October 2006, Vol. 18, No.10


Briefs - Rule Proposed To Control Effluent From Large Animal Feedlots

 Under a rule proposed June 30 (71 FR 37743) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), such as large hog, veal, poultry, beef, and dairy farms, would continue to be required to manage the manure they generate. The move, in response to a 2005 court ruling, would revise the current permit system for such farms.

The proposed rule revises the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements and the effluent limitations guidelines and standards for CAFOs. The proposal requires CAFOs that discharge or propose to discharge pollutants to apply for a permit.

The proposal also provides for greater public participation in connection with nutrient management plans, according to EPA. Applicants would have to submit a nutrient management plan with their permit applications. Permitting authorities would be required to provide public notice and review of the plans, and include them as enforceable elements of the permit.

EPA says the proposed rule also clarifies the selection of best conventional technology for fecal coliform bacteria and clarifies that under an exemption established by the Clean Water Act, CAFOs land-applying manure, litter, or processed wastewater do not need NPDES permits if the only discharge from these facilities is agricultural stormwater.

The proposed revision is EPA’s response to a ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Waterkeeper Alliance, et al., vs. EPA. At press time, the proposed rule was open for a 45-day comment period.

For more information, see www.epa.gov/npdes/afo/revisedrule.

Revised Rule Proposed for Lead in Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to tighten its rules on lead in drinking water. According to an EPA news release, the revisions would affect the lead portions of the lead and copper rule for drinking water.

Proposed changes to the existing rule include revising monitoring requirements to ensure that water samples show how effective lead controls are; clarifying the timing of sample collection and tightening criteria for reducing the frequency of monitoring; requiring that utilities receive state approval of treatment changes so that states can provide direction or require additional monitoring; and requiring that water utilities notify occupants of the results of any testing that occurs within a home or facility. The proposal also would ensure that consumers receive information about how to limit their exposure to lead in drinking water and require systems to re-evaluate lead service lines that previously may have been identified as low risk after any major treatment changes that could affect corrosion control.

The proposal is based on EPA’s March 2005 drinking water lead-reduction plan, developed after analyzing the efficacy of the regulation and how states and local agencies were implementing it.

For more information, see www.epa.gov/safewater/lead

U.S. EPA Grants $940 Million to Drinking Water Programs

States, territories, and tribes will share more than $940 million from three U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant programs to support the quality and security of drinking water in the United States. The funding will benefit the water supplies of more than 270 million people, according to an EPA press release.

Approximately $837 million will support Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs, which help states, territories, and tribes finance infrastructure improvements to public water systems. Federal capitalization grants fund low-interest loans to public water systems. Eligible projects include upgrades to treatment facilities, certain storage facilities, and distribution systems.

Another $98 million in grants will fund the Public Water Supervision System. This system operates under the Safe Drinking Water Act and provides resources to implement and enforce drinking water regulations and programs. At the same time, the agency announced tentative allotments of $99,099,000 in its proposed fiscal year (FY) 2007 budget.

EPA also will provide $5 million in FY 2006 counterterrorism grants to states and territories. The grants will help provide drinking water utilities with technical assistance and training to improve the readiness of first responders at drinking water systems, including practicing emergency response and recovery plans.
EPA also encourages states to develop strategies to help utilities implement security enhancements.

For more information on the Public Water Supervision System, see www.epa.gov/safewater/pws/grants; for further information on the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, see www.epa.gov/safewater/dwsrf/allotments; and for additional information on counterterrorism funding, see cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/financeassist.cfm.  

World Pump Market To See Future Growth

According to marketing research firm The McIlvaine Co. (Northfield, Ill.), the world market for pumps will grow from just under $30 billion this year to $49 billion per year by 2016. The growth forecast is based on the major drivers of new energy sources, the urbanization of Asia, and investment in water infrastructure, according to a McIlvaine Co. press release.

A boom is under way in the construction of coal-fired power plants and, along with it, in the worldwide market for a variety of pumps, including those for water and wastewater, according to the press release.

The urbanization of Asia involves the relocation of more than 1 billion people from farms to cities, which is expected to create a huge need for infrastructure, including delivery of drinking water and removal and treatment of wastewater, according to McIlvaine. Rapid growth of the pump market in Asia will be aided by large investments in pulp and paper, chemical, steel, and other basic industries, the company predicts.

The most important factor in the growth of the pump industry will be increasing demand for decreasing supplies of uncontaminated water, according to McIlvaine.

Remediation of contaminated groundwater, desalination of seawater, and other treatment processes increasingly will be needed to make use of this finite resource. Asia has less available water per capita than other continents and also will have a more rapidly increasing demand for water delivery and treatment — so almost half the investment in pumps for water-related applications will come from Asia, according to the McIlvaine research.  

Waterborne Diseases High Among Reported Infectious Diseases

Of the top reportable diseases identified in a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on notifiable diseases, four are waterborne.

The Summary of Notifiable Diseases — United States, 2004, which outlines the official statistics for the reported occurrence of nationally notifiable infectious diseases in the United States for 2004, includes Giardiasis (ranked eighth), Cryptosporidiosis (ranked 18th), and Escherichia coli infections and Legionellosis (ranked 20th and 21st, respectively). The report contains statistics on the diseases both in tabular and graphic form.

According to the report, cattle are the “main animal reservoir” for E. coli O157:H7 and other Shiga-toxin producing E. coli. The report states that most reported outbreaks of E. Coli are caused by contaminated food or water.

Legionellosis, according to the report, has two entities, including Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. In 2004, overnight travel in hotels and on cruise ships was found to be the culprit in an increased number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. CDC, state health departments, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (Atlanta) are collaborating to decrease the total of travel-related Legionellosis, the report notes.

A summary of the report is available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/summary.html.  

U.S. EPA Releases Latest Beach Monitoring Figures

The latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) beach monitoring data on bacteria, released this summer, indicate that beaches were safe for swimming 96% of the time in 2005. In addition, the number of beaches reported has increased about four times the original number since EPA began collecting such information in 1997, according to an agency news release.

EPA collected data on 4025 beaches in 2004. The agency’s report includes data from all 35 coastal and Great Lakes states and territories covered under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act.

For the last 6 years, EPA has provided nearly $52 million in grants to 35 coastal and Great Lakes states and territories. The grants, according to EPA, help improve water monitoring and fund public information programs that alert beachgoers about the health of their beaches.

According to EPA, the agency is developing new data-collection techniques among state and local partners to make future swimming season data more readily available to the public. The new technology promises water quality results in hours rather than days, allowing beach managers to sample water in the morning and make fast, reliable decisions about the safety of beach waters the same day.

Summary information for 2005 is available at www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches. Information about specific beaches is available at www.epa.gov/waterscience/beacon