Air Pollution: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits

Air Pollution: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits. GAO-12-590, June 22.
Highlights –

Electricity generating units that burn fossil fuels supply most of the nation’s electricity and are major sources of air pollution. Under the Clean Air Act, such units are subject to NSR, a permitting process that applies to (1) units built after August 7, 1977, and (2) existing units that undertake a major modification. Owners of such units must obtain from the appropriate permitting agency a preconstruction permit that sets emission limits and requires the use of certain pollution control technologies. EPA oversees states’ implementation of NSR, including reviewing and commenting on draft permits issued by state and local permitting agencies. GAO was asked to examine (1) what information EPA maintains on NSR permits issued to fossil fuel electricity generating units; (2) challenges, if any, that EPA, state, and local agencies face in ensuring compliance with requirements to obtain NSR permits; and (3) what available data show about compliance with requirements to obtain NSR permits. GAO reviewed relevant documentation and interviewed EPA, state, and local officials, as well as representatives from industry, research, and environmental groups.

CU-Boulder student investigates biochar for water treatment in developing countries

Read the full story at

A variety of public health issues plague the refugees from Burma living on the Thai border, not the least of which is drinking water contaminated by bacteria and pesticides. Yet few low-cost, sustainable and appropriate treatment technologies are available to people in rural and developing communities to ensure water safety.
University of Colorado Boulder doctoral student Joshua Kearns may have a solution involving a 4,000-year-old technology — filtering water through charcoal — made more robust through intensive research and development. He just returned from six months in northern Thailand where he conducted field work on gasification methods for making sustainable, locally generated “biochar” from common agricultural residues such as corn cobs, sugar cane, bamboo and wood pruned from orchards.

Can You Really Build a Sustainable Olympics?

Read the full story from the International Herald Tribune.

The 2012 London Games, which has made sustainability one of its watchwords, is focused on reducing the lasting imprint of the venues that house the events.

How Recycling E-Waste Avoids $1 Billion in Cost to Sprint

Read the full story at Forbes.

Chad Lander, Sprint’s Director of Cell Phone recycling, knows firsthand the impact that Sustainability programs have on the bottom line of a business. Sprint’s phone recycling programs have helped the company avoid over $1 billion in cost.

“I have to give a lot of credit to our CEO Dan Hesse,” said Lander. “His passion for sustainability has permeated the company, and allows for creative solutions that are good for business and good for the environment.” Just last July Hesse joined Michael Dell and Senior Executives from Sony as founding members of the Obama Administration’s “National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship” – a strategy for the responsible electronic design, purchasing, management and recycling.

UT Studies Energy Benefits of Algae Fuels

Read the full story in Algae Industry Magazine.

A recent study at the University of Texas at Austin demonstrates that it is theoretically possible to produce about 500 times as much energy from algae fuels as is needed to grow the fuels. However, limited by existing technology, the researchers found in a separate study that their algae growing facility is getting out about one-five hundredth as much energy as it currently puts in to grow the fuels.

In the Philippines, turning plastic waste into fuel

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Plastic waste is a problem all over the world. And it is especially troubling in the Philippines where plastic waste piles up in Manila’s Payal landfill, unable to decompose. But one inventor thinks he might have found the answer to this chronic problem.

Jayme Navarro, founder of Poly-Green Technology and Resources is converting plastic waste into fuel through a process known as Pyrolysis.

Can Coca-Cola’s new water system be a game changer?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) says it has developed a first-of-its-kind beverage process water recovery system that can cut its water use by 35 percent.

According to the beverage giant, the new system meets or exceeds drinking water standards for use in non-product activities and is used for clean-in-place and bottle washing. Coca-Cola said the system takes highly treated process water and further treats it by using a combination of membrane bioreactor, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, ozonation, and ultraviolet disinfection.

The Atlanta-based company said it believes that its system stands out from current treatment processes used in its business sector.