Voluntary Carbon Offsets–Getting What You Pay For

Eager to be part of the solution to global warming, many consumers, businesses and government agencies have turned to carbon pollution offsets to help reduce or eliminate their “carbon footprint.” While these offsets represent a promising way to engage consumers in global warming solutions, there are many unanswered questions as to the efficacy and accounting of these unregulated commodities. On Wednesday, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing examining carbon offsets. Chairman Edward Markey (D-MA) will combine his extensive experience in consumer protection to explore the issues of transparency, effectiveness and other necessary questions to ensure carbon offsets can be a responsible way to address global warming on a consumer-based level.

Video provided by the U.S. House of Representatives.


Uploaded by on Apr 11, 2011

Monitoring and Assessment Under the Clean Water Act

April 7, 2010 Webcast Seminar on: 

“Monitoring and Assessment Under the Clean Water Act”
by Ellen Tarquinio, Environmental Protection Specialist, EPA’s Monitoring Branch and
William Painter, Environmental Scientist, EPA’s Watershed Branch

This Webcast focuses on key aspects of monitoring and assessment under the CWA including: 1) collection, assembly and evaluation of water quality data and other relevant information, 2) inferring current waterbody condition based on such data and information, and 3) determining whether or not individual waterbodies meet applicable state water quality criteria.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States. The statute employs a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to reduce direct pollutant discharges into waterways, finance municipal wastewater treatment facilities, and manage polluted runoff. These tools are employed to achieve the broader goal of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters so that they can support “the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water.”

Water Research Foundation Supports New Chromium Research Projects

Initiatives will investigate detection and treatment technologies

Recognizing the renewed national interest in hexavalent chromium contamination in drinking water, Water Research Foundation (WaterRF) is supporting two initiatives to advance the science surrounding this contaminant found in trace amounts in drinking water.

WaterRF is co-sponsoring the next phase of a pilot program with Glendale, Calif., to explore new technologies and processes to reduce chromium-6 levels in drinking water. In addition, the foundation is supporting a special project that will review detection techniques for chromium-6 and compile information on the occurrence of the contaminant, its sources, treatment options, health effects and the current status of federal and state regulations in the United States.

“There is a great deal of interest in chromium-6 from government agencies, public health advocates, the utility industry and the general public, making it imperative to have solid information to help make sound decisions. These two projects are critically important and will prove invaluable to all parties involved,” said WaterRF Executive Director Robert Renner.

Since 2002, WaterRF, the city of Glendale and other partners have been leading a research effort to treat low-level chromium-6 contamination in drinking water. The ongoing demonstration builds upon bench and pilot studies and will develop a complete understanding of treatment options and consequences. This latest study is scheduled to be completed by March 2012.

Both of the new research projects are in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent announcement that it intends to establish a new maximum contaminant level (MCL) for chromium-6 that could be significantly lower than the existing MCL. Such a standard could have major implications to water utilities across the United States.

Source: Water Research Foundation March 28, 2011

EPA Web Tool Provides Clean Water Act Violation Information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday released updated data and a mapping tool designed to help the public compare water quality trends over the last two years. The web-based, interactive map includes “state dashboards” that provide detailed information for each state, including information on facilities that are violating the Clean Water Act and the actions states are taking to enforce the law and protect people’s health.

“Access to environmental information that is easy to use is the cornerstone of our commitment to transparency and engaging the public in a meaningful and productive way,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The release of today’s tool removes traditional barriers that have limited access to Clean Water Act information and helps improve public awareness of the important work that remains in protecting our nation’s waters.”

The state dashboards incorporate data for both large and small sources of water pollution, along with information from EPA’s 2009 Annual Noncompliance Report. The public can examine and compare information on the inspections conducted by EPA and the state, violations and enforcement actions in their communities over the past two years and the penalties levied in response to violations.

In 2009, EPA announced the Clean Water Act action plan to improve Clean Water Act permitting, enforcement, information collection and public access to compliance and monitoring information. The state dashboards are a part of the action plan and are designed to provide information on Clean Water Act violators and government response.

Source: U.S. EPA March 25, 2011

Barcelona Promotes Kitchen Oil Recycling By Giving Out Free ‘Olipots’

In an effort to salvage all of the cooking oil used annually in Barcelona, city officials have begun handing out free “OliPots” oil pots in an attempt to get more citizens to deposit the material for eventual reuse. The new recycling initiative aims to reclaim as much of the used cooking oil as possible, in turn keeping it from contaminating local water in addition to providing an alternative ingredient for soap, biodiesel and even paint!

In 2010, the city initiated recycling centers dubbed “Green Points” and was able to recapture 195,136 liters of oil – which is just 2.5% of the oil used each year in the city. With the new oil pots, and a new campaign launched by the city council, Barcelona hopes to transform this number significantly. The Olipot will make it easy for citizens to save any type of oil (sans the smell) and allow them to easily drop the waste off at any Green Point in the city. Moreover, as most people pour used oil down the sink, Barcelona sees this as a big step in mitigating issues related to clogging drains and water contamination.

The Olipot itself features a built-in filter that separates the oil from any lingering food, as well as an insulating skin that allows the user to pour hot oil up to 180ºC into the container without burning themselves or warping the pot. A screw top ensures that there are no leaks, and a convenient handle makes for easy portability. There is also no limit as to which oils can be recycled – the city will take any type of oil.

Via Treehugger

Image Credit: VilaWeb

Article taken from Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World – http://inhabitat.com
URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/barcelona-promotes-kitchen-oil-recycling-by-giving-out-free-oilpots/