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Water

DEFENSE DEPT. READIES STUDIES SHOWING RANGE OF PERCHLORATE SOURCES

The Defense Department is preparing to start funding a series of studies aimed at identifying the growing range of non-military sources of perchlorate, which could help limit the military's cleanup liability of the ubiquitous contaminant.

Some researchers are also working to distinguish between manmade and naturally occurring forms of the widespread groundwater contaminant, and to understand how the chemical forms under natural conditions.

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RURAL WATER GROUP EYES CONGRESSIONAL BOOST IN FY06 SECURITY FUNDS

An organization representing rural water utilities may ask Congress to fund a fiscal year 2006 water security proposal the group is preparing to head off potential shortfalls in EPA's budget that would limit small water systems' ability to implement security measures, sources familiar with the effort say.

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DRAFT WATER TRUST FUND BILL WOULD CREATE NEW TAX ON BOTTLED DRINKS

Draft legislation being circulated among wastewater and drinking water treatment officials would create a new tax on bottled beverages to finance a trust fund for clean water and safe drinking water utilities.

According to the discussion draft, legislation tentatively titled the Clean & Safe Water Trust Fund Act of 2005 would establish a fee of five cents per container on bottled beverages -- excluding milk and fruit juices -- to finance a trust fund for clean water and drinking water projects. The draft is available on InsideEPA.com.

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MERCURY STUDY MAY BOOST EFFORTS TO IMPLEMENT EPA FISH-TISSUE CRITERION

A new EPA-backed study showing increased effectiveness of state mercury control programs that assess mercury based on fish tissue levels rather than the amount in the water column could boost efforts to implement the agency's 2001 fish tissue-based water quality criterion, sources familiar with the study say.

EPA and several New England states will soon publish a study indicating that state water quality programs to control mercury are more effective when they measure mercury levels in fish tissue rather than the total amount of the pollutant found in waterbodies.

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COURT ISSUES LANDMARK OPINION BANNING DISCHARGES THAT DEGRADE WATERS

The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued a landmark interpretation of the Clean Water Act's (CWA) anti-degradation provisions, saying the law forbids sewer plants from discharging pollutants into high-quality waterbodies if the facilities have the technology to remove them, attorneys following the case say.

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TMDL RULING PRESERVES POTWS' FLEXIBILITY IN MEETING CSO REQUIREMENTS

A recent federal court ruling upholding EPA flexibility in setting annual, rather than daily, discharge limits for impaired waters appears likely to preserve wastewater dischargers' ability to comply with combined sewer overflow (CSO) and other wet weather requirements that allow for daily discharge spikes, EPA and wastewater industry attorneys say.

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POTWS, METAL INDUSTRY EXAMINE PROPOSED DTSC CYANIDE WASTE RULES

Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and industries that discharge cyanide into waste streams are reviewing a new toxics department regulatory proposal for treatment that may have significant impacts on their waste practices.

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NORTH COAST BOARD AMENDS SEDIMENT PLAN; INDUSTRY DROPS OPPOSITION

A previously controversial sediment control plan floated by the North Coast regional water board now appears to be satisfactory to both environmentalists and timber industry officials after the plan was altered ahead of its adoption late last month. The sediment plan is intended to serve as a work plan for regional board staffers, directing them to focus on enforcement and outreach, while setting watershed-specific priorities for addressing sediment pollution.

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DELTA DECISION MAY MUDDY WATER RIGHTS PROCESS, ATTORNEYS SAY

A recent appeals court decision will likely make it more difficult for private companies to receive and alter water rights permits, according to attorneys tracking the case. The judgment directs a private company, Delta Wetlands (DW), to redraft a water rights agreement it reached with the water board and sets a precedent for greater board oversight of private companies in water rights issues, according to these attorneys.

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EPA Funding Crunch May Hamper Research On Gulf Of Mexico Pollution

A federal budget crunch could prevent EPA and other agencies from conducting research to determine whether to alter their approach for reversing low oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico caused by pollution, one EPA source says.

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