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Water: Water Headlines

May 29, 2012

1) EPA Launches Competition for College Students to Develop Innovative Approaches to Stormwater Management
2) EPA and Department of Veterans Affairs to Connect Veterans with Jobs in Water Sectors
3) EPA Issues Notice of Intent to Revise Stormwater Regulations to Specify that an NPDES Permit is not Required for Stormwater Discharges from Logging Roads
4) EPA Releases Fact Sheet on the Economic Benefits of Protecting Healthy Watersheds
5) Success Spotlight: Tres Palacios Creek, Texas -- Addressing Illegal Dumping Reduces Bacteria in Creek


1) EPA Launches Video Project Asking Americans Why "Water is Worth It"
 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the nation's law for protecting our most irreplaceable resource. Everyone deserves clean water – it is vital for our health, communities, environment and economy.

To help commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking people to send in a 15-second video clip about the important role that water plays in their life. Each video should include the phrase "Water Is Worth It," but the rest is up to you. EPA will post selected videos on its website and Facebook page.

To learn more, visit http://water.epa.gov/action/cleanwater40c/video-project.cfm.

Fill out a video entry form, and submit your entry as a video response to the promotional video on EPA's YouTube page at www.youtube.com/USEPAgov. Video submissions must be received by September 14, 2012.

Grab your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, classmates, and pets and let us know why "Water is Worth It" to you!

2) EPA and Department of Veterans Affairs to Connect Veterans with Jobs in Water Sectors
The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have announced a memorandum of understanding to connect veterans with disabilities to career opportunities in the water and wastewater sectors – such as at wastewater plants and drinking water facilities – as part of EPA's Water Sector Workforce Initiative. This effort will be beneficial to both the environment and economy as clean water and job placement for veterans are top priorities of the Obama Administration.

The agreement allows EPA and VA to connect qualified veteran employees with staffing needs at water and wastewater utilities. EPA and the VA will work with water utilities, states and local VA counselors to promote water sector careers and resources for finding water jobs for veterans and as well as will provide educational programs to help veterans transition into careers in water industries.

More than one-third of all current water operators are eligible to retire within seven years and, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment for water and wastewater operators is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, faster than the national average for all other occupations. EPA sees the need to invest now in creating a pipeline of future water sector professionals to fill these essential water sector careers.

For more on EPA's water sector initiatives and to view a copy of the memorandum of understanding: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/ws_workforce.cfm. For more about the VA connecting qualified veterans with employer needs: http://www.vetsuccess.gov/.

3) EPA Issues Notice of Intent to Revise Stormwater Regulations to Specify that an NPDES Permit is not Required for Stormwater Discharges from Logging Roads
EPA announced that it intends to propose revisions to its Phase I stormwater regulations to clarify that stormwater discharges from forest roads are not stormwater discharges "associated with industrial activity." This notice is in response to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found in Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown that certain logging roads are "associated with industrial activity." Additionally, in response to the partial remand under Environmental Defense Center, Inc. v. EPA, the Agency is seeking comment on approaches for addressing water quality impacts associated with discharges of stormwater from forest roads.

EPA believes that stormwater discharges from forest roads should be evaluated under section 402(p)(6) of the Clean Water Act because the section allows for a broad range of flexible approaches that are well-suited to address the complexity of forest road ownership, management, and use. The EPA intends to study the water quality impacts of forest roads and existing federal, state, tribal, and voluntary programs designed to address them to determine if additional Agency action is necessary. The EPA will seek comment again prior to taking final action. EPA also plans to hold listening sessions to obtain stakeholder input this summer on its consideration of how best to address stormwater discharges from forest roads.EPA will accept written comments for 90 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register. For more information on the plan to address stormwater discharges from forest roads: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/forestroads.

4) EPA Releases Fact Sheet on the Economic Benefits of Protecting Healthy Watersheds
EPA has released a new fact sheet as part of its Healthy Watersheds initiative describing the economic benefits of protecting healthy watersheds by highlighting examples from existing peer-reviewed literature and studies. EPA's Healthy Watersheds Initiative is intended to protect the Nation's remaining healthy watersheds, prevent them from becoming impaired, and accelerate restoration successes. It encourages interested states to take a strategic, systems approach to protecting healthy watersheds that recognizes the dynamic and interconnected nature of aquatic ecosystems.

The fact sheet describes studies that demonstrate protecting healthy watersheds can reduce capital costs for water treatment plants and reduce damages to property and infrastructure due to flooding, thereby avoiding future costs. Additionally, examples in the fact sheet show that protecting healthy watersheds can generate revenue through property value premiums, recreation, and tourism. This fact sheet directs readers to important resources to learn more about the substantial efforts to monetize ecosystem services from across the country. This fact sheet is also a resource for those doing outreach to promote the protection of healthy watersheds. The fact sheet is available at: http://www.epa.gov/healthywatersheds.

5) Success Spotlight: Tres Palacios Creek, Texas -- Addressing Illegal Dumping Reduces Bacteria in Creek
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 Tres Palacios Creek, Texas.

Tres Palacios Creek is in a watershed that encompasses an area of approximately 322 square miles extending from the city of El Campo to the city of Palacios, Texas. Bacteria leaching from illegal dumpsites raised bacteria levels in the creek, and as a result, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality placed a portion of the creek on the state's 1996 Clean Water Act list of impaired waters for not meeting the contact recreation criteria for bacteria. The commission and the Lower Colorado River Authority launched dumpsite cleanup efforts and conducted an education and enforcement campaign. Subsequently, bacteria levels declined and now meet water quality standards, prompting the state to remove this part of the creek from the state's list of impaired waters for bacteria in 2010.

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

 


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