NEWS WORTH NOTING: Bureau of Reclamation awards $35.3 million to six water reclamation and reuse projects in CA; EPA announces new water quality trading policy memorandum; EPA announces 2018 annual environmental enforcement results

Bureau of Reclamation awards $35.3 million to six water reclamation and reuse projects in California

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that Reclamation is awarding $35.3 million for six authorized Title XVI water reclamation and reuse projects in California. The funding will be used to improve flexibility during water shortages and diversify the water supply.

“Title XVI projects provide opportunities for communities to recycle wastewater and treat water that was previously unusable,” Commissioner Burman said. “It is a proven tool that enables communities to access dependable water supplies.”

Title XVI Authorized Projects are authorized by Congress and are selected to receive funding for planning, design and/or construction activities through a competitive process. The six projects selected for funding are:

  • City of Escondido, Membrane Filtration Reverse Osmosis Facility Project, $5,000,000
  • City of San Diego, Pure Water San Diego Program, $9,000,000
  • City of San Jose, South Bay Water Recycling Phase 1B Infrastructure Improvements, $2,545,471
  • Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Horsethief Canyon Wastewater Reclamation Facility Expansion and Upgrade Project, $2,693,455
  • Hi-Desert Water District, Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Project, $8,668,500
  • Padre Dam Municipal Water District, East County Advanced Water Purification Program. $7,392,351

Reclamation provides funding through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and impaired ground or surface waters. Reclaimed water can be used for a variety of purposes, such as environmental restoration, fish and wildlife, groundwater recharge, municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation or recreation. Learn more at https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/title/.

Title XVI is part of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART Program. Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with States, Tribes, and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Visit https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart for additional information about the program.

EPA Announces New Water Quality Trading Policy Memorandum

EPA efforts seek to modernize the agency’s water quality trading policies to leverage emerging technologies and facilitate broader adoption of market-based programs

From the US EPA:

“Today, at an event in Dearing, Georgia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross will highlight the Trump Administration’s efforts to accelerate investments in infrastructure and technology that will improve America’s water quality. As part of these efforts, Assistant Administrator Ross announced a new policy memorandum that will help states, tribes and stakeholders use market-, incentive- and community-based programs to reduce excess nutrients and improve water quality in their communities.

“An important part of improving our nation’s water quality is leveraging the collective resources of the federal family and improving relationships with our partners on the ground,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. “Building on efforts already underway at the state, local and tribal level, EPA is taking a number of steps to help facilitate the use of a broad range of tools and technologies that will deliver critical water quality improvements at a lower cost.”

EPA has supported the use of water quality trading, offsets and similar programs for achieving compliance with regulatory requirements of the Clean Water Act for many years. Today’s memo reiterates the agency’s support for water quality trading and other market-based programs to maximize pollutant reduction efforts and improve water quality and builds on this Administration’s efforts to demonstrate that support.

EPA’s actions are part of a larger collaboration with stakeholders across the country to better coordinate and focus federal resources on some of the nation’s most challenging water resource concerns, including addressing excess nutrients in waterways. In November EPA and USDA sent a joint letter to state agricultural and environmental directors inviting engagement on market-based and other collaborative approaches to reducing excess nutrients. Earlier this week, EPA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Water Research Foundation to develop affordable technologies to recycle nutrients from livestock manure.

USDA has a long history of working with EPA, state governments, tribes and agricultural producers to find voluntary solutions for improving water quality,” said USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. “We are grateful for this partnership, and we look forward to continuing to support cleaner water.”

EPA’s new trading memo identifies the following six Market Based Principles designed to encourage creativity and innovation in the development and implementation of programs that reduce pollutants in our Nation’s waters:

  • States, tribes and stakeholders should consider implementing water quality trading and other market-based programs on a watershed scale.
  • EPA encourages the use of adaptive strategies for implementing market-based programs.
  • Water quality credits and offsets may be banked for future use.
  • EPA encourages simplicity and flexibility in implementing baseline concepts.
  • A single project may generate credits for multiple markets.
  • Financing opportunities exist to assist with deployment of nonpoint land use practices.

EPA’s actions are part of a larger collaboration with stakeholders across the country to better coordinate and focus federal resources on some of the nation’s most challenging water resource concerns, including addressing excess nutrients in waterways.

EPA plans to host a webinar on March 7 to discuss the trading memo and its ongoing work to reduce excess nutrients in waterways. For more information visit www.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/collaborative-approaches-reducing-excess-nutrients.

EPA Announces 2018 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results

From the US EPA:

In FY 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked in collaboration with state and tribal programs to assure compliance with federal environmental laws. In doing so, EPA focused its enforcement and compliance resources in areas that will have a major environmental or human health impact, support the integrity of our environmental regulatory programs, create a deterrent effect, or promote cleanups.

“A strong enforcement and compliance assurance program is essential to achieving positive public health and environmental outcomes,” said Assistant Administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “In fiscal year 2018, we continued our focus on expediting site cleanup, deterring noncompliance, and returning facilities to compliance with the law, while respecting the cooperative federalism structure of our nation’s environmental laws.”

Highlights of EPA’s FY 2018 enforcement accomplishments include:

  • Commitments to treat, minimize, or properly dispose of over an estimated 540 million pounds of waste.
  • Commitments to reduce, treat, or eliminate 268 million pounds of pollution (air, toxics, and water).
  • Commitments to clean up over 244 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and water.
  • Prevention of the illegal importation of approximately 2,200 vehicles and engines that fail to comply with EPA emissions standards.
  • Reduction of exposure to lead through 140 enforcement actions impacting lead paint against renovation contractors, landlords, property managers, realtors, and others.
  • Investment of nearly $4 billion in actions and equipment that achieve compliance with the law and control pollution.
  • Cleanups and redevelopment at over 150 sites through use of Superfund enforcement tools.
  • A total of 73 years of incarceration for individual criminal defendants.

EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance program also established National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs). EPA’s NCIs focus federal enforcement and compliance resources on the objectives of EPA’s Strategic Plan.

In addition to the NCIs, EPA has made reduction of children’s exposure to lead a priority. EPA’s lead paint enforcement activities in FY 2018 are summarized here. The EPA also negotiated over 30 enforcement actions at sites with lead contamination. More information on the Agency’s enforcement activities related to lead. (https://www.epa.gov/lead/enforcing-lead-laws-and-regulations)

To see EPA’s FY 2018 enforcement results, including case highlights: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/enforcement-annual-results-fiscal-year-2018

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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