February 2012

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Interstate Water Report

the email newsletter of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission,
publishers of the Interstate Water Report

Welcome to the February 2012 edition of NEIWPCC’s email newsletter, iWR. As always, please let us know what you think!
Use this link to email your comments and suggestions.

Room for Concern: How does a 20 percent cut to EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and a 7 percent reduction in the Drinking Water SRF sound? To anyone who knows how vital the low-interest rate loans provided by SRF programs are to financing repairs to aging water and wastewater infrastructure, such cuts can’t sound good—and yet the reductions are a key feature of the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget revealed on Feb. 13. Of course, as every analysis of the budget has pointed out, the White House plan has no chance of passing in Congress. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to worry about. Read the reaction from NEIWPCC Executive Director Ron Poltak and others.

New and Improved TR-16: It was a long, demanding process, but we are thrilled to report that NEIWPCC’s most requested publication, Guides for the Design of Wastewater Treatment Works, has now been thoroughly updated. Commonly known as TR-16 (short for Technical Report #16), the 356-page document provides comprehensive guidance in the design and preparation of plans and specifications for wastewater treatment works. The new edition incorporates the very latest treatment practices and includes advances in technology, nutrient removal, energy efficiency, and instrumentation. Get the details on how to order your copy now.

Focus on Fertilizer: While Spring doesn’t officially arrive until March 20, stores are already stockpiling lawn fertilizer, anticipating the wave of demand that occurs when warm weather arrives. Products promising a plush grass carpet have long proven irresistible to American homeowners—but increasingly, awareness of the environmental cost of these products is leading to innovative studies and measures on “greener” approaches to greening the suburban landscape. NEIWPCC is actively involved in the effort through our coordination of the New England Regional Turf Fertilizer Initiative, which we are leading at the request of the six New England state environmental agency commissioners. Learn about the initiative and other efforts related to this important water resource protection issue.

Rising Threat: According to many scientists, climate change is already resulting in a rise in the global sea level, and studies show the sea level in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary—the most urban estuary in the nation—is rising faster than the global average. This is a major concern due to the delicate balance in the estuary between a diverse array of human uses and riparian habitats. Sea level rise is likely to affect low-lying areas throughout the harbor, such as the waterfront area in Keyport, N.J., shown in the photo at left during an extreme high tide event. The New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (HEP), in partnership with NEIWPCC, has just begun a project to analyze several public access sites in the estuary for the vulnerability of infrastructure and natural resources to sea level rise and coastal storms. Read more about this important new effort.

Multiple Honors: While NEIWPCC is not an organization that seeks publicity, it is admittedly nice when our hard work is recognized—which is why this year’s awards ceremony at the New England Water Environment Association’s annual conference in Boston was particularly rewarding. On Jan. 25, NEWEA honored its 2011 award recipients, including three NEIWPCC staff members: NEIWPCC Environmental Engineer John Murphy, Executive Director Ronald Poltak, and Manager of Training Operations Charles Conway (seen at left, left to right). Get the details on the awards and the recipients.

Spring Training: NEIWPCC’s instructors are already on the road to training sites across the region as we embark on a new season of courses aimed at providing the education most in need in our member states. We are pleased to be offering a particularly diverse range of courses this time around, and the classes run all the way until June, providing plenty of opportunity to find a session offered at a convenient time and place. Find out how to register now for the training you need.

Act Fast: Time is running out to register for the National Tanks Conference and Expo, March 19-21, in St. Louis. The registration deadline is March 2, so please sign up as soon as possible if you are planning to attend. Once again, NEIWPCC is leading the preparations for this much-anticipated event, which is held every 18 months and brings together the entire underground storage tanks community to focus on programs and priorities, learn from the experts, and learn from each other. Sessions are offered in four tracks, providing a multitude of options for attendees, and we are tremendously excited about the speakers and topics this year. Visit our Tanks Conference website to learn more and to register.  

NEIWPCC on Twitter: We are excited to announce that NEIWPCC is now “tweeting” on a daily basis as a means of extending the Commission’s longtime commitment to education and outreach. While we have quickly learned the challenges of imparting news in 140 characters or less, we have also been impressed by the commitment of so many in the water community to this new and incredibly rapid means of communication. We hope you’ll become a “follower” of NEIWPCC on Twitter, allowing you to regularly receive our tweets about water issues and NEIWPCC developments. To follow us, visit our Twitter page (you will need to establish a Twitter account if you have not already done so).

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The opinions and information stated in iWR are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NEIWPCC.