHO:   
Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Regional Administrator
Kyle Ochenduszko, Senior Engineer, CA State Water Resources Control Board
Mark L. Johnson, Director of Engineering, Coachella Valley Water District
Sergio Carranza, Executive Director, Pueblo Unido CDC

WHAT:
40th Anniversary to the Safe Drinking Water Act: Successes, Highlights and Challenges Facing Small Drinking Water Systems
Tour Gamez Mobile Home Park

WHEN: 
Tuesday, December 16th
11:30 a.m.
**Media should plan to arrive no later than 11:15 a.m.

WHERE: 
San Jose Community and Bea Main Learning Center
Event will be held outside of Water Filtration Systems
69-455 Pierce St., Thermal, CA

VISUALS: Media can view the installed water filtration systems at the community center and will also view point-of use filtration systems installed in the Gamez Mobile Park homes.

RSVP REQUIRED: *** Press who would like to attend this event, or for more information please e-mail Nahal Mogharabi, mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov.

Posted: December 5, 2014

26 communities selected nationwide for Local Foods, Local Places Initiative

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing technical support to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans. Over the next two years, the project will aim to increase access to locally grown, healthy fruits and vegetables for residents while boosting economic opportunity for farmers/producers in various areas.

The Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles, Calif. will receive technical assistance to create a community-supported agriculture program that can improve the health of low-income residents by increasing access to local foods, boost economic opportunities for farmers and producers in the region, and help revitalize distressed neighborhoods.
Read more

Posted: November 26, 2014
Source: EPA

WASHINGTON– Based on extensive recent scientific evidence about the harmful effects of ground-level ozone, or smog, EPA is proposing to strengthen air quality standards to within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion (ppb) to better protect Americans’ health and the environment, while taking comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the standards every five years by following a set of open, transparent steps and considering the advice of a panel of independent experts. EPA last updated these standards in 2008, setting them at 75 ppb.

“Bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science will clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk. It empowers the American people with updated air quality information to protect our loved ones – because whether we work or play outdoors – we deserve to know the air we breathe is safe,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act has always been EPA’s responsibility. Our health protections have endured because they’re engineered to evolve, so that’s why we’re using the latest science to update air quality standards – to fulfill the law’s promise, and defend each and every person’s right to clean air.” Read more

Posted: October 8, 2014

Fuel economy gains for new vehicles continue under President Obama’s Clean Car Program

WASHINGTON – New vehicles achieved an all-time-high fuel economy in 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 miles per gallon (mpg) ‑– a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Fuel economy has now increased in eight of the last nine years. The average carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 369 grams per mile in model year 2013.

EPA’s annual “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2014” report tracks average fuel economy of new cars and SUVs sold in the United States. The report also ranks automakers’ achievements in model year 2013.
Read more

Posted: October 2, 2014

Agency highlights water conservation project in the city of Fresno, reducing water use by 25%

FRESNO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld announced more than $183 million in funding to invest in California for statewide improvements in local water infrastructure and the reduction of water pollution. Blumenfeld was joined by Fresno Public Utilities Director Thomas Esqueda, and other state and local officials for the announcement at an event highlighting $51 million in federal funding that was used to install water meters within the city of Fresno. The event was held at the home of Bruce and Amy Roberts, who participated in the water meter program.

“Water is the lifeblood of our communities and EPA is committed to working with our state and city partners to protect this precious resource,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Today’s funding will help create construction jobs, develop infrastructure and conserve resources as we deal with the challenge of climate change.”

The City of Fresno, through a zero percent interest loan from the state, used the $51 million in drinking water funding to purchase and install 73,152 water meters in residential homes in several neighborhoods. The meters help homeowners and the city easily identify how much water homes are using. The meters have an electronic device that helps the city obtain quicker and more accurate meter readings. Since the installation of the meters was completed this year, water usage in the city has decreased by 25 percent.
Read more

Posted: September 30, 2014
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas pollution trends and emissions broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2013, reported emissions from large industrial facilities were 20 million metric tons higher than the prior year, or 0.6 percent, driven largely by an increase in coal use for power generation.

“Climate change, fueled by greenhouse gas pollution, is threatening our health, our economy, and our way of life—increasing our risks from intense extreme weather, air pollution, drought and disease,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA is supporting the President’s Climate Action Plan by providing high-quality greenhouse gas data to inform effective climate action.”

The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is the only program that collects facility-level greenhouse gas data from major industrial sources across the United States, including power plants, oil and gas production and refining, iron and steel mills and landfills. The program also collects data on the increasing production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) predominantly used in refrigeration and air conditioning.
Read more

Thursday,  August  7, 2014 1-3  p.m. PST,  10-noon,  Hawaii  time

TO:                  Interested Small Business Stakeholders

FROM:           Kia Dennis, Assistant Chief Counsel
                         Yvonne Lee,  Regional Advocate

SUBJECT:     Waters of the United States Regional  Roundtable Meeting

The  U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy will  hold a  regional Environmental Roundtable  to discuss the following topic, from 1-3 p.m. PST. The  meeting will be  held  in Los Angeles, California at the  Metropolitan Water District of Southern California  Building,  700 North Alameda  Blvd,  Los Angeles, CA  90012.  All  interested persons  planning to attend in  person or participate via conference call  must  RSVP  to Yvonne  Lee  at  Yvonne.lee@sba.gov  or  415-744-8493 before August 5,  2014.

 Draft Agenda

 1:00 p.m.-1:05 p.m.      Welcome and Introductions

                                           Yvonne Lee, Regional Advocate, SBA Office  of Advocacy
                                            Kia Dennis, Assistant  Chief Counsel,  SBA Office of Advocacy

1:05 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.    Presentation of the  Water of the United States Rule by EPA
                                            John Kemmerer,  Associate Director,  Water Division,  EPA Region IX
                                           Jason Brush,  Manager ,   Office of  Wetlands Services,  EPA Region IX

1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.       Discussion and Questions

Roundtable meetings are open to all interested persons, with the exception of the press, in order to facilitate open and frank discussion about the impacts of Federal regulatory activities on small entities.   Agendas and presentations are available to all, including the press. Anyone who wants to receive roundtable agendas or presentations, or to be included in the distribution list, should forward such requests to kia.dennis@sba.gov.  The purpose of these Roundtable meetings is to exchange opinions, facts and information and to obtain the attendees’ individual views and opinions regarding small business concerns.  The meetings are not intended to achieve or communicate any consensus positions of the attendees.

 Small Business Environmental Roundtable

Issue for Discussion

August 7, 2014

On April 21, 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have proposed a rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Decisions regarding whether or not a waterbody is subject to the CWA will affect small entities who need to determine whether or not their activities require authorization and/or permits under CWA.

Under the proposed rule, for purposes of all sections of the Clean Water Act and the regulations thereunder the term “waters of the United States” would mean:

(1) All waters which are currently used, were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
(2) All interstate waters, including interstate wetlands;
(3) The territorial seas;
(4) All impoundments of waters identified in paragraphs (1) through (3) and (5) of this section;
(5) All tributaries of waters identified in paragraphs (1) through (4) of this section;
(6) All waters, including wetlands, adjacent to a water identified in paragraphs (1) through (5) of this section; and
(7) On a case-specific basis, other waters, including wetlands, provided that those waters alone, or in combination with other similarly situated waters, including wetlands, located in the same region, have a significant nexus to a water identified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this section.

Waters that do not meet this definition are not subject to the CWA. There are several programs under the CWA that would be affected by this proposed rule including but not limited to Section 311- oil spill prevention programs; Section 402 – requires permits for pollutant discharges; and Section 404 – permits for the placement of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.

The comment period closes on October 20, 2014.

Visit http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters to learn more about the proposed rule.

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.