Certified Stormwater Inspector Training

The National Stormwater Center is offering Certified Stormwater Inspector (municipal) training in Birmingham, AL on June 11-12, 2015.

Designed specifically for municipal personnel our course offers training and certification to demonstrate, for the record, that inspectors are qualified.

Inspectors who take our course learn:

   - how to inspect construction, commercial, and industrial, and municipal activities
   - what to inspect
   - the limits of their authority
   - appropriate demeanor
   - appropriate discretion

They also learn about the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, the six Minimum Control Measures, and how to better implement and support their MS4 stormwater program.

Graduates of the Certified Stormwater Inspector course receive certification for 5 years and continuing education units, and ongoing, unlimited support of the National Stormwater Center.  All of our instructors have stormwater enforcement experience at the Federal or State level.

Please download the announcement with course details and registration information.  For your convenience, an announcement is attached.  You may call Michele at 1-888-397-9414, email info@npdes.com or visit our website at http://www.npdes.com.  Registration is available on our website for all classes.

Please click here for more information.

Posted on 04/13/15 at 12:44 PM Permalink

Leadership Class Explores Environmental Practices

  Leadership Class Explores Environmental Practices  I  April Session Held in Daphne and Spanish Fort

Daphne, Ala  -- The Leadership Baldwin County class convened this week at Daphne’s Waterfront Park to discuss environmental issues. The day included a tour of the Daphne wastewater treatment center, and Algae Systems, a private company that produces renewable fuels and fertilizer from wastewater and atmospheric carbon dioxide. After lunch at May Day Park the group toured the Joe’s Branch Restoration Project in Spanish Fort. The project is a cooperative effort of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Alabama Department of Transportation cities of Spanish Fort and Daphne and Westminster Village undertaken to restore the stream using a cutting-edge technology called Regenerative Step Pool Storm Conveyance.

“Today was a fascinating day,” said Program Director Cindy Wilson, PhD. “I think everyone learned a lot about things being done with water and wastewater to enhance our sustainable practices both in Daphne and throughout the county.” The April session is one of eight that are planned and led by a volunteer steering committee of Leadership Baldwin alumnae, under the direction of Wilson, who is Director of the University of South Alabama Baldwin County (USABC).

Primary planner for the day was steering committee member Brad Pitt of Riviera Utilities. “This was an opportunity for the class to see some of the innovative projects and technologies in use around the county,” Pitt said. “They got to see the whole spectrum, from the storm water issues at Joe’s Branch to the treatment facilities technologies this morning.”

The group began meeting monthly in October and will graduate in May. Sessions are held at various locations around the county to explore topics including arts & culture, healthcare, education, local and state government, and economic development. The monthly session topics are designed to give class members an opportunity to learn more about topics that are relevant county-wide, but may not be a part of their everyday work environment.

Leadership Baldwin County was established in 1989 and is sponsored by USABC and Baldwin County United. Program details are at http://www.leadershipbaldwincounty.com where online applications are now available for the 2015-16 class.

For more information contact:
Dr. Cindy Wilson, cwilson@usouthal.edu, 251-928-8133

Wade Burcham, who worked with Thompson Engineering on the project, gave and overview of the Joe’s Branch restoration effort to the Leadership Baldwin class at the April session, which explored a variety of environmental topics. (Photo courtesy of Leadership Baldwin)

Posted on 04/13/15 at 09:59 AM Permalink

FDA position available on Dauphin Island

POSITION OPENING
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Office of Food Safety
Division of Seafood Science and Technology
Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory
Dauphin Island, AL 36528

Duties and Responsibilities
The incumbent works as a research chemist performing laboratory and field research addressing chemical contaminants in seafood at the Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory (GCSL), Dauphin Island, AL. GCSL is a headquarters division of the Office of Food Safety.
The incumbent will plan, develop, and conduct highly specialized research addressing biotoxins and other chemical contaminants that may impact the safety of seafood and/or harvest locations. In this capacity, the incumbent will perform studies to examine the bioaccumulation, tissue distribution, metabolism, and elimination of natural and anthropogenic chemical contaminants in fish and shellfish, with the ultimate goal of developing and validating efficient methods for their detection in seafood. Isolation and identification of metabolites will focus on those of toxicological significance. Research will identify biomarkers of exposure and toxicity in biological matrices. The incumbent will also conduct studies to identify and characterize novel toxins and their sources. Screening and confirmatory analytical methods will be designed for practical use by field laboratories in monitoring and surveillance programs, and for emergency response. Research will support FDA regulatory activities as they apply to food safety, including new or revised guidance or regulatory limits for chemical contaminants in seafood.

The incumbent must be knowledgeable and skilled in bioanalytical chemistry, biochemistry, and/or environmental chemistry and toxicology, including knowledge of basic chemical principles, theories, and practices relevant to analytical methods development/validation. The incumbent must have extensive experience in advanced separation and analytical instrumentation, including state-of-art chromatography and mass spectrometry systems, as well as proficiency in instrument-specific data acquisition and analysis software.

Scope of Work
The incumbent will perform or assist in research in the following areas relating to seafood safety:
1) Residue depletion and metabolism studies, and/or metabolomic/proteomic studies, to identify biomarkers of exposure, total residues, and toxicity of biotoxins and other chemical contaminants in seafood.
2) Development and assessment of rapid screening (including in vitro toxicity tests) and confirmatory analytical methods (e.g., LC-MS, GC-MS) for identifying and quantifying algal toxins, and other chemical contaminants/toxicants in seafood. Participate in single- and multi-laboratory validation efforts for chemical contaminants in seafood.
3) Structural elucidation and characterization of novel compounds of food safety concern in seafood.
4) Pharmacokinetic/toxicokinetic studies of chemical contaminants in fish and shellfish as they apply to seafood safety.
5) Large scale isolation of toxins from algae and/or aquatic food species for the production of reference standards and study materials.

Qualifications
Minimal qualifications are a Ph.D. degree in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental chemistry and toxicology, or related field. Preference would be given to applicants with experience and skills in
aquatic animal research, pharmacokinetics and metabolism studies, toxicological testing systems, risk assessment, and in methods development/validation for chemical contaminants in seafood or other
biological matrices.

Salary
Salary range approximately $70-100k, commensurate with qualifications and experience.

For further information, please contact:
Steven M. Plakas, Ph.D.
Chief, Chemical Hazards Science Branch
Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory
P.O. Box 158, 1 Iberville Drive
Dauphin Island, AL 36528
Tel: 251-406-8143
Email: Steven.Plakas@fda.hhs.gov

Posted on 03/27/15 at 09:22 AM Permalink

MBNEP welcomes Deputy Director Amy Newbold

Amy Newbold, MBNEP Deputy Director

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) is excited to announce the hiring of Amy Newbold as Deputy Director.  Amy comes to the MBNEP from the Southeast Regional Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Region 4) located in Atlanta, Georgia.  Since 2010, she has served as a Watershed Coordinator in the Water Protection Division of EPA Region 4.  As a Watershed Coordinator, her role was to utilize innovative approaches for the resolution of technical or environmental issues pertaining to restoring and protecting our nation’s waters through implementation of the Clean Water Act. In this role, she led agency-wide initiatives serving as the program representative on cross-EPA teams or workgroups to develop or carry out joint activities, goals, and work plans. Most recently, Amy served as the North Birmingham Project Lead for the Water Division, responsible for the development and management of the effort to address environmental concerns of the Environmental Justice communities of North Birmingham. 

Amy, along with her husband, two children, and two dogs, is thrilled to be in coastal Alabama and closer to family in her hometown of Enterprise, AL.   She is excited and honored to have the opportunity to work closely with local partners and dedicate her efforts to the protection and restoration of the Mobile Bay estuary.  Amy enjoys playing the French horn, where she was recently an orchestra member at First Baptist of Woodstock, and kayaking with her husband.

Prior to working in watershed restoration, Amy started her federal career in the Drinking Water Program at EPA Region 4 as the Program Manager for the State of Tennessee in 2005.  In this role, she was responsible for providing Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) technical and compliance assistance to the State, and responsible for the review and oversight of the State of Tennessee’s Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) Program.

In 2009, Amy transitioned from the Safe Drinking Water Act to the Clean Water Act as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) State Coordinator and was responsible for reviewing NPDES permits to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act and national policies.  Before coming to EPA, Amy worked as a chemical engineer co-op for both Ciba Specialty Chemicals and DuPont Titanium Technologies.  Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Posted on 03/26/15 at 03:39 PM Permalink

Keep Mobile Beautiful’s latest PSA

Check out Keep Mobile Beautiful's lastest PSA...'All it takes is one person'

Posted on 03/26/15 at 12:01 PM Permalink

Successful Restoration Project Benefiting Mobile Bay

  
     Cooperation, collaboration, and planning have proven vital to conducting successful restoration in the impaired D’Olive Creek Watershed.  The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), in partnership with several State agencies (ADEM, ALDOT, GSA, ADCNR), local municipalities, and Baldwin County and funded by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF), continues to coordinate restoration efforts to address excessive erosion and sedimentation that have plagued this area for decades.  The greater D’Olive Creek Watershed comprises the subwatersheds of D’Olive and Tiawasee creeks and Joe’s Branch and encompasses much of the cities of Daphne and Spanish Fort.  This area along the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay is among the fastest growing in Alabama, where agricultural and forested land is being converted to residential and commercial developments. The rolling topography, excessive rainfall, highly erodible soils, and increase of impervious cover (i.e. rooftops, roads, and parking lots) creates an “almost perfect storm” of stormwater impacts resulting in degraded stream banks and erosion which transport excessive amounts of sediment into the receiving waters of Mobile Bay.

     With immediate threats to Highway 31 and Westminster Village residences, the need for emergency stream restoration on severely degraded Joe’s Branch subwatershed was recognized and addressed beginning in 2012.  Thompson Engineering was contracted to prepare and implement a cutting-edge technology called regenerative step pool storm conveyance. This award winning methodology was successful in slowing stormwater velocity and promoted restoration of downstream wetlands impacted by sediment from degraded stream banks.  The project also utilized upstream best management practices to decrease stormwater runoff and performed admirably during the April 2014 floods.  Thompson Engineering was retained to design measures to restore the impacted, 1600-foot, downstream portion of this tributary to Joe’s Branch.  A construction contract was awarded to North State Environmental who will begin restoration in late February.

     In other parts of the watershed, a contract was recently awarded to Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood to design a restoration strategy for impacted portions of D’Olive Creek.  Surveys and geotechnical analyses are currently underway to inform development of the restoration strategy.  Construction is slated to begin later this year.

     Additionally, The City of Daphne is leading efforts to restore Tiawasee Creek subwatershed using CIAP funding supplemented with additional funds from NFWF GEBF secured by the MBNEP.   A request for proposals for restoration planning is set for release in the immediate future.

Posted on 03/06/15 at 05:00 PM Permalink

USA Geology Class visiting D’Olive Creek

USA GEOLOGY CLASS SET TO VISIT AWARD WINNING DESIGN IN D’OLIVE CREEK WATERSHED

Since the 1970s, increased volume and velocity from stormwater runoff and changes to local drainage patterns have plagued the D’Olive Creek Watershed and the receiving waters of Mobile Bay.  Excessive erosion and sedimentation due to ongoing urban development continues to intensify the problem.  Finally, measures are in place addressing the issue and Dr. Alex Beebe and his students want to see the results.  Dr. Beebe, Assistant Professor of Geology with the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of South Alabama and his Geology students will visit Joe’s Branch subwatershed this Monday, March 9th to view the ongoing restoration activities.

With immediate threats to Highway 31 and Westminster Village residences, the need for emergency stream restoration on severely degraded Joe’s Branch was recognized and addressed beginning in 2012.  The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program contracted with Thompson Engineering to prepare and implement a cutting-edge technology called Regenerative Step Pool Storm Conveyance.  This award winning methodology involves filling the gully to flush with a mixture of sand and saw dust and installing a series of rock step pools down the impacted stream to slow velocity and promote infiltration of the stormwater runoff underlying the stream degradation.  The scope of work includes restoration of downstream wetlands impacted by sediments that resulted from degradation of the stream banks.  The project also includes utilization of upstream best management practices to decrease stormwater runoff and performed admirably during the April 2014 floods.

To learn more about the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and watershed restoration call (251) 380-7941 or visit http://www.mobilebaynep.com

Posted on 03/06/15 at 04:57 PM Permalink

Grand Bay NERR: Bayou Buzz

Grand Bay NERR has a brand new newsletter, Bayou Buzz! Click here to check it out.

Posted on 03/03/15 at 03:18 PM Permalink

NEP recognized in President’s FY 2016 budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program

February 5th, 2015


PRESIDENT’S FISCAL YEAR 2016 BUDGET RENEWS SUPPORT FOR NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAMS

President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget request was released earlier this week and strongly renews support for the National Estuary Program (NEP), directly requesting significant funds for each NEP.  The language in the budget is highly complementary of the NEP’s work throughout the country and specifically gives recognition to the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program.

The National Estuary Program/Coastal Waterways Programs works to restore the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of estuaries of national significance and coastal watersheds by protecting and restoring water quality, habitat, and living resources. The water quality and ecological integrity of estuarine and coastal areas is critical to the economic vitality of the United States. In FY 2016, the EPA will provide $16.8 million in Clean Water Act Section 320 grants for the 28 National Estuary Programs ($600,000 per NEP).  This funding continues the EPA support for implementation of the NEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans.

Community Impact:
The Mobile Bay NEP recently completed a one million dollar project addressing serious erosion and sedimentation problems for Joe's Branch of the D'Olive Creek watershed.  This project used funds from the State of Alabama, EPA Section 319 funds as well as EPA Section 320 NEP and local funds. The project was widely supported locally and has successfully addressed the degradation of this waterbody.  This is one example of the type of projects that will be accomplished using the FY 2016 requested funds.

Posted on 02/05/15 at 11:54 AM Permalink

EPA Releases 2013 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 14, 2015


WASHINGTON -- Similar to previous years, in 2013, most of the toxic chemical waste managed at industrial facilities in the U.S. was not released into the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report. The report, published today, shows that approximately 22 billion pounds— or 84 percent— of the 26 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste were instead managed through the use of preferred practices such as recycling. Of the 4 billion pounds that were disposed of or otherwise released to the environment, 66 percent went to land, 19 percent to air, 5 percent to water, and 10 percent was transferred to other facilities.
From 2012 to 2013, the amount of toxic chemicals managed as waste by the nation's industrial facilities increased by 4 percent. This increase includes the amount of chemicals recycled, treated, and burned for energy recovery, as well as the amount disposed of or otherwise released into the environment. In TRI, a "release" generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm.
"We all have a right to know what toxic chemicals are being used and released into our environment, and what steps companies are taking to reduce their releases to the environment or, better yet, prevent waste from being generated in the first place.” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The TRI Program tracks this information and makes it accessible to citizens and communities. And I'm pleased to see that TRI data show such a commitment to release reductions and pollution prevention on the part of many industrial facilities.”
TRI data is submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities must report their toxic chemical releases for the prior year to EPA by July 1 of each year. The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities related to TRI chemicals.
Over the past 10 years, total disposal or other releases to the environment have decreased 7 percent, despite a 15 percent increase from 2012 to 2013. The most recent increase was primarily due to increases in on-site land disposal from the metal mining sector, as has been the case in previous years. Metal mines typically handle large volumes of material. In this sector, a small change in the chemical composition of the deposit being mined can lead to big changes in the amount of toxic chemicals reported nationally.
Air releases from industrial facilities increased by 1 percent from 2012 to 2013, mainly due to increases from chemical manufacturing facilities and electric utilities that also experienced an increase in production. From 2012 to 2013, releases to water decreased by 2 percent, primarily due to decreases from the primary metals sector.
The TRI report is available in a new interactive, Web-based format that features analyses and interactive maps showing data at a state, county, city, and zip code level. In addition, information about industry efforts to reduce pollution is accessible through the expanded TRI Pollution Prevention (P2) Search Tool, where the public can now identify P2 successes and compare environmental performance among facilities and companies that provide data to the TRI program.
To access the 2013 TRI National Analysis report, including long-term trends and localized analyses, visit http://www.epa.gov/tri/nationalanalysis
. More information on facility efforts to reduce toxic chemical releases, including the new P2 parent company comparison report, is available at http://www.epa.gov/tri/p2

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CONTACT:
Rachel Deitz (News Media Only)
deitz.rachel@epa.gov
(202) 564-1807

Posted on 01/14/15 at 10:27 AM Permalink