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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Five decades after Clean Water Act, half of US waters too polluted to swim or fish

National News
By Amanda Brandeis; Scripps National Correspondent SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Voted into law a half-century ago, the Clean Water Act of 1972 is still far from achieving its ambitious goals. The landmark law aimed to make U.S. waters safe for swimming and fishing by 1983. It also promised to eliminate all discharges of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985. "There were really outrageous incidents of pollution that really brought the issue of water pollution to the public’s attention," said Tom Pelton, director of communications for the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was so polluted that it caught fire. Nearly always covered in oil slicks, industrial runoff polluted the water for decades. "And it happened before in the '50s and the '40s. So much oil…
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Water is Health

National News, Research
By Jim Lauria; Water Online World Water Day both celebrates clean water and reminds us that 2 billion people live without access to it. Safe drinking water is one of the most fundamental elements of health — healthy water keeps people healthy; sick water makes people sick. Though we have come to understand a lot more about the biology and chemistry that link health and water, even our early ancestors sensed the connection — as Marq De Villiers notes, one of the signs of the Apocalypse in ancient writings is "the bitterness of waters." Taking the metaphor into the very availability of water, Robin Clarke and Jannet King wrote in The Water Atlas, "Thus do the four horses of the Apocalypse — war, famine, pestilence, and death — gallop even faster…
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EPA Adds Four New PFAS to Toxic Release Inventory

National News, Research
By Joseph Zaleski and Samuel Boxerman; Sidley Energy Blog As part of its continued focus on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added four PFAS substances to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list, including PFBS (perfluorobutane sulfonic acid) and potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate as well as two compounds listed at by their chemical identifier numbers — CASRN 65104-45-2 and CASRN 203743-03-7. EPA’s decision to add these PFAS to the TRI requires facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use these PFAS chemicals to include them in annual reports made to EPA pursuant to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act starting this reporting year. The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) immediately added 172 PFAS chemicals to the TRI and required annual facility reporting. The NDAA also provided…
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EPA acts to curb air, water pollution in poor communities

National News
By Matthew Daly, AP News WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency announced a series of enforcement actions Wednesday to address air pollution, unsafe drinking water and other problems afflicting minority communities in three Gulf Coast states, following a “Journey to Justice” tour by Administrator Michael Regan last fall. The agency will conduct unannounced inspections of chemical plants, refineries and other industrial sites suspected of polluting air and water and causing health problems to nearby residents, Regan said. And it will install air monitoring equipment in Louisiana’s “chemical corridor” to enhance enforcement at chemical and plastics plants between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The region contains several hotspots where cancer risks are far above national levels. The EPA also issued a notice to the city of Jackson, Mississippi, saying its…
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