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Water Engineering & Management
Copyright (c) 2002 ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights reserved.
Copyright Scranton Gillette Communications, Incorporated Mar 2002

Friday, March 1, 2002

Volume 149, Issue 3; ISSN: 0273-2238

Washington news
Robert Gray

Report Details Infrastructure Funding

The federal and state governments made approximately $70 billion available to finance water infrastructure in the decade ending in 2000, a new report shows. Of that amount, some $44 billion came from the federal government and $26 billion from the states, all through a wide range of individual programs.

The figures were compiled by the General Accounting Office, a
congressional agency, for Sen. Robert Smith of New Hampshire, senior
GOP member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public
Works, and Sen. Michael Crapo of Idaho, senior Republican member of
that committee's subcommittee on water policy The two members sought
the information in connection with a broad review the committee is
making of water infrastructure needs.

While citing the results of its survey GAO also noted that the
Water Infrastructure Network, a consortium of industry
municipalities and associations, has estimated the costs of water
supply and wastewater capital needs at up to $1 trillion over the
next 20 years. That total includes financing costs.

"The actual future needs will likely be met by some combination of
local, state, and federal funding sources," the GAO said.

Administration Announces New Watershed Plan

President Bush has asked Congress to approve a $21-million
initiative to protect and restore up to 20 of the nation's "most
highly valued watersheds."

In announcing the proposed new grant program, Administrator
Christie Whitman of the Environmental Protection Agency said it
would involve cooperative efforts between EPA and state governors
and other interested groups.

"This program will also support local communities in their efforts
to expand and improve existing protection measures with tools,
training and technical assistance," she said.

Resolving watershed problems is a complex challenge that requires
local assessment, involvement and commitment, the administrator
commented. The new grants program "will capitalize on the lessons
learned from existing community-based preservation efforts:' Whitman
said.

(The watershed program was announced prior to the release of the
full administration budget for the 2002-03 fiscal year. Details of
the new budget's proposals for major water programs will be reported
in the next issue.)

New Regulation Affects Smaller Systems

Cryptospofidium regulations that have applied to larger water
supply systems have been extended to smaller suppliers. New
standards set by EPA affect 11,000 small systems serving 18 million
people.

The new final rule requires 99 percent removal of Cryptosporidium
through enhanced filtration. The agency said the Cryptosporidium
spores, found in animal wastes, can cause intestinal problems and
possibly death among some vulnerable groups within the population.

Among the numerous outbreaks of sickness traced to Cryptosporidium,
the most severe occurred in 1993 in Milwaukee, Wis., where more than
400,000 residents became ill and 50 died.

The spores, EPA noted, cannot be eliminated by commonly used
disinfectants such as chlorine. The small systems have three years
to reach full compliance with the new rules. EPA estimated the
average annual cost per household at $6.24.

Website Offers New Model on TMDL Allocations

EPA has released a new water quality model designed to aid the
development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for impaired
waters.

Allocations for a specific TMDL or watershed are likely to be based
on competing priorities such as cost effectiveness and equality of
load reductions, the announcement of the new model said.

"Final allocation determinations are policy decisions and should
reflect public perceptions about acceptable tradeoffs," the agency
said. It described watershed-modeling frameworks as "tools that can
be used to help evaluate the tradeoffs associated with different
allocations."

Those frameworks can identify cost-minimizing allocations and
compare cost distributions under different allocation scenarios.

The new model is available at
www.epa.gov/waterscience/models/allocations.

New Rules Set on Coal Mine Effluents

EPA has amended regulations designed to prevent water quality and
other environmental damage from abandoned coal mines in the western
and Appalachian states.

Under the new rules, remining operations will be required to
implement strategies that control pollutant releases and ensure that
the pollutant discharges during the remining are less than the
pollutant levels released from the abandoned site prior to the
remining.

The agency said the guidelines for western alkaline coal mines will allow miners to install control technologies better suited to reclaiming mining lands in arid and semi-arid regions,.

Additional information on the new rules is available at www.epa.gov/guide/coal/index.htm.

Robert Gray works out of Locust Grove, Virginia; (540) 972-8326

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