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Public Health and Environmental Protection

By supporting health professionals and embracing our obligations to promote public health and protect our planet, we can uphold our shared responsibility to preserve the promise of a happy and healthy life for our children and grandchildren.
–President Barack Obama

By Tom Burke

Portrait of Tom BurkePresident Obama recently marked National Public Health Week with a Proclamation noting the inextricable link between public health and protecting the planet.  As the Agency’s Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development, making that connection is my number one goal.

I am committed to ensuring that what our scientists and engineers learn continually flows to those who can put it to use: public health officials and their partners. At EPA, we are not satisfied until our science has positive impact on protecting drinking water, lowering risks and impacts from environmental exposures, and bringing the benefits of a cleaner environment to every community and citizen.

Luckily, I have a lot of support. I am privileged to work in a place surrounded by some of the world’s leading environmental and public health researchers. They are the go-to experts for every environmental and health related challenge our nation faces. From ongoing efforts to address climate change to the emerging concerns of the potential spread of the Zika virus, EPA scientists and engineers are working tirelessly to protect public health. And what they learn is not only meeting the most immediate threats to public health, but advancing healthier, more sustainable communities for our children and grandchildren.

A great example of how we build partnerships unfolded just this morning when Administrator Gina McCarthy announced that EPA, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) signed a Memorandum of Agreement to work even more closely together to share information and advance public health protection in the United States. Read more about that exciting news in her blog post, Expanding EPA’s Partnerships with State Health and Environmental Experts.

Watching EPA science reach those who need it most is one of the best parts of my job. While I enjoy that work every day, President Obama’s remarks about National Public Health Week and our partnership with ECOS and ASHTO remind me to stop and savor it just a bit more than usual.

About the Author: Thomas Burke, Ph.D. is the Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development as well as Agency’s Science Advisor. He served as the Jacob I. and Irene B. Fabrikant Professor and Chair in Health, Risk and Society and the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health before coming to EPA. Before his time at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Burke was Deputy Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey and Director of the Office of Science and Research in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Source: EPA Science Water News

Source: Water Industry News

Walking Tour Conducted at Nyanza Superfund Site in Ashland, Mass. on April 12 (MA)

ASHLAND, MASS. – On April 12, 2016, at 6:00 p.m., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be hosting a walking tour of the Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump Superfund site, which is open to members of the community who would like to participate.The tour will focus on the Nyanza Landfill Cap whi…
Source: EPA Science Water News

Source: Water Industry News

Fruit Orchard Growers Find that Disrupting Apple Pest Mating Leads to Better Fruit

Apple blossoms

Apple blossoms

By Marcia Anderson

Taking a drive in the country, I pass numerous apple orchards, the trees in full bloom, with petals falling across my windshield, like giant snowflakes when a cool spring wind blows. I am reminded of a time, a generation ago, when people were spraying pesticides by the calendar in orchards and on farms throughout the country. For instance, they would spray for a certain pest before the trees’ buds broke in the spring, then every 7–10 days thereafter. The spraying occurred whether the pests were there or not because people were not scouting their crops to assess pest levels. Growers finally realized that pests don’t carry calendars and that their emergence varies from year to year. This validated the need for pest monitoring.

Today’s growers monitor certain pests with the aid of traps designed to include a chemical to attract only one certain pest. Such traps utilize chemical lures. The lures are synthetic copies of the chemicals (pheromones) the females emit to attract the males for mating. In apple orchards, traps, such as the one pictured here, are hung in the trees. The bottom of the trap is coated with an adhesive to capture the male insects. It is very effective control tactic for San Jose scale, codling moth, and oblique banded leafroller in lieu of pesticide applications.

With regular trap monitoring, growers know exactly how many moths are out in the orchard, which is the pest pressure, which in turn, helps them to determine if and when further treatment is necessary. When a moth is caught, growers know that first generation (the overwintering generation) has flown. Then, they can calculate degree days for the first generation eggs to hatch. At that point growers make a decisions for action. Northeast apple orchard growers discuss implementing pest-specific pheromone control strategies in their second video.

2.Apple maggot damage to an apple (Photo: E.H. Glass, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Bugwood.org)

Apple maggot damage to an apple
(Photo: E.H. Glass, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Bugwood.org)

An effective use of pheromones is in conjunction with a small dose of pesticides. This is an extremely effective and low cost cultural control to disrupt insect mating of apple maggots. The apple maggot is a small fly that lays its eggs in a fruit. The maggots hatch and eat the fruit. Sometimes you do not see them until you bite into the fruit finding half a worm. UGH. Pheromone traps can trap apple maggot flies. A red plastic ball with an apple odor in the center resembles an apple hung on a tree and will visually and chemically attract the apple maggot fly. Orchard growers also use an organic insecticide on top of the fake apple. When an apple maggot lands on it, it licks the insecticide, which will cause the females to cease laying eggs and they will eventually die. In this way, the rate of insecticide needed is drastically reduced. A grower’s last resort is the application of chemicals.

Pheromone trap (Bugwood.org)

Pheromone trap (Bugwood.org)

Apple growers have now found the most effective way to control their pests is by using scientifically-based practices like Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, that have positive long-term effects on their orchard. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common sense practices. IPM programs in apple orchards use current comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment. IPM takes advantage of all pest management options including inspection and monitoring for apple pests, the sanitation and maintenance of the orchard and trees, cultural practices like traps, and the judicious use of less risky pesticides, such as pheromone traps, first. IPM dictates that sprays are used only when needed for effective and long term control.

With IPM, you have to get to a certain pest population level, or threshold, before treatment is recommended. So, determining how to deal with pests based on thresholds is a primary step. How many of a certain kind of pest do you have? The threshold depends on the specific insect, weed, or disease.

There are a few challenges to IPM, not only in apple orchards, but with regard to controlling any pests. It is very important to rotate the modes of action of the chemicals that are used. Because with any pest population, if you use the same mode of action repeatedly, there are always a few pests that survive, creating future generations of pests who have developed pesticide resistance. The end result of resistance is that the overused pesticides lose their efficacy for pest control.

For more on apple IPM read: Apples for the Big Apple…Managing Pests to Produce Quality Apples. So the next time you eat an apple, think about your local apple growers and how they are using IPM to provide you with quality produce at reasonable prices.



About the Author: Marcia is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA Region 2 Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Oceanography at several universities.

Source: EPA Science Water News

Source: Water Industry News

Trash Talking About Smart Recycling

Trash Talking About Smart Recycling


We’ve seen a lot of new exciting green technologies over the past few decades, but there is one that has gone mostly unnoticed: city sanitation. New innovations in trash collection and processing are happening and in a few years sanitation as you know it might be totally different. High tech trash cans, smart recycle bins, and the conversion of trash to usable energy is changing the face of city sanitation. Get ready to start seeing some of these sanitation innovations coming to a city near you.

Smarter Trash Cans

Instead of serving as a passive container for holding garbage, the trash can is becoming an active participant in city sanitation. Bigbelly trash cans throughout New York City are now equipped with wifi, and each can supplies enough bandwidth to support a small business (50 to 75 megabits per second). While helping people on the streets of NYC stay connected, Bigbelly trash cans make sanitation efforts more efficient. Each contains a chip capable of detecting garbage levels and odor so sanitation workers can wirelessly monitor and collect bins based on their need to be emptied.

Bigbelly is not the only brand trying to revolutionize trash collection. BlueCity is bringing advances in crowdsourcing to trash cans to improve city collection methods. The startup equips cans with a low Bluetooth signal that is picked up by apps downloaded to the phones of willing participants. The phone communicates information about the can’s fullness to a data collection system where the information can be used to alert sanitation workers individually or analyzed to set up better collection routes across a city.

Smarter Recycling Bins

Imagine a recycling bin that can tell you exactly where and how to recycle each item you put in it. To make this a reality, researchers are finding ways to combine RFID tagging with recyclable materials. First, manufacturers will have to cooperate by tagging their products or containers, then consumers will have to use bins equipped with scanners. All the data from the scanner can be collected and even used for incentive programs where consumers are paid for each piece of waste properly recycled.

Vacuum Systems

Rather than have trucks driving around, imagine an underground system where your trash is whisked away and brought to a processing place through a system of tubes. Pneumatic trash removal systems like these already exist and help keep places like Disney World or Barcelona free from mounds of garbage bags. Pneumatic tubes may be the answer to the sanitation problems facing larger cities like New York.

The Closed Loop project proposes making pneumatic waste removal a part of Manhattan’s High Line park so that surrounding buildings can send compostables and other trash down vacuum tubes to a central collection center for sorting. This would make local waste management efforts more realistic while cutting down on the number of garbage trucks in use and the carbon emissions they create.

From Trash to Energy

Smart recycling bins and pneumatic composting systems will drastically decrease the amount of garbage reaching landfills in the future, but in the meantime overfull dump sites are creating significant emissions problems. In 2013, 18% of human-related methane emissions in the U.S. were caused by landfill gases, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Sweden’s energy initiatives are a great example of how methane-producing landfill waste can be converted into usable energy. Only 1% of waste in Sweden ends up in landfills and what isn’t recycled is largely turned into energy to heat homes.

The process of gasification heats waste until clean gases are emitted. This cuts down on the use of fossil fuels while reducing emissions from rotting waste. Although there is some question about potential pollution caused by gasification, the energy expended on this process is still far less harmful than the effects of methane released from trash decomposing in landfills. The results of gasification can be used in the same manner as natural gases or energy derived from fossil fuels.

Sanitation Nation

City sanitation may have a brighter future than we think. With advances in technology transforming everything from landfill usage to the recycling bins in our homes, we should look forward to a new way of keeping our cities clean. Today, we can do our part by recycling and properly disposing of our trash while we wait for the future of city sanitation to become the present.


About The Author

Dominick Farina owns Trashcans Unlimited, a leading supplier of trashcans and recycling bins.

Source: Green Tech News

NSF International Launches HACCP Compliance Verification for European Commercial Food Equipment

BRUSSELS and ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF International, a global organization dedicated to protecting and improving human health with more than 70 years of expertise in food safety and quality, announces the launch of HCV EU (HAACP Compliance Verification), a new HACCP compliance verification service for the European Union commercial… Read More
Source: NSF New feed

Source: Water Industry News