Day: March 21, 2016

Drinking Water Mapping Application to Protect Source Waters (DWMAPS)

The Drinking Water Mapping Application to Protect Source Waters or DWMAPS is EPA’s online mapping tool to help you find information about drinking water in your community. This user-friendly tool provides answers to questions like:

  • Who supplies my drinking water?
  • Is the source of my drinking water polluted?
  • Are there possible sources of pollution near my drinking water that might be affecting my community’s water supply?
  • How can I get involved in protecting sources of drinking water in my community?

Power Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities

Download the document.

Power resilience enables drinking water and wastewater utilities to continue to provide their vital services even when there are power outages. Water utilities can increase their power resilience by improving their relationships with their electric providers and local emergency management agencies. As resources and funding permit, water utilities can secure generators and develop fuel management plans to maintain operations without grid power. On-site power and energy efficiency also offer opportunities for water utilities to manage their power requirements. Power resilience requires on-going efforts to build strong relationships with response partners and ensure the necessary resources are well maintained and ready for use during an emergency.

White House Water Summit focuses on sustainable solutions

The White House Water Summit (#WHWaterSummit), which coincides with World Water Day, will feature panel discussions and invited speakers from the public and private sectors to raise awareness of priority water issues in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future.

It will stream live from the White House from 9 am-12:30 pm EDT on Tuesday, March 22.

Funding available for lead reduction programs from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) Grant Program
Due date: April 28, 2016

This posting provides information and instructions for the FY2016 Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) Grant Program based on funding approved Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113) approved December 18, 2015. The purpose of the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program is to assist states, cities, counties/parishes, Native American Tribes or other units of local government in undertaking comprehensive programs to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned rental or owner-occupied housing. This program is administered under HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) which is aligned with HUD’s 2012-2015 Environmental Justice Strategy. The Environmental Justice Strategy addresses environmental and human health issues that disproportionately affect high-risk communities, such as minorities, low-income populations, children, and persons with disabilities.

Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) Grant Program
Due date: April 28, 2016

This posting provides information and instructions for the FY2015 Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) Grant Program based on funding approved by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113) approved December 18, 2015. The purpose of the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) Grant Program is to assist states, cities, counties/parishes, Native American Tribes or other units of local government in undertaking comprehensive programs to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned rental or owner-occupied housing. This program is administered under HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) which is aligned with HUD’s 2012-2015 Environmental Justice Strategy. HUD’s Environmental Justice Strategy addresses environmental and human health issues that disproportionately affect high-risk communities, such as minorities, low-income populations, children, and persons with disabilities.

What Good is a Library Full of Dead Plants?

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

It is (there is no better way to put this) a dead-plant library.

Not a library of books about dead plants—though there are books here, and photos and oil paintings—but of plants themselves. They lie in wait on big, stiff sheets of yellowed paper, wrapped gingerly in envelopes and stacked on top of each other, before being inserted into dozens and dozens of cabinets. This is the fifth-largest dead-plant archive in the country, and you can turn a corner and see yards and yards of these cabinets. It is a menagerie of dead plants.

This is a herbarium. There is a network of them stretched across the country: one in St. Louis and one in New York, one in Chicago and one in Fort Worth. Each holds more than a million dead plants. This, the Jepson and the University Herbaria at the University of California, Berkeley, contains more than 2.3 million specimens.

Herbaria are physical spaces—but they are also, increasingly, digital resources. For the past half-decade, the National Science Foundation has helped fund the processing of turning these dead-plants—many of which come with a species title, a collection data, and a geotag—into a database. Now, researchers at Princeton University and elsewhere have figured out how to use this database to reveal how climate change is mangling California—and the world’s—ecosystems.

Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet

Read the full story in the New York Times.

On Feb. 29, Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins University became the thirdNobel Prize laureate biologist in a month to do something long considered taboo among biomedical researchers: She posted a report of her recent discoveries to a publicly accessible website, bioRxiv, before submitting it to a scholarly journal to review for “official’’ publication.

It was a small act of information age defiance, and perhaps also a bit of a throwback, somewhat analogous to Stephen King’s 2000 self-publishing an e-book or Radiohead’s 2007 release of a download-only record without a label. To commemorate it, she tweeted the website’s confirmation under the hashtag #ASAPbio, a newly coined rallying cry of a cadre of biologists who say they want to speed science by making a key change in the way it is published.

Tests Say The Water Is Safe. But Flint’s Restaurants Still Struggle

Read the full story from NPR.

The once routine practice of getting a glass of water before a restaurant meal in Flint, Mich., is now fraught with apprehension, since lead pipes started leaching into the drinking water after officials switched to the highly corrosive Flint River as the city’s water supply.

The crisis over lead-contaminated water has touched every aspect of life in Flint, and for restaurants, it could not have come at a worse time. In the past few years, restaurants have been resurging, especially in downtown Flint. Now, they are trying to recoup lost business and convince leery customers that their water is safe.

Best for Biofuels

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

New research has identified regions in the United States where bioenergy crops would grow best while minimizing effects on water quantity and quality.

Researchers at the University of Illinois used detailed models to examine impacts on water quantity and quality in soils that would occur if existing vegetation was replaced by various bioenergy crops in the name of ethanol production.

Congressional hearings on Flint Water Crisis broadcast on CSPAN

February 3, 2016 — Contaminated Drinking Water in Flint, Michigan

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan state officials testified at a hearing on lead contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI) was the first witness. A resident of Flint who first called the EPA to her home early in 2015 to test the water that had become discolored also appeared. Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said his committee had issued subpoenas to three officials who refused to appear before his panel. including former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley.

March 15, 2016 — Flint, Michigan Water Contamination

The House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee held its second hearing on the contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Susan Hedman, former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional director, told committee members the lead contamination should have never happened, and that the EPA had nothing to do with the corrosive water. Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) argued that the EPA had the opportunity to make the appropriate response but did not. Flint’s former mayor and the city’s former emergency manager testified that they were not aware of lead in the water until January 2015. Ms. Hedman confirmed that corrosion control systems to reduce the lead were not put in place until December 9, 2015.

March 17, 2016 — Flint, Michigan Drinking Water Contamination

Gina McCarthy and Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) testified at a hearing on the Safe Drinking Water Act and lead contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan. Governor Snyder apologized and said he was not aware that the water had dangerous levels of lead until October 2015. Ms. McCarthy defended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying her agency did all it could do within the rule of law. During the hearing, several committee members called on both Governor Snyder and Ms. McCarthy to resign.

 

Read A Whistleblower’s Warnings About The Flint Water Crisis

Read the full story from the Huffington Post.

Miguel Del Toral is a regulations manager for the Environmental Protection Agency who began investigating the water woes in Flint, Michigan, early last year.

Congressional investigators say the EPA punished Del Toral for blowing the whistle on the Flint water crisis. As evidence, this week they released an email in which Del Toral complained his supervisors were treating him like office furniture.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee publicized its emails as part of an ongoing investigation into what happened in Flint, where thousands of city kids were exposed to high levels of lead in the water. Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who will testify before the committee on Thursday, has admitted the state failed to make sure Flint treated its water correctly to prevent it from corroding the city’s lead pipes and carrying lead to people’s faucets.

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