Free Webinar on Tools for Monitoring Algal Toxins in Aquatic Environments

The Association of Public Health Laboratories will host a webinar entitled, Tools for Monitoring Algal Toxins in Aquatic Environments on April 22nd, from 3:00pm – 4:00pm (eastern). The webinar will share information about indicators of algal toxin production in aquatic ecosystems as well as current methods for efficiently sampling and monitoring algal toxins. This will include analytical techniques for the extraction and detection of algal toxins in complex matrices; and detection of freshwater algal toxins using mass spectrometry methods.
Registration: The registration deadline is April 20th. Please limit registration using one connection per site and select a site facilitator to register online at www.aphl.org/courses/Pages/100-942-14.aspx.

April AWWA Webinars on Protecting Source Waters

Following are two upcoming webinars from the American Water Works Association that will take place this month. The cost for attending these webinars are the same price, at the individual rate ($75 Member/$120 Nonmembers), or group rate for multiple participants ($255 Members/$370 Nonmembers).

April 9, 1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern)
Watershed, Forest and Source Water Protection Webinar

The purpose of this webinar is to provide information regarding the various functions forests perform in protecting drinking water. The discussion will focus on the forest cover and treatment cost relationship, ecosystem services, US Forest Service’s “Forest to Faucet” effort, and the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ approach on Beneficiaries Pay.
April 30, 1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern)
The Impacts of Nutrient Pollution on Drinking Water Quality Webinar

The primary goals of the webinar are to: explain the linkages between cultural eutrophication and source water quality; and explore a regulatory basis for limiting the adverse effects of cultural eutrophication on drinking water quality. Case studies for preventive or protective chlorophyll criteria from Colorado (established) and New York (proposed) will be presented. Linking source water quality to drinking water quality creates a bridge between the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Join Us April 3rd for the ASDWA-GWPC Webinar on How State Source Water Protection Programs Can Work with Conservation Districts

The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) and the Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC) invite you to join us for this webinar that will be held on April 3, 2014 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern time). State drinking water, ground water, clean water, and agriculture programs, EPA Regions, and other interested stakeholders are encouraged to participate.

The purpose of the webinar is to showcase the new Source Water Collaborative Toolkit and share state source water program experiences from Minnesota and Nebraska in developing relationships and working with their conservation district partners. Participants will hear from state source water protection and conservation partners in these two states as follows:

Nebraska Presenters

  • Ryan Chapman, Wellhead Protection Coordinator, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
  • Marty Stange, Environmental Supervisor, Hastings Utilities
  • Daryl Andersen, Water Quality Specialist, Little Blue Natural Resource District

Minnesota Presenters

  • Mark Wettlaufer, Source Water Protection Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Aaron Meyer, Source Water Specialist, Minnesota Rural Water Association
  • Carrie Raber, Urban Conservationist, Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District

Webinar Registration
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/532151385. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Release Proposed Rule to Clarify Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have jointly released a proposed rule to clarify the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The proposed rule clarifies protection for streams and wetlands and provides definitions that apply to all CWA programs and are consistent with the Supreme Court’s more narrow reading of its jurisdiction.  Following are the highlights for what the proposed rule does and does not include:

The proposed rule does: 

  • Reduce confusion about CWA protection
  • Clarify the types of waters covered under the CWA, based on science to:
    • Protect most seasonal and rain dependent streams
    • Protect wetlands near rivers and streams
    • Allow uncertain connections with other types of waters to be determined by case specific evaluations.
  • Save businesses time and money
  • Provide more benefits to public than costs
  • Help states to protect their waters
  • Preserve existing (and adds new) exemptions and exclusions for agricultural activities

The proposed rule does NOT:

  • Protect any new types of waters
  • Broaden coverage of the CWA
  • Regulate groundwater
  • Expand jurisdiction over ditches

The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 90 days from publication in the Federal Register and the interpretive rule for agricultural activities is effective immediately.  The agencies are launching a robust outreach effort during the 90 day time period to include holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule.  For more information, and to view the proposed rule, visit EPA’s web site at:  http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters.

EPA Offers Numerous Climate-Related Tools and Opportunities

Deirdre Mason:

This article was posted in ASDWA’s Security Notes blog. Preparing for climate change is included in emergency response planning for extreme weather events and also for sustaining source water supplies. If interested in this and other security topics, please consider subscribing to ASDWA’s Security Notes blog.

Originally posted on ASDWA's Security Notes:

The following offers a range of tools, videos, and workgroup initiatives of interest to states and water utilities in their collective efforts to become more climate aware and better prepared for extreme weather events.  All of the resources below can be accessed here:    www.epa.gov/climatereadyutilities

Video

EPA has posted a video online featuring the Waynesboro Water System of Tennessee, which illustrates the system’s efforts to become more climate ready and showcases the adaptive measures implemented to build resilience during extreme events.

Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) 2.0 Highlights

In February 2013, EPA and the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) conducted a CREAT 2.0 assessment of overall risks to the SNWA system and identified opportunities for adaptation. Focus areas included drought, population growth, and short-term and long-term adaptation packages, such as demand management and aquifer recharge.  A report documenting the process and lessons learned with SNWA is available now…

View original 319 more words

New USGS Tools to Assess Nutrient Inputs to US Estuaries and Great Lakes

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program has announced the availability of new web pages with national maps and data tables, as well as a new SPARROW model reporting feature.  These new tools improve access to water-quality modeling information that can be used in the development of nutrient reduction strategies and inform nutrient policies across the nation.  

  • The new USGS web pages with maps and data tables describe nutrient loading to major estuaries throughout the conterminous US and include descriptions of major sources and contributing areas of nutrients to 115 estuaries along the Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest coast, as well as from 160 watersheds draining into the Great Lakes.
  • The online interactive SPARROW model (SPAtially Referenced Regressions on Watershed attributes) Decision-Support System (DSS) has a new reporting feature within the DSS that provides summary information on the amounts and sources of nutrients from upstream states or major hydrologic regions.  Water resource managers interested in a particular stream, reservoir, or estuary can use this feature to estimate how reductions in nutrient sources affect downstream nutrient loads at a stream outlet. For example, output from the new reporting feature shows the amount of nitrogen contributed from each of the 31 states that drain into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River Basin.

Visit the NAWQA program web site for more information on USGS nutrient monitoring and modeling activities.

Plan Now for National Groundwater Awareness Week in March

The 16th annual National Groundwater Awareness Week will take place from March 9-15 this year.  The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) invites you to celebrate the week by helping to educate the public about groundwater and its importance to public health, quality of life, and the environment.  State drinking water programs will want to share the materials and messages that NGWA has created with their utilities and the public about groundwater and water well stewardship (including private well maintenance).  Please take a look at the following resources that are available for your use.  Some can be used as is and others can be adapted or customized to your state or a locale.

For more information and to ask questions, please contact Cliff Treyens of NGWA at ctreyens@ngwa.org.  Also, please let him know if you plan to promote Ground Water Awareness Week, so that he can list you as a promotional partner on their web site.

Kentucky Begins New Source Water Protection Assistance Program Modeled After Washington State

The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) has created a new source water protection assistance program that is modeled after the Washington State grant program.  A big “thank you” to Kitty Weisman of Washington State, who worked with Jessica Moore of Kentucky to help her and her colleagues create the new program. 

Through this program, Kentucky is making up to $60,000 of funding assistance available to public water systems (PWSs), towns, cities, counties, and schools for new and existing projects.  Projects may include:  closing abandoned wells; installing best management practices; or implementing management strategies previously identified in a wellhead or source water protection plan.  The goal of the Kentucky program is to provide funding for small projects that can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time.  The deadline for this year’s applications is March 1st and the funding recipients will have roughly one year following contract submittal to complete projects.   Applicants are not required to provide matching funds or in-kind services to receive funding.  Although, supplemental funding contributions, including in-kind resources, are being taken into consideration during the application evaluation process and the DOW is encouraging partnerships to implement source water protection.

For more information on Kentucky’s program, visit the DOW website at:  http://water.ky.gov/groundwater/Pages/SWPAssistanceProgram.aspx  or contact Jessica Moore of Kentucky at 502-564-3410 or Jessica.Moore2@ky.gov.  

NGWA Offers Free Webinars for Private Well Owners and Stakeholders

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA), with support from EPA, is offering its first three free webinars over the next month as part of its new series.  The series will include a total eight webinars, so stay tuned for more dates and details.  State drinking water programs may want to participate in the webinars and promote them to relevant audiences.  All of the Webinars will also be archived for later viewing.  You may register for one or all of them at www.wellowner.org.  Following are the dates and details about the upcoming webinars. 

 

January 28 at 1:00pm (eastern): Testing Your Well Water: Where Do You Begin?
In this Webinar, participants will learn what every well owner should test for and how to determine what is locally occurring and worthy of testing.  Presenter: Michael Schnieders of Water Systems Engineering in Ottawa, Kansas.

 

February 4 at 1:00pm (eastern): Treating Well Water: Where Do You Begin?
There is no one-size-fits-all water treatment system. This Webinar will help you learn some key fundamentals in selecting the right water treatment system to protect your water quality.  Presenter: Gary Hix of the Arizona Water Well Association.

 

February 26 at 1:00pm (eastern):  Water Well Maintenance: Where Do You Begin?
Water wells are expertly engineered systems that sometimes require maintenance. Learn how to stay on top of maintenance needs to protect water quality.  Presenter: Gary Hix of the Arizona Water Well Association.

GAO Report Cites Need for TMDL Revisions to Improve Water Quality

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report of findings from its study to examine the EPA’s Clean Water Act Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program that is intended to help the nation meet the designated uses and water quality standards established for U.S. water bodies.  The study specifically looked at EPA and state responsibilities in developing and implementing TMDLs, knowledge about established TMDLs, key features needed to achieve water quality standards, and the ability to facilitate implementation.  GAO also asked water resource experts to review a random sample of 25 long-established TMDLs and surveyed state officials to develop its recommendations for Congress and EPA.

 

GAO’s recommendations included that EPA should issue new regulations for TMDL development, adding key features. Further, Congress should consider revising the Clean Water Act’s approach to addressing nonpoint source pollution. In response, EPA has agreed with the need to add key features to TMDLs but did not agree to issue new regulations.

 

For more information, visit the GAO web site.