Thursday, April 30, 2020

Valley Forge National Historical Park Wins 2020 Federal Facility Excellence In Site Reuse Award

On April 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the winners of the third annual “National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse” awards, including a project at the Valley Forge National Historical Park in Chester and Montgomery counties.. 
These awards recognize the innovative thinking and cooperation among federal agencies, states, tribes, local partners and developers that have led to noteworthy restoration and reuse of federal facility sites.
This year, a National Park Service Site won the award for excellence in re-use of a federal facility which is not a Superfund site, for the work at the Valley Forge National Historical Park Site.
The Valley Forge Asbestos Release Site is a 112-acre area located in the center of the Valley Forge National Historical Park. The area was contaminated by activities of an asbestos insulation manufacturing plant that formerly operated on the property. 
In 2017, the National Park Service completed a long-term remedial cleanup action to excavate contaminated soil and sediment so the site could be reopened. 
Now, the park is back in business conserving and interpreting the land associated with the 1777-78 winter encampment of Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army.
“By making the investment in environmental cleanup, the National Park Service has provided public access to a significant historical area in the center of the park’s forests, meadows and hiking trails,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “This award recognizes the Park Service’s outstanding effort to help all Americans connect with this chapter in our history.”
“This project is an excellent demonstration of the power of partnerships and the Park Service’s commitment to protect the important resources we hold in trust for park visitors,” said David Vela, National Park Service Deputy Director. “We’re proud of being able to reopen these formerly impaired lands to over 2.4 million annual visitors--providing enhanced recreational opportunities, expanding bicycle commuter options, and improving visitor access with greener travel patterns.”
For more information about the award, please visit EPA’s Excellence In Site Reuse Awards webpage.
[Posted: April 30, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

Delaware Highlands Conservancy Announces Nature Heals: Restore, Renew, Reconnect Photo Contest

On April 30, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced its third annual juried photo contest for the Upper Delaware River region, open to adult and youth professional and amateur photographers. Photos will be accepted online August 3 to 31.
The “Nature Heals: Restore, Renew, Reconnect” contest invites photographers to capture striking nature-inspired photos in five categories: landscape, wildlife, macro, water, and, new this year, a youth category for photographers under age 18. 
Without disturbing or harming any creature or its habitat, photographers are encouraged to be creative in showcasing the diverse wildlife, plants, and special places of our region.
Photos will be judged on creativity, originality, composition, clarity and quality, and impact, and must be taken in the Upper Delaware River region to be eligible. Photos may be taken during any season.
The winning photos will be chosen by a panel of judges, along with one People’s Choice, and will be hung at the ARTery gallery in Milford, PA, in November. The ARTery is a cooperative owned and operated by successful and emerging artists and artisans from the Tri-State area.
Photographers are invited to submit no more than two photos to the contest. Entrants must agree to the Official Rules and submit a $10 entry fee to be eligible; youth entries are free. 
Click Here for all the details.  Questions should be directed to:
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Delaware Highlands Conservancy website or call 570-226-3164 or 845-583-1010.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter. Learn about the Green Lodging Partnership initiative.  Click Here to support their work.
[Posted: April 30, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Begins Technical Review Of Keystone Landfill Expansion Application In Lackawanna County

On April 30, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today it has moved on to the second phase of its review of Keystone Sanitary Landfill’s permit application for expansion at its facility in the boroughs of Dunmore and Throop in Lackawanna County. 
The technical review phase began earlier this month after DEP received the landfill’s response to the department’s July 2019 environmental assessment letter.
“The department is ready for this next phase of the permit review process as we continue to do a thorough review of the application,” said Mike Bedrin, director of DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “We encourage anyone with public comments to continue submitting them.”
The environmental assessment letter reviewed the harms and benefits of the proposed expansion and DEP determined that the benefits outweighed the known and potential harms. The letter can be viewed on the DEP Regional Office webpage.
The technical review phase will evaluate certain engineering aspects related to the proposed expansion: these include but are not limited to landfill design, subbase, liner systems, slope stability, leachate collection, landfill gas collection, capping, and final cover. 
Additional aspects include construction phasing, stormwater management, groundwater monitoring, and nuisance minimization and control.
Both the environmental assessment and technical review are part of the overall review of Keystone’s March 2014 application for expansion within the landfill’s currently permitted area, however no final decision has yet been made on Keystone’s application. 
Upon completion of the technical review, DEP will then issue a final decision.
Prior to the environmental assessment determination, DEP issued two review letters regarding the expansion in October of 2015 and in May of 2017. In addition to the review letters, DEP accepted public comment, which included holding public meetings in Dunmore and Throop boroughs as well as a meeting with municipal officials. A public hearing on the application was held on July 18, 2016.
In April of 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Health along with the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry reviewed data collected by DEP and issued a Health Consultation Report in response to the community’s concerns about harmful environmental exposures from the landfill. 
DOH’s full report can be found online: Keystone Sanitary Health Consultation Report
Public Comments
Those wishing to comment during the technical review of the application can do so by mailing written comments to Roger Bellas, Waste Management Program Manager, DEP Northeast Regional Office, 2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, 18701 or by emailing him at
Public comments will be received by the department until June 30 at 4:00 p.m. The public can still send those comments despite the office being closed during COVID-19.
Once the DEP Northeast Regional Office reopens in accordance with the phased reopening plan, a copy of the environmental assessment letter and the landfill’s response will be available for review between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
No date has been set for that re-opening.   Appointments for reviewing the application materials may be made by calling 570-826-2511. 
Click Here to read Keystone Landfill related documents on the DEP Regional Office webpage.  Media questions should be directed to Colleen Connolly, DEP Northeast Regional Office by calling 570-826-2035 or send email to:
[Posted: April 30, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

PennVEST Schedules 4 Virtual Meetings On Clean Water Funding Opportunities For A Sustainable Future; Cancels In-Person Info Sessions

On April 30, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced it has scheduled four virtual public meetings on how PennVEST funding can help improve water quality in your community.
The meetings are for municipal officials, conservation districts, private landowners, authority board members and staff, regulators, engineers, and others interested in water quality improvement funding.
Learn about funding levels, sources of funding, timelines and meeting cut off dates, regulation updates, and how to develop a PennVEST project.
PennVEST staff will also go over new initiatives: small projects funding, and programmatic financing, the local sub-revolving loan program, and the Center for Water Quality Excellence in Lancaster and York counties.
Special funding will be available for lead line replacement, and for testing lead in drinking water in schools and child care programs.
The meetings will be held--
-- May 13: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
-- May 19: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
-- May 26: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
-- June 2: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Click Here to preregister for these virtual meetings.  Each session will be limited to 100 participants to facilitate managing questions and answers.
Please contact your regional Project Specialist with questions or concerns regarding the events:
-- Northwest Region: Ken Anderson 717-783-6799  or Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango, Warren
-- Southwest Region: Dan Mikesic 717-574-8452  or Allegheny, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Somerset, Washington, Westmoreland
-- Northcentral Region: Leslie Cote  717-783-4489 or Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union
-- Southcentral Region: Tesra Schlupp  717-574- 8453 or Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, York
-- Northeast/Southeast Regions: Rebecca Kennedy  717-574-8454 or Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming
-- Robert Boos: Deputy Executive Director for Project Management: 717-783- 4493 or
Visit the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority for more information on clean water funding opportunities.
[Posted: April 30, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

PUC To Seek Comment On Proposed Regulation To Address Barriers To Enhance Water, Wastewater Services

On April 30, the Public Utility Commission voted 4-0 to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) – exploring a series of interrelated issues impacting water and wastewater utilities across the state and seeking public comment on those matters.
As highlighted by a statement from Commissioner Ralph V. Yanora, water quality for small, troubled or non-viable water and wastewater systems is a key item in the proposed rulemaking. 
The proposed rulemaking seeks input about whether the extensive and potentially redundant documentation currently required when large, well-established water or wastewater utilities seek to acquire smaller, and sometimes troubled, systems is an impediment to some transactions – adding unnecessary expense, complication and time delays that work against the Commission’s policy of supporting system consolidation and regionalization.
The proposed rulemaking also includes an exploration of what methods within the Commission’s jurisdiction might be used to reduce or eliminate the presence of contaminants such as lead, PFOA/PFOS and Legionella from the drinking water supplies of acquired systems – and whether it would be reasonable for the Commission to condition approval of acquisition applications on the implementation of the DEP-approved cross-connection control programs and/or a Commission-approved cross-connection control plan that most affected utilities address through their Commission-approved tariffs.
As part of the ANOPR process, the Commission is encouraging regulated utilities, the public, and any other interested parties to file comments, which should include specific section references to the Commission regulations, along with the rationale for the proposed change to those regulations.
Comments referencing Docket No. L-2020-3017232 should be submitted within 60 days of publication of the ANOPR in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Comments may be filed electronically through the Commission’s e-File System.  Filing instructions may be found on the Commission’s website.
Written comments referencing Docket No. L-2020-3017232 may also be sent to the following address: Secretary, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, 2nd Floor, Harrisburg PA 17120.
This action is a follow-up to the unanimous approval of a Feb. 6, 2020 motion offered by Commissioner Yanora, which began the rulemaking process.
The Commission will carefully review and consider public and stakeholder comments and will then determine how best to move forward.
[Posted: April 30, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

EPA Accepting Applications From States To Support Environmental Justice Communities Impacted By COVID-19

On April 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making $1 million in grant funding available to states to help local environmental justice communities address COVID-19 concerns faced by low-income and minority communities.  The deadline for applications are due June 30.
EPA will provide funds to states, local governments, tribes and U.S. territories to work collaboratively with environmental justice communities to understand, promote and integrate approaches to provide meaningful and measurable improvements to public health and the environment.
“Environmental justice grants aim to support public education, training, and emergency planning for communities across the country impacted by COVID-19, regardless of their zip code,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants are part of EPA’s effort to actively fight the COVID-19 pandemic that is having a disproportionate impact on low-income and minority communities.”
The grant funding will be used to support public education, training, and emergency planning for communities impacted by COVID-19. 
Projects could include sharing information related to EPA-approved disinfectants to combat COVID-19; addressing increased exposure of residents to in-home pollutants and healthy housing issues; and training community health workers.
EPA anticipates awarding five grants of approximately $200,000 each for up to a two-year funding period. The agency encourages applicants to develop innovative plans and processes to conduct effective outreach to underserved communities, especially in places where Internet access may not be readily available to all residents.
[Posted: April 30, 2020] PA Environment Digest

Dept. Of Health Reports Total Of 2,292 COVID-19 Deaths In PA, Up From 2,195 Yesterday; Live Update 2:00

On April 30, the Department of Health reported there are a total of 2,292 confirmed deaths in Pennsylvanian from COVID-19, up from 2,195 reported Wednesday.
As of 12:00 a.m. April 30, there were 1,397 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 45,763 in all 67 counties.
There are 175,602 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:
-- Nearly 1 percent are aged 0-4;
-- Nearly 1 percent are aged 5-12;
-- 1 percent are aged 13-18;
-- Nearly 6 percent percent are aged 19-24;
-- Nearly 38 percent are aged 25-49;
-- 27 percent are aged 50-64; and
-- 26 percent are aged 65 or older.
Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available here.
In nursing and personal care homes, there are 8,112 resident cases of COVID-19, and  1,032 cases among employees, for a total of 9,144 at 468 distinct facilities in 44 counties. Out of our total deaths, 1,505 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.  Click Here for a county breakdown.
Live Briefing
THURSDAY Live Briefing: Secretary Of Health Provides Coronavirus Update at 2:00.  Watch Live: or  or
For the latest information on the coronavirus and precautions to take in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage, Follow them on Twitter, or Like them on Facebook.
Helpful Links:
Responding To COVID-19 In Pennsylvania - General Resource Page All Topics
Attorney General - Coronavirus Price Gouging Updates 
[Posted: April 30, 2020]

First Hatches Of Spotted Lanternfly Reported, Tips For Management

By Amy Duke, Penn State News

Even before the recent news of the season’s first confirmed spotted lanternfly hatches in the Philadelphia region, homeowners in many parts of Pennsylvania were gearing up for their annual battle with the destructive pest.
“It’s bad enough that people are dealing with stresses associated with the coronavirus pandemic,” said Heather Leach, spotted lanternfly extension associate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “The yearly invasion of the spotted lanternfly, an insect that takes time, energy and money to keep under control, will cause more troubles for some folks.”
The pest, which feeds on the sap of grapevines, hardwoods and ornamentals, strikes a double blow — not only does it stress host plants, but it also can render outdoor areas unusable by leaving behind a sugary excrement called honeydew, which attracts other insects and promotes the growth of sooty mold. 
The only consolation is that the insects do not bite or sting, nor do they cause structural damage.
Despite not being a native species — it is native to central Asia — the spotted lanternfly seems well adapted to the climate of the northeastern U.S. It now has been reported in 26 Pennsylvania counties and in several neighboring states.
The insect has established a life cycle that completes one generation each year. It begins in late summer when adults mate and lay eggs — gray-colored, flat clusters that resemble mud — on a variety of surfaces. 
While those adults do not survive the winter, the same does not hold true for their egg masses, which are hardy enough to withstand brutal weather conditions.
“And since we had a mild winter in Pennsylvania, we suspect even more egg masses survived, which, unfortunately, means there likely will be more spotted lanternflies this summer,” Leach said.
The hatching eggs reveal nymphs with black and white spots. As they enter their “teens,” most of the insects' black markings will turn red. 
By mid-summer, the nymphs will become adults, measuring about an inch in length and sporting artfully patterned wings of red, black, white and tan, accented by dots.
Throughout the transformation, one thing remains constant — their voracious appetite, and that has homeowners scrambling to find ways to control the clusters that have taken up residence on their properties.
To aid homeowners in reducing spotted lanternfly populations, Penn State Extension has developed a free webinar series.
In addition, Leach provided the following recommendations based on life cycle and season:
Destroy egg masses — fall, winter and spring
Walk around your property to check for egg masses on trees, cement blocks, rocks and any other hard surface. If you find egg masses on your property from September to April, scrape them off using a plastic card or putty knife, and then place the masses into a bag or container with rubbing alcohol. 
However, if you do not have rubbing alcohol, you also can smash or burn egg masses that have been removed from trees, Leach pointed out.
Tree banding — spring and summer
When the nymphs first hatch, they will walk up the trunks of trees to feed on the softer, new growth of the plant. Leach advises taking advantage of this behavior by wrapping sticky tape around tree trunks and trapping the nymphs. 
“It is essential to tape trees in the spring when spotted lanternflies are nymphs because many of the adult insects will avoid the tape,” Leach said.
She also notes that the traps should be caged in wire to prevent birds and small mammals from becoming stuck to the tape. Sticky tape can be purchased from hardware stores or garden centers and often is sold as flypaper.
Removal of tree-of-heaven — spring and summer
While the spotted lanternfly will feast on a variety of plant species, it has a fondness for Ailanthus, or tree of heaven, an invasive plant that is common in landscape plantings, agricultural areas and along the sides of roads. 
For this reason, there is a current push from spotted lanternfly officials to remove this tree.
Leach said the best way to do this is to apply an herbicide to the tree using the hack-and-squirt method, a critical step to prevent regrowth, and cutting it down from July to September. Even when treated, multiple applications may be necessary over time to kill the tree, she emphasized.
Use of insecticides — spring, summer and fall
When dealing with large populations of the insect, homeowners may have little recourse other than using chemical control. When applied properly, insecticides can be an effective and safe way to reduce lanternfly populations. 
Penn State Extension currently is researching which insecticides are best for controlling the pest; preliminary results show that those with the active ingredients dinotefuran, imidacloprid, carbaryl, bifenthrin and natural pyrethrins are among the most effective.
However, there are safety, environmental and sometimes regulatory concerns that accompany the use of insecticides, so Leach advises homeowners to do research, weigh the pros and cons, and seek professional advice if needed. 
She warned against the use of home remedies, such as cleaning and other household supplies, as they can be unsafe for humans, pets, wildlife and plants. In some cases, the application of home remedies may be illegal.
Stop the spread
Finally, Leach asks all citizens to help stop the insect’s spread by checking their vehicles carefully — undercarriages, windshield wipers, wheel wells, luggage racks and such — for spotted lanternflies and egg masses before traveling in and out of the quarantined counties.
More information about how to identify and control spotted lanternfly, how to report an infestation, and how to comply with quarantine regulations is available on the Penn State Extension website.
[Visit the Department of Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly webpage for information on quarantine areas, permit requirements and more.]

(Reprinted from Penn State News)
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[Posted: April 30, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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