Keeping Up Our Great Lakes Momentum

Cameron Davis Cameron Davis
A Lake Erie algae bloom seen by satellite courtesy of NOAA/NASA

A Lake Erie algae bloom seen by satellite courtesy of NOAA/NASA

We as people will always need clean water.

With more than 90 percent of the nation’s fresh surface water, few if any places tell the story of the need for and work to protect public health as it relates to fresh water than the Great Lakes.

We started down this trail together by calling for a “new standard of care for the Great Lakes,” to leave them better for the next to the next generation than the way we found them. Since then, we’ve punched the accelerator on Great Lakes protection and restoration by:

  • Establishing a “Great Lakes Trust”—If you believe like I do that clean water, air and land is our life support system, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been a much-needed investment through thousands of projects to improve water quality, rebuild habitat, educate the next generation, and many others efforts from Duluth to Buffalo and points in between.
  • Taking a “zero tolerance policy” toward invasive species—When in 2009 evidence appeared of silver and bighead carpin the Chicago Area Waterway System, agencies scrambled to patch together their authorities to prevent an invasion of the Great Lakes. By forming the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, they institutionalized their efforts and, so far, have kept the fish out.
  • Revitalizing the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement—For the first time in a quarter century, the policy that guides how the two federal governments coordinate now addresses threats to the Great Lakes from climate change, habitat, invasive species, and others.There are many other accomplishments that deserve mention—such as reducing toxic mercury, rebuilding Lake Ontario coastal wetlands with International Joint Commission, and others—than can be detailed here.But maybe the most important milestone in the journey is that it has not been top-down. It is the growing partnership of states, tribes, municipalities, businesses, environmental organizations, academia and individual citizens who simply “show up.” We’ve seen this through the Agreement’s Great Lakes Executive Committee, the federal agencies’ Great Lakes Advisory Board, and others.It is through this vibrant ecosystem of people and jurisdictions that the remaining work—and there is much still to do—will carry forward the effort to protect and restore one of the Earth’s most magnificent and vital life support systems.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public: A Vision for Citizen Science at EPA

Stan Meiburg Stan Meiburg

By Stan Meiburg, Acting Deputy Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency

At EPA, we can’t protect the environment alone. Environmental protection belongs to all of us, and participating in environmental science is one way that members of the public can have an impact. Citizen science broadens environmental protection by enabling people to work together with government and other institutions toward shared goals.

In citizen science, members of the public participate in scientific and technical work in a variety of ways, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and solving problems. In particular, community citizen science addresses questions defined by communities and allows for community engagement throughout the entire scientific process, empowering people to ask their own questions, collect their own data, and advocate for themselves.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with experts who participate in an EPA advisory council, the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT). EPA’s advisory councils are an important way for EPA to gather opinions and recommendations from experts outside the Agency. NACEPT has been working for a year to understand citizen science, gather the best thinking on the topic, and provide EPA with advice and recommendations for how to best integrate citizen science into the work of EPA.

Their timely report – Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public: A Vision for Citizen Science at EPA – outlines the transformational potential of citizen science and provides EPA with 13 recommendations to fully integrate citizen science into the work of the Agency. Citizen science can mean many things, and this excellent report provides a useful conceptual framework for considering the spectrum of uses of citizen science data, highlights the importance of a place-based approach to environmental protection, and emphasizes the need to be proactive about engaging the public in environmental protection. This report will resonate with those around the country who see the opportunities in this next wave of environmental protection. It also tells us that we at EPA have work to do in promoting high quality science and expanding our access to information that promotes constructive solutions to environmental problems.

The report is available here: https://www.epa.gov/faca/nacept-2016-report-environmental-protection-belongs-public-vision-citizen-science-epa

EPA has a number of innovative projects working to engage citizens in environmental science and decision-making and involve the public in all aspects of EPA work. You can learn more about EPA’s work in citizen science at www.epa.gov/citizenscience. EPA will take this new report very seriously and use its insights to help us make even more progress in the years to come.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

EPA Launches Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determination Website

Joel Beauvais Joel Beauvais

By Joel Beauvais

We live in a society that increasingly allows us to visualize information and data on our phones, TVs, and computers. That’s why I’m excited to announce that EPA is once again demonstrating its commitment to transparency in decision-making by launching a new website that helps the public see where the Clean Water Act applies. The website will increase public understanding of the types of waters that are protected by the Clean Water Act.

The launch of the website supports a commitment made by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy to develop a publically available website to house Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations. EPA worked in coordination with the Corps to develop a website that includes all CWA jurisdictional determinations made since August 28, 2015, the effective date of the Clean Water Rule. This includes jurisdictional determinations made under both the Rule and under the previous regulations while the Rule is stayed. Note that the website only makes use of information that was already publicly available online and does not display all waters of the United States subject to the Clean Water Act, only those for which a jurisdictional determination has been requested.

The website is the first to gather and interactively display jurisdictional determinations under the Clean Water Act across the country. This builds upon the existing  jurisdictional determination public interface on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters website.

Users are able to search, sort, map, and view information from jurisdictional determinations using different search parameters and filters. The easy-to-navigate website provides information about the presence or absence of jurisdictional waters where landowners requested jurisdictional determinations, and only makes use of public information. The website will increase and improve transparency regarding agency decision-making on Clean Water Act geographic jurisdictional matters.

I anticipate that the website will also improve jurisdictional determination requests, as the public will be able to easily access information from nearby and related determinations. Increased public access to information about how our jurisdictional decisions are made can assist landowners by providing information about the locations and types of resources that are and are not protected by the Clean Water Act.

We look forward to hearing feedback from stakeholders in the weeks and months ahead regarding website functionality and usability. We are committed to increasing the public’s access to information about how our decisions are made, because this is a key component of making the agencies’ programs more consistent, predictable, and environmentally effective.

For more, visit: https://watersgeo.epa.gov/cwa/CWA-JDs/.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Update on EPA’s Clean Power Plan Model Rules

Janet McCabe Janet McCabe

By: Janet McCabe

States, cities, businesses, tribes, and other organizations across the country are taking important steps to cut carbon pollution from power plants. In fact, power plant carbon emissions in 2015 were almost 25 percent below 2005 levels. Our extensive public engagement highlighted this continued progress and helped us ensure that the Clean Power Plan (CPP) was in line with the transition that is under way in the electricity sector. Our outreach also made it clear that states were looking to the agency to continue providing support and tools, including the Model Rules, that would help them in developing or expanding programs and strategies to cut carbon pollution.

EPA proposed the Model Rules in August 2015 when we issued the final CPP.  The proposed Model Rules highlighted straightforward pathways to adopting a trading system, making it easy for states and power plants to use emissions trading to reduce carbon pollution. Today, we are withdrawing the draft Model Rules and accompanying draft documents from interagency review and are making working drafts of them available to the public. While these drafts are not final and we are not required to release them at this time, making them available now allows us to share our work to date and to respond to the states that have requested information prior to the end of the Administration. In a letter issued today, we have notified those 14 states about the information we are making available.

We believe that the work we have done so far may be useful at this time to the states, stakeholders and members of the public who are considering or are already implementing policies and programs that would cut carbon pollution from the power sector. These drafts may be especially helpful to states considering the use of emissions trading programs or the expansion of existing trading programs, since one of the chief areas of focus of the draft Model Rules is emissions trading.  Similarly, states interested in using or expanding energy efficiency programs might find the material presented in the Evaluation, Measurement & Verification document useful as well.

The documents we are posting today are still working drafts. They are not final documents, they are not signed by the Administrator and they will not be published in the Federal Register. EPA’s docket will remain open, with the potential for completing the agency’s work on these materials and finalizing them at a later date.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Smart City Air Challenge Awardees Announced

Ann Dunkin Ann Dunkin
Chief Information Officer

By Ann Dunkin, Chief Information Officer

In August, EPA launched the Smart City Air Challenge and asked communities to create strategies to collect, manage and share data from hundreds of air quality sensors. We understand what a challenging tasks this is and we’re pleased to report that 22 communities responded to the challenge. The depth and breadth of the responses reflect communities’ enthusiasm for managing air quality data and their commitment to collaboration.

We are proud to announce that the City of Baltimore and Lafayette, Louisiana, Consolidated Government were selected as the two awardees of the Smart City Air Challenge. Additionally, four other projects were recognized as honorable mentions for their innovation and potential: New York, New York; Mesa County, Colorado; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.

The projects were evaluated on four criteria: data management, data use, sensor procurement and deployment and project sustainability. The two awardees will receive $40,000 each to deploy air sensors, share data with the public and develop data management best practices. After a year of implementing the projects, both communities will be eligible to receive up to an additional $10,000 based on their accomplishments and collaboration. You can read about the details of the challenge on the challenge.gov website.

We are excited to work with these awardees in the next year. Here are some of their plans:

Baltimore, Maryland: This community intends to engage several partners and neighborhoods to deploy a network of 300 ozone and nitrogen sensors in a phased approach, leveraging a scalable cloud platform for data management. They aim to assemble commercially-available components to build their sensor system and distribute the data on a City of Baltimore website. Partners in this project include Johns Hopkins University, BmoreCool and the Baltimore Office of Sustainability.

Lafayette, Louisiana: This submission proposed a partnership between a university, local government and a nongovernment organization to deploy a network of 300 ozone and particulate matter sensors. The project has a strong data management plan utilizing a scalable cloud platform. They plan to use commercially-available sensors for the project and make the data available to the partners and public in a variety of ways. Partners in this project include the Lafayette Consolidated Government, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and CGI Technology and Solutions.

We received many strong submissions, and we’re recognizing four additional projects with an honorable mention because of their innovation and potential:

New York, New York: has a strong sensor network and platform. The team plans to integrate air quality and weather data. The project has an indoor/outdoor air component and has the potential for other communities to learn from their experience with a network of 380 sensors and the management and use of the resulting data.

Mesa County, Colorado: has a strong grassroots effort with the community taking a proactive ownership role in the project. This project is in a geographically remote county, which will provide ideas for other rural or growing regions.

Raleigh, North Carolina: is a partnership between researchers and the community to better understand air quality, asthma and lung function. They proposed a sensor that is in a watch-like device that requires low energy.

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: hopes to collaborate with university, city and community partners. The project engages cyclists to carry the sensors, which will clarify pollution levels in specific areas of the cities.

We look forward to working with the awardees and honorable mention projects to share knowledge about how they collect, store and manage large amounts of data. This challenge is experimental in nature and we hope to learn how communities manage data using hundreds of sensors for non-regulatory purposes. The sensors will produce as much as 150 gigabytes of open data per year, which can benefit all communities and researchers. We will encourage these communities and others to share their findings so other communities can learn from their successes, challenges and findings.

I would like to thank everyone who submitted an application. I encourage all the submitting communities to implement your projects. Build upon the collaboration you’ve established with your communities and partners. Please keep us informed of your progress, because EPA and other communities want to learn about your successes and best practices too.

As I mentioned in the post announcing this challenge back in August, I firmly believe that data can make a difference in environmental protection. I look forward to seeing the difference Baltimore and Lafayette and the honorable mention projects make in the coming year. Communities, show us how it’s done!

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Embracing Data for a More Efficient Government

Robin Thottungal Robin Thottungal

By Robin Thottungal

Innovators across the federal government are leveraging the power of data to address some of our most complex national challenges.

Data allow us to discover patterns, connect the dots and identify opportunities for innovation. Data should not be buried in spreadsheets, filing cabinets and static reports; they should be accessible at the push of a button or a quick internet search.

For the past year, I have had the privilege of representing EPA in the Federal Data Cabinet, a community of over 100 innovators across approximately 50 agencies. Together, we identify which tools and guidance are needed to sustain the people, practices and policies of a data-driven government.

Looking with a bird’s eye view at government-sized programs

To see a single, integrated view of our operations, we need to be able to explore data visually. Interactive dashboards and platforms can cut through increasing data volume and complexity.

For example, my team is building a data analytics platform to further enable evidence-based decision making across EPA. By integrating all of our acquisitions data into a single dashboard, called the Spend Visualization and Strategic Sourcing Savings Tracker, we can create a clear picture of EPA’s logistics and supply chain.

EPA's Strategic Sourcing tool leverages the Agency’s full buying power in order to reduce acquisition administrative costs and develop long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with best-in-class providers of products and services.

EPA’s Strategic Sourcing tool leverages the Agency’s full buying power in order to reduce acquisition administrative costs and develop long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with best-in-class providers of products and services.

 

The EPA Spend Tool enables our Office of Acquisitions Management (OAM) to accurately monitor, compare and answer questions regarding EPA spending.

The EPA Spend Tool enables our Office of Acquisitions Management (OAM) to accurately monitor, compare and answer questions regarding EPA spending.

Looking beyond EPA, there are many other stories to tell from Federal Data Cabinet members. For example, the General Services Administration is empowering business analysts to manage and support basic federal agency functions with their Data-2-Decision (D2D) platform. D2D moves analysis beyond describing the past; it allows users to diagnose reasons for events, prescribe ways to achieve desired outcomes and forecast future scenarios.

Increasingly, federal agencies are working together to see an even bigger picture, and these collaborations are causing positive advances across the board. In an effort to improve health outcomes, strengthen food security programming and monitor land use change, the U.S. Agency for International Development partnered with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to create GeoCenter, a geospatial analysis platform. The platform was immediately useful for pinpointing the most effective methods for preventing the spread of malaria in Mozambique.

Placing information in the hands of decision-makers

What happens when tech platforms unveil the patterns behind the data? Policymakers across the government can establish smarter, evidence-based policy. Decision-makers can target interventions and focus on the biggest opportunities. Researchers can design studies with more insightful results.

EPA has been a leader in sharing data with researchers, businesses and the environmental community. For the past 20 years, we have published much of our data on EnviroFacts, a single point of access to environmental activities that may affect air, water and land across the U.S. By enabling users to find, map and analyze information, we facilitate others to make informed decisions that rely on cross-cutting information.

Health and Human Services also set a precedent by publishing an interactive map that uncovers geographic discrepancies in chronic disease among Medicare beneficiaries. The Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool provides policymakers and researchers with a quick and easy way to identify vulnerable populations and target interventions that address racial and ethnic disparities.

The Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) Tool is a user friendly way to explore and better understand disparities in chronic diseases.

The Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) Tool is a user friendly way to explore and better understand disparities in chronic diseases.

Federal employees are not the only decision-makers who benefit from a data-driven government though. Citizens benefit too! Who else better understands the important issues impacting communities across America? Opening government data has empowered citizens to track trends and make informed personal decisions.

Do you want to ensure that you’re supporting businesses with a proven commitment to labor rights? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has an online enforcement database for that. The data, covering more than four decades, include details on the roughly 90,000 OSHA inspections conducted every year.

Or do you want to understand more about the environment around your home or school? EPA’s online tool, My Environment, allows the public to learn more about air, water and land based on a search location. It also provides key resources that address local environmental challenges for citizens wanting to engage more with their communities.

Data is key to improving performance and services

The best government is one that delivers the right services, using the most cost-effective methods. By unleashing innovative technology, we are getting deeper, more meaningful insights about federal services and processes—and we are getting more efficient at delivering what citizens need most.

Take, for example, how the Internal Revenue Service is using data to enhance some of their important services. Processes for tax preparers, tax software developers and taxpayers have all improved. In addition to improving processes, their data-driven approach has resulted in a total of almost $1.7 billion dollars in revenue protected over just four years.

As another example, look at how the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) incentivizes high performance for all health insurance providers that participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program. OPM uses a data approach to benchmark clinical quality, customer satisfaction and resource use. With this approach, OPM reinforces quality health care for all its 8.2 million FEHB federal employees, retirees and family members, and holds 97 health insurance carriers accountable.

A multiplier effect across the government

We have already seen what a tremendous impact the data-driven approach has made in the services provided by individual government agencies. What we are seeing now is the multiplier effect, sparking change across the federal government.

This multiplier effect explains the success of the Department of Commerce (DOC)’s Data Academy, which educates and empowers DOC employees to make data-driven decisions. The agency is improving its service delivery to businesses, which strengthens America’s competitiveness.

Here at EPA, data enthusiasts have formed communities of practice to build capacity to operate in a data-driven manner. For example, EPA’s Geospatial program provides regular training, workshops and webinars on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Going forward, my team will further empower the agency with training and support to visualize and analyze data using advanced, innovative methods.

We have worked hard to create a safer, smarter, more responsive government – one that keeps pace with our quickly changing world – by better leveraging our data. With data in our toolbox, we can answer new questions, arrive at deeper insights and make better decisions to improve outcomes.

All citizens benefit when the government saves time, talent and resources; becoming more efficient paves the way for new economic activity and social benefits.

Data are some of our most valuable national assets, and we are working hard to use them even better.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Manteniendo nuestras comunidades seguras de los envenenamientos por pesticidas

Por Jim Jones

Quizás se acuerden de escuchar la trágica noticia en el 2016 acerca de una familia de Delaware que estaba de vacaciones en las Islas Vírgenes estadounidenses y sus vidas cambiaron para siempre cuando se envenenaron por un fumigante aplicado ilegalmente en un complejo de edificios para alquiler.

…O el niño de la Florida en el 2016 quien sufrió un derrame cerebral en su casa después que fue fumigada con pesticidas.

Cada vez que escuchamos estos casos trágicos de envenenamiento por pesticidas, la preguntas obvia es “¿qué podemos hacer para prevenir que esto vuelva a suceder”?

Para tratar de hacer justo eso, tomamos acción esta semana para fortalecer las normas para los trabajadores que aplican ciertos plaguicidas conocidos como los “plaguicidas de uso restringido”. Estos pesticidas requieren un manejo especializado y no están disponibles para la compra ni uso por el público en general.

Si las normas hubiesen estado en vigor, accidentes como estos quizás nunca hubiesen sucedido. Necesitamos normas y supervision más estrictas para asegurar que los pesticidas no sean aplicados erradamente para que nuestras familias permanezcan seguras y nos libremos de las enfermedades y el dolor ocasionado por la exposición prevenible a los pesticidas.

La norma final de la EPA fortalece la misma para que la gente que compra o utiliza plaguicidas de uso restringido al requerir:

  • Una nueva certificación especializada para trabajadores que utilizan ciertos métodos de aplicación que preesentan mayores riesgos si no son manejados adecuadamente como la fumigación y la aplicación aérea. Este requisito es en adición a la capacitación general y la certificación.
  • Un requerimiento de tener la edad minima de 18 años para poder aplicar plaguicidas de uso restringido.
  • Una recertificación de al menos cada 5 años mediante la capacitación y/o aprobar un examen que garantice los conocimientos actualizados del trabajador para aplicarlos de manera segura para protegerse a sí mismo y al público. Los cambios en el etiquetado y la tecnología de aplicación también estarán cubiertos.
  • Por primera vez un entrenamiento de seguridad annual y una mayor supervision para las personas que trabajen bajo la supervisión directa de un aplicador certificado. Los trabajadores también aprenderán cómo reducir la exposición a los residuos de pesticidas que se acarrean al hogar para así proteger sus familias.
  • El mantenimiento de expedientes por dos años para el distribuidor de pesticidas que vendió el producto, el vendedor, y el aplicador certificado que compró el producto. El distribuidor también tendrá que obtener la verificación del comprador de que tenga la certificación antes de comprar el producto.

 

Los pesticidas muchas veces son necesarios para proteger la salud humana y el medioambiente de un sinnúmero de plagas, tales como roedores o mosquitos que propagan enfermedades o termitas que ocasionan daños que podrían amenazar la integridad structural de los edificios. Muchas veces son necesarios para producir un suministro de comida fiable, abundante y sano. La EPA somete a todos los pesticidas a una evaluación rigurosa antes de que son comprados y utilizados de manera segura conforme a la etiqueta y aconseja que sean utilizados como parte de un enfoque global para el Manejo Integrado de Plagas. (salida y denegación)

Ahora, con la nueva capacitación mejorada y la certificación, aquellos que apliquen los plaguicidas de “uso restringido” tendrán mayores conocimientos sobre el tema y estarán mejor equipados para utilizar estos pesticidas de manera segura. Los riesgos se reducirán para los individuos que aplican estos plaguicidas en sus trabajos, para sus familias y las comunidades y para el medioambiente.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Keeping Our Communities Safe from Pesticide Poisonings

Jim Jones Jim Jones

By Jim Jones

You might remember hearing the tragic news in 2015 about a Delaware family vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands that had their lives changed forever when they were poisoned by a fumigant illegally applied in their rental complex.

… Or the Florida boy in 2016 who suffered brain damage after his home was fumigated with pesticides.

Each time we hear about such tragic cases of pesticide poisoning, the obvious question is, “how can we prevent this from happening again?”

To try to do just that, we took action this week to strengthen the standards for workers who apply certain pesticides called “restricted use pesticides.”  These pesticides require special handling and are not available for purchase or use by the general public.

If stronger standards had been in place incidents like these might have never happened in the first place. We need stricter standards and oversight to ensure pesticides are not misapplied so that our families are safe and are spared from the illnesses and pain caused by preventable exposure to pesticides.

EPA’s final rule raises the standard for peoples who buy and use restricted use pesticide by requiring:

  • New, specialized licensing for workers using certain application methods that can pose greater risks if not handled properly, such as fumigation and aerial application. This is in addition to general training and certification.
  • A minimum age requirement of 18 years old to be able to apply restricted use pesticides.
  • Re-certification at least every 5 years by taking training and/or passing an exam to make sure worker knowledge is up-to-date on applying them safety to protect themselves and the public.  Changes in labeling and application technology will also be covered.
  • First time annual safety training and increased oversight for persons working under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.  Workers will also learn how to reduce take-home pesticide exposure to protect their families.
  • Record-keeping for two years by the pesticide dealer of the product sold, the seller, and the certified applicator buying the product. The dealer must also get verification that the buyer is certified before selling the product.

Pesticides are often necessary to protect human health and the environment from a number of pests, such as rodents or mosquitos carrying disease or termites causing damage that could compromise the structural integrity of buildings. They are often necessary to produce a reliable, abundant and wholesome food supply.  EPA puts all pesticides through a rigorous evaluation before they can be bought and used safely in accordance with the label, and advises that they should be used as part of a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management approach.

Now, with the new, improved training and certification, those who apply “restricted use” pesticides will be more knowledgeable and equipped to use these pesticides safely.  Risks will be reduced for the individuals applying these pesticides in their jobs, for their families and communities and the environment.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

EPA Releases Final Report of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources

Tom burke Tom Burke

By Tom Burke

Clean and safe drinking water is central to public health—something that we work hard every day at EPA to protect.

Today, we’ve taken an important step forward in this mission. With the release of our final assessment of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, EPA is providing a strong scientific foundation for states and local decision makers to better protect drinking water resources in areas where hydraulic fracturing occurs or is being considered.

When EPA started this study, we were asked by Congress to scientifically assess the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water.

As part of conducting these studies, we met with stakeholders, collecting input that helped to make our work stronger. We reviewed thousands of sources of data and information. And we advanced the scientific understanding of hydraulic fracturing activities and their impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.

We passed this information on to others by publishing 13 EPA technical reports and just as many articles in scientific journals.

The report does two important things—it outlines what the scientific evidence shows and underscores what we don’t know because of gaps in the data. While these data gaps limited EPA’s ability to fully assess the potential impacts to drinking water resources locally and nationally, they too can serve as an important guide to local communities considering hydraulic fracturing.

Most importantly it provides states, tribes, and communities around the country a critical resource they can use to identify how to better protect public health and our drinking water resources.

In the end, I believe the assessment truly reflects the current state of the science. It cites over 1,200 sources including published papers, technical reports, results from peer-reviewed Agency research, and information provided by industry, states, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and other interested members of the public.

States and industry can now add the scientific understanding gained through this assessment to many other resources—including engineering capability and technology—to ensure that hydraulic fracturing is conducted in a safe and responsible manner.

But there is a last point that should not be glossed over, and that is the strength of the scientific process. I can tell you from experience, good science takes time. It involves careful planning, requires rigorous attention to detail, and relies on feedback through scientific peer review. In this instance, the Agency’s independent Science Advisory Board provided rigorous peer review and numerous constructive comments.

The final assessment is a strong, clear representation of the science that exists on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water resources.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Water Challenges Are Actually Opportunities

Gina McCarthy Gina McCarthy

By EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Our nation needs to talk more about the future of water, which I believe is one of the top public health and economic challenges now facing our country. This is a moment of opportunity – to drive smart, equitable, resilient investments to modernize our aging water infrastructure; to invent and build the water technologies of the future; and to protect our precious water resources. To seize this opportunity, we need urgent and sustained action at all levels of government and from all sectors of the economy.

It is time to move away from the narrow 20th century view of water: as a place to dump waste; as something to just treat and send downstream in pipes; as only an expense for cities and a planning burden for communities.

We need to accelerate the move to a 21st century view – where we see water as a finite and valuable asset, as a major economic driver, as essential to urban revitalization, as a centerpiece for innovative technology, and as a key focus of our efforts to build resilience.

This shift presents tremendous opportunities – to revitalize communities, to grow businesses and jobs, to improve public health. But to achieve it, we must make water a top national priority – and we need to be bold and revolutionary.

We need to drive innovation across all dimensions of the water sector: in technology, finance, management, and regulation.

We all see how science, technology, and innovation are opening new frontiers, fueling the economy, and changing our world. We must incubate this change in the water sector as well because both the challenges and the opportunities are vast.

For example, consider that the nation’s wastewater facilities discharge approximately 9.5 trillion gallons of wastewater per year. Utilities are increasingly turning to technologies and approaches that foster greater reuse of water and recovery of resources that were previously discarded as waste.

Look at Orange County, California, where they are generating over 100 million gallons per day of recycled water. Instead of just discharging that water into the Pacific Ocean, that ultrapure water is used to replenish groundwater in Anaheim, injected in wells in Fountain Valley to ward off saltwater intrusion, and as an indirect source of tap water to 2.5 million people in the county.

Another example is the opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable generation, key areas for our planet’s long-term sustainability. The water facilities nationwide account for as much as 4 percent of national electricity consumption, costing about $4 billion a year. Now we see utilities producing energy instead – while slashing costs and carbon emissions at the same time.

Look at Gresham, Oregon, where the wastewater plant has become a net zero facility – using biogas generators and solar panels to produce more energy than it needs. Not only is that saving city taxpayers half a million dollars per year, but last year the city also earned $250,000 from fees local restaurants are paying to drop off fats, oils and grease.

There are similar opportunities to use technology for improving water monitoring, for constructing green infrastructure, for building resilience to climate change, for treating drinking water, and for recovering nutrients before they enter waterways.

These opportunities to harness innovative technology aren’t just good for public health and the environment – they can be enormous economic drivers.

In 2015, the global market for environmental technologies goods and services was more than $1 trillion. The United States environmental technologies industry exported $51.2 billion in goods and services. This same industry supports an estimated 1.6 million jobs here in the U.S.

So the soundbite that protecting the environment is bad for the economy is just patently false. It’s actually the opposite.

As our nation heads into a time of transition, we need to remember that water is a nonpartisan issue. We all depend on clean and reliable water – our families, our communities, our businesses, our society.

So, it should come as no surprise that in a Gallup poll last spring, people were asked about their environmental concerns – pollution of drinking water and pollution of rivers and lakes were the top two concerns… people care about water.

To confront the challenges we face and seize this moment of opportunity, we have to work together – all levels of government, all sectors of the economy, every community. Right now, water is an all-hands-on-deck issue.

P.S.: I’m confident that our country can succeed. Look how far we come. EPA has released an interactive storymap that highlights some of the most significant progress made since 2009. I encourage you to explore the storymap to see where EPA worked near you and to read about some of the biggest steps taken toward clean and reliable water for the American people.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.