EPA Publishes Flyers Summarizing Bioassessment Program Reviews and the BCG Online
EPA has posted online two new flyers that summarize key information found in two longer, previously published EPA technical documents on biological assessment of water bodies. These two flyers can be accessed at:
- Assessing Level of Technical Rigor to Support Water Quality Management (EPA 822-F-21-002)
- A Practitioners Guide to the Biological Condition Gradient: A Framework to describe incremental change in aquatic ecosystems (EPA 822-F-21-001)
Requested by state water quality program managers and staff, the flyers provide easily understandable information for states, tribes and territories that are considering developing and applying the methods and processes described in these technical documents:
- Biological Assessment Program Review: Assessing Level of Technical Rigor to Support Water Quality Management (EPA 820-R-13-001), published in 2013, and
- A Practitioner’s Guide to the Biological Condition Gradient: A Framework to Describe Incremental Change in Aquatic Ecosystems (EPA 842-R-16-001), published in 2016.
For more information, please contact Susan Jackson at U.S. EPA: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPA Biosolids Biennial Report No. 8 (Reporting Period 2018-2019) Released
EPA Biosolids Biennial Report has been released and is posted on EPA’s biosolids website under the banner “What’s New” at this address: https://www.epa.gov/biosolids. The Biennial Report is required by CWA Section 405(d) to identify any additional pollutants that may occur in biosolids and set regulations for those pollutants if sufficient evidence shows they could harm or present risk to human health or the environment.
In Report No. 8, EPA lists the publicly-available science reviewed to identify such pollutants and information necessary to conduct risk assessments, such as occurrence and concentration; toxicity to human health; toxicity to ecological receptors; and, environmental fate and transport.
EPA identified 18 peer-reviewed articles that identified 116 new chemicals that occur in biosolids: 50 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (39 congeners, 10 homologs, and total PCB); four pesticides; 19 flame retardants; eight PFAS; three antibiotics; one metal; two inorganics; and 29 other organics. These articles also provided new or additional data on 48 previously identified chemicals, as well as concentration data for 61 of the 116 new chemicals and for 34 of the chemicals identified in previous biennial review. Data identified from all sources EPA reviewed include the following:
- Concentration data for 61 newly identified chemicals and 34 previously identified chemicals
- Human health toxicity data for four newly identified chemicals and 112 previously identified chemicals
- ECOTOX records for 63 newly identified chemicals and 71 previously identified chemicals
- ECOSAR toxicity data for 99 newly identified chemicals
- BAFs and BCFs for 99 newly identified chemicals
- Physical-chemical property data for 102 newly identified chemicals and five previously identified chemicals.
The Report and a Factsheet are available for download here.
USGS Study, Map Tool Homes In Sources and Yields of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Throughout Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin
A new USGS study uses the USGS SPARROW model to update the description of nitrogen and phosphorus yields and their sources throughout the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin to reflect land use and activities in 2012, the most recent data available. It provides this information at a much finer spatial scale—~ 2-km2 catchments representing 2012 compared to ~ 300-km2 catchments representing 2002.
The study determined that catchments in the Corn Belt and along the Mississippi River had the highest yields (mass per unit area) of N and P. Agricultural activities were the largest source of N and P, but local inputs from wastewater treatment plants in some cases also were large contributors, and natural sources were sizable contributors of P.
Mapping Tool: Study results and the accompanying online mapping tool enable water-quality mangers to identify the locations of the largest sources of nutrients throughout the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin, which will aid actions to reduce nutrient loading that contributes to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.
Citation: Robertson, D.M., and Saad, D.A. 2021. Nitrogen and phosphorus sources and delivery from the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin: An update using 2012 SPARROW models. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12905.
Find data used in the study here.
ASCE Releases Infrastructure Report Card
This week, ASCE released their 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.
“For more than 20 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been releasing its quadrennial Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.” This quadrennial report examines current infrastructure conditions and needs, providing an assessment in 17 different categories, with grading on an A-to-F scale. The Report Card also offers solutions such as “new funding and financing sources for building resilient infrastructure, a permanent fix for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a modernization of state dam safety programs, and a mainstreaming of asset management approaches across various infrastructure sectors.”
Since 1998, ASCE grades for infrastructure have struggled to get out of the D’s. However, more recently, “voters and lawmakers alike have championed smart infrastructure policy and increased investment in our multimodal freight system, drinking water networks, and more.” Infrastructure categories with a direct connection to water include Dams, Drinking Water, Inland Waterways, Levees, Stormwater, and Wastewater.
Infrastructure 2017 Report Grade 2021 Report Grade
Dams D D
Drinking Water D C-
Inland Waterways D D+
Levees D D
Stormwater N/A D
Wastewater D+ D+
Three major recommendations are highlighted in the Report Card to continue to improve U.S. infrastructure:
- Smart investments will only be possible with strong leadership, decisive action, and a clear vision for our nation’s infrastructure future.
- The United States must take specific steps to close the nearly $2.6 trillion investment gap, including from increased, long term, consistent investment by all levels of government and the private sector.
- The United States must utilize new resilient-based approaches, materials, and technologies that can withstand or quickly recover from natural or manmade hazards.
ECOS Publishes Updated State PFAS Standards White Paper
This week, Environmental Council of the States published an updated white paper on state processes and considerations for setting PFAS standards. Revisions include updates to federal actions and analytical methods, state guidelines that have been established or edited since the Feb 2020 publication, a fish and wildlife consumption appendix, and the addition of 6 states.
As ECOS updated its white paper in 2021, some states noted that they monitor for many more PFAS than are actually regulated, and that it would be helpful to get a sense for PFAS that other states monitor for. ECOS began compiling a spreadsheet, and will update it regularly as it receives information from states. Please email Sarah Grace Longsworth of ECOS to include your states’ PFAS monitoring lists.
Proposed Information Collection Request, Comment Request: Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) (Reinstatement)
EPA is planning to submit an information collection request (ICR), “Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) (Reinstatement)” (EPA ICR No. 0318.14, OMB Control No. 2040-0050) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). Before doing so, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described in the Federal Register Notice. This is a reinstatement of the ICR. Comments must be submitted on or before April 30, 2021.
In Case You Missed It: Non-Potable Environmental and Economic Water Reuse (NEWR) Calculator Online
EPA ORD’s NEWR Calculator is a web-based tool for screening-level assessments of source water options for any urban building location across the United States that is considering onsite non-potable reuse (NPR). NEWR allows end-users – communities, states and tribes, building designers, water resource organizations, utility personnel – to identify the most environmentally and cost-effective suite of source water options to meet NPR needs as a function of geography, climate, energy grid, building size, and building type. The calculator estimates potential environmental impacts and avoided impacts of onsite NPR using Life Cycle Assessment guidelines specified by the International Organization for Standardization, and generates a comprehensive Life Cycle Cost Assessment. NEWR allows users to compare water availability, environmental impacts, and cost across four source water options and generate screening-level environmental and cost assessments.
NEWR can be accessed here. A study in Water Research (March 2021) describing results from the NEWR calculator, including environmental impact and life cycle cost of NPR across a range of source waters, building-scales and geographies, is available here.
EPA Announces Availability of Up to $6 Million in Annual Environmental Justice Grants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of up to $6 million in grant funding under The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program and The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program.
EPA will be giving special consideration to the following focus areas:
- Addressing COVID-19 concerns faced by low-income communities and communities of color
- Climate Change and Natural Disaster Resiliency outreach and planning
- New applicants to either opportunity
- Ports Initiative to assist people living and working near ports across the country
- Small non-profits
The EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program’s total estimated funding for this opportunity is approximately $3,200,000. EPA anticipates awarding two cooperative agreements of $160,000 each within each of the 10 EPA Regions. To learn more about pre-application assistance calls and how to apply for funding, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-justice/environmental-justice-collaborative-problem-solving-cooperative-agreement-0.
The EJSG Program estimates approximately $2,800,000 will be awarded to approximately five applications per EPA region in amounts of up to $50,000 per award. This includes the EPA’s Ports Initiative program which anticipates funding up to six additional projects that address clean air issues at coastal and inland ports or rail yards. To learn more about pre-application assistance calls and how to apply for funding, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program.
Applicants interested in either opportunity must submit proposal packages on or before May 7, 2021 to be considered for the available funding. Applicants should plan for projects to begin on October 1, 2021.
For more information on environmental justice grants, funding, and technical assistance: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-grants-funding-and-technical-assistance.
EPA Accepting Nominations to Local Government Advisory Committee, Small Communities Advisory Committee
EPA Office of Intergovernmental Relations invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) and Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee (SCAS). LGAC and SCAS members and qualified nominees hold elected or appointed positions with local, tribal, state, and territorial governments. This notice solicits nominations to fill up to 30 memberships on EPA’s LGAC and 10-15 on the SCAS throughout 2021. Learn more here.
Reminder: Application Deadline TODAY for EPA Great Lakes Trash-Free Waters Grants
In January, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was seeking a second round of applications under the GLRI grant program focused on keeping trash out of the Great Lakes. Approximately $5 million is available through the Trash-Free Waters Great Lakes program to fund approximately 10 large-scale projects to remove trash from Great Lakes harbors, rivermouths, and waterfronts.
The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5, 2021 – Applications must be submitted to EPA through grants.gov by 10:59 pm Central / 11:59 pm, Eastern. See Section IV of the RFA for further submission information: Link to the RFA on grants.gov
- General RFA Contact for administrative, eligibility, and other general RFA questions
Victoria Raymond (email@example.com) 312-886-7981
- Technical Contact – for questions about Trash Removal from Great Lakes Rivermouths and Harbors
James Schardt (firstname.lastname@example.org) 312-353-5085
Don’t Forget to Register for the 2021 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting!
Registration for the 2021 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting is still open! To register, please log into your Member365 Portal and click the Event tab in your navigation menu.
Upon your registration, you will be provided with links to sign up for the first and second days of virtual sessions. Please do not share these links with anyone, as these are closed sessions for states, interstates, and EPA staff only. If you have a colleague who would like to attend, please direct them to contact Rosie Kay who will create their Member365 account (if necessary), or to log in and register through this event.
Meetings and Webinars
EPA Announces NEJAC 2021 Public Meetings
The EPA has confirmed three dates for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) public meetings. These free meetings are open to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments relevant to the specific issues being considered by the NEJAC.
Each meeting is being held from approximately 1:00-7:00 pm (ET). Registration is REQUIRED.
- Register for the March 24, 2021 Public Meeting
- Register for the May 6, 2021 Public Meeting
- Register for the June 17, 2021 Public Meeting
Agenda: The meeting discussions will focus on several topics including, but not limited to, EPA administration transition priorities, and discussions and deliberations of a charge related to the reuse and revitalization of Superfund and other contaminated sites. A public comment period relevant to the specific issues will be considered by the NEJAC at each meeting.
Public Comment Period: Each meeting will have a public comment period from approximately 5:00-6:00 pm (ET). To learn about the Public Comment Guidelines, please visit the NEJAC Guidelines for Public Comment Sessions page.
For more information on the NEJAC, visit the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council site.
To learn about nominating yourself or another individual to the NEJAC, visit the Nominations to the NEJAC site.
Disaster Preparedness and Response Training Event
Monday, March 8, 2021 | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST / 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. CST
Training Registration: https://nih.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJIsfuGsrDIoEui_vFwzanLHtFMwQO6K5As
Target Audience: Community members, grassroots organizations, local and state governments, and volunteers
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) will host a virtual disaster response training as part of the Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice (EJ) EJ and Natural Disasters Subcommittee Town Hall Meetings.
The training will be conducted by WTP grantees and aims to provide a general awareness about how to safely respond to disasters. Participants will learn more about preparedness, mental health resilience, and response as it relates to hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters or public health emergencies.
Space is limited for this event and is on a first-come, first-served basis. This is a free event; however, registration will close when capacity is reached. The Zoom link will be sent to you once we receive your registration, assuming space is available.
This event will be primarily in English; however, simultaneous interpretation will be available during the general session.
Member Services Associate | ACWA
Location: Washington, D.C.
Closing Date: March 12, 2021
ACWA seeks to fill the position of Member Services Associate. This position reports to and supports the Executive Director in the development and implementation of the association’s mission, goals, and policies. The Member Services Associate is a vital member of our team and reports to and works directly with the Executive Director and collaborates with other key staff. The Member Services Associate should be a recent college graduate with 1-4 years of experience and have strong writing, communication, and research skills. An interest in communications, meeting planning, marketing, technology and association management is desirable.
A full job description and how to apply may be found here.
The WOTUS Workgroup will meet on March 10, 2021, from 2:00 to 3:30 PM ET. The call will focus on permitting and compliance issues confronting states as they implement the new NWPR. The WOTUS Workgroup is a state to state group focused on identifying the issues surrounding implementation of the new NWPR. If you are interested in joining the workgroup, please contact Julia Anastasio or Jasper Hobbs.