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EPA Releases $54.3 Million in Remediation Funds


EPA Releases $54.3 Million in Remediation Funds "The grants will help transform brownfield sites, such as former manufacturing and mill sites, into productive end uses which directly benefit community residents and create opportunities, including increased housing options, recreational spaces, and jobs," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. EPA recently announced it has selected 243 new brownfield grant investments, totaling $54.3 million to 147 communities nationwide, giving them the funding needed to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties. Each recipient gets $200,000 to $600,000 in funding toward EPA cooperative agreements. "Brownfield sites, because of their locations and associated infrastructure advantages, are community assets and a key component of the Obama administration's efforts to provide tools to sustainably revitalize communities and foster economic development," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "These communities have demonstrated a plan to...
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Drought Stricken Abilene Texas Receives New Technology for Wastewater Reuse


Drought Stricken Abilene Texas Receives New Technology for Wastewater Reuse GE’s LEAPmbr system enables advanced treated wastewater to be sent directly into west Texas city’s reservoir. With chronic droughts and population growth reducing reservoir levels to 30 percent capacity in the West Texas city of Abilene, the city recently completed the installation of GE’s LEAPmbr advanced wastewater treatment system as part of major upgrades to the Hamby Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Despite heavy rainfall that has eased conditions in recent weeks, civic leaders are continuing their efforts to prepare for water scarcity issues in the future. The Hamby Wastewater and Reuse Project is the first part of a multi-phase drought response initiative aimed at addressing the city’s alarmingly low reservoir levels. By using GE’s treatment solution coupled with a reverse osmosis system downstream, the Hamby WWTP now can discharge more than 7 million gallons of treated wastewater a day into Lake...
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Northern Long-Eared Bats Listed as Threatened Species


Northern Long-Eared Bats Listed as Threatened Species The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that the northern long-eared bat will be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that the northern long-eared bat will be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Listing the species with a designation as threatened instead of endangered, as originally proposed, provides official protection of this species, while reducing the regulatory burden, especially to those in the forestry and transportation industries.  Under the ESA, a threatened status allows for implementation of a rule, known as the 4(d) rule, which gives certain projects automatic clearance to proceed. InMichigan, the 4(d) rule allows forest management, maintenance and expansion of existing rights-of-way and transmission corridors, minimal tree removal projects, and certain other activities to occur, as long as the proposed activity will...
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Mutual Housing at Spring Lake Receives First National ZERH Certification for Multifamily Rental Property


Mutual Housing at Spring Lake Receives First National ZERH Certification for Multifamily Rental Property Mutual Housing California just received certification from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) of the first multifamily Zero Energy Ready Home for a rental development in the nation. Mutual Housing California just received certification from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) of the first multifamily Zero Energy Ready Home for a rental development in the nation. “The development at Spring Lake is the first multifamily rental community to be certified under the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program,” said James Lyons, an energy engineer with Davidsonville, Md.-based Newport Partners, a consulting firm that supports the DOE program.   Located on 3.28 acres in Woodland, Calif., Mutual Housing at Spring Lake has 62-apartments and townhomes for agricultural workers. The first families already have moved in. The photovoltaic solar energy system and the water-based heating and air system is...
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Study Finds Fine Particulate Air Pollution Associated with Increased Risk of Autism


Study Finds Fine Particulate Air Pollution Associated with Increased Risk of Autism Exposure to the pollution caused by such things as car exhaust and coal-fired power plants may be associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder, a University of Pittsburgh study has found. By Jenny Wagner Beaver County Times, Pa. Exposure to the pollution caused by such things as car exhaust and coal-fired power plants may be associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder, a University of Pittsburgh study has found. The research, conducted by Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health, examined exposure to a type of fine particulate air pollution known as PM 2.5, which includes dust, dirt, soot and smoke. The particles in such pollution are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter -- or 1/30th the average width of a human hair -- and are easily inhaled into the lungs and then absorbed into the...
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More Questions than Answers in California Oil Spill


More Questions than Answers in California Oil Spill Tens of thousands of liters of spilled oil from a broken underground pipeline threatened protected waters and wildlife on California's southern coast Wednesday, as US federal and local authorities rushed to contain its spread. By Valerie Hamilton dpa, Berlin Tens of thousands of liters of spilled oil from a broken underground pipeline threatened protected waters and wildlife on California's southern coast Wednesday, as US federal and local authorities rushed to contain its spread. The spill has blackened white sands at Refugio State Beach, near the coastal city of Santa Barbara, and 188 kilometers north-west of Los Angeles. Oil spread by wind and waves left a greasy sheen over 23 square kilometers of Pacific coastal waters extending to the south and east. The oil spilled Tuesday when an underground pipeline along the coast ruptured, leaking as much as 400,000 liters of oil into the...
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Duke Energy Fined $102 Million for Polluting Rivers with Coal Ash


Duke Energy Fined $102 Million for Polluting Rivers with Coal Ash Duke Energy, the nation's largest electrical utility, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to nine criminal violations of the Clean Water Act for polluting four major rivers for several years with toxic coal ash from five power plants in North Carolina. By David Zucchino Los Angeles Times Duke Energy, the nation's largest electrical utility, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to nine criminal violations of the Clean Water Act for polluting four major rivers for several years with toxic coal ash from five power plants in North Carolina. The $50.5-billion company was fined $102 million and placed on five years of probation for environmental crimes. All company compliance related to coal ash in five states will be overseen by a court-appointed monitor and reported to federal parole officers. U.S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard approved the plea agreement Thursday morning...
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Judge Rejects Freedom Industries Bankruptcy Plan


Judge Rejects Freedom Industries Bankruptcy Plan U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson, in a 10-page order, said Freedom Industries' plan was not acceptable primarily because of "the unsettled terms of environmental remediation, a matter of highest priority in the case." By Ken Ward Jr. The Charleston Gazette A federal judge on May 13 rejected the latest bankruptcy plan from Freedom Industries and ordered the company to focus on meeting state Department of Environmental Protection mandates about cleanup of the company's Etowah Terminal, site of the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 area residents. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson turned down a request from Freedom for an expedited status conference to discuss the company's growing dispute with DEP over remediation of the site and sided with an earlier objection from agency officials to a $6.7 million bankruptcy plan that would have set aside just $150,000 for future...
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Officials Continue to Examine Simi Valley Homes for Mercury Exposure


Officials Continue to Examine Simi Valley Homes for Mercury Exposure Officials continued Tuesday to examine Simi Valley homes for possible mercury contamination but said early tests indicate it was confined to a small area around the actual spill. By Cindy Von Quednow Ventura County Star, Calif. Officials continued Tuesday to examine Simi Valley homes for possible mercury contamination but said early tests indicate it was confined to a small area around the actual spill. The mysterious spill of the toxic metal was reported about noon Monday on a driveway in the 4100 block of East Cochran Street, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The spill was near Santa Susana Elementary School, but the school was not affected and remained open, officials said. Authorities recommended the evacuation of six homes near the spill Monday, but residents in two of them decided not to leave, officials said. The others will not be...
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Value of Water Coalition Highlights Innovative Programs


Value of Water Coalition Highlights Innovative Programs The coalition's new briefing paper, "The New Wave of Water Innovation," touts the programs of five agencies around the country. The Value of Water Coalition has issued a briefing paper titled "The New Wave of Water Innovation" to highlight creative programs by agencies around the country that are solving problems of scarcity and supply, pollution, and stormwater capture. "Around the country, water agencies, business leaders, and communities are meeting the [water infrastructure] challenge and implementing ingenious and creative solutions," the paper states. "Water utilities do more than provide an essential 24/7 service--they also serve as economic anchors, environmental stewards, and good community partners." The agencies featured in the report are: The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which is reducing the amount of polluted water discharged into Lake Erie through construction of tunnels, treatment plant improvements, and green infrastructure projects to reduce overflows from aging...
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