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Environmental News January to March 2004


March, 2004

Report: Nuclear sites put major drinking water sources at risk
Among those facing the greatest threat are the Columbia River in Washington, the Clinch River in Tennessee, the Great Miami River in Ohio and the Savannah River in South Carolina. Ohio's Great Miami Aquifer, the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas and Idaho's Snake River Aquifer are among the underground water sources being polluted. USA Today 3/29/04_

EPA: Association of Metropolitan Water Agency awarded $2 million to enhance water security
The grant will help support the on-going efforts of Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC), a state-of- the-art, secure information system that shares up-to-date threat and incident information between the intelligence community and the water sector. Press Release 3/29/04_

Virginia water pollition isn't getting worse, officials say. It's the tests and standards that are tougher.
Water studies are required of all states by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They're intended to offer residents a snapshot of water-quality conditions in their back yards over a multiyear period. In addition, the state must conduct an investigation called a TMDL of each troubled waterway, then draft a remedy. Roanoke Times 3/29/04

Two reports seek better monitoring of groundwater under Nevada Test Site
Nevada Test Site spokesman Kevin Rohrer said he had not yet seen either report, but said radioactive contamination has not been detected the borders of the test site or in drinking water wells. AP/Las Vegas Sun 3/29/04_

EPA orders 7-Up/RC Bottling remedy water violations in California
The Seven-Up/RC Bottling Company Inc. of San Francisco must immediately remedy clean water violations at its facility in Sacramento, Calif., or face fines of up to $32,500 per day per violation. Waste News 3/29/04

UN opens  international discussion of water, sanitation and human settlements

The talks are being held in parallel with the UN's Global Ministerial Environment Forum in South Korea. Press Release 3/28/04

Leaking fuel tanks foul Arizona water and fuel additive MTBE found in water of 54 communities 
Twenty years after the nation passed laws to clean up fuel tank water pollution and to prevent new problems, hundreds of leaks from underground storage tanks are still fouling soil and groundwater with gasoline, diesel or waste oil. The situation threatens this arid state's future drinking water supplies, discourages new businesses from opening on tainted sites and adds to the price of gas at the pump. Finding and cleaning it all up will cost an estimated $262.5 million, according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Arizona Daily Star 3/28/04

Keizer, Oregon looks for sources of PCE and TCE that taint water wells
Dry cleaners, gas stations and mechanic shops are some of the businesses being examined as potential sources of the groundwater contamination. Salem Statesman Journal 3/28/04

Tadpoles react to reclaimed wastewater in Flagstaff, Arizona: Antibiotics, tobacco byproducts and aspirin may trigger thyroid activity
State and federal officials are considering using the water for snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl.  Flagstaff Daily Sun 3/26/04

Report says most Virginia rivers, streams, lakes and estuaries are polluted
Fifty-two percent of the rivers and streams the state monitors are polluted, as are 71 percent of tidal estuaries and 54 percent of lakes, according to a report by the state Department of Environmental Quality. Lynchburg News & Advance/KRT/Miami Herald 3/24/04
North Phoenix well water tested for perchlorate contamination
Arizona's top environmental official is warning residents living next to a north Phoenix plant to switch to bottled water after high levels of perchlorate contamination were found in groundwater samples. However, officials with Goodrich Corp., which operates the former Universal Propulsion Co. site, said there is no threat to residents north of their site, because they believe the groundwater flows southwest in the area. Arizona Republic 3/24/04

Nevada Senator John Ensign criticizes new EPA arsenic drinking water standard as too costly for small communities
About 140 community water systems in Nevada exceed the new standard. Most are in rural areas and have little money to remove the toxic heavy metal.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/22/04

Kansas sand and gravel firms seek exemption from water-permit rules
The companies, backed by powerful business groups, contend the cost of complying with water regulations endangers their businesses. Environmentalists and water officials say evaporation from gravel pits constitutes a significant loss of water and should be subject to permit regulations in order to properly manage aquifers, such as the Equus Beds, which provide water to the city of Wichita. Journal-World 3/21/04

Uranium-free water anything but free in Simpsonville, South Carolina
Homeowners suffering from years of worry about naturally-occurring uranium in their well water have relief only a few feet away in their front yards, but they're having a hard time paying for it. AP/The State 3/19/04

Ohio EPA is reviewing local water quality management plans for the Lake Erie basin
In addition to describing water quality conditions and challenges, the plan outlines how the Agency proposes to assign responsibility for sewers or other wastewater treatment options in newly developed areas of northeast and northwest Ohio over the next 20 years. News-Messenger 3/19/04

EPA: Love Canal, the New York toxic groundwater site that led to the Superfund list two decades ago, now cleaned up
The Niagara Falls neighborhood had been built on and around a former chemical dump, and by the 1960s and '70s contaminated groundwater was leaching into back yards and school grounds. AP/CNN 3/18/04

Conservationists ask EPA to take over Florida water protection
The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club said Florida's environmental regulators have failed to enforce clean water standards. AP/Miami Herald 3/18/04

Utah water district offers seven options to dispose of contaminants from polluted groundwater

The move comes two months after the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District , Utah's largest water district, abandoned a plan to dump the contaminants into the Jordan River. Salt Lake Tribune 3/18/04

Labs differ on lead, arsenic levels in Massachusetts private water wells
Citing concerns raised about the validity of well water tests, the Rutland Board of Health has asked a local company to retest private wells at homes they built. Rutland News 3/18/04

EPA ruling allowing hazardous waste dumping in Romulus, Michigan wells prompts outcry
The company, Environmental Disposal Systems, has been trying for more than a decade to secure approval for the wells. AP/ 3/17/04

EPA urged to revise rules on tap water
Congressional leaders urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday to change its rules governing lead contamination of tap water, saying the recent crisis in the District has revealed multiple flaws in the federal regulations. Washington Post 3/18/04

Residents of California county fight use of chloramine in water
A local grassroots movement is rapidly growing to plug the state's use of chloramine in the water supply. A ballot initiative is planned to ban its use over health concerns. San Mateo County Times 3/16/04

Water system repairs may cost Indiana town $10 million; chemicals from a dry cleaner contaminated the groundwater
The cost of fixing Martinsville's contaminated water system keeps climbing. Indianapolis Star 3/15/04

'Water buffaloes' left their mark on Colorado: But era of big dams is past
Men with the power to dig up graveyards and redirect rivers hundreds of miles from the mountains to the cities - "water buffaloes," they were called - have all but vanished in Colorado. Denver Post 3/14/04

Water well users in Tennessee county urged to test for contaminants
There is a possibility that the water Coffee County residents are drinking from their private wells is contaminated with bacteria and other undesirable substances. Tullahoma News 3/13/04

Water district promises to increase public access to Florida land it owns
South Florida's main water board agreed Wednesday to improve public access to an expanding portfolio of property it controls, including newer lands bought chiefly to remove pollution and bank water for the Everglades. Sun Sentinel 3/13/04

Florida water managers step up search for worst polluters
State water managers have agreed to expand a project to determine which ditches and streams on the Treasure Coast flush the most pollution into the St. Lucie Estuary. Sun-Sentinel 3/13/04

Extremely high uranium levels found in groundwater at Nevada mine
New tests show extremely high levels of uranium in groundwater beneath an abandoned copper mine in northern Nevada, and federal regulators say more tests are needed to determine if nearby wells could be contaminated. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/12/04

Conservation works: Nation's water use holding steady
America's water use has been stable since the mid-1980s despite population growth, a sign that conservation works, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/11/04

California regulators set goal for perchlorate in drinking water
California officials Thursday recommended a standard for an allowable amount of perchlorate in drinking water, the first such level set in the country for the toxin. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/11/04

Marine commandant appoints panel to review Lejeune water pollution
The commandant of the Marine Corps has appointed a three-member panel to review drinking water contamination in the 1980s at Camp Lejeune - a move that one former resident said should not replace a congressional hearing. AP/Star News 3/11/04

Aerojet detects NDMA water pollution in northern California community
Aerojet has discovered that its rocket fuel pollution crosses beneath the American River from Sacramento into Carmichael at the same depths tapped for drinking water, alarming suppliers north of the river. No trace of the contamination has been found in wells serving residents, who take most of their supply from the river, according to the Carmichael Water District. Sacramento Bee 3/10/04

Report: States inconsistent in measuring water quality of Great Lakes
People who fish or swim in the Great Lakes get inconsistent information about whether their activities are safe because water standards and testing vary from state to state, an environmental group said Wednesday. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/10/04

PG&E's toxic plume creeps toward L.A. water supply
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is poised to begin pumping polluted groundwater from under the Mojave Desert to stop the toxic chemical hexavalent chromium from seeping into the Colorado River and tainting the water supply of 18 million Southern Californians. Los Angeles Times 3/6/04

California is trying to set a health goal for perchlorate concentrations, but agreement is elusive.
The state is about to take sides in the scientific debate over a rocket-fuel chemical that is turning up in the drinking water consumed by millions of state residents. Riverside Press-Enterprise 3/5/04

Pope says everyone entitled to water

Water is a "gift of God" and a "right of all," John Paul II said in a message to Brazil's bishops for the 2004 Fraternity Campaign. Zenit 3/3/04

Canada's native elders will bless Lake Wascana in special First Nations ceremony
The empty lake is being restored. "It is an opportunity to honour this lake," said Elmer Eashappie, a First Nations elder helper."The elders will pray to bless the water for today and for the next generation." Regina Leader Post 3/3/04

Second thoughts on perchlorate: In water, how much is too much?
The Defense Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have squared off in a continuing dispute over the danger from a widespread contaminant of groundwater. New York Times 3/2/04



February, 2004

Tennessee urges users to test water wells by landfills

Well users who live near old landfills should have their water tested for toxic chemicals because state officials say they do not yet know what impact these sites are having on the groundwater. Nashville Tennessean 2/29/04

Perchlorate in fertilizer contaminates California water
A major source of perchlorate pollution in inland California drinking water supplies may be Chilean fertilizer that was applied to citrus crops in the early 20th century. Press-Enterprise 2/28/04

Researchers hope to set quality standards for Nebraska lake water
Researchers from various disciplines at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are nearing the end of research aiming to change the way Nebraska and surrounding states measure the quality of water in their lakes. Instead of trying to determine ideal water quality, said UNL water quality expert John Holz, "we're trying to set relative water quality expectations in the state." 2/27/04 Daily Nebraskan

Bridge for Florida Everglades to fall short of hopes
The Tamiami Trail is going to rise above the swampland it divides, but only for 3,000 feet at first, not the 11 miles federal wildlife officials and environmentalists are seeking.
Sun Sentinel 2/26/04

Chief Ethanol Fuels suspected of contaminating Nebraska water
Chief Ethanol Fuels Inc. in Hastings is suspected of dumping untreated wastewater into the Big Blue River, diluting wastewater samples and falsifying wastewater reports required by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. Grand Island Independent 2/26/04

New $197 million pump cleans Florida Everglades water with plants. AP/ 2/23/04

Groundwater perchlorate polluter Olin offers bottled water to farm laborers in Gilroy, California. Gilroy Dispatch/KRT/Miami Herald 2/21/04
Feature: Providing water while protecting the Platte. Colorado's river caretakers. Rocky Mountain News 2/21/04

EU law to make European companies pay for cleaning up water and other pollution. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 2/20/04

EPA approves new water test system to detect weakened--but still living--E.coli in drinking water. The system, called Colitag, was developed by a University of California, Berkeley professor. CPI International is the manufacturer. San Francisco Business Times 2/16/04

Bush administration quietly helped MTBE producers. EPA plan to ban use of the water polluting gasoline additive was put aside. AP/Miami Herald 2/15/04
Industry opposition kills plan for Alaska to take over point-source pollution monitoring from the EPA.
Federal oversight imposes no costs on industry and sewage treatment plants. State would charge for permits.  AP/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 2/15/04

Auburn University researchers hope to develop a process to remove perchlorate from Alabama drinking water. AP/ 2/14/04

Princeton Gamma-Tech to pay $21.5 million for New Jersey cleanups. EPA press release 2/13/04

Massachusetts town sends contaminated well water for more tests. Five of community's nine wells likely out of service for a decade. Improvements planned to existing water system. Lowell Sun 2/8/04

Kansas water table dropped more slowly this year than in recent years. But it still is declining faster than it was in the 1990s, scientist says. Garden City Telegram 2/7/04

Massachusetts Dunkin' Donuts closed after high levels of MTBE found in the water. The Boston Channel 2/6/04

After a two-month delay, California approved new washing machine standards intended to save billions of gallons of water. U.S. Department of Energy still must OK plan. AP/Marin Independent Journal 2/5/04

Bush's 2005 budget cuts clean water spending by $500 million. 

Reuters 2/2/044

All of Ohio's 331 waterways--except one--fail EPA's clean water standards. Results are about the same as last year. AP/Ohio News Net 2/2/04

Seabrook, New Hampshire debates $2.6 million bond issue to clean arsenic from water. Town is one of 1,125 water districts in the state trying to meet an EPA deadline in two years. Boston Globe 2/1/04

January, 2004

USGS can't track western Long Island groundwater. New York area lacks funds to pay for study.  Herald Community 1/30/0

EPA $715,000 will underwrite study of improving water quality in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Deta. Findings could improve water for millions nationwide. Tri-Valley Herald 1/29/04

California a year late in water standards for perchlorate. Assn. of Calif. Water Agencies and chemical industry urge state to wait for federal standards. AP/Conta Costa Times 1/28/04

AWWA accuses the EPA of overstating cancer risks in proposed disinfection by-products rule. Press Release 1/21/04

Will Chicago's suburbs clean up their drinking water by dirtying the land? Where will they put the radium? Daily Herald 1/25/04

California water regulators exempt 25,000 Central Valley farmers from water runoff regulations. But farmers fear future rules will curb pesticide runoff into San Francisco Bay.  Oakland Tribune 1/23/04

Standard & Poors issues report on MTBE. Reuters 1/22/04

California water saving washing machine standards delayed again. New governor's staff wants more time for review. AP/Miami Herald 1/21/04

Arsenic: New Jersey to have toughest rules in nation on cleaning arsenic from water. Governor's plan should take effect in six months. Press of Atlantic City 1/18/04

Half of all Montana rivers and streams and about 80% of lakes are contaminated, says a draft state report. In 2002 the numbers were the same. AP/Montana Forum 1/15/04

Minnesota governor proposes $147 million environmental bond initiative. Money would be used for drinking water, wastewater improvements and to set aside agricultural lands in watersheds. Pioneer Press 1/13/04

New York to spend $1.8 million to bring safe water to town of 200 residents whose wells are contaminated with lead and petroleum products. The seven-mile waterline will cost a total of $7.8 million. AP/Newsday 1/13/04

Vinyl chloride found in water wells of Chicago suburb. But what does that mean? Daily Herald 1/12/04

A leading industrial polluter on Florida's panhandle finishes Escambia Bay wastewater project. Cuts out one million gallons of wastewater a day. AP/Miami Herald 1/11/04
Indiana MTBE lawsuit put on hold until federal panel decides if similar cases should be consolidated. School water pollution suit was filed when officials feared pending federal energy bill would protect MTBE producers. Indianapolis Star 1/11/04

EPA clears Florida state officials over county's sale of radium-tainted drinking water to customers. AP/Miami Herald 1/10/04

Alberta, Canada's Environment Minister Lorne Taylor accuses Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of creating false water fears to raise money for The Waterkeepers Alliance. Kennedy says minister is just trying to pick a fight. The Globe and Mail 1/9/04

Pest control industry monitors conflict between Clean Water Act and Federal Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. Will Congress step in? Pest Control Technology 1/7/04

Editorial: In Defense of Local Control: Factory farms can pollute water and local governments need the authority to regulate them. N.Y. Times 1/7/04

New Jersey begins tough new drinking water protection rules for rivers and streams. Construction industry worries too much land barred from building. Newsday 1/5/04

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to switch from chlorine to chloramine to disinfect Hetch Hetchy water. The Sierra reservoir is used by San Francisco to supply drinking water to much of the bay area. Milpitas Post 1/4/04

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