EPA Extends Deadline to Apply for a WIFIA Water Infrastructure Loan

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   EPA Extends Deadline to Apply for a WIFIA
Water Infrastructure Loan

05/15/2018

Contact Information: EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON –– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced at a meeting with water sector associations that the deadline to submit letters of interest for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans has been extended to July 31, 2018. Administrator Pruitt also sent a letter highlighting the deadline extension to governors of 56 states and territories as well as tribal leadership.

"By extending the deadline to apply for a WIFIA loan, even more entities will be able to bring critical water infrastructure improvements to their communities, including projects that keep lead and other contaminants out of drinking water," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These projects create jobs, protect public health, and help ensure that all Americans continue to have access to clean and safe water."

EPA's announcement comes as part of Infrastructure Week and highlights the importance of working together with the water sector on a variety of topics, including affordability, governance, and the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs).

Also in conjunction with Infrastructure Week, the Agency released a new interactive website that showcases leading efforts by states, public water systems, and communities to replace lead service lines.

Background

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation's water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. WIFIA can provide up to 49 percent of the financing for a project and a state SRF could provide additional financing for the remaining eligible project costs. The WIFIA program received $63 million in funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018. 

On April 4, 2018, EPA announced the availability of additional WIFIA funding that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, leveraging over $11 billion in water infrastructure projects. This year's WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability highlights the importance of protecting public health, including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems and updating the nation's aging infrastructure.

On April 20, 2018, EPA issued its first WIFIA loan to King County, Washington. The $134.5 million loan will help finance a new wet weather treatment station that will better protect public health, improve water quality, and create more than 1,400 jobs—all while saving up to $32 million compared to standard financing over the life of the loan.

According to EPA's estimate of drinking water and wastewater needs, over $743 billion is needed over the next twenty years for water infrastructure improvements. WIFIA financing and the SRFs will play an important part in fulfilling this need. With the latest two appropriations totaling $93 million, WIFIA loans can be combined with other public and private funding, to finance approximately $16 billion in infrastructure needs. EPA's FY2018 budget includes $2.9 billion for the SRFs.

For more information about the WIFIA program and resources to use when applying, visit www.epa.gov/wifia.



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EPA Proposes to Add Abandoned Landfill in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico to the Federal Superfund List

WIFIA Appropriation - 5/17/2017
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EPA Proposes to Add Abandoned Landfill in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico

to the Federal Superfund List

 

Contacts: Brenda Reyes, reyes.brenda@epa.gov, (787) 977-5869 and Elias Rodriguez, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov, (212) 637-3664

(New York, N.Y. – May 15, 2018) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its commitment to clean up six new sites by adding them to the Superfund program's National Priorities List (NPL) and proposing to add another three hazardous waste sites to the NPL. The PROTECO site in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico, which operated as a hazardous waste landfill, is one of the three sites being proposed for addition to the NPL. From 1975 through 1999, the landfill accepted a variety of wastes, including electroplating sludge, pesticides, and pharmaceutical and manufacturing waste from multiple sources.  Groundwater under the site is contaminated with mercury and solvents. PROTECO, the now defunct owner, closed the landfill in the 1990s, abandoned it in 2009, and has not conducted required maintenance or monitoring. Across Puerto Rico, community drinking water sources are monitored regularly to ensure the water quality meets drinking water standards.

"EPA is making tremendous progress accelerating sites through the entire Superfund remediation process and returning them to safe and productive reuse," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "Adding these sites to the proposed and final National Priorities List is the next step toward cleaning up these sites and creating a healthier environment for the affected communities."

"Adding this site to our Superfund list will give us the legal and technical tools we need to address contamination at this site and protect the Peñuelas community," said Pete Lopez, EPA Regional Administrator. "Agua es vida, water is life, and that is why we will aggressively work with the Commonwealth to address the uncontained waste sources and contaminated groundwater under the site."

"Once again, work between state and federal agencies is vital to benefit our citizens and offer them a better quality of life.  We support the proposal for the inclusion of this site in the EPA's National Priorities List.  By addressing contamination at sites like this old landfill, we will ensure the cleanup of the facility, bring social justice to the residents of Peñuelas and continue protecting human health and the environment," said Executive Director of the Environmental Quality Board, Tania Vázquez-Rivera.

The private and public drinking water supply wells surrounding the site may be threatened by contaminated groundwater underneath the PROTECO facility. EPA will first thoroughly investigate the site to determine the nature and the extent of the contamination and to develop an analysis of the most feasible ways to address it. There will be numerous opportunities in the Superfund investigation and cleanup phases for the local community to participate.

Academic research has shown that Superfund cleanups reduce birth defects within approximately 1 mile of a site as much as 25 percent. Cleanups also increase tax revenue and create jobs during and after cleanup. According to EPA data, 487 of the 888 Superfund sites cleaned up for reuse supported approximately 6,600 businesses in 2017. And these businesses' ongoing operations generate annual sales of $43.6 billion and employ more than 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.

Background

Superfund, which Congress established in 1980, investigates and cleans up hazardous waste sites. The Superfund law directs EPA to update the NPL annually. Only sites added to the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term cleanup. Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.

EPA adds sites to the NPL when contamination threatens human health and the environment and deletes sites from the NPL once all response actions are complete and all cleanup goals have been achieved.  All of the six sites being added to the NPL were included in the most recent proposed rule in January 2018, evidence of the EPA's commitment to expediting the Superfund process.

The NPL is one focus area of the Superfund Task Force Recommendations that were announced in July 2017 to improve and revitalize the Superfund program.

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

For information about Superfund and the NPL:  http://www.epa.gov/superfund  

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EPA News Release: EPA Adds Hockessin, Delaware Site To Superfund National Priorities List

 

EPA NEWS RELEASE. www.epa.gov/newsroom

                                                                        Contact: Roy Seneca seneca.roy@epa.gov (215) 814-5567 

EPA Adds Hockessin Delaware Site
To Superfund National Priorities List

PHILADELPHIA (May 15, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its commitment to clean up six new sites -- including the Hockessin Groundwater Site in Delaware -- by adding them to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). EPA also is proposing to add another three sites to the NPL.

"Cleaning up toxic sites and returning them to safe and productive reuse under the Superfund program is a cornerstone of the EPA's mission to protect human health and the environment," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "By adding these sites to the proposed and final National Priorities List, we are moving forward in creating a healthier environment for the affected communities."

The NPL is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program.

"Superfund cleanup continues to be a priority for EPA," said EPA's Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. "Today's action ensures that resources are available to take the necessary cleanup actions to address the contamination and any potential impacts on the Hockessin community."

EPA originally proposed the Hockessin site to the NPL on January 18. The designation is now finalized following a 60-day public comment period. EPA's next step will be to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the extent of contamination and assess potential threats to human health and the environment. This also includes evaluation of various cleanup options.

The Hockessin site consists of approximately 32 acres along Delaware State Route 41 through Hockessin, and encompasses numerous commercial, business, and residential properties. An EPA assessment has identified considerable movement of PCE contamination in the groundwater in the village of Hockessin.

"The Greater Hockessin Area Development Association (GHADA) and the entire community are pleased to have the Hockessin groundwater site considered for inclusion on the National Priorities List for remediation and environmental recovery efforts," said GHADA President Mark Blake. "Having the expertise and resources that the Environmental Protection Agency can bring to bear on this critical issue, is the best possible outcome for everyone involved."

There are two dry cleaners in the area where historical operations may continue to contribute to the groundwater contamination. There may be other sources within the area as well. The Artesian Water Company uses groundwater wells as the primary source of drinking water in this area. The water company treats the contaminated groundwater, and the final processed drinking water meets all regulatory standards.

Academic research has shown that Superfund cleanups reduce birth defects within approximately one mile of a site as much as 25 percent. Cleanups also increase tax revenue and create jobs during and after cleanup. According to EPA data, 487 of the 888 Superfund sites cleaned up for reuse supported approximately 6,600 businesses in 2017. And the ongoing operations at these businesses generate annual sales of $43.6 billion and employ more than 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.

Background

Superfund, which Congress established in 1980, investigates and cleans up hazardous waste sites. The Superfund law directs EPA to update the NPL annually. Only sites added to the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term cleanup. Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.

EPA adds sites to the NPL when contamination threatens human health and the environment. EPA deletes sites from the NPL once all response actions are complete and all cleanup goals have been achieved. EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement because states, tribes or citizens ask for the Agency's help. The Agency may also find contamination during its own investigations.

All of the six sites being added to the NPL were included in the most recent proposed rule in January 2018, evidence of the EPA's commitment to expediting the Superfund process.

The NPL is one focus area of the Superfund Task Force Recommendations that were announced in July 2017 to improve and revitalize the Superfund program.

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

For information about Superfund and the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund

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Carolina Mayor José Carlos Aponte Dalmau Named to National EPA Advisory Committee and Subcommittee

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Carolina Mayor José Carlos Aponte Dalmau Named to National EPA

Advisory Committee and Subcommittee

 

Contact:  Brenda Reyes, (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(San Juan, PR – May 14, 2018)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the appointment of Mayor José Carlos Aponte Dalmau of Carolina, Puerto Rico, to the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) and Small Community Advisory Subcommittee. The 33-member LGAC, to which Mayor Aponte Dalmau was appointed, helps EPA develop strong partnerships with local governments to provide more efficient and effective environmental protection at the community, state, and federal level. Mayor Aponte Dalmau has also been appointed to the Small Community Advisory Subcommittee, which helps EPA develop robust partnerships with small communities to address environmental and public health issues.

"EPA's efforts to protect public health and the environment are most effective when the Agency works cooperatively with state and local governments," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "I look forward to working with the committee members on important environmental issues while developing stronger and more robust partnerships across states, tribes, and local communities."

"EPA is committed to partnering with Puerto Rico's dedicated local leaders as we work to address our toughest environmental and public health challenges," said Pete Lopez, EPA Regional Administrator. "I have had the honor of personally meeting with Mayor Aponte Dalmau as EPA continues to assist Puerto Rico in hurricane recovery and improving the management of solid waste across the island. His dedication and passion for service is unmatched."

"It is truly an honor to be able to collaborate with EPA's effort to ensure public health and optimal manage of environmental problems. Carolina has surpassed many obstacles to become an effective example of recycling management and has achieved true balance between economic growth, infrastructure development and the ecological protection that guarantee the resilience of natural resources. Our Flood Mitigation Plan proved to be effective during the recent hurricane heavy rains benefiting thousands of citizens that, for years, had to overcome flood damages. Our experience has made us stronger and wiser when developing safety approaches to environmental issues," stated Mayor Aponte Dalmau who's eager to develop strategies that will benefit communities nationwide.

Mayor Aponte Dalmau's commitment to improving his community through various economic development projects and cultural initiatives were a factor in his selection for the committee. These include Carolina Bella, an initiative focused on improving the city through environmental efforts including recycling and composting, and Carolina's Children Museum, the largest interactive educational children's museum in the Caribbean.

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EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez, Carmen Guerrero, Director of Caribbean Environmental Protection Division (CEPD) for EPA Region 2, Mayor Aponte, and Jose Font, Deputy Director of CEPD. April 24, 2018 visit to the Carolina Municipal Landfill to discuss recycling and the island's management of solid waste.

Background on the LGAC:

The panel was selected based on their demonstrated leadership experience, proven record of service to their communities, and involvement in effective environmental protection services and programs at the community, state, and federal level.

Chartered in 1993 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Local Government Advisory Committee provides independent and objective policy advice to the EPA Administrator. The Small Community Advisory Subcommittee was established by EPA in 1996 to advise the Administrator on environmental issues of concern to the residents of smaller communities. It is a subcommittee of the Local Government Advisory Committee. The committee and subcommittee intend to meet in early summer to begin their work.

For more information and to see the full list of newly appointed LGAC and SCAS members, please visit http://www.epa.gov/ocir/scas_lgac/lgac_index.htm.

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EPA Selects Delaware’s West End Neighborhood House For $200,000 Brownfields Job Training Grant

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                                                                                                       Contact: Roy Seneca seneca.roy@epa.gov (215) 814-5567  

EPA Selects Delaware's West End Neighborhood House

For $200,000 Brownfields Job Training Grant

EPA designates a total of $3.3 million for job training nationwide


PHILADELPHIA (May 7, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the West End Neighborhood House in Wilmington, Delaware was selected to receive a $200,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant to train 60 students for environmental careers.

The non-profit AmeriCorps program is one of 17 organizations nationwide that were selected to receive a total of approximately $3.3 million in Brownfields job training funds to help residents learn the skills needed to secure employment in the environmental field. These grants help prepare people for green jobs that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid and hazardous waste contamination.

"Through these Brownfields job training programs, we're investing in getting Americans back to work and improving local economies and the environment," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  "Graduates will acquire the skill set necessary to gain full-time employment in the environmental field and help revitalize their communities."

"It is important to ensure that the benefits of brownfields redevelopment go to people who live in communities near brownfields sites," said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. "This requires educating a workforce in the skill sets needed for the jobs being created, which means working with local partners like the West End Neighborhood House to recruit, train, and place residents in good paying, green jobs in environmental fields."

Participants who complete the training will earn seven state or federal certifications. West End Neighborhood House is targeting underemployed and unemployed residents of Wilmington neighborhoods most impacted by brownfields.

"The Environmental Workforce Job Development Training Program has truly changed the lives of Delawareans," said Program Director Julie Bieber of the Education & Employment Department at

West End Neighborhood House. "The program fulfills the needs of local employers, empowers and educates the community, and improves the lives of in-need citizens by training them in careers with a sustainable living wage. The program is truly a win-win for both the environmental industry and the members of our community."

EPA continues to support the EWDJT program to help put people to work by building a skilled workforce across the country. The program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed individuals. Individuals completing the training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serve dislocated workers who have lost their jobs due to plant closures, minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, ex-offenders and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment.

Since 1998, when the EWDJT grant program started, more than 288 grants have been awarded. Over 17,100 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 12,500 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of 73 percent of graduates.

For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/.

For more information on EPA's EWDJT program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding.



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EPA Selects Baltimore’s Civic Works for $200,000 Job Training Grant

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                                                                        Contact: Roy Seneca seneca.roy@epa.gov (215) 814-5567  


EPA Selects Baltimore's Civic Works for $200,000 Job Training Grant

EPA designates a total of $3.3 million for job training nationwide


PHILADELPHIA (May 7, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Civic Works in Baltimore was selected to receive a $200,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant to train 72 students for environmental careers.

The non-profit AmeriCorps program is one of 17 organizations nationwide that were selected to receive a total of approximately $3.3 million in Brownfields job training funds to help residents learn the skills needed to secure employment in the environmental field. These grants help prepare people for green jobs that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid and hazardous waste contamination.

"Through these Brownfields job training programs, we're investing in getting Americans back to work and improving local economies and the environment," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  "Graduates will acquire the skill set necessary to gain full-time employment in the environmental field and help revitalize their communities."

"EPA's Brownfields Program is proud to have a partner like Civic Works to help ensure the benefits of cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields sites go to the folks who live in the local communities," said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. "Civic Works is helping to make the quality of life better for all the people who live in Baltimore."

Since 2001, EPA has awarded seven previous job training grants to Civic Works, totaling $1.5 million. With this funding, Civic Works has produced 465 graduates and placed 404 Baltimore residents in full time environmental jobs.

"Civic Works is proud to be named as an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grantee, and thrilled to continue our partnership with EPA," said Civic Works Director Eli Allen. "This grant will help address the critical need for skilled workers in our local environmental remediation industry, and build pathways to family-sustaining careers for unemployed and underemployed Baltimore residents."

EPA continues to support the EWDJT program to help put people to work by building a skilled workforce across the country. The program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed individuals. Individuals completing the training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serve dislocated workers who have lost their jobs due to manufacturing plant closures, minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, ex-offenders and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment.

Since 1998, when the EWDJT grant program started, more than 288 grants have been awarded. Over 17,100 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 12,500 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of 73 percent of graduates.

For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/.

For more information on EPA's EWDJT program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding.



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EPA Proposes Interim Plan to Address Contamination for Berry’s Creek

 

EPA NEWS RELEASE. www.epa.gov/newsroom
CONTACT: David Kluesner, (212) 637-3653, kluesner.dave@epa.gov
 
EPA Proposes Interim Plan to Address Contamination for Berry's Creek Portion of Ventron/Velsicol Superfund Site in NJ

 

(New York, N.Y. – April 30, 2018)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took an important step towards addressing serious contamination in the Berry's Creek Study Area, which is part of the Ventron/Velsicol Superfund site in Bergen County, N.J., by proposing a plan to take actions to address known sources of the contamination. The Berry's Creek portion of the Superfund site is on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's Emphasis List of Superfund sites. EPA is seeking public comment on its proposal.

Under Administrator Pruitt's leadership, the Superfund Program has reemerged as a top priority to advance the Agency's core mission of protecting human health and the environment. Berry's Creek is both within a site on the National Priorities List and Administrator Pruitt's December 2017 list of Superfund sites targeted for immediate and intense attention.

"The proposed plan will address the worst contamination first as EPA develops a final plan to ensure a comprehensive cleanup of the entire site," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "We are making tremendous progress expediting sites through the entire Superfund remediation process, ensuring polluted areas are addressed quickly and thoroughly." 

"The actions proposed today will mean that we get to the worst pollution in this area first, while we continue to assess what other actions might be needed in the future," said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. "We know these heavily contaminated areas are contributing to environmental degradation in the Meadowlands, and if we can address these, we will go a long way toward addressing contamination throughout the Berry's Creek area."

"The nation's Superfund program, based on contaminated site objectives developed in New Jersey, has been a tremendous success. However, in some cases cleanup work has been too slow," said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. "Placing additional focus and resources on those sites is the right thing to do to ensure protection of natural resources and public health."

Berry's Creek is a tributary to the Hackensack River traveling through Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Lyndhurst, Moonachie, Rutherford, Teterboro, and Wood-Ridge, and includes approximately six miles of waterway, tributaries to the creek, and approximately 750 acres of marshes. The major contaminants in the Berry's Creek Study Area are mercury and PCBs and chromium, which are at high levels in the water and sediment and are also found in the plant and animal life.

Over the course of the past seven years, EPA has overseen an in-depth investigation of the extent of the contamination, examining sediment, water and fish sampling data, as well as assessing how the tidal action in the creek moves sediment through the watershed.

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Berry's Creek Study Area, New Jersey.  Photos courtesy of The ELM Group.

The proposed cleanup plan includes bank-to-bank removal of sediment down to 2 feet in portions of the creek with backfilling and capping equal to the depth removed. The proposed approach is an interim step to address the worst of the pollution. EPA will issue a final plan after further studies evaluate whether the cleanup has been effective. A future cleanup plan for the marsh areas also will be developed.

EPA expects that the estimated $332 million proposed cleanup would be conducted and paid for by a group of parties legally responsible for the contamination with oversight by the EPA.

The EPA will hold a public meeting on May 9th in Little Ferry, NJ to explain the cleanup proposal and other options considered and to take public comments.

Little Ferry Public Library

239 Liberty Street

Little Ferry, NJ 07643

6:30pm-8:30pm

 

Comments will be accepted until June 6, 2018.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:

Doug Tomchuk, Remedial Project Manager

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

290 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10007

Email: tomchuk.doug@epa.gov

 

EPA established a Superfund Task Force in May 2017 to provide recommendations for improving and expediting site cleanups and promoting redevelopment. The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations.

To see the EPA's cleanup proposal and the full history of the site, please visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/ventron-velsicol

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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U of Md Takes Second Prize in EPA Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for Innovative Design

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Contact: David Sternberg 215-814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

 

University of Maryland Takes Second Prize in EPA Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge

for Innovative Design of Green Infrastructure on Campus

PHILADELPHIA (April 26, 2018) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of its sixth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national collegiate competition that engages the next generation of environmental professionals to design innovative solutions for stormwater pollution.

"Today's students are tomorrow's innovators," said EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator David Ross. "Through EPA's Campus RainWorks Challenge, we are harnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of college students to solve local stormwater problems and better protect the environment."

The University of Maryland, College Park Took 2nd Place Nationally in the Master Plan Category for the "Champion Gateway" project which integrates multiple green infrastructure practices into a campus entryway and pedestrian corridor adjacent to the proposed Purple Line, a light rail system that will connect Metro service lines and bring increased foot traffic to the University.

The team's design decreases impervious surface by over 70 percent and increases tree canopy by planting more than 350 new trees. The redesigned site provides environmental and aesthetic value to the College Park campus, and highlights the wisdom of aligning transportation and water infrastructure planning. Watch the team's video about their project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVX1b2prIwg&feature=youtu.be.

"The competition provides a wonderful learning opportunity for students from a variety of different programs to come together to improve and enhance the management of stormwater on the university campus," said University of Maryland Professor and Campus RainWorks Challenge Faculty Advisor Victoria Chanse. "This competition encouraged critical conversations among stakeholder groups as part of this process for the university to envision what sustainable stormwater management looks like in the face of large-scale campus development."

Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution in America, conveying pollutants to waterbodies, contributing to downstream flooding, and threatening public health and the environment. The Campus RainWorks Challenge asks students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the country to apply green infrastructure design principles, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on the nation's college campuses.

EPA invited student teams to compete in two design categories: the Master Plan category, which examines how green infrastructure can be broadly integrated across campus; and, the Demonstration Project category, which focuses on how green infrastructure can address stormwater pollution at a specific site on campus. With the help of a faculty advisor, teams of students focused their expertise, creativity, and energy on the challenges of stormwater management and showcased the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure.

Other RainWorks challenge winners include the following:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1st Place Demonstration Project Category) – The team's project "Campus Hydro Redesigned" integrates a variety of green infrastructure practices into a campus parking lot, reducing impervious area, and completely mitigating the stormwater runoff from remaining impervious surfaces. Using descriptive signage and native vegetation, the team's design also seeks to add ecological, social, and aesthetic value to the site, converting parking space into a multi-functional campus amenity. Watch the team's video about their project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsWU9oXhSN8&t=73s.

University of California, Berkeley (1st Place Master Plan Category) – Titled "(Re)Generations," this project exemplifies long-term commitment and vision in stormwater management. Strawberry Creek is a local water body and defining feature of the Berkeley campus. Using this water body as a connective thread, the team's design strategically phases green infrastructure across the campus, capturing 100 percent of the university's stormwater runoff by 2100, and restoring water quality to the Strawberry Creek watershed. Watch the team's video about their project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRmrjUIsyVw&t=82s.

University of New Mexico (2nd Place Demonstration Project Category) – With their project "Johnson Field (Re)Creation" this team proposes to transform an athletic field to better manage stormwater runoff, reduce local flooding, and improve water efficiency on site. By recessing the playing field two inches and encircling the field with a network of rain gardens and new tree plantings, the design would result in the annual capture of over 1 million gallons of stormwater. Watch the team's video about their project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP0-kBLHmSI&feature=youtu.be.

First place teams will receive a $2,000 student prize to be split among team members and a $3,000 faculty prize to support green infrastructure research and education. Second place teams will receive a $1,000 student prize and a $2,000 faculty prize.

The University of Arizona received an honorable mention in both the Demonstration Project and Master Plan categories.

EPA plans to announce the seventh annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the summer of 2018. Since 2012, nearly 600 teams have participated in the Challenge.

Green infrastructure tools and techniques for stormwater management include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, habitat conservation, rain gardens, and rain harvesting systems. Using these tools decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement "gray" infrastructure such as pipes, filters, and ponds. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks.



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EPA Awards $1.9 Million to Virginia Tech to Research Lead in Drinking Water

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Contact: David Sternberg 215-814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

EPA Awards $1.9 Million to Virginia Tech to Research Lead in Drinking Water

PHILADELPHIA (April 25, 2018) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $1,981,500 in funding to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Va., to research strategies to detect and control lead exposure in drinking water.

"Lead exposure is one of the greatest environmental threats we face as a country, and it's especially dangerous for our children," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "This research will move us one step closer to advancing our work to eradicate lead in drinking water."

Virginia Tech will use this funding to create a consumer-based framework to detect and control lead in drinking water. Researchers will work collaboratively with the public, encouraging citizen scientists to participate in the research. By involving consumers directly in research, this community science project is designed to increase public awareness of lead in water and plumbing at a national scale. This research expands the capacity of the most vulnerable communities to actively participate in identifying risks and evaluating opportunities to mitigate those risks.

"Our team will establish one of the largest citizen science engineering projects in U.S. history to help individuals and communities deal with our shared responsibility for controlling exposure to lead in drinking water through a combination of low-cost sampling, outreach, direct collaboration, and modeling," said Principal Investigator on the Project Dr. Marc Edwards. "We will tap a growing 'crowd' of consumers who want to learn how to better protect themselves from lead, and in the process, also create new knowledge to protect others. Whether from wells or municipalities, we all consume water, and we can collectively work to reduce health risks."

Administrator Pruitt has made it a priority to reduce lead exposure and address associated health impacts, while also protecting America's waters. The grant awarded to Virginia Tech is one of two grants totaling almost four million dollars to detect and control lead in America's drinking water announced today. EPA also awarded $1.9 million to the Water Research Center in Denver, Colo., to create a risk-based model to identify opportunities to mitigate lead exposure from drinking water including at home and among children and pregnant women.

For more information about these grants: https://www.epa.gov/research-grants/water-research-grants.

Background:

On February 16, Administrator Pruitt hosted key members of the Trump Administration to collaborate on the development and implementation of a new Federal Strategy to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Eliminate Associated Health Impacts. The President's Task Force aims to make addressing childhood lead exposure a priority for their respective departments and agencies. Lead exposure, particularly at higher doses, continues to pose a significant health and safety threat to children, preventing them from reaching the fullest potential of their health, their intellect, and their future. No blood lead level is safe for children. EPA and our federal partners are committed to a collaborative approach to address this threat, and improve health outcomes for our nation's most vulnerable citizens – our children.

Unlike most drinking water contaminants, lead is rarely found in the source water used for public water supplies. Instead, lead can enter tap water when plumbing materials containing lead corrode. Exposure to lead causes health problems ranging from stomach problems to brain damage and studies consistently demonstrate the harmful effects of lead exposure on children, including cognitive function and decreased academic performance. It is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

More information about lead: www.epa.gov/lead.



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