Senate Passes Overhaul of TSCA — Chemical Safety Rules

2000 Le Cheylas France (17)The Senate voted last December to approve a sweeping bipartisan chemical safety bill after years of work and months of tense negotiations.

The primary law overseeing the safety of chemical products—the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—was passed in 1976 and provides the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to review and regulate chemicals in commerce. TSCA was designed to ensure that products are safe for intended use. While the law created a robust system of regulations, over time, confidence in EPA’s regulation of chemicals has eroded.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, named after the late New Jersey senator, updates the 1976 TSCA to give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broad new powers to study and regulate harmful chemicals like asbestos, while restricting states’ individual abilities to make their own rules. Lautenberg had made chemical reform his top priority before his death in 2013. Read more ›

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Posted in big data, Climate Change, Environmental Compliance, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, Sustainability Management, Water Quality, water quality management

Uranium Contamination of California Central Valley Drinking Water

Contamination of drinking water with radionuclides

Contamination of drinking water with radionuclides

There’s a danger in their drinking water in the California Central Valley. Associated Press reported that uranium is increasingly  showing in drinking water systems in major farming regions of the U.S. West — a naturally occurring but unexpected byproduct of irrigation, of drought, and of the over pumping of natural aquifers.

Researchers determined that one out of four families on private wells in the California’s San Joaquin Valley, the richest farm region in the world, are unknowingly drinking dangerous amounts of uranium. For example, in the city of Westport, before treatment, water tests up to four times state and federal limits.

Government authorities say long-term exposure to uranium can damage kidneys and raise cancer risks, and scientists say it can have other harmful effects. Read more ›

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Posted in Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, Nuclear, Water Footprint, Water Quality, water quality management

Locus Technologies Introduces New Calculation Engine for GHG Emissions Inventories

Locus GHG Calculation Engine Eases Compliance Burdens for GHG Tracking

Locus GHG Calculation Engine

GHG inventories may be the result of mandatory state, regional, or national reporting programs, such as California Air Resource Board (AB32), U.S. EPA Mandatory Reporting Rule, or European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Organizations need a GHG calculation engine that can calculate GHGs automatically and accurately from all emission-producing activities at all of their facilities anywhere in the world. The new Locus calculation engine supports simultaneous calculations using multiple methods so that users can input data once and report to federal, state, and voluntary reporting programs according to each proper protocol.  Read more ›

Posted in Environmental Data Management

EU introduces more efficient monitoring of drinking water quality

Drinking water monitoring

Drinking water quality monitoring is of paramount importance.

New EU rules to improve the monitoring of drinking water across Europe come into force, improving access to wholesome and clean drinking water in Europe As a first step following the European Citizens’ Initiative Right2Water, new rules adopted by the European Commission today provide flexibility to Member States as to how drinking water quality is monitored in around 100,000 water supply zones in Europe. This will allow for more focused, risk-based monitoring, while ensuring full protection of public health.

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Posted in big data, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, SaaS, Water Footprint, Water Quality, water quality management

Coast to coast carbon market?

greenhouse-gas-emissionsLast week New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would be directing his administration to “explore the possibility” of linking the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and California-Quebec carbon markets, and went further to promote a North American-wide carbon market. No official statements have been released regarding the Governor’s comments by RGGI or CARB; however one CARB spokeswoman said that the Board is “committed to working with others to expand the number of jurisdictions that put a price on carbon.” Carbon trading among U.S. states, while not explicitly built into the Clean Power Plan, could still play a key role under the bill in helping states maintain reliable power, said acting Environmental Protection Agency air chief Janet McCabe. The difficulty lies in aligning individual state trading programs and regulations, but the EPA has accounted for this by allowing for “trading-ready” approaches that allow several states to submit a plan as a group.

Posted in Environmental Data Management

New Environmental Monitoring Technology Keeping the Air We Breathe Under an Unprecedented Level of Scrutiny

Native iOS app for environmental, health, safety and sustainability field data collection. Get real-time connection with your data and do data validation on the go.

Native iOS app for environmental, health, safety and sustainability field data collection. Get real-time connection with your data and do data validation on the go.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times discussed advances in environmental monitoring technologies. Rising calls to create cleaner air and limit climate change are driving a surge in new technology for measuring air emissions and other pollutants — a data revolution that is opening new windows into the micro-mechanics of environmental damage. Data stemming from these new monitoring technologies coupled with advances in data management (Big Data) and Internet of Things (IOT) as discussed in my article “Keeping  the Pulse of the Planet: Using Big Data to Monitor Our Environment” published last year, is creating all new industry and bringing much needed transparency to environmental degradation. Real time monitoring of  radioactive emissions at any point around globe or water quality data are slowly becoming a reality.

 

According to the article author William Yardley, “the momentum for new monitoring tools is rooted in increasingly stringent regulations, including California’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions, and newly tightened federal standards and programs to monitor drought and soil contamination. A variety of clean-tech companies have arisen to help industries meet the new requirements, but the new tools and data are also being created by academics, tinkerers and concerned citizens — just ask Volkswagen, whose deceptive efforts to skirt emissions-testing standards were discovered with the help of a small university lab in West Virginia.”

“Taking it all into account, the Earth is coming under an unprecedented new level of scrutiny.”

“There are a lot of companies picking up on this, but who is interested in the data — to me, that’s also fascinating,” said Colette Heald, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We’re in this moment of a huge growth in curiosity — of people trying to understand their environment. That coincides with the technology to do something more.”

The push is not limited to measuring air and emissions. Tools to sample soil, air emissions, produced water, waste managment, monitor water quality, test ocean acidity and improve weather forecasting are all on the rise. Drought has prompted new efforts to map groundwater and stream flows and their water quality across the West.

 

Two of key issues that need to be addressed are validity of data stemming from new instruments and sensors for enforcement purposes and where is all (big) data be stored and how accessible it will be. The first question will be answered as new hand-held data collection instrumentation, sensors, and devices undergo testing and accreditation by governmental agencies. The second issue, a big data, has already been solved by companies like Locus Technologies that has been aggregating massive amounts of environmental monitoring data in its cloud-based EIM (Environmental Information Management) software.

As the article put it: “When the technology is out there and everyone starts using it, the question is, how good is the data? If the data’s not high enough quality, then we’re not going to make regulatory decisions based on that. Where is this data going to reside in 10 years, when all these sensors are out there, and who’s going to [manage] that information? Right now it’s kind of organic so there’s no centralized place where all of this information is going.”

However, the private industry and some Government organizations like Department of Energy (DOE) are already preparing for these new avalanches of data that are hitting their corporate networks and are using Locus cloud to organize and report increased volume of monitoring information stemming from their facilities and other monitoring networks.

 

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Posted in carbon emissions, Climate Change, Cloud Computing, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, Greenhouse Gases, Internet of Things, SaaS, Sustainability Management, Water Footprint, Water Quality, water quality management

California Lawmakers Approve Ban on Plastic Microbeads to Protect Water

WaterCalifornia approves AB888, an important bill to prohibit the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products for sale in California by 2020. When someone uses a product – like a face wash, for example – that has microbeads, several things happen. First – they get a unique kind of cleanse in their face that beauty companies suggest they can’t get any other way. Second – the microbeads (tiny pieces of plastic) are washed down the drain with water. These microbeads do not get recycled. They do not get caught in filters before they hit the sea. They pollute.

With two just-released studies showing overwhelming levels of plastic pollution in San Francisco Bay and in Half Moon Bay’s marine life, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this bill will have a huge impact on the health of California’s waterways — and its people. Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington also tried and failed this year to enact bans on manufacture and sale, while Oregon’s legislature is considering similar bans

 

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Posted in Environmental Compliance, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, Sustainability Management, Water Footprint, Water Quality
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