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EPA Administrator Visits Miriam’s Kitchen to Announce New Faith & Food Program (HQ)

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EPA Administrator Visits Miriam’s Kitchen to Announce New Faith & Food Program EPA Food Steward’s Initiative Helps Faith Groups Reduce Wasted FoodWashington – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy joined Miriam’s Kitchen and Western Presbyterian Church to announce E…
Source: EPA Science Water News

Source: Water Industry News

NSF Strengthens Food Safety and Quality Services in New Zealand and Australia with Acquisition

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. and AUCKLAND, New Zealand – NSF International, a global organization with over 70 years experience in food safety auditing, training and consulting, has acquired the Burwater Pacific Group, a leading food safety training, auditing and consulting business based in New Zealand. Through this acquisition, NSF International will… Read More
Source: NSF New feed

Source: Water Industry News

Federal Water Tap, January 18: Obama Administration Declares Federal Emergency in Flint Water Crisis

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The Rundown

Federal aid — in the form of bottled water and filters — will flow to residents in Flint. Science board questions EPA fracking study while EPA’s Bristol Bay mining assessment is cleared of accusations of bias. California congressman introduces bill to settle farm drainage lawsuit. EPA wastewater survey suffers from lack of reporting. U.S. corn harvest declines slightly, and few U.S. farms use cover crops. Groundwater pumping in southwest Kansas harms rivers. Nitrate pollution in Corn Belt rivers is complex, and the Great Lakes lacks a comprehensive mercury monitoring system.

“Both the EPA and the Department of Justice have indicated that they’re taking a close look at this situation in terms of the science and in terms of the impact that it has had and could have on local populations. The Department of Justice is obviously taking a look at the decisions that led to this particular situation.” — White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaking on Friday about the federal response to the Flint water crises.

By the Numbers

$US 271 billion: Dollars needed to maintain the nation’s sewer and stormwater infrastructure over the next five years. The figure represents a 20 percent decrease from a report four years ago. Why? Fewer states participating in the survey; changes in methods for calculating costs, which led some projects to be excluded; and states not planning to spend as much due to budget constraints. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

168.4 bushels per acre: Average U.S. corn yield in 2015, a drop of 1.5 percent from the record-setting 2014 harvest. Production is down just over 4 percent, to 13.6 billion bushels. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

40 percent: Share of U.S. corn, soybean, wheat, and cotton acres in 2010-11 that were farmed with soil conservation methods such as no-till or strip-till. Cover crops, another conservation practice, were used on only 2 percent of all cropland. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Studies and Reports

EPA Science Advisers Respond to Fracking Study
The EPA’s assessment of hydraulic fracturing and drinking water, which was published last June, was generally “appropriate and comprehensive,” according to the agency’s Scientific Advisory Board.

The board, however, found fault with several of the “national-level” conclusions, namely the statement that hydraulic fracturing has not “led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” The board, comprised of state regulators, researchers, professors, and industry representatives, argued that the statement is ambiguous and does not reflect the uncertainty in the data.

Meanwhile, Republicans on the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works released a timeline that shows oversight actions taken by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma since 2009.

Bristol Bay Review
Based on emails, interviews, and other documents, the EPA’s internal watchdog found no evidence of bias or predetermination in the agency’s assessment of a copper mine the Bristol Bay watershed, in Alaska.

Groundwater Pumping Dries Rivers in Kansas
Pumping groundwater is the main cause of declining river flows in southwest Kansas, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report.

Nitrate in Corn Belt Rivers
U.S. Geological Survey researchers found a complex, shifting relationship between nitrate pollution and waterways in the Midwest. Concentrations — from both nonpoint sources such as farm runoff and point sources such as wastewater plants — vary depending on the time of year, amount of streamflow, and location.

News Briefs

Flint Water Crisis Update
Action is moving quickly. On Thursday evening, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder asked the Obama administration for federal aid to help Flint residents. On Saturday morning, the White House responded, declaring Flint a federal emergency.

That designation allows FEMA to distribute water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other items for the next 90 days.

Meanwhile, the Detroit News reports that the EPA’s regional administrator for the Midwest knew last April that Flint officials were not using corrosion control methods to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water. For months, according to the story, the EPA Region 5 office battled with state regulators over whether Flint was required to use corrosion control. Susan Hedman, the regional administrator, sought a legal opinion, which was not ready until November.

California Farm Drainage Bill
A California congressman introduced a bill that would implement a deal agreed to in principle last year between the Obama administration and Westlands Water District, a powerful farm district in California’s Central Valley.

The bill from Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) matches the terms of the September settlement but, like all California water legislation, faces a steep path in Congress, McClatchy reports. A handful of California Democrats immediately criticized the bill as a give-away to Westlands.

Mercury in the Great Lakes
The International Joint Commission, the binational body that manages waters shared by Canada and the United States, called for a network to monitor mercury from the atmosphere that is deposited in the Great Lakes. Domestic mercury emissions have declined, but global emissions, which can be transported far from their source, are still rising.

House Votes against Water Rules
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to block two water rules. In a largely party-line vote, the House approved a resolution to prevent implementation of the Clean Water Rule, which defines the scope of the Clean Water Act. The president promises to veto the resolution.

The House also voted to block a rule to minimize harm to streams from coal mining.

On the Radar

Watershed Legislation Markup
On January 20, the Senate Environment and Public Works will consider approving bills dealing with watershed restoration in the Great Lakes, Lake Tahoe, and Long Island Sound.

Public Comment Period Extended for Southeast Watershed
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is revising its management plan for reservoirs in the Appalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which is shared by Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The public comment period for the draft plan is extended to January 30.

Fracking Panel Meeting
The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board will hold a public teleconference on February 1 to discuss its assessment of the agency’s report on hydraulic fracturing and drinking water.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

The post Federal Water Tap, January 18: Obama Administration Declares Federal Emergency in Flint Water Crisis appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

Source: Water News

Source: Water Industry News

Wettest ever December broke UK river records, hydrologists confirm

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Guardian: Last month broke a host of UK records for rainfall, rivers and groundwater, in addition to it having already been confirmed as the wettest and warmest December on record. According to the The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), which collects all the hydrological data available for the UK, December 2015 set the following records: North West England exceeded its previous maximum December rainfall by an amount almost equivalent to its average monthly rainfall a new UK 24 hour rainfall…
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News

The Stream, January 18: Belo Monte Dam License Suspended

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The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Brazil’s Belo Monte hydropower dam faces further delays following a court ruling last week that suspended its license. South Africa plans to provide electricity to drought-hit Zambia, while the severe drought in southern Africa will also force countries to import more grain. In a besieged Syrian city, water supplies are only available a few hours each week. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency over drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Three-quarters of waterways in England are unlikely to meet European Union pollution standards by 2021.

“Because of the conduct by Governor Snyder’s administration and his refusal to take responsibility, families will suffer from lead poisoning for the rest of their lives. Children in Flint will be plagued with brain damage and other health problems. The people of Flint deserve more than an apology.” –U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a presidential candidate, in a statement on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in the city over the weekend. (The New York Times)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

10.9 million metric tons Amount of grain countries in southern Africa will need to import due to a severe drought in the region. Bloomberg

300 megawatts Amount of electricity South African power utility Eskom agreed to provide Zambia, where low water supplies have crippled hydropower production. Bloomberg

Science

Science, Studies, And Reports

Residents in the besieged city of Deir al-Zor, Syria have water supplied only three hours each week, according to a United Nations report. Unverified accounts say as many as 20 people in the city may have died from starvation last year. Reuters

Only a quarter of lakes, rivers, and aquifers in England will comply with water pollution standards under the European Union’s Water Framework Directive by 2021, Environment Agency documents show. The cost of improving conditions could total more than $US 35 billion. ENDS

On the Radar

On The Radar

A federal judge suspended the license for Brazil’s Belo Monte dam last week after finding that the company behind the project did not adequately compensate and support local indigenous communities. The suspension will likely further delay the dam’s completion. Guardian

The post The Stream, January 18: Belo Monte Dam License Suspended appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

Source: Water News

Source: Water Industry News