November 2007, Vol. 19, No.11

Briefs

Gulf State Governors Renew Commitment To Protect Coast

 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles, along with Gulf of Mexico state governors and senior federal and state agency officials, recently renewed a commitment to enhance the economic and environmental health of the gulf. The agreement took place at the Gulf of Mexico Alliance meeting in August in Biloxi, Miss., according to an EPA news release.
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership among the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas and the federal government to work together to protect the Gulf of Mexico’s economic and natural resources. In March 2006, the five gulf state governors released the Governors’ Action Plan for Healthy and Resilient Coasts. The plan challenges the alliance to make tangible progress on such issues as water quality, wetland conservation, and environmental education.

EPA states that in the 18 months since the action plan’s release, work on more than 90% of the plan’s 70-plus actions have either been completed or are in progress. For more information, see the alliance’s Web site at www.nos.noaa.gov/gomex 

U.S. EPA Publishes New Guidance on Watershed Permitting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published new technical guidance that it says will help integrate National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits into watershed management plans. Watershed-Based NPDES Permitting Technical Guidance is a follow-up to EPA’s 2003 implementation guidance and leads interested parties through the analysis of watershed data and developing a framework for implementing an NPDES program, according to an EPA news release.

“This guidance helps citizens and regulators accelerate watershed protection through more innovative and holistic permits and programs under the Clean Water Act,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. “The detailed information and case studies provide a road map to cleaner and healthier watersheds.”

The guidance supports approaches to permitting that may help target the watershed’s most pressing environmental needs. These approaches, according to EPA, will help achieve-water quality-based effluent limitations based on water quality standards while providing opportunities for cost reductions and improved efficiencies, such as water quality trading. The guidance includes case studies describing how watershed approaches involving NPDES permitting have been implemented nationwide. The agency is accepting comments on the guidance on a continuing basis. For an electronic copy of the guidance, see www.epa.gov/npdes/watersheds.

U.S. EPA Releases 2006 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Annual Report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August released its 2006 annual report for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program. The report, according to an EPA news release, highlights the achievements of the drinking water infrastructure assistance program in 2006 and for the 9-year history of the program.

EPA notes that the successes of the program include nearly $13 billion in assistance made available to communities to finance important infrastructure needs and an additional $1.2 billion to support state and local drinking water programs through training, capacity development, and source water protection. The program has supported nearly 5000 projects to help public water systems achieve and maintain compliance with drinking water standards, including nearly 500 projects for disadvantaged communities, according to EPA.

The report and additional information about the program are available at www.epa.gov/safewater/dwsrf.html.

U.S. EPA Guidance To Help Implement New Drinking Water Regulations

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released implementation guidance for the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule.

According to EPA, these rules, which were issued in January 2006, will help protect public health by reducing exposure to microbial pathogens and contaminants that can result from the disinfection process. Along with a summary of the rules, the documents provide guidance for preparing state primary enforcement authority revision applications, rule fact sheets, a quick reference guide, and flowcharts illustrating rule requirements.

To obtain paper copies of the documents, contact the Water Resource Center at  (202) 566-1729  and ask for document No. EPA 816-R-07-006 (LT2) or EPA 816-R-07-007 (Stage 2), or call the National Service Center for Environmental Publication at  (800) 490-9198  to obtain paper copies. Electronic versions of the documents and additional information about the rules are available at www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/lt2/compliance.html and www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/stage2/compliance.html.

U.S. Water Prices on the Rise

 An annual survey conducted by energy and telecommunications consulting company NUS Consulting Group (Park Ridge, N.J.) found that the average price of water in the United States climbed by 6% for the period from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007.

The average cost of water in the United States, according to NUS, was $2.64 per 3.8 m³ (1000 gal), rising $0.15 per 3.8 m³ (1000 gal) during the past year. Including related sewer costs, the survey also found that the national average price rose to $6.52 per 3.8 m³ (1000 gal) — an increase of 5.9% from July 2006. In the past 5 years, average surveyed water rates in the United States have increased by 28.6%, NUS states.

The survey, which included 51 water systems nationwide, revealed that the highest price paid was in Huntington, W.V., at $5.61 per 3.8 m³ (1000 gal), while residents in Greenville, Miss., had the lowest water price at $0.80 per 3.8 m³ (1000 gal).

Some of the more notable percentage increases in water prices during the past year were observed in Trenton, N.J. (up 40.0%); Indianapolis (up 36.2%); Albany, N.Y. (up 25.1%); New York (up 22.4%); Los Angeles (up 20.8%); Duluth, Minn. (up 19.7%); Denver (up 14.2%); Savannah, Ga. (up 11.4%); Kansas City, Mo. (up 10.9%); and Cleveland (up 10.5%). Of the water systems surveyed, none reported a decrease in pricing, but 19 had no increase in pricing.

“Our experience is that average water costs consistently rise each year,” said Richard Soultanian, co-president of NUS Consulting Group. “While considered cheap when compared to other industrial nations, the long-term outlook for water rates in the United States is increased pricing well above the annual rate of inflation.”

New Planning Tool for Small Community Combined Sewer Overflows

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a new planning tool for small communities that have to develop a long-term control plan to address water pollution problems related to combined sewer overflows. According to EPA, this tool, the Long-Term Control Plan-EZ (LTCP-EZ) Template, provides a framework for the organization and completion of a long-term control plan. It includes step-by-step instructions and a detailed template. Copies of the document are available at www.epa.gov/npdes/cso.

Top Global Markets for Water, Wastewater Include China, India

According to a new technical market research report, Growing Markets for Water and Wastewater Technologies (ENV008A), published by market research company BCC Research (Wellesley, Mass.), the top five global growth markets for water and wastewater technologies and products are China, India, Mexico, Egypt, and Australia.

The expenditures for municipal water and wastewater applications were about $8 billion in 2005, $9.6 billion in 2006, and $11.3 billion in 2007, according to a BCC Research news release. They are expected to grow at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2% and reach $39.7 billion by 2012. The municipal sector is a priority in almost every market, BCC Research notes.

For more information on this report, see www.bccresearch.com/environment.