In The Works

Volume 17, Issue 3 - March 2016

In The Works is a monthly newsletter providing Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) news and regulatory updates. The newsletter is provided by Loureiro Engineering Associates, Inc. of Plainville, Connecticut.

 

NATIONAL

Up to $1 Million to be Awarded to Improve the Relevance and Predictivity of Data Generated From Automated Chemical Screening Technology Used for Toxicity Testing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and NIH’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) within the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) have announced a new challenge that will award up to $1 million to improve the relevance and predictivity of data generated from automated chemical screening technology used for toxicity testing.

Out of thousands of chemicals in commerce today, very few have been fully evaluated for potential health effects. Scientists from EPA, NIEHS/NTP, and NCATS are using high-throughput screening (HTS) assays to evaluate the potential health effects of thousands of chemicals. High-throughput screening uses automated methods that allow for a large number of chemicals to be rapidly evaluated for a specific type of biological activity.

Current HTS assays do not fully incorporate chemical metabolism, so they may miss chemicals that are metabolized to a more toxic form in the body. The challenge announced today, Transform Tox Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism, is calling on innovative thinkers to find new ways to incorporate physiological levels of chemical metabolism into HTS assays. This will help researchers more accurately assess effects of chemicals and better protect human health.

Teams will compete in three stages for a total award of $1 million. The first stage seeks practical designs that may be fully implemented. Up to ten submissions may receive a prize of $10,000 each and an invitation to continue on to the next stage.

The second stage requires a prototype that demonstrates the proposed idea in use. Up to five participants may be awarded up to $100,000 each and invited to participate in the final stage. The final stage requires a commercially viable method or technology for EPA and its partners to demonstrate and test. Based on this testing one participant may be awarded up to $400,000 for delivery of a method or device that will result in technologies that can provide metabolic competence to HTS assays.

All segments of industry, government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and others are encouraged to enter.

For more information on the Tox Testing Challenge, visit: www.transformtoxtesting.com

 

CONNECTICUT 

Connecticut DEEP Announces $5.8 Million in Trail Grants for 38 Projects in More Than 27 Communities Across the State.  Offering New and Improved Opportunities for Families to Spend Time Outdoors

Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced recently that is has awarded more than $5.8 million in grants for 38 projects to build, expand, or enhance greenways and multi-use trails in more than 27 communities across the state.

"Through our recreational trails program we are providing funds that will provide attractive opportunities for more families to enjoy the outdoors, and to have the chance to spend time together outside," said DEEP commissioner Robert Klee.  "We applaud Governor Molloy and members of the general assembly for making these funds available and allowing us to continue improving and connecting the many tremendous trail and greenway networks in our state."

DEEP expanded the scope of its recreational trails program under the terms of public act 15-190, which allowed the agency to provide funding for a full range of multi-use trails and greenways projects.  This legislation also expanded eligibility for grants so that non-profit organizations are able to receive funds under this program.  At its January 29 meeting, the state bond commission authorized $7 million for grants.

The Connecticut greenways council is serving as an advisory committee for grant selection and recently met to select the first round of grant recipients under the newly constituted program.

Funds received through this program may be used for locally supported trails and trial systems, bikeways and multi-use paths.  Grant money can be allocated for a wide variety of purposes, including planning, design, and land acquisition, construction, construction administration, and publications for bikeways, walkways, and greenways as well as for equipment and trail amenities, such as parking lots, toilet buildings, signs and benches.

DEEP envisions most project being completed by the fall of 2017.   
http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?q=578458&a=4808

 

Connecticut DEEP Intends to Reissue the Current General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater Associated with Industrial Activity to Cover a Two Year Period

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) recently issued public notice on April 4th that the Department intends to reissue the current General Permit for Discharge of Stormwater Associated with Industrial Activity expiring on September 30, 2016 without modifications. The proposed reissued General Permit would cover a two year period beginning on October 1, 2016 and expiring on September 30, 2018.  Facilities currently registered under the General Permit would not have to re-register for the reissued General Permit.  Facilities would have to continue to implement, maintain, and update all elements of their Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan as specified in the current General Permit to ensure that the discharge will not cause pollution.

A final decision on the proposed General Permit is expected in May after the close of the 30 day public comment period. For more information about the proposed reissued General Permit, the notice of tentative decision can be found at: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2586&Q=578644&deepnav_GID=1511

Also on April 4th some amendments to Connecticut regulations became effective. Below is some language from a DEEP communication regarding the amendments. This information is a less main stream than the stormwater news.

Please note the amendment to RCSA sections 22a-174-29 and 22a-174-3c became effective on April 4, 2016. The amendment was developed to streamline certain regulatory requirements for low emitting sources and to ease compliance burdens on certain small sources. More specifically, the action:

  • Creates a clear requirement in RCSA section 22a-174-29 linking the requirement to obtain a permit to the obligation to meet more comprehensive requirements for toxic air pollutants. As a result of this revision, small sources of air pollution that are below permitting thresholds or that operate under one of the DEEP’s permits-by-rule are clearly relieved of the burden to meet certain air toxic emissions requirements.
  • The addition of emissions caps in RCSA section 22a-174-3c, which simply reflect the restrictions on emissions that are now built into the regulation, will provide an enforceable mechanism to allow the sources operating under RCSA section 22a-174-3c to stay below the applicability for federal standards for toxic air emissions and state requirements for greenhouse gases.

     

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Baker-Polito Administration Announces $950,000 Grant to Support Cape Cod Water Quality Initiative.  Funding Supports Barnstable County Efforts to Develop Water Quality Solutions for Region's Bays and Estuaries


    In support of a significant Cape Cod water quality initiative, the Baker-Polito Administration recently awarded a $950,000 grant to Barnstable County to provide assistance to Cape Cod communities as they develop plans to address water quality issues and restore those waters to levels where they are able to meet state water quality standards.

    Governor Charlie Baker last June certified the Water Quality Management Plan for Cape Cod, also known as the "208 Plan" (named for a section of the federal Clean Water Act), that was developed by the Cape Cod Commission. The Plan, which was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in August 2015, is being implemented by the Commission and Cape Cod communities.

    "Nitrogen pollution is one of the most significant challenges facing Cape Cod waters, affecting not only the Cape's natural resources, but the economy and water quality," said Governor Charlie Baker. "Through this grant to help communities implement the 208 Plan, we are pleased to empower Cape Cod towns with resources to develop local solutions."

    "The 208 Plan recognizes that the best way to meet the significant environmental challenge facing Cape Cod is to rely on local decision-making," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "This funding will help these communities design cost-effective solutions that work for them."

    The plan, developed with extensive public participation, examines the causes of water quality issues on Cape Cod and provides more options for communities to consider and new planning tools to use in making local decisions about potential solutions. It offers greater flexibility and discusses financing and funding options to help implement those solutions.

    The 208 Plan calls for communities to develop watershed reports by July 1, 2016. The funds announced today will support the County and Commission's efforts to provide the planning tools, technical assistance and monitoring needed to create effective plans.

    "This grant reflects a significant investment in support of Cape communities' efforts to develop the most effective and affordable solution to addressing their water quality challenges," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. "The tools and direct assistance supported by this funding will help communities develop plans in a timely manner, and our commitment to ongoing funding for the water quality monitoring initiative will help ensure that the community efforts can be measured and are effective."

    The grant is being provided to Barnstable County to support the following efforts:

    • Water Quality Monitoring Program: $250,000 will support the Cape Cod Water Quality Monitoring program. Barnstable County, through its Water Protection Collaborative, will use a combination of state and county funds to conduct a comprehensive water quality monitoring program in order to provide valuable baseline data on water quality for Nantucket Sound, the east side of Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay. The data will enable scientists and decision-makers to track changes, analyze trends and evaluate the overall condition of the waters of Cape Cod. In addition to the sampling program, the Water Protection Collaborative and the Cape Cod Commission will establish a framework to store the data, and to make sure it is available to decision-makers and the public. The Water Quality Monitoring support is the first year of a four-year funding commitment by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
      • Watershed Team Technical Assistance Program: $700,000 will support the Cape Cod Commission's efforts to assist communities in meeting a June 30, 2016 deadline for developing watershed reports consistent with the 208 Plan Update. The assistance will include Direct Technical Assistance which, with the aid of contractors, will provide direct technical assistance to waste management agencies and municipalities, with a goal of supplementing local capacity with the expertise they need to complete and implement their plans. Further, the assistance will include Decision Support Tool Development which will enable the Commission, with state support, the ability to develop "WatershedMVP," a map-based planning tool that assists in preparing watershed protection plans across the region. The new funding will be utilized to expand the functionality of the tool, allowing decision-makers, engineers, community members and others to benefit from its use. Enhancements will substantially improve the tool's utility in comparing scenarios by considering financial impacts, a variety of community benefits or detriments, and how the adaptive management plans may be implemented over time.

        Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act requires the state to designate "waste management agencies" (WMAs) to develop and implement wastewater plans to meet water quality standards. Recognizing local communities' central role in developing the most cost-effective, locally-based solutions, the Commonwealth reaffirmed the designation of the Cape Cod's 15 municipalities as the waste management agencies responsible for implementing the 208 Plan Update in the watersheds for which they are responsible. As 32 of the 53 watersheds addressed by the 208 Plan cross town boundaries, collaboration among Cape communities is critical. The Plan Update calls for the WMAs to prepare "watershed reports" outlining potential scenarios for each watershed by July 2016.

          RHODE ISLAND 

          Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Continues Investment in Healthy Communities and Outdoor Recreation with Latest Grant Announcement


          As part of a continued focus on supporting healthy communities and promoting outdoor recreation, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) recently announced the availability of $4 million in matching grants to local municipalities to acquire, develop, or renovate recreational facilities in their communities. The application period is open through May 27, 2016.

          "There are tremendous economic, health, and environmental benefits to modernizing our recreational facilities and creating greenspace in our cities," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "These features - as well as the many amazing parks, beaches, and other natural areas around the state - help attract people to live and grow a family or business in Rhode Island. Promoting this critical sector of our economy is key to moving our state forward."

          "Having safe, accessible places to get outdoors and exercise is so important to promoting healthy habits in Rhode Island families," said Andy Moffit, First Gentleman and Chair of the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council. "Gina and I make it a point to walk or bike ride with our kids as often as possible. This time together outdoors is special to us. We encourage all Rhode Islanders to take advantage of the many exceptional places we have around the state to be active and have fun as a family."

          Last month, Raimondo established the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council by Executive Order in an effort to promote growth of outdoor recreation in the state. Rhode Island's outdoor recreation industry is an increasingly important part of our state's economy, contributing an estimated $3.3 billion annually and supporting 36,000 jobs. As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, municipal facilities play an important role in beautifying communities, supporting public health, and promoting a cleaner environment. Since the inception of DEM's community recreation grant program in 1988, 427 grants have been awarded and $66 million invested in improvements in all 39 Rhode Island communities.

          "We encourage cities and towns to take advantage of this opportunity to improve and expand their recreational facilities," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Providing people with places in their neighborhood to get outdoors and enjoy nature is core to ensuring Rhode Island remains a wonderful place to live and to fostering our next generation of environmental stewards."

          The grants, which require a community match and range from $100,000 to $400,000, are funded through 2014 Open Space bond proceeds. Applications will be evaluated and scored by the Rhode Island Recreation Resources Review Committee, consisting of government and non-profit members, using the Open Project Selection Process (OPSP) developed under the 2009 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. Grant awards will be announced later this year.

          For general information on DEM's programs and divisions, visit www.dem.ri.gov or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or via Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM).