Nola S&WB Grant

More exciting news!

LUSC has been awarded a grant from the Sewage and Water Board of New Orleans for our Green Infrastructure Education Program. This grant is in conjunction with Global Green, Water Works, Engineers Without Borders, Neighborhood Partnership Network, Project Home Again, Hike for Katreena, and Dana Brown & Associates.

We are looking forward to starting work on this project!

Waterway trash cleanup on Ward Creek March 2nd

The Bayou Manchac Group will be conducting a litter cleanup on Ward Creek behind PetSmart on Siegen (next to Lowes) all day Saturday, March 2nd.  Join us if you can make it even for a little while.  Bring your canoe/kayak or borrow one of ours.  Much of the litter is on land, but on the opposite bank so we will ferry volunteers across the creek.  As of now we expect about 10 people to show up.  Compare this to the 1,300 people who participate in the Bayou Lafourche annual cleanup on the same day and which is sponsored by BTNEP, the municipal governments along the waterway, and Nicholls State Univerity.

Directions to the Ward Creek site: Park behind PetSmart in the Siegen Shopping Center and cross the 4-lane Mall service road on foot.  Be careful crossing the road and we hope to see you there!

Don’t try to launch at the private rail crossing immediately southwest of the Siegen overpass (http://binged.it/ZthaEA)!  Met a member of the Bayou Haystackers (http://bayouhaystackers.com) paddling Ward Creek today while I was scouting the areas behind PetSmart for our March 2nd cleanup.  He received a trespassing ticket last weekend for using the rail crossing to scout for easier launch spots.  The BRPD Officer refused to believe that anyone would paddle Ward Creek for recreation and accused the paddler of scoping the area for items to steal.

BREC does own Gentilly Court Park directly across the tracks from our litter cleanup location on Ward Creek (http://binged.it/ZtntYO) but there is no trail.

On a somewhat related note, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation passed our trash resolution this morning at their annual meeting in Baton Rouge.  The next step is to seek a member of the Louisiana Legislature to sponsor a resolution directing LDEQ to add trash to the Louisiana list of water impairments and begin assessing Louisiana waters for trash impairment and possible TMDLs.  Municipalities that enact programs such as sponsoring periodic waterway cleanup events will avoid TMDLs since their waterways will not be listed as impaired by trash.

 

Bayou Manchac Group

bayoumanchac.com (facebook)

bayoumanchac.org (listserver)

EPA Awards Over $59,000 to Provide Job Training that Revitalizes Urban Waters in New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward

(DALLAS – June 27, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency awarded $59,824 to Groundwork New Orleans to provide training for students working to restore polluted urban waters. The goal of the Urban Waters program is to fund research, studies, training, and demonstration projects that benefit urban waters and the surrounding land. Communities directly benefit from access to natural areas. Urban waters can be canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas.

“By supporting job training for local high school students, this grant will help young people play a part in shaping the future of New Orleans,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman. “Groundwork New Orleans is helping the Lower Ninth Ward’s effort to restore urban waters and grow local businesses.”

Groundwork New Orleans will use their Urban Waters grant funds to help transform vacant and underutilized land into an educational demonstration project called The Green Slice, based in the Lower Ninth Ward. The Green Slice will be designed as a demonstration research site that will teach people about water management and water quality improvement, impacting local urban watersheds. Green Team members will be instrumental in assessing existing water quality and drainage infrastructure. They will then coordinate with other partners to develop plans for testing best management practices. The students will generate educational materials and conduct outreach throughout the project.

Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help grow local businesses and enhance educational, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, the EPA will help communities become active participants in restoration and revitalization efforts.

Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program is available at http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/index.html

More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

For more information contact Dave Bary or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

LWEA Presentation

Recently LUSC President Rod Hendrick gave a talk at the Louisiana Water Environmental Association annual conference, entitled “The Role of Public Education and Public Participation in the Urban Stormwater Program.”  To view the PowerPoint presentation, click here.

For more information about the LWEA, visit their website here.

EPA Updates Online WQS Handbook

EPA recently updated the web version of its Water Quality Standards Handbook (http://epa.gov/wqshandbook) to make it more user-friendly and improve transparency by providing links to EPA’s most recent policy documents. The “updated information” boxes found throughout each chapter have been updated with new links, and documents referenced in the text are now hyperlinked. No substantive edits to the text have been made to date, however EPA is making plans to update the text as well.

EPA has also expanded its online water quality standards policy and guidance reference library [http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/standards/library/index.cfm ] to include currently relevant water quality standards policy and guidance documents. The library is sortable by document title, issue date, topic, and EPA document number.

The main SHPD website (http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/) and water quality standards page (http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/standards/) have both been updated to direct users to the handbook and library, making the updated pages easier to find. Our ultimate goal is to make the handbook the hub for water quality standards guidance on general topics and the policy and guidance reference library the place to quickly and easily find specific documents.

If you have questions or comments about these updates, please contact Jennifer Brundage at brundage.jennifer@epa.gov or 202-566-9976.

EPA Proposes to Add Acadia Parish Facility to National Priorities List of Superfund Sites

(DALLAS – March 13, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the EVR-Wood Treating/Evangeline Refining Company site, near Jennings, Louisiana, has been proposed to be added to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, a list of sites that pose risks to people’s health and the environment. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

The site, off Highway 97 and one mile north of I-10 in Acadia Parish, was home to wood-treating operations as well as oil refining from the late 1930s until 1985. The refinery also received waste water from the wood-treating facility, which was held in retention lagoons. Soil samples have shown elevated concentrations of arsenic, chromium, and copper, as well as several types of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. The contamination threatens nearby wetlands and commercial and recreational fisheries.

“Today we’re taking an important step toward restoring contaminated property and protecting people’s health and our environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “Cleaning up hazardous waste in our communities and returning properties to environmental and economic vitality are EPA priorities.”

The EPA will seek public comment on adding the EVR-Wood Treating/Evangeline Refining Company site to the NPL for 60 days. Comments will be considered as the agency completes the final decision process.

Since 1983, 1,661 sites have been listed on the NPL. Of these sites, 359 have been cleaned up resulting in 1,302 sites currently on the NPL (including the nine sites added today). There are 62 proposed sites (including the 10 announced today) awaiting final agency action.

With all NPL sites, the EPA works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, the EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. Therefore, it may be several years before significant EPA cleanup funding is required for these sites.

More information on the Superfund NPL is available at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/mar2012.html

EPA Issues Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Sites

New permit includes more protections for waterways, shaped by important public and stakeholder feedback

EPA has issued a new permit, in accordance with the Clean Water Act, that will provide streamlined permitting to thousands of construction operators, while protecting our nation’s waterways from discharges of polluted stormwater from construction sites. Stormwater discharges from construction sites can contain harmful pollutants, such as nutrients, that contaminate waters, increase drinking water treatment costs, and damage aquatic ecosystems. The new permit was shaped by important input from the public and stakeholders to ensure that it provides important protections for waterways, while also providing flexibility to operators.

The 2012 construction general permit (CGP) is required under the Clean Water Act and replaces the existing 2008 CGP, which expired on February 15, 2012. The new permit includes a number of enhanced protections for surface waters, including provisions to protect impaired and sensitive waters. Under the Clean Water Act, national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permits are typically issued for a five-year period, after which time EPA generally issues revised permits based on updated information and requirements, as is the case with this announcement. NPDES permits control water pollution by including limits on the amount of pollutants that can be discharged into waterways by specific sources.

The permit also provides new flexibilities for operators. For example, it allows for emergency projects (e.g., restoration following a flood or other natural disaster) to begin immediately without permit authorization from EPA, while still retaining full authority for EPA to ensure that the project proceeds in an environmentally responsible manner once it has commenced. The permit also enables operators of already permitted projects flexibility where compliance with a new permit requirement is economically impracticable.

The 2012 CGP updates include steps intended to limit erosion, minimize pollution sources, provide natural buffers or their equivalent around surface waters, and further restrict discharges to areas impaired by previous pollution discharge. Many of the permit requirements implement new effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for the construction and development industry that became effective on February 1, 2010, which include pollution control techniques to decrease erosion and sediment pollution. The permit will be effective in areas where EPA is the permitting authority: Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and most U.S. territories and in Indian country lands.

EPA invited the public to comment on the draft permit. The agency also had a webcast to introduce owners and operators of construction sites, members of the public, and State or Tribal permitting authorities to the new requirements of the proposed CGP. More information on the proposed construction general permit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/cgp.cfm