Tuesday, March 31, 2015

PA Chapter Water Works Assn. Free Webinars For Small Water Systems

The PA Chapter of the American Water Works Association is promoting participation in a series of four upcoming webinars geared to the operators of small water systems.  The webinars include:
-- April 14: Is Your Water System Financially Healthy? Key Financial Indicators. 1:30 to 2:30;
-- April 16: Asset Management IQ: How Much do you Know about AM Tools and Resources? 1:00 to 2:00;
-- May 12: Ask the Expert: A Unique Opportunity to Ask Your Asset Management Questions or Seek Advice on How to Begin. 1:30 to 3:00.
Questions should be directed to: Kami Johle Butt, ETS Administrative Services Manager, American Water Works Association, 303-347-6234.

EPA Awards Fellowships To Support Student Environmental Scientists, 3 In PA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced 34 fellowships for undergraduate students in 25 states and Puerto Rico to pursue environmental science and related fields of study at universities and colleges across the nation, helping to inspire the next generation of environmental scientists and engineers.
Students Zev Greenberg and Rachel Sclafani at Dickinson College and Brittney Jackson at Duquesne University in Pennsylvania were awarded fellowships.
The awards, part of EPA’s Greater Research Opportunities fellowship program, provide students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with agency scientists.
“These students’ ambitious and innovative ideas will help create a more sustainable future,” said Lek Kadeli, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development. “EPA is investing in the next generation of environmental scientists and engineers whose research will help achieve our mission of protecting human health and the environment.”
A complete list of fellowship winners is available online.

Brodhead Watershed Assn. Journey To Vernal Pools April 18 In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association is hosting a walk to a ridgetop vernal pool adjacent to Paradise Township’s recently purchased Swiftwater Forest Preserve in Monroe County on April 18.
Located between Swiftwater Creek and Forest Hills Run, this short Saturday afternoon walk, led by Carol Hillestad and Ellen Davis, is geared toward families. The walk will start at 1 p.m. and conclude by 3 p.m.
The large and active vernal pool should be teeming with life as frogs and salamanders have made this their “birthing” pool for many years. A vernal pool is an area that is wet in the spring and usually dries up in the summer.
Photo: A red eft is one of many creatures that can be found in vernal pool.
Frogs and salamanders move from the adjacent woods to the pool to lay their eggs. The young leave the pool in the summer and spend most of their lives in the woods.
On the 98-acre Swiftwater Forest Preserve, see beautifully crafted old stone walls from the days when the area was actively farmed, old woods trails, and 70-year-old forests.
Along the easy trail to the pool, turn over logs and rocks in the hope of finding many interesting creatures. Birds fill the spring woods, and participants should be able to find spring wildflowers such as trillium and trout lily, too.
Bring your camera. The walk starts at the cul-de-sac on Donaldson Road off Lower Swiftwater Road in Paradise Township.
Where in the Watershed walks are sponsored by Brodhead Watershed Association and Pocono Heritage Land Trust. Suggested walk donation is $10 for nonmembers; $5 for BWA and PHLT members; children under 12 walk for free.  Proceeds from WitW walks support PHLT Preserve Stewardship projects and BWA Streamwatch programs.
To register, call BWA at 570-839-1120 or PHLT at 570-424-1514, or send email to: info@phlt.org. Pre-registration is suggested, especially where weather conditions may change event times.

PA Resources Council Cans For Pets Initiative Recycles 300,000 Aluminum Cans

Cans for Pets” – an initiative encouraging individuals to aid shelter animals through responsible recycling – has reached the milestone of collecting 300,000 aluminum pet food cans in thanks to the support of pet lovers across the United States.  
The program, funded by the Alcoa Foundation and coordinated by the PA Resources Council, has offered a 5 cent donation to a local animal shelter for every aluminum pet food can recycled through the program.  
Since its launch in Pennsylvania in 2012, the pilot program has expanded to benefit animals at shelters in Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee and Texas and raised more than $15,000 to provide medical care, food and adoption support.  
By recycling aluminum, individuals supporting Cans for Pets have made it a win-win model, helping homeless animals while benefitting the environment.
“Thanks to the hands-on support of community members willing to collect and recycle their empty pet food cans, PRC has facilitated the recycling of more than 300,000 aluminum cans during the past 30 months,” according to PRC Western Regional Director Justin Stockdale.
“As this extremely successful pilot program draws to a close, we’re excited to see Cans for Pets become a sustainable effort, which was the primary goal from the beginning,” he said.  
“Many of our founding partners will continue to collect aluminum pet food cans to generate revenue through local recycling programs.  And it’s such an easy fundraiser to establish and manage that we expect the concept to catch on at many other animal shelters throughout the country in the months and years to come.”
Shelters participating in the Cans for Pet pilot program were Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Lancaster County SPCA in Lancaster, Pa.; Vanderburgh Humane Society in Evansville, Ind.; Warrick Humane Society in Newburgh, Ind.; Humane Society of Scott County in Davenport, Iowa; Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, Tenn.; and San Antonio Humane Society in San Antonio, Texas.
Any animal shelter interested in joining the effort should contact PRC by sending email to: infowest@prc.org to receive instructions concerning how to become involved in aluminum pet food can recycling.  
For information, visit PRC’s Cans for Pets webpage or call PRC at 412-488-7490 x105.

PA Extends Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Deadline To May 1

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced Pennsylvanians struggling to pay home heating bills will now have until May 1 to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The federally-funded program was slated to end April 3, but the Wolf Administration decided that given the severity and duration of this winter, Pennsylvania would extend the program, giving people extra time to apply for funding.
“Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable were able to heat their homes this winter because of LIHEAP,” said Gov. Wolf. “By keeping the program open longer, we hope to provide additional assistance to those who are struggling to keep their family warm.”
LIHEAP 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. Cash grants are based on household income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel used.
“Everyone deserves a safe, warm home. I encourage Pennsylvanians to apply today because with this unpredictable weather, we never know when winter’s going to end,” Acting Secretary Ted Dallas said.
Individuals can apply for a LIHEAP grant online at www.compass.state.pa.us or in person at their local county assistance office. They may also call the statewide toll-free hotline at 1-866-857-7095 with questions about the program.

House Environmental Committee Hearing April 20 On DEP’s Handling Of Drilling Regulations

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on April 20 on DEP’s handling of the proposed final version of the Chapter 78 (conventional) and 78A (Marcellus Shale) drilling regulations.
During House and Senate budget hearings, Republican members expressed concern about DEP moving ahead with a proposed final version of the regulations with only a 30 day public comment period.
Republican members, and representatives of the conventional oil and gas drilling industry, also were concerned about the impact of the regulations DEP proposed for the conventional drilling industry
The hearing will be in Room 8E-B East Wing of the Capitol Building starting at 10:00.
Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny) serves as Majority Chair and Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair.
New Rules For Conventional Drilling Draw Industry Ire

Tuesday PA Environmental NewsClips

Click Here  for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Monday, March 30, 2015

House Passes Resolution On 195th Birthday Of Col. Edwin Drake

The House Monday passed House Resolution 139 (Rapp-R-Forest) honoring petroleum industry pioneer Col. Edwin L. Drake on the 195th anniversary of his birth.
Born on March 29, 1819, in Greenville, N.Y., Drake left home at the age of 19 and spent the next several years working on various railways until ill health forced his retirement.
“In 1857, Col. Drake was hired as an agent for the Seneca Oil Company and charged with the mission of producing a more profitable amount of oil in Titusville,” said Rep. Kathy Rapp. “Col. Drake’s unprecedented success in drilling for oil prompted the first great wave of investment and additional drilling that established petroleum as a major worldwide industry. With the spread of Drake’s innovative techniques, Titusville and other northwestern Pennsylvania communities instantly became boomtowns for the development and extraction of oil and natural gas.”
Unfortunately, Drake did not patent his oil drilling methods and never became a success in oil speculation. After enduring years of poverty and becoming disabled with neuralgia, Drake relocated his family to Bethlehem in 1870.
Although he never served in the military, the people of Titusville helped him with a stipend, and in 1876, the Pennsylvania General Assembly voted to provide Drake with a pension.
Drake died in 1880 in Bethlehem, but his body was later re-interred in a tomb in Titusville’s Woodlawn Cemetery. Inscriptions on the tomb extol his contributions to the oil industry.
“The Men Who Built America” documentary on the History Channel most recently paid tribute to Drake as “a great entrepreneur” who is truly the Father of the Petroleum Industry,’” said Rapp. “Mentioned along with Carnegie, Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Henry Ford and others, Col. Drake played a significant role in our history and the Industrial Revolution that helped make the United States a great nation. Today, I dare say, most of us arrived here because we still benefit from that original Titusville oil well and the entrepreneurial risks taken by men like Col. Edwin Drake.”
For more information, visit the PA Historical and Museum Commission Edwin Drake webpage.

DEP Extends Alcosan's Wastewater Overflow Order To Pursue Green Infrastructure

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it will provide an 18-month extension of the consent orders and agreements under which Allegheny County Sanitary Authority customer municipalities have been operating. The agreements expired March 30.
The extensions are being granted in order to accommodate a request by the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to explore the benefits of green infrastructure as part of the solution to reducing stormwater flows entering sewer systems.
The original agreements were executed in 2004, and required municipalities to evaluate, repair and upgrade their sewer systems to reduce the discharge of untreated sewage into area rivers and streams.
“We are fully supportive of the use of green infrastructure tools to help reduce sewage flow volume, and believe that the extension will be time well spent,” said DEP Acting Secretary John H. Quigley. “It allows municipalities to explore innovations and continue plans to improve existing infrastructure without delaying the key implementation date.”
DEP informed the City of Pittsburgh and 79 municipalities of the interim, 18-month consent order. The municipalities had either entered into a Consent Order and Agreement with DEP or an Administrative Consent Order with the Allegheny County Health Department.
Different agreements will now be developed for municipalities operating sanitary sewer systems, those operating combined sewer systems, and those operating hybrids.
In the first phase of this interim consent order, the municipalities must develop a green infrastructure plan and implementation schedule, and determine anticipated flow reductions. Green infrastructure mimics natural systems, and is designed to reduce stormwater runoff.
“Pittsburgh’s economic renaissance is tied, in large measure, to a commitment to environmental progress,” Quigley said. “The region's pursuit of green infrastructure solutions is the next step in that renaissance, and we are committed to working with Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to find creative ways to address the region's infrastructure needs.”

DEP Meeting, Hearing On Shell Ethane Plant Air Permits May 5 In Beaver County

To provide information to the public, answer questions and take formal testimony on Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC’s Air Quality Plan Approval request for its proposed ethane plant in Beaver County, the Department of Environmental Protection will hold a question-and-answer session followed by a public hearing on May 5.
The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at Central Valley High School Auditorium, 160 Baker Road Extension, Monaca.
This is the first permit application from Shell to be considered by DEP for the proposed construction of a petrochemicals complex that will, when complete, crack ethane and manufacture polyethylene pellets for use in the plastics industry.
The proposed Shell complex  would be located on the site formerly occupied by Horsehead Corporation’s Monaca Zinc Smelter in Potter Township, Beaver County.
The Plan Approval application was submitted to DEP on May 1, 2014, and has undergone a thorough technical review by DEP’s Bureau of Air Quality.
Representatives from Shell and the DEP will make presentations explaining the permit application and review process. The presentations will be followed by an open question-and- answer session. At the conclusion of the question-and-answer portion, a formal public hearing will be held.
Attendees can present testimony in the form of comments, statements or questions. All testimony presented will be part of the administrative record. DEP will respond in a written comment and response document.
Those wishing to provide testimony at the public hearing should register in advance by calling DEP Community Relations Coordinator John Poister at 412-442-4203 before noon on May 5.
There will be an opportunity to register at the door before the hearing. There is no need to register for the question-and-answer portion which precedes the hearing.
More details in the proposed permits are available in the formal March 28 PA Bulletin notice (PA Bulletin page 1518).

April 11 Community Workshop: Homeowner’s Guide To Stormwater In State College

On April 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. the Penn State Agricultural and Environment Center will host a free community workshop on The Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater. This Guide will help you create your own stormwater management plan and select simple stormwater solutions to be implemented on your property.
As a part of the Penn State Sustainability Institutes, Sustainable Communities Collaborative the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center is partnering with the State College Borough to address the issue of stormwater in the community.
Stormwater runoff is a serious issue that affects the quality of our water and impacts wildlife. There are actions individual homeowners can take on their own properties to help minimize the impacts of stormwater. These actions can help improve local streams and the greater watershed area.
To combat this stormwater issue the AEC will host a free community stormwater workshop on “The Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater” this April. This Guide helps homeowners develop and implement a stormwater management plan on their very own property.
At the workshop participants will learn what stormwater runoff is, why it is a problem, and how they can reduce the amount coming from their property. The workshop will explain how best management practices, Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as rain gardens can be installed to help mitigate stormwater runoff.
The workshop will demonstrate how to use “The Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater” step by step to assess your property for stormwater flow and aid you in selecting and placing BMPs to create your very own stormwater management plan.
The upcoming workshop will be held at Easterly Parkway Elementary School 234 Easterly Pkwy, State College, Centre County.
Participants of the workshop will receive free seed balls! Space is limited so sign up today!
This event is co-sponsored by the Penn State Sustainability Institute’s Sustainable Communities, The State College Borough, Trout Unlimited and Clearwater Conservancy.
To learn more about upcoming events, visit the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center webpage.
Click Here to view a webinar about the Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater
(Written By: Erin Hill, Senior ERM, Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center Intern and reprinted from the March 30 Watershed Winds newsletter from Penn State Extension.)

March 30 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The March 30 issue of the Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension, featuring articles on--
-- Click Here to sign up for your own copy.

Paddle Without Pollution’s Presque Isle Water Trail Film Now Available On Demand

Paddle Without Pollution in Pittsburgh Monday announced its “Presque Isle Water Trail” film is available on demand.   The film documents the work of PWP, state agencies, and other organizations as they planned the Presque Isle Water Trail in Erie, over the last two years.
The “Presque Isle Water Trail” film includes interviews with key personnel; beautiful footage of kayakers, canoeists, and stand-up paddleboarders; intimate views of wildlife; and unique shots of Presque Isle and Erie Bluffs State Parks, in Erie.
The film’s funders include the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, The Erie Community Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
The Presque Isle Water Trail is nearing the end of its planning and feasibility study stage. Financial support was provided by the DCNR.
“The purpose of this film, the result of more than 2000 hours of work, is to get people excited about the water trail; to showcase the beauty and recreational opportunities of Presque Isle State Park; and to explain the process of planning and developing a water trail,” said David Rohm, Executive Director of Special Operations for PWP and the film’s producer/editor. “We feel the documentary makes a strong case for why Presque Isle should have a water trail. In addition to providing diverse paddling environments and experiences, the proposed water trail will encourage stewardship of our natural resources and promote eco-tourism in the Erie area.”
Rohm and one of the film’s cinematographers, Melissa Rohm, are currently working on a new project about the battle to save the ancient hemlock trees in Cook Forest State Park from the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, an insect that has the potential to kill trees that are hundreds of years old.
The Rohms’ production company, Wild Excellence Films (a contributor of many wildlife scenes in the water trail film), specializes in wildlife, nature, public lands, and conservation media and is currently seeking funding for the new project.
Click Here to watch the film online.
Paddle Without Pollution is a non-profit organization whose mission is to restore and protect the health of rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands through hands-on stewardship and education, thereby benefiting the region’s communities, economy, and quality of life.
PWP was recently awarded a Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award from Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Green Paddle Award for Waterway Conservation from American Canoe Association.
For more information, visit the Paddle Without Pollution website or send email to: paddlewithoutpollution@comcast.net.

Monday PA Environmental NewsClips

Click Here  for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner