Celebrating America Recycles Day: A Stronger Recycling System Supports a Stronger Economy

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Andrew Wheeler, U.S. EPA AdministratorBy Andrew Wheeler
U.S. EPA Administrator

America has a long-standing commitment to conservation and stewardship. As a nation, we are blessed with abundant resources; and we are all looking for ways to maximize the inherent value of those resources so that future generations can continue to enjoy and benefit from them for many years to come.

We also understand that recycling is one of the most widely available ways for each and every one of us to have a long-term impact on the environment. From a child in pre-school, to a mom in a small town, to urbanites in the big cities, to Fortune 500 companies, we can all do our part to conserve valuable materials and keep them from filling up our Nation’s landfills.

When EPA was established in 1970, the national recycling rate was less than 10 percent. In 1980, the first curbside recycling program was launched in Woodbury, New Jersey. And today, recycling programs can be found in communities big and small across the country, and the national recycling rate has grown to more than 35 percent.

Under President Trump, we have made it a priority to engage with stakeholders and work together to address environmental challenges such as recycling. In doing so, we can reduce the roughly $9 billion of materials Americans throw away each year.

As much as we have increased the amount we recycle, there is much room to grow. That is why last year at EPA, we held our first America Recycles Summit, which brought together stakeholders from across the recycling system to sign the America Recycles Pledge. Signatories of the Pledge are committed to working with EPA in identifying solutions to improve the nation’s recycling system.

EPA has brought some of the most innovative, forward thinking organizations to the table to solve some key challenges in the recycling system. In addition to keeping valuable materials out of landfills, recycling is an important economic driver that provides more than 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages. Together we are working to turn billions of dollars of waste into products that can drive our economy and protect our environment.

Our role at EPA has always been to help develop best practices, provide data the public needs to monitor their recycling efforts, and incentivize action through our programs. But we need to work together with our partners to move beyond our current recycling rate of 35 percent and really make a positive impact on recycling in the United States.

I’m pleased to say that over the past year, through our coordinated efforts we’ve taken many important steps to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfills. We are working closely with our government partners and private companies to reduce the amount of food waste across the country; our list of signatories to the recycling pledge has more than tripled from 45 to more than 160; and we have a wealth of efforts underway to enhance public education and outreach, increase our investment in recycling infrastructure, develop markets for recycled materials, and improve measurement and data collection.

On this America Recycles Day, I challenge you to do your part, by taking steps to reduce the amount of food we waste, the amount of garbage we put in the trash, and the amount of contaminated materials that end up in the recycle bins. Other ways to improve on our nation’s recycling challenges is to learn more about recycling in your community; to look for opportunities to recycle beyond the bin, such as used electronics drop-off events or store collection bins; and to buy American-made products made with recycled content.

Together we can build a stronger, more resilient recycling system that provides needed materials to fuel our economy, creates jobs, and most importantly conserves our precious natural resources while also protecting our environment.

 

About the author: Andrew Wheeler is the U.S. EPA Administrator. The U.S. Senate confirmed him as the fifteenth Administrator of the agency on February 28, 2019. President Donald J. Trump announced his appointment as the acting EPA Administrator on July 5, 2018. Wheeler was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the EPA Deputy Administrator on April 12, 2018. Read more.

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.

A New Role for EPA’s Water Reuse Action Plan

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Conservation/TecH2O Manager Anai Padilla and Chief Technical Officer Gilbert Trejo give EPA’s Jeff Lape a tour of El Paso Water’s TecH2O Learning Center. (Photo by Carlos A. Briano)

Conservation/TecH2O Manager Anai Padilla and Chief Technical Officer Gilbert Trejo give EPA’s Jeff Lape a tour of El Paso Water’s TecH2O Learning Center. (Photo by Carlos A. Briano)

By Jeff Lape
National Program Leader for Water Reuse, U.S. EPA

As I write this blog post, I am currently on a water reuse mission in New Mexico and Texas, learning about the array of opportunities with agriculture, industry, academia, and others to consider how water reuse can expand our portfolio of water sources. Promoting the reuse of water for beneficial purposes instead of treating it as waste has been a priority in EPA’s Office of Water. Under the direction of Assistant Administrator for Water, Dave Ross, I’m now just a few days into my newly minted role—serving as EPA’s first National Program Leader for Water Reuse.

With 80 percent of states anticipating some freshwater shortages in the next decade, all levels of government have a responsibility to ensure that Americans have access to reliable sources of clean and safe water. Water reuse has become a rapidly expanding means of improving our water portfolio and has already shown how communities, farmers, and industry can benefit in achieving environmental and public health protection, as well as assuring the security, resiliency, and sustainability of the nation’s water resources.

That’s why EPA and our federal partners facilitated development and recently released the draft National Water Reuse Action Plan in close collaboration with communities, utilities, industry, agriculture, and others. The draft Action Plan identifies priority actions and the leadership and collaboration that is needed between governmental and nongovernmental organizations to implement these actions. Our draft Action Plan, which we are seeking comment on by December 16, 2019 (https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2019-0174), embraces a holistic approach and, when issued in February 2020, will include clear commitments and milestones for actions that will further water reuse.

It’s encouraging to see water reuse already becoming integrated into our agency’s water resource efforts. For instance, just last month, EPA invited 38 new projects in 18 states to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan. Eight of the selected applicants represented water reuse or recycling projects.

In my new role, I will work to finalize the Water Reuse Action Plan and then launch its implementation with support and contributions from our water sector stakeholders. I will also work across EPA to ensure our agency’s contributions and commitments are compelling and robust. And, I plan to identify ways to institutionalize water reuse in EPA’s culture so it becomes an enduring priority.

I’m excited for the challenge ahead, given that addressing future water resource challenges will necessitate more holistic thinking that embraces the “convergence of water” through more integrated action.

About the author: Jeff Lape has served as Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water since 2010 and is now on detail as EPA’s National Program Leader for Water Reuse.

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: Taking Charge on Asbestos

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Recently, EPA has been accused of wavering in its commitment to protect the people in our country from asbestos. This is certainly not the case. In April 2019, for the first time in 30 years, EPA strengthened safeguards related to asbestos. EPA’s new rule creates a legal framework by which EPA can restrict the use of more asbestos products or prohibit them entirely. This means that no manufacturer can revive discontinued asbestos products without first consulting EPA, which can then restrict or prohibit that use.

Prior to our April rule, asbestos products that were no longer on the market could come back without any EPA review, without any EPA restrictions, and without any opportunity for EPA to prohibit that use. In other words, previous administrations failed to take steps to ensure that certain dangerous asbestos products would not be reintroduced into the market.

Our April 2019 rule closed this dangerous loophole in the law and made sure that these products could not come back on the market without EPA review and the opportunity to restrict or prohibit use of the products. Combined with our ongoing risk evaluation of a few remaining industrial uses of asbestos, EPA is using our full suite of authorities to protect public health from domestic and imported asbestos products and ensuring we can prohibit dormant asbestos products from reentering the market.

EPA is not allowing new uses of asbestos under this rule. Quite the contrary. Those who are subject to the rule are required to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing any manufacturing, importing, or processing of asbestos or asbestos-containing products covered under the rule. These uses are absolutely prohibited until EPA conducts a thorough review of the notice and puts in place any necessary restrictions, including prohibiting use.

Certain uses of asbestos that were prohibited in 1989 remain banned. Some people say that EPA should immediately ban all remaining asbestos products. Under TSCA, as revised by a bipartisan Congress in 2016, EPA can’t do that in one simple step. By law, with public input and scientific peer review, EPA must evaluate the risk of remaining asbestos uses before it can restrict or ban these products. And that’s exactly what we’re doing for asbestos. EPA included asbestos as one of the first 10 chemicals to undergo this risk evaluation process. This process will be open and transparent, will be available for public comment as well as for scientific peer review and will follow the timetable established by Congress.

If the Agency determines there is unreasonable risk to health or the environment from any conditions of use of asbestos we are evaluating, we are compelled by statute to take actions necessary and authorized by TSCA to ensure the use of asbestos no longer presents an unreasonable risk. These actions would be proposed within one year and finalized within two years.

EPA is covering ALL bases to be able to protect people’s health from asbestos exposure. Addressing asbestos risk remains a priority and I’m proud of the strides EPA has made in protecting the American public from asbestos exposure.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

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.

Pest-Free Homes = Healthy Environments for Healthy Kids

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

October is Children’s Health Month, making it a perfect time to highlight the steps we’re taking in EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) to protect their health, particularly at home. Children are more sensitive to environmental hazards than adults. We have an important responsibility to keep their home environment healthy and pest-fee, while also preventing children from being exposed to potential harmful products, including pesticides.

Some common household pesticides include rodent bait, mothballs, insect repellents, weed killers, and bath and kitchen disinfectants. While they are helpful in keeping your home free of pests, if used or stored improperly, pesticide products can potentially harm you or your children.

Before registering a pesticide, EPA evaluates the product to ensure that, when used according to label directions, no unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment will occur. The Agency develops human health and ecological risk assessments, researches alternative pesticides that are already registered, and determines if any measures or label specifications are needed to reduce risk.

Consider these tips to keep children safe from household pesticides:

  • Always read the product label and follow all directions when using pesticides.
  • Never store pesticides in containers that may be mistaken for food or drink.
  • Store pesticide products out of the reach of children.
  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after use.
  • Safely use rodent bait products by placing them only in locations where children cannot access them and keeping them in the bait stations in which they are sold.
  • Avoid illegal household pesticide products, including unregistered mothballs that can easily be mistaken for candy.
  • In case of accidental poisoning, keep the number for the Poison Control Center’s national helpline number readily available (1-800-222-1222).

In addition to following best practices to poison-proof your home, be mindful of the products you select. Products with EPA registration numbers have been reviewed by scientists at EPA. For products used on pests of significant public health importance, such as ticks and mosquitoes, EPA requires data that shows the product works on that pest and works effectively as claimed on the label. EPA is working to make more options available to choose from. For example, after thoroughly reviewing the science, we recently proposed to register a new rodent poison called alphachloralose to control house mice. It acts by putting mice to sleep and is not harmful to children when used according to the label.

To further protect children at home, you can also consider different approaches to pest management. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, focuses on pest prevention and using pesticides only when needed. IPM is better for the environment and saves money in pesticide treatment and energy costs by improving insulation as a result of sealing cracks and adding door sweeps.

Whether at home or out in the world, let’s work to create healthy environments for all children!

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

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.

Engaging Partners in Clean Water

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by Tom Damm 

To appreciate how the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund is helping communities improve their local waters and lands – and ultimately the Bay – all you need is a quick look at the list of project summaries:

  • Assistance to seven townships in Pennsylvania with barnyard improvements, stream-side buffers and manure storage to manage agriculture runoff.
  • Outdoor classroom construction in Prince George’s County, Maryland, engaging teachers, students and building supervisors in stormwater management.
  • Eastern oyster restoration in Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River in Virginia.

Throughout the list of 47 projects, you can see how the Stewardship Fund is engaging farmers, homeowners, churches, businesses and municipalities in efforts to improve water quality and restore habitat across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Stewardship Fund is a partnership between EPA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).   EPA provided $9.7 million of the nearly $12.7 million awarded in 2019, attracting almost $21 million in matching contributions.

Those gathered for the recent announcement of this year’s grants got to see the benefits of the program up close.  The backdrop for the speakers was one of the rain gardens installed with a 2017 grant at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and School in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Students from the school’s Environmental Club stood front and center for a photo opportunity at the end of the ceremony.

The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy – the organization that worked with the school on the green infrastructure project – received another grant this year to expand its Clear Creeks Project.

The $200,000 grant will allow the group to provide discount funding in Baltimore County for “Bay-Wise” practices that reduce stormwater into local waterways, such as rain barrels, rain gardens and stream cleanup events.

At the announcement, EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office Director Dana Aunkst emphasized the importance of programs like the Stewardship Fund, saying “local projects by groups and communities will continue to be critical to our success in achieving clean water.”

 

About the Author:  Tom Damm works in the Office of Public Affairs at EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, contributing strategic communications in support of EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office.

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.

Celebrating National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

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By Jessica McFaul
Senior Advisor for the Office of Public Affairs

This week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and here at EPA, we’ve made tremendous progress on our part to help prevent childhood exposure to lead, both indoors and out.

As a mom of three young children, I value EPA’s role in keeping America’s children safe and healthy. And as a mom who recently experienced a lead poisoning scare with my own toddler, the agency’s mission has never seemed more important.

This spring, I took my youngest child for what I thought was a routine one-year well check. Fortunately, this included a routine blood lead level (BLL) screening, revealing a level of concern exceeding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 5 micrograms per deciliter. In the weeks and months that followed, my husband and I learned as much as we could, testing our home and water and remediating the “hot spots.” Today, we’re back to a non-detectible BLL.

As scary as this was, knowing where to find credible information allowed us to act quickly to prevent any additional exposure and address the situation. EPA, the CDC, and the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry have loads of free information available online at https://www.epa.gov/lead, https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm, and https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=34&po=8.

Naturally, I gravitated to the things I could do immediately. Within a day, we identified the places in our home that most likely caused the exposure, thoroughly (and properly) wet cleaned the surrounding areas and toys, and selected foods for our daughter known to aid in lowering the BLL. Within a week, we added a fresh coat of paint to the areas of concern to encapsulate any remaining dust. These are all actions that anyone can take with very little out-of-pocket cost, whether you rent or own your home. We ultimately replaced four old windows, using EPA-certified lead abatement contractors (bonus: the new windows are energy efficient, saving us money).

Exposure can happen in many places, so if you have children, are pregnant, or are thinking of having children in the future, read up and take action now. Prevention is always the best medicine.

 

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.

Making Strides on Our Lead Reduction Initiatives

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

One of our greatest responsibilities here at EPA and in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is to protect public health, especially the health of those who are more vulnerable, such as children. We know that children are especially sensitive to the potential health effects of many hazards, particularly lead. For this year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, I’d like to highlight how we’re working to protect those Americans that are most affected by the health impacts of lead exposure, specifically our efforts under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

This June, we announced a stronger, more protective standard for lead dust in homes and child-occupied facilities across the country – the first time in nearly two decades that EPA has strengthened these standards. We now are working on the lead dust clearance rule to make it consistent with the final revisions to the dust-lead hazard standards. To update the dust-lead clearance levels, EPA plans to take several steps such as conducting health, exposure, and economic analyses.

In addition, EPA regularly conducts hundreds of compliance assistance and outreach activities that support abatement, risk assessment and inspection components of the Lead-Based Paint Program. The Agency also works to increase the number of certified renovation firms capable of providing lead-safe renovation, repair and painting services through outreach campaigns.

Another important initiative we’re working on is a new educational curriculum on lead: Lead Awareness in Indian Country: Keeping our Children Healthy!. OCSPP collaborated with over 200 tribal partners this year to develop the curriculum to:

  • Raise awareness about childhood lead exposures;
  • Educate partners about potential impacts on children’s health and cultural practices; and
  • Encourage actions to reduce and/or prevent lead exposures in Indian country.

I am excited that this curriculum can be used by any community across the nation. The unique aspect of this curriculum is the design – it is created in a manner to balance diverse community backgrounds, technical information, and localized knowledge by allowing community leaders an opportunity to plan and deliver their own messages. The format allows users the ability to adapt information to meet various needs and consists of four modules:

  • Module 1: Understanding Lead – provides an overview of lead, its impacts, and actions that can be taken to reduce potential lead exposures and lead poisoning;
  • Module 2: Effective Cleaning Techniques – explains and demonstrates recommended cleaning techniques for reducing household lead dust;
  • Module 3: Personal Hygiene and Nutrition – focuses on the connection between personal hygiene and nutrition for children and potential exposures to lead; and
  • Module 4: Hiring Certified Lead Professionals – emphasizes the importance of hiring a certified lead professional to follow lead-safe work practices to reduce exposures to lead.

We anticipate publishing the curriculum in early 2020!

Of course, our office’s work goes hand-in-hand with the incredible efforts across the EPA – particularly last week’s announcement of a proposed rule to reduce lead and copper in drinking water. EPA’s many efforts – and those of other federal agencies – are found in the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure.

Moving forward, it’s important to remember that there’s still more to be done. I look forward to continuing to work with our federal, state, tribal, and local partners for increasing awareness about lead poisoning prevention to protect children’s health.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

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.

Celebrating Pollution Prevention Week

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Please join me in celebrating Pollution Prevention Week, September 16-22, 2019! It’s been almost 30 years since Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, which established pollution prevention as a national policy in the United States.

Pollution prevention is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source. Because pollution prevention approaches are applied to the activities that generate pollution, everyone can be a part of the solution. Citizens, communities, and companies have a wide range of options to reduce pollution at its source. Whether we increase recycling or reduce our use or pesticides at home, or reduce societal use of chemicals and resources, there are all kinds of good practices that can help us advance economic growth and increase sustainability at the same time.

By working together, we continue to come up with new approaches to pollution prevention and encourage adoption of those innovations. Between 2011 and 2016, EPA issued $36.9 million in grants to help American businesses identify, develop, and adopt pollution prevention approaches. These efforts, in turn, yielded $1.4 billion in savings to businesses; reduced the use of hazardous materials by 529 million pounds; and saved 25 billion gallons of water, among many other benefits.

One great way to get a sense of how many efforts are underway is to take a look at EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) pollution prevention pages. EPA’s TRI program collects information to track industry progress in reducing waste generation and moving toward safer waste management alternatives. Many facilities provide descriptions of measures they have taken to prevent pollution and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals entering the environment.

EPA regularly celebrates the efforts of businesses, academic institutions, local governments, and non-profits across the county. It is amazing to see the diverse and creative ways pollution prevention is being advanced. For example, last year EPA recognized the University of Minnesota for its efforts to develop a new pollution prevention approach in the automotive repair industry. Researchers offered technical assistance to Minnesota-based auto repair shops to help them achieve low-cost transitions to greener products in their degreasing processes. As a result, auto repair businesses reduced the use of volatile organic compounds and the hazardous air pollutants by thousands of pounds over a two-year period. The new practices also improved air quality for auto repair shop workers.

To take another example, the New England Environmental Finance Center at the University of Southern Maine is working with craft brewers on source reduction opportunities that can increase environmental, economic and social performance and can help the industry become more competitive in a water- and waste-intensive industry. The effort is becoming a model of sustainable operations practices for small breweries.

(Check out other pollution prevention case studies here: https://www.epa.gov/p2/pollution-prevention-case-studies.)

Three decades after passage of the Pollution Prevention Act, it’s clear there is always room to develop new and creative approaches that benefit our economy by protecting the environment. Please take a moment and visit our website to see how you can prevent pollution in your home, car, or garden.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

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.

Senior Administration Officials Connect with Southern California Water Projects that Highlight Water Reuse Solutions

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With 80 percent of U.S. states anticipating some freshwater shortages in the next decade, diversifying the country’s water portfolio to meet the nation’s water needs is a top priority for the Trump Administration. With that in mind, Senior Administration Officials, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross, visited innovative water projects in Southern California that demonstrate the benefits of water reuse and desalination.

Water reuse, or water recycling, can be used for a wide variety of applications, including drinking, agriculture, groundwater replenishment, industrial processes and environmental restoration. But for water reuse to make a real difference in maintaining the nation’s water needs, there must be collaboration between federal, state and water sector stakeholders to encourage the use and growth of innovative water reuse technologies.

The Administration is committed to promoting this important effort, including through actions organized under the draft National Water Reuse Action Plan, which was announced at the 34th Annual WateReuse Symposium. The draft plan was announced during a panel discussion with federal partners including—the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Department of Army for Civil Works, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).  Detailing ways to use water reuse technology to address the nation’s water resource challenges, this draft plan is much more than an EPA plan, but instead a water-sector plan that was developed in collaboration with federal, state, local and industry partners from around the country. EPA is now requesting public comment on the plan and engaging with all stakeholders to identify the highest priority and most urgent actions to be included.

Federal officials including CEQ Chairman Mary Neumayr, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross and U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tim Petty tour Carlsbad desalination Plant.

Federal officials including CEQ Chairman Mary Neumayr, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross and U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tim Petty tour Carlsbad desalination Plant.

Administration officials visited the Carlsbad Desalination Plant and the City of San Diego’s Pure Water Demonstration Facility and Padre Dam Municipal Water District, showcasing the vital role of collaboration between federal and non-federal stakeholders as well as the importance of innovative projects in supplying safe and sufficient water to meet future demand.

To highlight innovative water desalination projects that are already underway, officials toured the Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which is the largest seawater desalination plant in the nation.  The Carlsbad plant delivers over 50 million gallons of secure and high-quality drinking water to more than 400,000 Southern California residents every day. The plant uses reverse osmosis to provide the only water supply in San Diego County that is not dependent on snowpack in the Sierras or local rainfall. This plant is a great example of what is possible when the private and public sector work together to utilize the latest technologies in water treatment.

Federal officials including EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross and U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tim Petty visit Pure Water San Diego.

Federal officials including EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross and U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tim Petty visit Pure Water San Diego.

After Carlsbad, the group continued with a demonstration of advanced water reuse at Pure Water San Diego and the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Pure Water San Diego is a phased, multi-year program that will use proven water purification technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water. Phase one of this multi-year program will provide 30 million gallons of clean, advanced-treated recycled water to San Diego-area residents starting in 2023.

At the Padre Dam Municipal Water District the group discussed of one of the biggest challenges in the water sector— the aging workforce. Nationally, it is estimated that 37 percent of water utility workers will retire in the next 10 years. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross highlighted work EPA is doing with federal partners to recruit the next generation of water professionals.

As EPA continues to work with federal, state, tribal and water sector stakeholders to address water challenges, federal collaboration will be invaluable for developing innovative technologies and partnerships that will promote water reuse and a sufficient and safe supply of water for our future.

 

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.

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Tips for Greener, Healthier Lawns and Gardens

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
By Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Many Americans spend countless hours each year tending to their lawns and gardens.

Nothing frustrates a gardener more than the destructive capabilities of unwanted pests. They come in many forms, like weeds, insects, animals, molds and fungi ̶ just to name a few.

As you think about the best way to deal with pests in your garden or lawn, you may want to consider integrated pest management (IPM). IPM is a holistic, environmentally friendly, commonsense approach that focuses on pest prevention and only uses pesticides when necessary. IPM strategies allow you to manage pest damage using methods with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

Try these helpful tips when managing your green spaces:

Green Scaping - The Easy Way to a Greener, Healthier Yard

  • Outcompete weeds. A healthy lawn can compete with most weeds.
    1. Develop healthy soil
    2. Choose a grass that thrives in your climate
    3. Mow high, often and with sharp blades
    4. Water deeply, but not often
  • Choose pest-resistant plants. Many garden centers offer informa¬tion about pest-resistant plant variet¬ies. After the plants are established, they’ll save you time and money on pest control. And, some plants have their own pest resistant properties. For example, lavender is thought to help repel some mosquitoes, moths and other insects.
  • Choose plants that grow well in your region based on the amount of sun, type of soil, and water available in your yard.
  • Know your pests. Only about 5-15 % of the bugs in your yard are pests. “Good bugs,” like ladybugs and praying mantises, help control pests.

If you do choose to use a pesticide, ensure that you use it with care to get the most benefit. Reduce any risks by first always reading and following label instructions. Use only the amount instructed on the label and avoid overuse. When you have a small problem area, treat just that area, not the entire yard.

Share your photos of healthy lawns and gardens with us on Twitter @EPAChemSafety!

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

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.