Day: January 19, 2017

EPA Releases Compendium of State Approaches for Manure Management

EPA released the Compendium of State Approaches for Manure Management, which highlights state programs and approaches that have proven to be successful at promoting good manure management at animal feeding operations, implemented on the ground, and focused on achieving environmental benefits. The Compendium focuses on elements of state programs, ranging from specialized tools and training to state-specific regulations and permitting. Suggestions for additional case studies and programs to highlight in this living document can be sent to CAFO_Team@epa.gov.

EPA Announces Groundwater Awareness Week Video Challenge

EPA  announced its first National Groundwater Awareness Week Video Challenge.

Beginning February 1, EPA invites the public to create and submit a video that increases awareness and understanding about the importance of protecting and conserving groundwater. Example video topics may include demonstrating the importance of groundwater, explain where groundwater can be found or what you can do to protect sources of groundwater.

The winning videos will be posted on EPA’s website and recognized during National Groundwater Awareness Week from March 5-11, 2017.

EPA Releases Guidance for Sampling and Field Testing During Water Contamination Incidents

To aid drinking water utilities in preparing for sampling and field testing that could occur during water contamination incidents, EPA released Guidance for Building Field Capabilities to Respond to Drinking Water Contamination.  The guidance outlines basic and advanced field response activities and also provides information pertaining to staffing, quality assurance, and other procedures.  Additionally, the document contains useful resources; downloadable and customizable report forms and templates;  supplemental information on the application;  and relative costs of field testing instrumentation and test kits.

Find other water sampling and analysis resources at https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/sampling-and-analysis-resources.

EPA Releases Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants in Drinking Water

EPA  released an updated version of its Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants in Drinking Water. The guidance provides procedures for conducting routine and baseline monitoring in response to a triggered event and sampling in support of remediation or decontamination efforts.  It brings together recommendations for collecting, storing, preserving and transporting samples of potentially contaminated water. It also provides recommendations to support the detection and identification of many types of contaminants in drinking water.  This guidance can be used to support routine sample collection, in response to a contamination incident or during remediation or decontamination efforts.

The recommendations provided in this guidance are not mandatory and may be modified and leveraged as needed to meet the needs of individual utilities, responders and laboratories. The recommendations provided in this document are intended to aid coordination between the utility, emergency response and laboratory communities during the response to a contamination incident.

EPA Updates Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in Drinking Water

EPA has updated its Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in drinking water to reflect the latest scientific information. The benchmarks are levels of certain pesticides in drinking water or source waters for drinking water at or below which adverse health effects are not anticipated from one-day or lifetime exposures.

First developed by EPA in 2012, the benchmarks are intended to be used for informational purposes by states, tribes, water systems and the public to help interpret monitoring data for pesticides for which there are no drinking water standards or health advisories. These revised benchmarks incorporate updated toxicity assessments from the pesticide registration process and exposure assumptions derived from the EPA’s Exposure Factors Handbook.

Scientists Concerned For Future Of National Labs As Rick Perry Seeks Top Energy Post

Read the full story from NPR.

When a solar company wants to test new technology, they bring their panels to the National Renewable Energy Lab near Denver. It’s a place where federal scientists can measure how powerful and long-lasting solar panels are, so consumers know what they are buying.

“A lot of times maybe people don’t even know how to evaluate new technologies appropriately. And so we have a lot of insight and knowledge into the market that can help with some of those decisions,” lab engineer Chris Deline explained.

It’s just one of the Department of Energy’s 17 national laboratories, where research is wide-ranging — from fossil fuel-based energy, to understanding dark matter in the universe. Under the Obama administration, research and development dollars flowed into renewable energy.

There is concern over the future of the labs as President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for energy secretary, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, takes the hot seat at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday morning. Perry infamously called for the department’s elimination while running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, and Trump and Perry have at times questioned climate science.

Scientists are Investigating Membranes Made from Aqua Material For Water Purification

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Water purification processes usually make use of robust membranes for filtering off contaminants while working at high pressures. Can materials employing water as major component be made strong enough to suit such a demanding application? Israeli scientists now report in the journal Angewandte Chemie that a supramolecular aqua material can be utilized as a sustainable membrane for water purification at high pressures.

Proposed rule: Methylene Chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone; Regulation of Certain Uses Under TSCA Section 6(a)

Read the full Federal Register notice.

Methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane, is a volatile chemical that has a variety of uses, including paint and coating removal. N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) is a solvent used in a variety of applications, including paint and coating removal. For each of these chemicals, EPA has identified risks of concern associated with their use in paint and coating removal. EPA proposes a determination that these are unreasonable risks. EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA is also proposing to prohibit the use of methylene chloride in these commercial uses; to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of methylene chloride for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require recordkeeping. EPA is proposing an initial ten-year time-limited exemption from these proposed regulations on methylene chloride for coating removal uses critical for national security. First, EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of NMP for all consumer and commercial paint and coating removal; to prohibit the use of NMP for all commercial paint and coating removal; to require, consistent with methylene chloride restrictions, downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; to require recordkeeping; and to provide a time-limited exemption from these proposed regulations on NMP for coating removal uses critical for national security. For NMP, as an alternate proposal, EPA is proposing that (1) commercial users of NMP for paint and coating removal establish a worker protection program for dermal and respiratory protection and not use paint and coating removal products that contain greater than 35 percent NMP by weight (except for product formulations destined to be used by DoD or its contractors performing work only for DOD projects); and (2) processors of products containing NMP for paint and coating removal reformulate products such that these products do not exceed a maximum of 35 percent NMP by weight, identify gloves that provide effective protection for the formulation, and provide warning and instruction labels on the products.

Comments must be received on or before April 19, 2017.

Proposed rule: Trichloroethylene (TCE); Regulation of Use in Vapor Degreasing Under TSCA Section 6(a)

Read the full Federal Register notice.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile organic compound widely used in industrial and commercial processes and has some limited uses in consumer and commercial products. EPA identified significant health risks associated with TCE use in vapor degreasing and EPA’s proposed determination is that these risks are unreasonable risks. To address these unreasonable risks, EPA is proposing under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in vapor degreasing; to prohibit commercial use of TCE in vapor degreasing; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping.

Comments must be received on or before March 20, 2017.

Proposed rule: Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation Under the Amended Toxic Substances Control Act

Read the complete Federal Register notice.

As required under section 6(b)(4) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is proposing to establish a process for conducting risk evaluations to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, without consideration of costs or other non-risk factors, including an unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation, under the conditions of use. Risk evaluation is the second step, after Prioritization, in a new process of existing chemical substance review and management established under recent amendments to TSCA. This proposed rule identifies the steps of a risk evaluation process including scope, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and finally a risk determination. EPA is proposing that this process be used for the first ten chemical substances to be evaluated from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, chemical substances designated as High-Priority Substances during the prioritization process, and those chemical substances for which EPA has initiated a risk evaluation in response to manufacturer requests. The proposed rule also includes the required “form and criteria” applicable to such manufacturer requests.

Comments must be received on or before March 20, 2017.

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