Day: August 14, 2015

Campus Food Waste Crusaders

Read the full post from Sustainable America. If you’re in Illinois, be sure to check out ISTC’s Green Lunchroom Challenge to reduce food waste in your K-12 school. Read ISTC’s blog post for more information.

The amount of food waste generated on college campuses might not cross every student’s mind as they rush through the cafeteria before class. But if they looked into it, they would learn that 22 million pounds of edible food is thrown away at college campuses each year. Two inspiring organizations are working to change that.

Campus Kitchens Project and Food Recovery Network have been mobilizing an army of students around the country who are working to raise awareness about the food waste problem and get food that would be wasted to people in need in their communities. We reported on these groups a few years ago, but their recent accomplishments deserve an update.

Video: The Clean Power Plan Explained by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

On August 3, President Obama and EPA announced the Clean Power Plan – a historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants that takes real action on climate change. Shaped by years of unprecedented outreach and public engagement, the final Clean Power Plan is fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy. With strong but achievable standards for power plants, and customized goals for states to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, the Clean Power Plan provides national consistency, accountability and a level playing field while reflecting each state’s energy mix. It also shows the world that the United States is committed to leading global efforts to address climate change.

What to do about the antidepressants, antibiotics and other drugs in our water

Read the full post at Ensia.

There’s no way around it, the headlines are disturbing. And they come, not from tabloids or click-bait blogs, but from papers published in scientific journals. They describe fish and birds responding with altered behavior and reproductive systems to antidepressants, diabetes medication, and other psychoactive or hormonally active drugs at concentrations found in the environment. They report on opiods, amphetamines and other pharmaceuticals found in treated drinking water; antibiotics in groundwater capable of altering naturally occurring bacterial communities; and over-the-counter and prescription drugs found in water leaching from municipal landfills. And these are just some of many recent studies examining the countless pharmaceuticals that are now being found just about everywhere scientists have looked for them in the environment.

Minnesota enacts new agricultural buffer zone rules

Listen to the full story from Minnesota Public Radio.

Minnesota is rolling out new, stricter standards for buffer zones strips of vegetation that keep some pollutants from washing off farm fields into waterways.

Tom Weber checks in with John Jaschke on how these new standards will be implemented and enforced. They discuss how the DNR is creating resources for landowners such as a mapping project to determine what kinds of buffers are required.

Green the Church National Summit, August 19-21, 2015, Chicago IL

The National Green the Church Summit will include three days of worship, discussion, and action. Join forces with folks from different denominations around the country who are committed to serving as good caretakers of our Earth.

To register or view the agenda, visit

EPA Statement on Colorado Data from Gold King Mine Release

To assess the impacts of the release at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, water quality samples were collected at numerous intervals beginning on Aug. 5, 2015.  Samples were taken prior to the plume’s arrival to establish a baseline for water quality comparisons. Each surface water sample was analyzed for 24 metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

Analysis now shows that water quality for the Animas River from the Silverton, Colo. area to the Durango municipal water intake has returned to pre-event water quality levels. These results are based on validated sampling data collected from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9, 2015.

EPA has shared this data with state, local and tribal officials in Colorado to assist them in their decisions regarding the on-going use of water resources. EPA plans to continue to monitor, analyze and share data for downstream river segments as it becomes available.

For more information, visit

For more information on EPA’s response, visit

Video: Net Zero Heroes – Saving Energy and Money at Wastewater Treatment Plants

Learn how wastewater treatment plants are saving and generating energy to help communities become more sustainable, protect against climate change, and save money. Wastewater treatment plants have always been on the front lines of protecting public health and the environment, now they’re Net Zero Heroes, leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Better estimates of worldwide mercury pollution

Read the full story from MIT.

Once mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from the smokestacks of power plants, the pollutant has a complicated trajectory; even after it settles onto land and sinks into oceans, mercury can be re-emitted back into the atmosphere repeatedly. This so-called “grasshopper effect” keeps the highly toxic substance circulating as “legacy emissions” that, combined with new smokestack emissions, can extend the environmental effects of mercury for decades.

Now an international team led by MIT researchers has conducted a new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions around the world. The analysis pairs measured air concentrations of mercury with a global simulation to calculate the fraction of mercury that is either re-emitted or that originates from power plants and other anthropogenic activities. The result of this work, researchers say, could improve estimates of mercury pollution, and help refine pollution-control strategies around the world.

Water Resilient Cities: Climate Change, Infrastructure, Economies, and Governance in the Great Lakes Basin

April 20-23, 2016
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio

How can cities in the Great Lakes Basin be planned and managed to increase resilience to the disruptions of climate change? A two-day conference for city planners and managers, water resource professionals, water-oriented business and industry leaders, and university researchers will focus on how cities are changing in key sectors of water: water infrastructure systems, water as the basis of economic prosperity (manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, and energy), and changing governance and decision making processes. The conference fosters a conversation across important sectors of our cities related to water to identify key knowledge and best practices to share and use to foster integrated water management, water-related economic strategies and collaborative governance.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Hillary Brown, The City University of New York, author of Next Generation Infrastructure: Principles for Post-Industrial Public Works.


  • City Sustainability Managers
  • Water, Waste Water, and Stormwater Managers
  • Public Sector Agencies
  • Water Use Industries
  • Water Technology Companies
  • Academic Researchers

COST: Only $50 per person (thanks to our generous sponsors!)

REGISTRATION: Registration limited! More information coming soon.

HOTEL: Wyndahm – Playhouse Square. Special Conference rate: $115 per night! Conference rate is available two nights before and after conference. Take this opportunity to visit Cleveland (most recently ranked as one of the top 5 places to visit this year!).


Job announcement: Los Alamos National Laboratory — Environmental Professional 3 — Pollution Prevention Program

To apply,  go to and select the career link.  The job number is IRC42840.

Applications accepted through September 21, 2015.

What You Will Do

The Environmental Stewardship Services Group in the Environmental Protection Division is responsible for providing pollution prevention (P2) services across the Los Alamos National Laboratory programmatic work and operations.  The Laboratory takes a multi-media approach to pollution prevention by developing and implementing projects that reduce impacts to all types of environmental issues including waste, water and air quality, materials use and management, green procurement, and resource conservation.  This position will be a member of the Environmental Protection Division, Environmental Stewardship Services Group. Job duties will include:

  • Conducting pollution prevention opportunity assessments for potential reductions in waste, effluent, emissions, energy use, water use, resource use and materials management
  • Working within facilities to reduce environmental impact from operations and facility support processes
  • Providing technical support to waste generators and waste management operations to identify opportunities to eliminate or minimize waste streams, waste volumes, and/or waste toxicity characteristics
  • Providing technical support for LANL’s High Performance Sustainable Buildings program
  • Providing technical support for LANL’s recycling and re-use programs
    Supporting development and implementation of P2 initiatives targeting near and long-term environmental goals and objectives
  • Supporting execution of the LANL P2 awards program, and Federal environmental sustainability award programs
  • Providing presentations, as required, on various P2 topics to Lab organizations to communicate requirements and explain initiatives
  • Providing technical support for Lean/Six Sigma, and other management directed process improvement projects
  • Reporting on P2 program activities to management
  • Providing technical support for compliance programs, including participation in internal and external audit & assessments
  • Providing technical support for implementation of the LANL Site Sustainability Plan in accordance with DOE Order 436.1
  • Providing support for annual reports (i.e., Site Sustainability Plan, New Mexico Environment Department MED Hazardous Waste Mininmization Plan, etc)

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:

  • Advanced knowledge of and experience with implementation of pollution prevention techniques
  • Advanced knowledge of and experience with structured process analysis and improvement techniques (Lean/Six Sigma, Design for Environment, Lean and Green Manufacturing, or others)
  • Advanced knowledge of and experience in several of the following areas: environmental compliance, sustainability, resource use efficiency, green chemistry, green procurement, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
  • Knowledge of and experience with managing or operating facility support equipment such as chillers, boilers, cooling towers and other ancillary support processes
  • Demonstrated excellent report writing skills and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience organizing and performing activities requiring substantial planning and team interactions with diverse types of individuals.
  • Ability to obtain a Q clearance.

Desired Skills:

  • Knowledge of and experience with DOE/NNSA environmental programs, environmental risks and compliance issues and environmental scope of work
  • Advanced knowledge of Lean/Six Sigma, Design for Environment, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) tools and techniques
  • Demonstrated self-initiating, communicative work style with very strong interpersonal and collaborative-work capabilities


Bachelor’s degree or graduate degree in engineering, environmental science or related/relevant field, plus eight (8) years or more direct experience working in an environmental field or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Engineering degree preferred.

Notes to Applicants

There are no routine travel requirements associated with this position other than occasional professional meetings and training. Required application materials (e.g., writing samples).  Please provide a writing sample with this application.

Where You Will Work

Located in northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security.  LANL enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

This position is located in the Environmental Protection Division Environmental Stewardship Services group.  This group provides stewardships services for biological and cultural resources management, Natural Resources Damage Assessment, the Long Term Strategy for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, integrated project review, pollution prevention, environmental management system, environmental health physics, soil, foodstuffs and biota monitoring, National Environmental Policy Act EPA and SWEIS.  This is a diverse and dynamic group and this position will work closely with these different programs on a regular basis.

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