October 4-6, 2011
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A federal Department of Energy panel issued recommendations on Thursday for improving the safety and environmental impact of drilling in shale formations for natural gas.
In a report on the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that is used currently in most oil and gas wells, the seven-member Natural Gas Subcommittee called for better tracking and more careful disposal of the waste that comes up from wells, stricter standards on air pollution and greenhouse gases associated with drilling, and the creation of a federal database so the public can better monitor drilling operations.
The report also called for companies to eliminate diesel fuel from their fracking fluid because it includes carcinogenic chemicals, and for companies and regulators to disclose the full list of ingredients used in fracking.
The New York Times
A congressional subcommittee meeting near Orlando Tuesday bashed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new water-pollution rules for Florida as "devastating" for jobs, families and industry.
Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, also pressed an EPA representative to say whether the rules are poorly designed for the state's diverse environments.
"I guess I'm trying to get you to admit that Florida has particular needs," said Stearns, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The Natural Resources Board voted, 7-0, to delay for two years the implementation of controversial regulations affecting development along Wisconsin waterways.
The rules were the biggest rewrite of waterfront zoning regulations in four decades when they were approved in 2010 and were set to go into effect Feb. 1.
The rules were advanced by the Department of Natural Resources to control development near lakes, rivers and streams, which can affect water quality and wildlife habitat. The agency estimates all lakes of 10 acres or more will be developed in the next 20 years.
Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
For several months this spring the Mississippi and Missouri rivers flexed their muscles and reminded us of their power. The images of the Mississippi and Missouri running high and strong brought at least momentary attention to those rivers and helped put normally obscure names like Morganza, Bonnet Carre and Birds Point into the headlines as focal points of the flood fight of 2011. Though the waters and the potential for greater catastrophe may have receded, we cannot afford to forget how close we came to disaster or to be complacent about how we manage our nation's rivers.
It is scarcely possible for most Americans today to comprehend the role that rivers played in building our cities, the development of our industries, the movement of goods, and the provision of cheap, reliable power. Similarly off the radar is how rivers -- rivers like the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Ohio, the Colorado, the Columbia, the Sacramento and the Hudson -- sculpted the landscape, creating the flood plains, canyons, estuaries and deltas that underpin much of our nation's natural bounty.
In parched West Texas, it’s often easier to drill for oil than to find new sources of water.
So after years of diminishing water supplies made even worse by the second-most severe drought in state history, some communities are resorting to a plan that might have seemed absurd a generation ago: turning sewage into drinking water.
Construction recently began on a $13 million water-reclamation plant believed to be the first of its kind in Texas. And officials have worked to dispel any fears that people will be drinking their neighbors’ urine, promising the system will yield clean, safe water. Some residents are prepared to put aside any squeamishness if it means having an abundant water supply.
Mayor Annise Parker says Houston may enact mandatory water restrictions as early as next week because of the drought.
Parker said Wednesday that the city is "coming closer and closer to a Stage 2 water conservation, which is mandatory."
That would require residents to water their lawns no more than twice a week, ban car washing and impose other restrictions, including forcing homeowners to repair water leaks on their property within 72 hours.
The Houston Chronicle
Sen. Mark Kirk gives Lake Michigan’s water quality a ‘C’Lake Michigan may appear to be a beautiful blue, but it’s actually quite murky, Sen. Mark Kirk said Wednesday as he gave the lake a "C" overall in a report card on the lake’s water quality.
Beach water quality got a grade of "D." Sewage pollution — 6.5 billion gallons of raw sewage were dumped into the lake in the Chicago area last year — still causes the closure of beaches every year and results in a grade of "C." And while no Asian carp have yet been found in the lake, Kirk gave the lake a "C" for invasive species.
"While we have made progress in some areas, Lake Michigan is still challenged by invasive species, sewage dumping and far too many closed beaches," Kirk said from the terrace of the Shedd Aquarium, the lake behind him. Kirk co-chairs the U.S. Senate’s Great Lakes Task Force.
Kentucky officials hope that after 16 years they finally have submitted to federal regulators acceptable rules to prevent the deterioration of the state’s rivers and streams.
State Energy and Environment Cabinet officials on Wednesday made public the latest package of so-called "anti-degradation" rules that they have sent to the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in Atlanta. They hope it will end years of conflict and lawsuits with environmentalists.
"One thing is clear — both Kentucky and EPA have not kept pace with any snails on addressing this issue," said Judy Petersen, executive director of the Kentucky Waterways Alliance.
New Products and Technology
Recent malfunctions in our home's irrigation system have wreaked havoc with my water efficiency efforts. The real problem wasn't the leak; things happen all the time and maintenance is necessary. The issue was that it went undetected until weeks later when the water bill showed up.
Water is a basic human right and is priced relatively low for a good reason: We need it to survive. But one unintended consequence is that we also tend to take it for granted, even here in the parched Mojave, the driest desert on the continent and one of the driest areas in the world. In a place where we should value every drop of every gallon, it's still considered acceptable, even normal, to detect leaks after the fact. I can only imagine how many others have the same experience every month and the cumulative waste it represents.
The leak incident sparked my curiosity about real-time water usage monitoring so I've started looking for solutions. I found that water utility customers in Boulder, Colo., can purchase inexpensive wallet-sized devices that monitor home water usage in real time. They stick to the refrigerator. Imagine how much water could be saved if we could do that here. Not only could we detect and repair leaks much sooner, but real-time feedback is a good tool for honing better habits, too. Alas, there's always a catch. From what I've learned so far, the water meters most common to Southern Nevada homes are not compatible with existing, low-cost remote displays.
Las Vegas Review Journal
Water University was created to acknowledge recognition and certification for experience and educational achievements in the field of water and wastewater management.
State rural water associations—who are the trainers of the industry, and train approximately 100,000 personnel each year—will administer the certification program as a satellite of Water University. This partnership provides an added local state dimension of the value to the certification designation. The overall goal is to provide recognition that ultimately makes certification holders more hirable, more promotable and more valued. The UMC is a career investment that will reap many returns as the industry raises the bar of management excellence.
Contact YOUR State Rural Water Association for more information, TODAY! Or visit www.wateruniversity.org.