Feds say water cuts to 3 states are enough to protect Colorado River – for now

National News
By Jennifer Solis; Idaho Capital Sun California, Arizona and Nevada agreed to collectively reduce water use by at least 3 million acre-feet through end of 2026 The plan by three states to reduce water use by millions of acre-feet is sufficient to keep major reservoirs in the West from reaching critically low levels and prevent additional water cuts — at least temporarily. (Jeniffer Solis/Nevada Current) A robust water year for the Colorado River has given states that rely on the mighty waterway a few more years of stability as climate change takes its toll, federal officials said Wednesday. Last year, federal officials gave Western states two options to protect the over-allocated Colorado River from the effects of a two-decade megadrought: Either reach a consensus to voluntarily reduce water use or…
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NRCS bulletin on refining FY24 source water protection local priorities

National News
Deirdre White; ASDWA The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has released its new national bulletin on “Refining Source Water Protection Local Priorities for FY 2024.” The purpose of the bulletin is to provide an opportunity for NRCS State Conservationists to work with partners (including state source water protection programs) to update the high priority source water protection (SWP) areas in each state. This bulletin is issued each year to refine the areas and continue to implement the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill that requires NRCS to dedicate at least 10 percent of its conservation program funds for source water protection. State source water protection programs are encouraged to contact and continue working with your NRCS State Conservationists office and State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and/or the source water…
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EPA Announces $263 Million WIFIA Loan to Boise, Idaho to Modernize Wastewater Infrastructure and help recharge the Boise River water supply

Idaho News, National News
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $263 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Boise, Idaho, to support its Water Renewal Services Capital Investments Project. With this WIFIA loan, EPA is helping the City of Boise improve wastewater treatment processes to protect the Boise River’s water quality and ultimately recharge the drought burdened Boise River with high quality effluent. “Maintaining and upgrading water infrastructure is essential for the health of a community like Boise, which is a fast-growing city struggling with drought,” EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox said. “Thanks to this WIFIA loan, the City of Boise can upgrade wastewater treatment technology to better safeguard the Boise River and even help recharge its water supply while providing good-paying jobs.”…
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EPA Announces FY 2022 Enforcement and Compliance Accomplishments

National News
EPA Press Office WASHINGTON – Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) announced the FY 2022 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results report, highlighting increased inspections in the aftermath of the pandemic, reductions in significant noncompliance under the Clean Water Act, and aggressive actions to target the most serious water, air, land, and chemical violations that impact communities across the countryTaken together, OECA’s criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement cases reduced, treated or eliminated pollutants by 95 million pounds and required violators to pay over $300 million in penalties, fines and restitution. In keeping with EPA’s Strategic Plan, OECA focused on working to mitigate the effects of climate change and advance environmental justice in the enforcement program.“In FY 2022, EPA’s enforcement and compliance program used a…
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Feds restore WA water quality standards for chemical discharges

National News
By Isabella Breda; The Spokesman Review SEATTLE - In a reversal of Trump administration policies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week reinstated federal water quality standards for chemicals discharged into Washington state waterways. The final rule signed Monday would ensure polluters stay within federally established levels of chemicals or conditions in a body of water that are not expected to cause adverse health effects. Through the years, the water quality standard for polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs — chemicals found in dyes, paint, building materials, coolants and other products — have been a point of contention. Industry leaders, like paper and pulp manufacturers, previously argued there was no technology available to bring wastewater discharge of PCBs to the low levels that were required. Sometimes these standards are aspirational, said Bill…
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Feds Sue Driggs, Idaho for Excess Pollutants in Wastewater

Idaho News, National News
Bloomberg Law The City of Driggs, Idaho illegally discharged pollutants from its sewer system, the US says in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act. Driggs’ wastewater treatment plant and sewage collection system failed to comply with the city’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which allowed it to release wastewater from an outfall if it followed certain discharge limits, according to the lawsuit. The complaint, filed Monday in the US District Court for the District of Idaho, says the city didn’t comply with the permit’s limits for E. coli, ammonia, and other biochemicals on various days within the past five years. Some sampling records lacked signatures, dates, and times, the lawsuit said. The EPA entered into a consent agreement with the city in 2018 to resolve the…
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‘Forever Chemicals’ in Deer, Fish Challenge Hunters, Tourism

National News
By Patrick Whittle; Associated Press Wildlife agencies are finding elevated levels of PFAS checmicals in game animals such as deer, prompting new restrictions on hunting and fishing. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) This photo provided by the National Wildlife Federation shows a sign warning hunters not to eat deer because of high amounts of toxic chemicals in their meat, in Oscoda, Mich., March 26, 2021. (Drew YoungeDyke, NWF). PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Wildlife agencies in the U.S. are finding elevated levels of a class of toxic chemicals in game animals such as deer — and that's prompting health advisories in some places where hunting and fishing are ways of life and key pieces of the economy. Authorities have detected the high levels of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in deer…
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ASDWA resource provides definition of ‘disadvantaged community’ by state under SDWA

National News
Water Finance and Management ASDWA has announced the launch of its new Environmental Justice webpage. The webpage includes ASDWA’s environmental justice strategy, developed by ASDWA’s members and staff and will guide the association’s work in the future, as well as a variety of resources related to environmental justice and drinking water. Most notably, ASDWA staff worked with members to include a table that provides the text definition of a disadvantaged community for each state, along with the link to where that definition can be found (Intended Use Plans, regulations, statute, or policy). Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, states are responsible for defining what constitutes a disadvantaged community. States use these definitions to make determinations and help prioritize the funds for drinking water infrastructure that are distributed to communities and water…
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Yellowstone flooding reveals forecast flaws as climate warms

National News
By Matthew Brown and Amy Beth Hanson; Associated Press A house sits in Rock Creek after floodwaters washed away a road and a bridge in Red Lodge, Mont., on June 15, 2022. As cleanup from historic floods at Yellowstone National Park grinds on, climate experts and meteorologists say the gap between the destruction in the area and what was forecast underscores a troublesome trend tied to climate change: Modeling programs used to predict storms aren't keeping up with increasingly extreme weather. (AP Photo/David Goldman) BILLINGS, Montana (AP) — The Yellowstone National Park area’s weather forecast the morning of June 12 seemed fairly tame: warmer temperatures and rain showers would accelerate mountain snow melt and could produce “minor flooding.” A National Weather Service bulletin recommended moving livestock from low-lying areas but…
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EPA moves to give states, tribes more power to protect water rights

National News
By Michael Phillis & Suman Naishadham; Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday proposed undoing a Trump-era rule that limited the power of states and Native American tribes to block energy projects like natural gas pipelines based on their potential to pollute rivers and streams. The Clean Water Act allows states and tribes to review what effect pipelines, dams and some other federally regulated projects might have on water quality within their borders. The Trump administration sought to streamline fossil fuel development and made it harder for local officials to block projects. The Biden administration’s proposed rule would shift power back to states, tribes and territories. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement that the agency’s draft regulation would empower local entities to…
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