SepticSmart Tools and Outreach Webinar

SepticSmart Week Seal 2016

On Thursday, September 8 from 1:00 – 2:00pm (eastern), EPA will conduct a webinar to explore tools and outreach efforts for the upcoming SepticSmart Week 2016 that is being held September 19-23.  The purpose of SepticSmart Week is to: inform homeowners on proper septic system care; assist state and local governments and organizations in promoting homeowner education and awareness; and educate local decision makers about infrastructure options available to improve and sustain communities. MOU partners and stakeholders are invited to share SepticSmart materials, hold events, and raise awareness during the week. Webinar speakers will provide an overview of available materials, share their successes from past SepticSmart Week events and share tools and ideas to encourage attendees to participate in 2016. For additional information on the Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership and on SepticSmart Week 2016 please visit: https://www.epa.gov/septic.  Register for the webinar HERE.

Register Now for the August 25th Creative Partnerships Webinar by the Source Water Collaborative

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Register now for the Creative Partnerships webinar on August 25th from 12-1pm (eastern) that will be the first in the Source Water Collaborative’s (SWC) new Learning Exchange webinar series. The Learning Exchange has been launched in celebration of the SWC’s ten-year anniversary and aims to strengthen the effectiveness of source water practitioners across the country by providing a platform to share experiences, transfer knowledge, and learn about funding and technical resources available to support their efforts.

During this first webinar, source water protection leaders will discuss their experiences with non-traditional partners and share tips on:  how to select potential partners and establish new partnerships; common barriers encountered and ways to overcome them; and sustaining and expanding partnerships for long-term engagement. Webinar presentations will include:

  • Lynn Thorp from Clean Water Action, and Steve Via from American Water Works Association (AWWA), who will share how they partnered with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) to register their concerns with EPA that the final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards should not leave water systems to grapple with bromide when a Clean Water Act program could help them avoid Safe Drinking Water Act compliance problems caused by pollution discharges upstream.
  • Jim Capurso with the U.S. Forest Service, who will share tips from the Drinking Water Providers Partnership, an effort that facilitates environmental conservation and restoration in municipal watersheds across the Northwest. This partnership includes multiple agencies: USDA Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Washington Department of Health, the EPA, the Bureau of Land Management, the Geos Institute, and WildEarth Guardians.

Registration is free and open to anyone who would like to participate.

SAB Completes Peer Review for EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study

EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) has just published its peer review of the June 2015 “Draft Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.” The SAB peer review document recommends that EPA:  revise the major findings to provide clarity and adequacy of support for drawing national-level conclusions about the lack of evidence for widespread, systemic impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources; better recognize the importance of local level impacts; more clearly describe the probability, risk and relative significance of potential hydraulic fracturing-related failure mechanisms; compile toxicological information on constituents employed in hydraulic fracturing in a more inclusive manner; distinguish between hydraulic fracturing constituents injected into a well vs. constituents that come out of the well in produced fluids; and more.

EPA will use the SAB’s final comments and suggestions, along with scientific research papers and public comments received by the Agency, to revise and finalize the Assessment Report by the end of 2016.  To view the SAB Peer Review document, go HERE.

New Release – Updated Online Version of EPA’s CREAT Tool for Water Utility Climate Resilience

 

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EPA has just released an updated online version of its Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT).  CREAT is designed for the use of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities and promotes a clear understanding of the climate science and pertinent adaptation options by translating current and complex climate projection data into a series of intuitive modules.  CREAT now provides monetized risk results, which promotes a common and mutual understanding of climate change impacts. With this powerful information, utility owners and operators can make advancements to curtail the impacts of climate change, particularly by implementing no regrets adaption options, those that provide benefits regardless of future climate conditions.  This tool was developed in consultation with drinking water and wastewater utilities, as well as water sector associations, climate science and risk assessment subject matter experts, and multiple Federal partners. Click the following links to see how CREAT has benefited utilities such as Camden, New Jersey and Faribault, Minnesota.

This fall, CRWU will host a series of webinars to introduce 2.0 users to the many updates included in CREAT 3.0, so stay tuned.  For more information and to use CREAT, visit EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities website.

EPA Publishes Scientific Papers for Hydraulic Fracturing Study

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As part of EPA’s “Draft Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources,” the Agency has now published over 25 peer-reviewed research papers.  EPA conducted this original, independent, and peer-reviewed research to address key study questions. These papers include analysis of existing data, case studies, laboratory and toxicity studies, and scenario evaluations.  Together, these technical reports and journal articles, along with over 950 publications from other sources, have informed the development of the Hydraulic Fracturing Assessment Study. Future papers will also be posted as they become available.  The Agency is currently waiting for the Science Advisory Board (SAB) to complete their peer review of the Agency’s June 2015 Draft Assessment and expects to finalize the Assessment Report by the end of 2016.  For more information and to view the scientific papers, visit EPA’s website.

White House CEQ Releases New Climate Change Guidance for Federal NEPA Reviews

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has released its final guidance for Federal agencies on how to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. The guidance was developed over the course of several years with input from members of Congress, state agencies, tribes, corporations, trade associations, and other stakeholders.  It is intended to help agencies make informed and transparent decisions about the impacts of climate change on water availability, ocean acidity, sea-level rise, ecosystem functions, energy production, agriculture and food security, air quality, and human health.

In March 2015, the USGS Advisory Committee on Water Information’s Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change Workgroup (ACWI WRACC) in which ASDWA and a representative from the New Hampshire Drinking Water Program participate, reviewed the 2014 draft version of the guidance and provided comments that were integrated into this final version.  Some of the WRACC Workgroup’s comments that are reflected in the new guidance include:  a reference to the National Action Plan:  Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate (on page 23) as the type of interagency strategy that provides “relevant and useful information that can be considered” as agencies conduct NEPA reviews of climate change impacts on proposed projects; new language on recognizing the greenhouse gas benefits of water management practices related to wetlands and reservoirs (on page 25); and stronger language with respect to making sure that Federal actions themselves are resilience to the effects of a changing climate (on page 5, 21 and 24).

For more information and to read the guidance, visit the White House website.

Learning Exchange Launch and Webinar by the Source Water Collaborative

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The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) is celebrating its ten-year anniversary with the launch of the new Learning Exchange—an information sharing platform for people and organizations working to protect sources of drinking water.  The Learning Exchange aims to strengthen the effectiveness of source water practitioners across the country by providing a platform to share experiences, transfer knowledge, and learn about funding and technical resources available to support their efforts.  Over the next five months (August –December 2016), the Learning Exchange will offer organized events, communications, and resources by theme.  For this first month’s theme of Creative Partnerships, the SWC has posted a variety of resources and photos from its member organizations on its webpage; developed sample tweets for sharing information through social media, developed a document with tips for collaborating with nontraditional partners, and will conduct a webinar as follows.

 

Webinar on August 25th from 12-1pm (eastern):  ASDWA will host the first Creative Partnerships webinar in the Learning Exchange webinar series. During the webinar, source water protection leaders will discuss their experiences with non-traditional partners and share tips on how to select potential partners and establish new partnerships; common barriers encountered and ways to overcome them; and sustaining and expanding partnerships for long-term engagement. Registration is free and open to anyone who would like to participate.  Webinar presentations will include:

  • Lynn Thorp from Clean Water Action, and Steve Via from American Water Works Association (AWWA), will share how they partnered with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) to make sure EPA heard that the final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards should not leave water systems to grapple with bromide when a Clean Water Act program could help them avoid Safe Drinking Water Act compliance problems caused by pollution discharges upstream.
  • Jim Capurso with the U.S. Forest Service will share tips from the Drinking Water Providers Partnership, an effort that facilitates environmental conservation and restoration in municipal watersheds across the Northwest. This partnership includes multiple agencies: USDA Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Washington Department of Health, the EPA, the Bureau of Land Management, the Geos Institute, and WildEarth Guardians.

 

Learning Exchange Webpage:  Visit the SWC’s new webpage to find more tools and testimonials to help you get started finding the right partners.  Learning Exchange resources and events are available to all interested groups, and you are encouraged to participate and contribute in ways that suit you and your organization’s interests. Opportunities will vary each month and may include:

  • Stories of success that showcase projects and partnerships making a difference in communities across the country and how others may duplicate these successes.
  • Knowledge sharing events such as webinars, brown bags, and virtual workshops.
  • Shareable quotes, graphics, and tips to support your organization’s operations and outreach efforts.
  • Technical and educational materials recommended to peers by Collaborative member organizations and Learning Exchange participants.
  • Opportunities to converse with peers through online networking forums and social media.

 

The Source Water Collaborative offers a unique vehicle to bring together various perspectives and expertise that individuals and organizations may not be able to access on their own. Through the platforms of our national members and network of local collaboratives, we can offer a powerful venue for participants to connect with partners and build collective understanding.

 

Want to share your story on the Learning Exchange?  Do you have a success story, valuable tip, or technical resource you would like to share? Reach out to info@sourcewatercollaborative.org with your idea.

Study Published on Drinking Water Treatment Costs Associated with Watershed Degradation

The findings of a study about the impact of watershed degradation on drinking water treatment costs has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  The study is entitled, “Estimating Watershed Degradation Over the Last Century and its Impact On Water-Treatment Costs for the World’s Large Cities.”  The study uses raw water quality data from the drinking water intakes of 309 large cities across the globe, combined with long-term data on anthropogenic land-use change in their source watersheds, and data on water-treatment costs to determine the type and intensity of water treatment needed to reach drinking water standards.  Anthropogenic activity is highly correlated with sediment and nutrient pollution levels, which is in turn highly correlated with treatment costs.  The findings show that:

  • Globally, urban source watershed degradation is widespread, with 9 in 10 cities losing significant amounts of natural land cover in their source watersheds to agriculture and development.
  • Watershed degradation has impacted the cost of water treatment for about one in three large cities globally, increasing those costs by about half.
  • This increase in cost matters because increases in water-treatment costs are paid for by those living in cities, so watershed degradation has had a real quantitative cost to hundreds of millions of urbanites.

To read the full article, visit the PNAS website.

Plan Now for Protect Your Groundwater Day and SepticSmart Week in September

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Protect Your Groundwater Day:  The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) is encouraging the protection of public health and the health of the environment by celebrating “Protect Your Groundwater Day.” This year’s celebration will take place on September 6, where every citizen is encouraged to ACT: Acknowledge the causes of preventable groundwater contamination, Consider which apply to you, and then Take action by keeping groundwater safe from contamination, as well as using it wisely by not wasting it.  State drinking water programs should consider sharing information about “Protect Your Groundwater Day” with their water utilities and residents, as a means to create greater awareness about protecting this valuable resource.  For more information, visit the NGWA website and WellOwner.org website. To ask questions, please contact Cliff Tryens of NGWA at ctreyens@ngwa.org.

SepticSmart Week Seal 2016

SepticSmart Week:  Each year, EPA holds SepticSmart Week with outreach activities to encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. This year, SepticSmart Week will be held from September 19-23.  State drinking water programs and communities will want to use this opportunity to inform homeowners on proper septic system care, promote homeowner education and awareness, and educate local decision makers about infrastructure options available to improve and sustain communities. Visit EPA’s website to download SepticSmart materials and a proclamation template, read about suggested events and activities, and view highlights and case studies of community efforts across the nation.

Webinar on “Imagine a Day Without Water”

 

The Value of Water Coalition will host a webinar about their “Imagine A Day Without Water” national campaign on Wednesday, August 3rd, from 1:00pm – 2:00pm (eastern).  The campaign is aimed at engaging stakeholders, public officials, and the general public on how water is essential, invaluable, and needs investment.  The campaign will be celebrated on September 15, 2016 with hundreds of organizations across the country hosting events, authoring resolutions, taking to social media, and more, to show why water is important to our economies, jobs, communities, environment, and daily lives.  The webinar will highlight opportunities to participate in this national campaign that will help educate stakeholders and citizens – through events, online engagement, school curriculum, and partnering with organizations inside and beyond the water sector.  Register for the webinar here.