EPA Water Utility Climate Resilience Pilots Announced

EPA has announced that it will provide up to $600,000 in training and technical assistance to help drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities in more than 20 communities bolster their climate change resilience and readiness  These communities will participate in a multi-year pilot program using EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) software that helps users identify assets, threats and adaptation options to help reduce risk from climate change such as droughts, more intense and frequent storms, flooding, sea-level rise and changes to water quality.

The communities receiving assistance from EPA include:  ​Auburn, AL; ​Austin and Houston, TX; ​Blair, NE; ​Bozeman and Helena, MT; Faribault, MN; ​Fredericktown, MO; ​Haworth, NJ; ​Henryville, IN; ​Hillsboro, KS; ​Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA; ​Nome, AR; ​Norfolk, VA; ​Portsmouth, NH; ​Redwood Valley, CA; ​Sandpoint, Idaho; and the Seminole Tribe, FL.

For more information, visit EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) web site.

EPA Awards Great Lakes HABs Grants to Ohio, Michigan and Indiana

EPA has awarded four Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants totaling over $8.6 million to Ohio, Michigan and Indiana state agencies to protect public health by targeting harmful algal blooms in western Lake Erie.  These Great Lake Restoration Initiative grants to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (approximately $5.9 million), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (over $1.5 million), the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (approximately $807,000) and the Indiana Department of Agriculture (approximately $360,000) will fund eight projects.  The grants will be used to provide technical assistance and incentives to farmers in western Lake Erie watersheds to reduce phosphorus runoff that contributes to harmful algal blooms, and to improve measurement of phosphorus loads in Lake Erie tributaries.  The recently released GLRI Action Plan lays out a strategy for increased federal efforts to reduce agricultural and urban runoff in these priority watersheds during 2015-19.

For more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and to view the Action Plan:  visit the web site at http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/glri/.

Now Available – CWA-SDWA Toolkit to Protect Sources of Drinking Water

We are very pleased to announce the availability of the Opportunities to Protect Drinking Water and Advance Watershed Goals Through the Clean Water Act: A Toolkit for State, Interstate, Tribal and Federal Water Program Managers.  This Toolkit is designed to enable state and EPA water quality practitioners to better protect drinking water supplies using regulatory and non-regulatory provisions of the Clean Water Act and achieve mutual goals – better protected sources of drinking water and improved water quality. A one page fact sheet about the Toolkit is also provided, for your reference.

The Toolkit is the result of a multi-year effort by state and EPA water quality managers across clean water and safe drinking water programs. The group drew on expertise and examples of success from many states to provide the most promising opportunities to address complex water quality challenges that could benefit from a coordinated and collaborative approach, leveraging all available tools and resources.  This Toolkit:

  • identifies opportunities to reduce pollution in drinking water sources by using CWA tools;
  • provides examples of on-the-ground implementation;
  • demonstrates how program managers can align their efforts to protect source water through a combination of actions and institutional relationships that facilitate cross-program coordination at the national, regional, state, and watershed scales to achieve common objectives; and
  • shows how state clean water programs can leverage the high value that consumers place on public health protection and safe drinking water to increase public support for addressing surface and ground water quality challenges more effectively.

We plan to hold webinars, in the near future, to delve into the Toolkit in detail and provide some case examples of how it can be used.  But, please don’t wait for those webinars.  The Toolkit is “good to go” and can be used now to support coordination and collaboration between safe drinking water and clean water managers. FYI, the Toolkit is also being disseminated by state and EPA clean water managers to their respective networks.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the Toolkit.