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Water: Water Headlines

May 14, 2012

1) EPA Releases Draft Permitting Guidance for Using Diesel Fuel in Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing
2) EPA Updates Online Water Quality Standards Guidance
3) Webinar: New Energy Use Assessment Tool for Water and Wastewater Systems, May 31st
4) EPA Approves the Blackfeet Tribe Application to Conduct the Water Quality Standards Program
5) Success Spotlight: Walnut and West Creeks, Kansas -- Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices Improves Dissolved Oxygen Levels in Creeks


1) EPA Releases Draft Permitting Guidance for Using Diesel Fuel in Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing
EPA has released draft underground injection control (UIC) program permitting guidance for class II wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing activities. EPA developed the draft guidance to clarify how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which exempted hydraulic fracturing operations from the requirement to obtain a UIC permit, except in cases where diesel fuel is used as a fracturing fluid.

The draft guidance outlines for EPA permit writers, where EPA is the permitting authority, requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, technical recommendations for permitting those wells, and a description of diesel fuels for EPA underground injection control permitting. The draft guidance describes diesel fuels for these purposes by reference to six chemical abstract services registry numbers. The agency is requesting input on this description.

EPA will take public comment on the draft guidance for 60 days upon publication in the Federal Register to allow for stakeholder input before it is finalized.

More information: http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/hydraulic-fracturing.cfm

2) EPA Updates Online Water Quality Standards Guidance
EPA has updated the online version of its water quality standards handbook (http://epa.gov/wqshandbook) to make it more user-friendly and improve transparency by providing links to EPA's most recent policy documents. The handbook is a compilation of EPA's guidance on the water quality standards program and provides direction for states, territories and authorized tribes in reviewing, revising and implementing water quality standards. Look for the "updated information" boxes located throughout each chapter for links to recent policy and guidance as well as hyperlinks to documents referenced in the handbook text. 

EPA has also consolidated its online water quality standards policy and guidance reference library (http://epa.gov/wqslibrary), which includes relevant water quality standards policy and guidance documents. The library is sortable by document title, issue date, topic and EPA publication number. 

For more information please contact Jennifer Brundage by e-mail at brundage.jennifer@epa.gov or by phone at 202-566-9976.

3) Webinar: New Energy Use Assessment Tool for Water and Wastewater Systems, May 31st
Providing safe drinking water is a highly energy-intensive activity as electricity costs represent up to 60 percent of a water system's operating budget. More and more systems are recognizing the importance of reducing energy consumption as a means to reduce their bottom line costs. For this reason EPA has developed a free, downloadable, Excel-based energy use assessment tool. This tool allows water systems to conduct a utility bill analysis to determine baseline energy consumption and cost. In addition, the tool highlights areas of inefficiency that users may find useful in identifying and prioritizing energy improvement projects.

A webinar on how to perform an energy use assessment at small- to medium-sized water and wastewater systems will be held Thursday, May 31, 2012 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET. Register for this webinar at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/334111822

Download the Energy Use Assessment Tool at: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/energy_use.cfm

4) EPA Approves the Blackfeet Tribe Application to Conduct the Water Quality Standards Program
The Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in north-central Montana has been granted the authority by EPA to administer the water quality standards program under the Clean Water Act (CWA). With this approval, the Tribe is also authorized to administer water quality certifications conducted under CWA Section 401.

Water quality standards established under the CWA set the Tribe's expectations for reservation water quality, serve as a foundation for pollution control efforts and are a fundamental component of watershed management. Specifically, these standards serve as water quality goals for individual surface waters, guide and inform monitoring and assessment activities, and provide a legal basis for permitting and regulatory pollution controls.

Including the Blackfeet Tribe, there are currently 48 Indian Tribes across the U.S. that EPA has found eligible to administer a water quality standards program under the Clean Water Act.

For more information about approval of the Blackfeet Tribe application, please go to http://www.epa.gov/region8/water/wqs/blackfeet.html or send an email to George Parrish at parrish.george@epa.gov.

5) Success Spotlight: Walnut and West Creeks, Kansas -- Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices Improves Dissolved Oxygen Levels in Creeks
EPA's Clean Water Act Section 319 Program provides funding for restoration of nonpoint source-impaired water bodies. Success stories are posted at: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/success319/. This week's success spotlight shines on Walnut and West Creeks, Kansas.

Walnut and West creeks are located in the Toronto Reservoir watershed, which is used primarily as grassland for livestock grazing. Nonpoint source pollution, specifically nutrients from poor pasture management and livestock areas affected water quality, prompting the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to add both creeks to the state's list of impaired waters in 1998 for low levels of dissolved oxygen. Several organizations worked collaboratively with local landowners to implement agricultural best management practices. As a result, water quality monitoring data collected since 2002 showed improved water quality and the department has since removed both creeks from the state's 2010 list of impaired waters for dissolved oxygen impairment.

For more information on this story, visit: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/success319/ks_walnut.cfm

 


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