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2020-11-24EPA Announces National Goal to Increase Recycling Rate at 3rd Annual Recycling Summit
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler convened EPA’s third annual America Recycles Summit to discuss the draft National Recycling Strategy and unveil a modern, ambitious National Recycling Goal to increase the national recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030. The Summit engaged leaders from across the recycling system to continue building on the success initiated over the last three years since EPA’s first America Recycles Summit. [ full text ]

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2020-11-24U.S. DHS Develops Low-Cost, High-Accuracy Flood Sensor Networks
Since 2016, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has been working alongside scientists, equipment manufacturers, and stormwater utilities from around the U.S. to develop deployable, scalable, and low-cost flood-sensor networks. Designed for long-term deployment in flood-prone areas, DHS’ wireless sensors automatically detect rising water levels and send early flood warnings to officials and citizens. They require little or no maintenance, and cost less than $1,000 per unit – as much as 20 times cheaper than permanent flood sensors currently on the market, according to an agency fact sheet about the sensors. [ full text ]

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2020-11-16Sewage testing could protect schools, hospitals from COVID-19 outbreaks
Early in the pandemic, a few cities and countries around the world began testing sewage for evidence of the coronavirus, hoping to detect rising infections early. Now some researchers are fine-tuning that strategy by moving upstream to test waste from single hospitals or other buildings, aiming to quickly pinpoint burgeoning COVID-19 outbreaks and stop them with testing and isolation. [ full text ]

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2020-11-16EPA Kicks off America Recycles Week with Updated Domestic Recycling Data
To kick off America Recycles Week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an update to a report highlighting the economic benefits of recycling. By converting waste materials into valuable raw materials, recycling creates jobs, builds more competitive manufacturing industries, and significantly contributes to the U.S. economy. [ full text ]

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2020-11-03USDA Invests $268 Million in Rural Water, Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $268 million in order to update rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 28 states. The USDA said it is funding 76 projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, and that investments help improve rural water infrastructure for 267,000 residents. [ full text ]

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2020-11-03Why Reports of Legionnaires’ Disease Are on the Rise in the United States
Modern drinking water treatment in developed countries has effectively eliminated cholera, typhoid and other traditional waterborne scourges. The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), passed in 1974, propelled progress by requiring water suppliers to meet national standards for monitoring contaminants and managing them through filtration, disinfection and other processes. The U.S. now has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies. And most of the attention on drinking water safety today has shifted from microbiological to chemical, with plastics, pesticides and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, leading lists of contaminants of concern. Yet many microorganisms also slip through the cracks of U.S. drinking water systems, sickening up to an estimated 4 million to 32 million people every year. Although most only result in mild gastrointestinal upsets, some can be deadly, as witnessed by recent reports of brain-eating amoeba in Texas municipal water supply. [ full text ]

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2020-11-03NWRA, EREF Publish Waste & Recycling For Dummies
The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) have partnered to produce Waste & Recycling For Dummies, an informative and educational book for industry professionals, government officials, students and consumers. While many have a basic understanding (or some assumptions) about the waste and recycling industry, NWRA and EREF unveil a clearer picture of how the entire industry works in Waste & Recycling For Dummies, hoping that readers take a look at their own actions and see what they can do to leave the world in a better place than they found it. [ full text ]

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2020-10-30Florida State Researchers Gather Waste Industry Leaders' Best Practices Through Pandemic
Florida State University (FSU) has recruited 15 solid waste operations from varied regions for a study to analyze municipal solid waste management systems under COVID-19 conditions, with plans to create best practices should there be another pandemic. “The objective of our study is to capture what operators of different components of the waste management system are doing through the pandemic [collections, landfill, materials recovery facility (MRF), etc.]. We are watching and documenting how each entity of the system has changed operations as challenges arise,” says Tarek Abichou, professor at Florida A&M University-FSU College of Engineering who is one of the investigators. [ full text ]

2020-10-15EPA Compliance Advisory: Clean Water Agencies Increasing Attention to Significant Non-Compliance Dischargers
In FY 2018, over 29 percent of the nation’s 46,000 facilities with individually issued NPDES permits were in significant non-compliance with their permits. Violations range from significant exceedances of effluent limits, which can harm human health and the environment, to failure to submit reports, which can mask serious deficiencies. This NCI is intended to ensure that all NPDES permittees—not just industrial contributors—are complying with their permits. NPDES permittees, regardless of facility size or type, will see an increase by EPA and its state and tribal partners in identifying and addressing SNC violations using enforcement and other compliance tools. This NCI aims to cut significant non-compliance in half and to ensure that the most serious SNC violations are timely and appropriately addressed. Increased compliance will improve surface water quality and reduce potential impacts on drinking water. [ full text ]

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