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EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending April 3, 2009

NINE REGIONAL SCHOOLS TO UNDERGO OUTDOOR AIR TOXIC MONITORING

EPA announced that 62 schools in 22 states near industrial/urban areas will undergo outdoor air toxics monitoring by EPA, state, and local agencies to protect children from possible high levels of toxic air pollution in these areas. Nine of these are located in EPA's mid-Atlantic region:

  1. Clairton Educational Center (Clairton, Pa.)
  2. Kreutz Creek Valley Elementary School (Hallam, Pa.)
  3. Riverside Elementary School (Reading, Pa.)
  4. Solid Rock Academy/Early Learning Center (Madison Heights, Va.)
  5. South Allegheny Middle/High School (McKeesport, Pa.)
  6. Sto-Rox Elementary School (McKees Rocks, Pa.)
  7. Cabell County Career Technology Center  (Huntington, W. Va.)
  8. Follansbee Middle School (Follansbee, W. Va.)
  9. Neale Elementary School (Vienna, W. Va.) 

Results will be made available to the public at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair

REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS IS OPEN FOR CLEAN DIESEL PROJECT FUNDING ASSISTANCE  

EPA is soliciting applications under the 2009 Recovery Act‘s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance program for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions, maximize job creation/preservation and economic recovery through a variety of diesel emission reduction strategies. Eligible to apply are regional, state, local or tribal agencies or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality, and nonprofit organizations that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or mainly promote transportation or air quality. The closing date for receipt of applications is Tuesday, April 28, 2009.  For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery/index.htm.  To read the questions and answers section of the funding program, go to http://www.epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery/documents/faq-national-rfa.pdf.

APRIL 1 SIGNALS THE BEGINNING OF THE 2009 OZONE SEASON FOR THE MID-ATLANTIC REGION

April 1 was designated as the official start of the 2009 ozone season for Region 3 states (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, W. Virginia) and Washington, D.C.  Ground-level ozone is formed when VOCs and NOx react in the presence of sunlight and hot temperatures during the warmer months of the year.  Exposure to unhealthy ground-level ozone conditions affects everyone, especially at-risk populations who have existing respiratory problems and are more susceptible to ground-level ozone exposure.  People (especially at-risk groups) interested in protecting themselves from over-exposure to ozone pollution, can access useful air quality information at the EPA AIRNow website.

BROWNFIELDS GRANT HELPS CLEAN UP CONTAMINATED BUILDING IN JOHNSTOWN, PA

An EPA grant for more than $200,000 to the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority will help a developer clean up and renovate a downtown commercial building on Franklin Street in Johnstown, Pa.  EPA provided the funding under its Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund program. The property is adjacent to the recently completed Johnstown Tech Center (a brownfield project also funded by EPA).  The circa 1900s building has a partly collapsed roof, and the building is contaminated with asbestos and lead paint that must be removed before it can be renovated for commercial, office and residential use. 

WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT IMPROVEMENTS REDUCE WET WEATHER OVERFLOWS IN W. VIRGINIA TOWN

The City of Pennsboro, W. Va. was awarded a $542,200 Clean Water grant to improve the City's 1960's-era wastewater treatment plant and sewer system which exceeds regulatory flow limits during excess rainfall. The treatment plant upgrades will enhance plant operations and improve water quality in Bunnell Run and the North Fork Hughes River.  This will protect public health, and reduce permit violations for exceeding flow limits.  The EPA grant will pay for 55 percent of the estimated $2,776,000 project cost.  Construction is expected to start in December. 

WATERSENSE WELCOMES NEW WATERSENSE PROGRAM PARTNERS

EPA continues to enhance the market for quality-assured, water efficient-labeled products through WaterSense (a voluntary public-private partnership program that promotes efficient use of water resources, water preservation, reduction of water and wastewater infrastructure costs, and unnecessary water consumption). In March, the Blacksburg Christiansburg VPI Water Authority, Va.; the City of Suffolk, Va.; the Department of Public Utilities; and the North Wales Water Authority, Pa., signed WaterSense partnership agreements with EPA pledging to promote water efficiency in their communities. For additional WaterSense information, link to http://www.epa.gov/watersense EPA released its final WaterSense product certification system (PDF) effective April 1.

FORMER U.S. STEEL FAIRLESS WORKS (NOW KEYSTONE INDUSTRIAL PORT COMPLEX) JOINS EPA'S SUSTAINABILITY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

The Keystone Industrial Port Complex (KIPC) (formerly the U. S. Steel Fairless Works), in Fairless Hills, Pa. joined Region 3's Sustainability Partnerships Program. The property is being transformed into an eco-industrial park to house several internationally-based manufacturing corporations and green industries. EPA helped KIPC during its redevelopment by employing environmentally sound soil reuse practices, construction and demolition recycling techniques and is now working with KIPC on a recycling program (paper, bottles, cans, and industrial materials), on a solar field; and on reducing waste and increasing efficiency.  To access EPA's sustainable cleanup and redevelopment Web site, go to http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/bf-lr/sustainablereuse.htm

ECYCLING CAMPAIGN PROMOTES ELECTRONIC PRODUCT RECYCLING

With our growing reliance on electronic products (cell phones, computers, and personal digital assistants), the number of discarded electronic products and their toxic components is growing. From April 6 – 12, EPA promoted the recycling of unused cell phones as part of EPA's Plug-in to eCycling campaign to reduce these products from the nation's landfills. Recycling the unwanted 100 million cell phones annually could save enough energy to power more than 18,000 households for a year. There are options for the safe reuse and recycling of these products. Look for cell phone and rechargeable battery drop-off sites at a retailer near you: www.epa.gov/ecycling.  For information about regional and State eCycling programs go to Where You Live  and Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer and Other Electronics?

EPA ANNOUNCES MORE STRINGENT REQUIREMENTS FOR ENERGY STAR COMPUTER MONITORS; EXPANDS RANGE OF LABELED PRODUCTS

EPA is announcing new more stringent requirements (20 percent more energy efficient than conventional options) under the Energy Star label for computer monitors, digital picture frames and other displays.  With this new specification, the energy savings would grow to about $1 billion each year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from nearly 1.5 million vehicles. EPA has also expanded the range of labeled display products to include energy-efficient digital picture frames and large commercial displays. With Energy Star-labeled products in the home, the typical homeowner can save more than 30 percent, or about $700 on annual energy bills while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information on Energy Star: http://www.energystar.gov/

EPA AWARDS $48.8 MILLION IN STIMULUS FUNDING FOR WEST VIRGINIA WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

EPA awarded more than $48.8 million in stimulus funding to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to finance wastewater projects that protect public health and the environment through water quality improvements. The funds will go to the state's Clean Water State Revolving Program (CWSRF) for low interest loans to finance wastewater treatment upgrades, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. This grant is a partial award since $61,092,100 represents the full award to West Virginia through its CWSRF program. The remaining 20 percent is for Green Reserve Projects ($12,218,428) to be awarded to the DEP for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and "green" innovative solution projects later this year. For information on the American Recovery Act of 2009 stimulus funding, visit http://www.epa.gov/recovery 

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