Friday, October 21, 2016

Oct. 24 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The October 24 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

There was unanimous agreement Tuesday at a joint hearing by the Senate Environmental and Agriculture Committees that more resources are needed to meet Pennsylvania’s water pollution cleanup commitment to the Chesapeake Bay and throughout the state and that there are no magic bullets to meet those obligations.  Click Here for to watch or listen to the hearing.

The PA Recycling Markets Center, Inc. Thursday announced the Northern Lancaster County Authority of Denver, PA has received the 2016 William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award for its commitment to creation of new markets for recycled color-mixed glass.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is now accepting applications for its Spring 2017 education programs for teachers and students.  The deadline for applications is December 2.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to get involved on America Recycles Day, November 15.
America Recycles Day recognizes the benefits of recycling while providing an educational platform that helps raise awareness about the value of reducing, reusing and recycling – every day – throughout the year.

The Department of Human Services will begin accepting applications for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance starting November 1. LIHEAP, helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Trail of the Year.  The deadline for nominations is November 11.

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation invites all students in grades 6, 7 and 8 in Pennsylvania to participate in the anti-graffiti Stewardship Middle School Poster Contest.  The deadline for entries is January 16.

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation invites all students in grades 6, 7 and 8 in Pennsylvania to participate in the anti-graffiti Stewardship Video Contest for high school and college students.  The deadline for entries is January 16.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced it is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a new process or product helping to protect public health and the environment.

To read the Digest, visit:  Click Here to print the entire Digest.

PA Environment Digest is edited by David E. Hess, former Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and is published as a service of Crisci Associates.

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Heenan Award: Lancaster Authority Uses Recycled Glass To Help Save Chesapeake Bay

The PA Recycling Markets Center, Inc. Thursday announced the Northern Lancaster County Authority of Denver, PA has received the 2016 William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award for its commitment to creation of new markets for recycled color-mixed glass.
RMC recognized the use of recycled glass as a growing medium for the reed bed filtration system at the Authority’s Beam Road Wastewater Treatment Plant.
To RMC’s knowledge, the plant is the first location to use sharp-free, manufactured recycled glass aggregate for this purpose in the United States.
A reed bed or constructed wetland is essentially a type of water filtration system that mirrors the way natural wetlands break down waste in water and filter out impurities.
Wetland reeds, specifically Phragmites austalis, are cultivated in a recycled glass aggregate filter bed where the plant roots and natural microbial processes turn wastewater solids into treated water and benign solids.
Free of chemicals and odors, these beds have been proven to be both cost-effective and energy-efficient, and significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for disposal of the solids. Reed bed systems have been shown to reduce the volume of solids by as much as 90 percent.
“Typically, the growing media for reed bed wastewater filtration is a very porous, fine aggregate, such as sand,” explains Jason Coyle, Plant Superintendent for NLCA. “Our sand was 20 years old and had broken down over time. As a planting bed, recycled glass aggregate that is manufactured to a uniform, sharp-free specification, has been demonstrated in other countries. With technical input from the RMC, we were interested in bringing it to Pennsylvania.”
Originally developed by the Max-Planck Institute of Germany and the Netherlands approximately 30 years ago, the recycled glass process has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and has been used in on-lot sand mound septic systems for about a decade.
NLCA is currently using 800 tons of processed, crushed, size-graded and color-mixed container glass, obtained from Cougle’s Recycling, Inc. of Hamburg, PA – an amount roughly equivalent to what a rural Pennsylvania county may collect in 2.5 years.
“No one has put this into an application of this size,” adds Coyle.
The NLCA wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1979 and upgraded in 2013 in compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy.   In order to be in compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy, the plant diverts significantly more solids to the reed beds than in previous years.  
This, along with competitive pricing for the sharp-free, recycled glass aggregate, made the decision to use it realistic.
“Proper processing of solids is a major issue faced by wastewater treatment plants such as NLCA’s plant, especially those who require compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy,” said Robert Bylone, RMC President & Executive Director. “What they’ve been able to do is take an existing treatment method and build on its sustainability by using a recycled-content product. For these reasons, and for the courage of the Northern Lancaster County Authority to pioneer recycled glass aggregate for this use, we are proud to recognize them with the William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award.”
The 2016 Reed Bed Upgrade was a win-win for all parties involved.
Fred Ebert, President, Ebert Engineering, Inc., NLCA’s consulting engineer; Jason Coyle, NLCA Superintendent; Scott Davis, President, Constructed Wetlands Group; and Wayne Bowen, Recycling Program Manager, PA Recycling Markets Center combined technical knowledge and research to bring the successful project together.
Using Cougle’s Recycling Inc.’s manufactured recycled glass aggregate saved thousands of dollars of freight expense compared to hauling the nearest available sand from Delaware or Maryland.
Donald Kellenberger, of Kellenberger Excavating in Spring Township, said final grading of the recycled glass aggregate was easier than sand.  
Don observed that the manufactured recycled glass aggregate held its shape and position better than the sand. This ease of installation resulted in significantly less time to complete installation, reducing total install time to less than two weeks.
The Northern Lancaster County Authority was the first Reed Bed Biosolids Treatment System in Pennsylvania.
With over 80 Reed Bed Systems treating biosolids in Pennsylvania, the Authority has opened a door for using recycled glass both here and across the nation.
“The RMC will continue to expand this use across Pennsylvania and potentially the nation,” added Bylone.
“A win for the environment, while simultaneously reducing construction costs for the residents of Brecknock Township and excelling treatment output made receiving the 2016 Heenan Award very rewarding,” said Jason Coyle.
The William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award is the only award if its type given annually in Pennsylvania, and is named in memory of William M. “Bill” Heenan, Jr.
Heenan, a lifelong international ambassador of the recycling industry who was instrumental in supporting the Department of Environmental Protection to initially vision and fund inception of the RMC.
For more information on technical assistance, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the PA Recycling Markets Center, Inc. website.
(Photo: Robert Bylone, Executive Director, President RMC; Matt Cougle, COO, Cougle's Recycling, Inc.; Jason Coyle, Superintendent, Northern Lancaster County Authority; Donald Kellenberger, Owner, Kellenberger Excavating LLC; Wayne Bowen, Recycling Program Manager, RMC.)

Joint Budget Committee Reports On Cost Of Implementing Lyme Disease Program

The Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Wednesday issued a report estimating the costs of implementing a Lyme and tick-borne disease surveillance, education, prevention and treatment program in Pennsylvania (Act 2014-83).
Pennsylvania has nearly 6,500 confirmed cases of Lyme disease, about 3,000 more than the next closest state.  From 2009 to 2014, Pennsylvania had the most confirmed cases of any state in 5 of those 6 years.
The Joint Committee provided these costs estimates based recommendations made by the Task Force on Lyme Disease--
-- $60 million: Electronic reporting of Lyme disease cases;
-- $11.5 million: For a 5-year Lyme disease public awareness campaign;
-- $8.8 million: Conduct an epidemiologic study of Lyme disease;
-- $4.4 million: Install 4-Poster System using rollers to paint DEET on deer around schools and parks, with annual maintenance costs of $2.7 million; and
-- $772,000: Develop and distribute information brochures on Lyme disease to family doctors;
A copy of the Joint Committee report is available online.
For more background on this disease, visit the Department of Health’s Lyme Disease webpage.

Gov. Wolf: Oct. 22 Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Find A Drop Off Near You

Gov. Tom Wolf Friday announced that on October 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pennsylvanians can prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Drug Take Back Locations near you can be found by visiting--
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee last week reported out House Bill 1737 (Maher-R-Allegheny) making it easier to provide for the safe destruction of unwanted or unused prescription and other drugs.  The bill is now on the Senate Calendar for action.
"This initiative [Drug Take Back Day] addresses a vital public safety and public health issue as medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse," Gov. Wolf said. "My administration has worked diligently to expand the availability of drug take back boxes across the commonwealth and I urge all Pennsylvanians to participate in this important initiative."
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
“Pennsylvania has an opioid epidemic; one in four families is affected,” said Gary Tennis, secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.  “We lose 10 people each day in our state to opioid overdoses, both from pills and heroin.  National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a great way to bring attention to this crisis – and to encourage people to get opioids out of circulation.”
“Last year, we lost more than 3,500 people to opioid overdoses,” said Tennis. “These people are mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. They leave behind grieving families.”
“An initiative like the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an important part of the effort to combat the opioid crisis,” said PA State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker. “This allows for the safe disposal of prescription drugs so they do not end up in the wrong hands or get flushed and end up in the water supply, which could harm the environment.”
Last April, during its spring National Drug Take-Back Day, the DEA and its partners collected more than 893,498 pounds (about 447 tons) of unwanted prescription drugs at almost 5,400 collection sites. Since the program began six years ago, about 6.4 million pounds (about 3,200 tons) of drugs have been collected.
That’s more than a quarter pound of pills for each of the 25 million children aged 12 to 17 in America, pills that won’t result in abuse or overdose.  
Since January 2015, Pennsylvania has collected approximately 150,000 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs, said Tennis, and that amount is expected to increase this year as additional permanent drug take-back boxes are added in locations around the Commonwealth.
“Getting drugs off the streets is an important step in fighting our opioid crisis,” said Tennis. “I encourage all Pennsylvanians to check their homes for unwanted and unneeded drugs that they could turn in at a drug take-back box.”
Click Here to watch Secretary Gary Tennis from the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, encourage Pennsylvanians to take their unwanted prescription drugs to drug take back boxes across the Commonwealth this Saturday on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

One Death, Significant Flood Damage Reported In Northcentral PA Counties

Gov. Tom Wolf and PA Emergency Management Agency Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. reassured residents of Central PA that the Commonwealth would ensure counties and municipalities have the resources they need.
Heavy rainfall overnight dropped in excess of six inches of rain causing flash flooding in some towns across the center of the Commonwealth, including areas of Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Bradford and Sullivan Counties.
Gov. Wolf deployed members of the Pennsylvania National Guard to Lycoming County to assist in the response.
“The Commonwealth stands ready to assist counties, municipalities and first responders in responding to the effects of this very serious storm,” Gov. Wolf said. “I implore residents of these areas to make the safety of their families and neighbors, especially the elderly, their top priority and to listen to law enforcement and emergency management officials as they work to clear debris, open roads and assess larger damage. Director Flinn and I will continue to monitor this situation and engage local officials and emergency responders to ensure they have the support that they need.”
“As flood water starts to recede, people need to understand that they need to be careful as they return to their homes and businesses,” Flinn said. “It’s likely that some roadways will remain closed until they can be inspected and repaired if necessary, so it’s important that drivers observe any road closure signs. Just because the water has gone away doesn’t necessarily mean the roads are safe for motorists.”
The Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at PEMA headquarters activated at 5 a.m. with personnel from Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Dept. of Health, American Red Cross, Dept. of Human Services, Dept. of Environmental Protection, Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania State Police, and Dept. of Transportation.
In response to the flooding, PennDOT Area Command has activated to monitor roadway conditions and quickly respond to inspect any damaged state roadways. One Fish and Boat Commission swift water rescue team is engaged in Sullivan County, and another is enroute to the Williamsport area.
The PA Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team is preparing to deploy at this time.
The Department of Environmental Protection also has personnel on the ground to monitor environmental issues and address any concerns as they arise.
Flinn is in contact with county emergency management personnel, and the state Incident Management Team is preparing for possible deployment to assist in recovery efforts.
The Department of Health has tetanus shots available to citizens who may be at risk of contracting tetanus due to the flooding.
If you have been wounded during flood clean-up, or are involved with cleanup and haven’t had a tetanus shot in more than 10 years, speak with your healthcare professional or call 877-PA-HEALTH to see if you need a tetanus shot.
Residents can learn more safety tips related to flooding by visiting the ReadyPA website.
For tips on recovering from flooding, visit DEP’s Flood Recovery webpage.
(MAP: Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center Flood Advisory Areas Friday.)
AP: Flash Flood Warnings Continue After Rains Bring Evacuations
One Dead From Storms That Dumped Up To 8 Inches Of Rain In Upstate
Homes Washed Away By Flooding In Sullivan County
Parts Of State College Region Get Flooded On Eve Of Big Game

Philadelphia Enforcing Dramatically Lower Sulfur Standard For Fuel Oil

The City of Philadelphia published notice in the October 22 PA Bulletin of a proposed revision to the State Air Quality Implementation Plan adopting a 15 ppm sulfur standard for commercial fuel oil in Philadelphia.  
DEP has a statewide standard of 500 ppm of sulfur for heating oil.
Philadelphia adopted and has been enforcing the 15 ppm standard since July 1, 2015.
The environmental benefits of 15 ppm sulfur heating oil,* especially when combined with biofuel blends of even 2 percent, lowers the greenhouse gas emissions of heating oil to levels lower than natural gas.
In addition, particulate matter emissions are reduced by 75 percent and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent.
15 ppm sulfur heating oil can be used with existing equipment and will result in lower maintenance costs for furnace owners.
Ultra low sulfur heating oil is rapidly becoming the industry standard across the Northeast, but many states, including Pennsylvania, lag behind in adopting the standard.
Comments on the Philadelphia regulation are due November 22.   
For more information, contact Ramesh Mahadevan, Philadelphia Air Management Services, by sending email to:
*Courtesy of AMERIgreen Energy Company in Lancaster.

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