Lakes-L Blog News

Water Headlines for the week of November 15, 2010.

Water Headlines is a weekly on-line publication that announces publications, policies, and activities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water

In This Week’s Water Headlines:

1) EPA Finalizes Standards to Protect Florida Waters Action to reduce nutrient pollution in lakes and flowing waters, provides strong environmental protection and significant flexibility for Florida’s communities and businesses

2) Eight of Nine U.S. Companies Agree to Work with EPA Regarding Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction: EPA conducting congressionally mandated study to examine the impact of the hydraulic fracturing process on drinking water quality; Halliburton subpoenaed after failing to meet EPA’s voluntary requests for information

3) Analysis of the Use of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Asides: Promoting System Sustainability

4) Subscribe to Water Headlines

1) EPA Finalizes Standards to Protect Florida Waters Action to reduce nutrient pollution in lakes and flowing waters, provides strong environmental protection and significant flexibility for Florida’s communities and businesses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized protective standards to help reduce water pollution that causes harmful algae blooms – the thick, green muck that fouls clear water – which can produce toxins harmful to humans, animals and ecosystems across the state of Florida. The blooms are caused by phosphorous and nitrogen pollution from excess fertilizer, stormwater and wastewater that flows off land into waterways. The final standards set specific numeric limits on the amount of nutrient pollution allowed in Florida’s lakes, rivers, streams and springs. These specific limits will provide much needed predictability and clarity to all involved in protecting water quality compared to the current general standards. Currently, more than 1,900 rivers and streams, 375,000 acres of lakes, and 500 square miles of estuaries are known to be impaired by nutrients in Florida.

These new standards will become effective 15 months from now, allowing cities, towns, businesses, other stakeholders and the state of Florida a full opportunity to review the standards and develop strategies for implementation while Florida continues to recover from the current economic crisis.

EPA engaged in extensive public outreach and consultation with Florida stakeholders by conducting 13 well-attended public hearing sessions in six cities in Florida during a three-month public comment period. The Agency received over 22,000 public comments on our original proposal. EPA worked in close consultation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, along with local experts and government officials, to ensure that the best available science formed the basis for the standards and that implementation would be flexible and cost-effective. Florida’s environmental agency is committed to protecting Florida’s water quality, has a high level of scientific expertise, and one of the country’s best databases on the condition of its waters, all of which played a critical role in shaping the final numeric standards.

During the 15-month period before the numeric standards take effect, EPA will work closely with the state to determine the next steps to achieve the objectives of the standards. The standards do not take a “one-size-fits-all” approach, but reflect conditions in five different watershed regions and allow for case-by-case adjustments based on local environmental factors while maintaining water quality. Governments or other stakeholders can seek special consideration in cases where the state and local communities have extensively assessed water bodies and effective measures are in place to reduce nutrient pollution.

The Florida Wildlife Federation filed a 2008 lawsuit against EPA, resulting in a finding by the previous Administration in January 2009 under the Clean Water Act that nutrient pollution standards are necessary for Florida. The resulting settlement, reflected in a consent decree entered in August 2009, requires EPA to adopt specific or “numeric” nutrient pollution standards for lakes and streams by November 2010. The final rule complies with this consent decree. Under the decree, EPA is required to issue additional standards for Florida’s coastal waters by August 2012 and will soon submit the underlying science for these standards to its independent Science Advisory Board for peer review.

For more information on the final standards for Florida lakes, springs and streams: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/florida_index.cfm

2) Eight of Nine U.S. Companies Agree to Work with EPA Regarding Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction: EPA conducting congressionally mandated study to examine the impact of the hydraulic fracturing process on drinking water quality; Halliburton subpoenaed after failing to meet EPA’s voluntary requests for information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that eight out of the nine hydraulic fracturing companies that received voluntary information requests in September have agreed to submit timely and complete information to help the agency conduct its study on hydraulic fracturing. However, the ninth company, Halliburton, has failed to provide EPA the information necessary to move forward with this important study. As a result, and as part of the agency’s effort to move forward as quickly as possible, EPA issued a subpoena to the company requiring submission of the requested information that has yet to be provided.

EPA’s congressionally mandated hydraulic fracturing study will look at the potential adverse impact of the practice on drinking water and public health. The agency is under a tight deadline to provide initial results by the end of 2012 and the thoroughness of the study depends on timely access to detailed information about the methods used for fracturing. EPA announced in March that it would conduct this study and solicit input from the public through a series of public meetings in major oil and gas production regions. The agency has completed the public meetings and thousands of Americans from across the country shared their views on the study and expressed full support for this effort.

On September 9,  EPA reached out to nine leading national and regional hydraulic fracturing service providers – BJ Services, Complete Production Services, Halliburton, Key Energy Services, Patterson-UTI, RPC, Inc., Schlumberger, Superior Well Services, and Weatherford – seeking information on the chemical composition of fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing process, data on the impacts of the chemicals on human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at their hydraulic fracturing sites and the locations of sites where fracturing has been conducted.

Except for Halliburton, the companies have either fully complied with the September 9 request or made unconditional commitments to provide all the information on an expeditious schedule.  

More information on the subpoena and mandatory request for information on Halliburton’s hydraulic fracturing operations: http://www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing

3) Analysis of the Use of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Asides: Promoting System Sustainability

EPA is releasing the Analysis of the Use of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Asides: Promoting System Sustainability. This document highlights activities financed by Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) capitalization grant set-asides to promote capacity development efforts. A national “one-year snapshot” for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2008 is provided, describing the four different set-asides and highlighting activities that states are pursuing to build system capacity. The body of this document includes specific examples of set-aside uses that states may find relevant to their own capacity development programs.

Copies of this document will be available in hard copy by contacting the Water Resource Center at 202-566-1729 and identifying document number EPA 816-R-10-016. You may also contact the National Service Center for Environmental Publication 1-800-490-9198 to obtain hard copies.  Electronic versions may be found on the EPA website at http://water.epa.gov/type/drink/pws/smallsystems/state_guidance.cfm#state

4) Subscribe to Water Headlines

Please forward this message to your friends and colleagues who share an interest in water-related issues and would like to hear from EPA’s Office of Water. To subscribe to the Water Headlines listserv:  Send an email message, leave the subject line blank, and address it to: waterheadlines-join@lists.epa.gov.

In the body of the message write:

Subscribe Water Headlines first name last name

(Please leave one blank space between each word, do not include any other message, and use your actual name – i.e. Subscribe Water Headlines Robert Jones)

To unsubscribe to the Water Headlines listserv:

Send an email message, leave the subject line blank, and address it to:

leave-waterheadlines@lists.epa.gov

You are subscribed to Lakes-L Blog for Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

This entry was posted in Lake News. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*