Michigan adopts most robust lead water rules in US

June 15, 2018 by  
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In the wake of the Flint crisis, Michigan is adopting new lead water rules — the strictest in the U.S., according to Reuters . Lead service lines will have to be replaced, and the lead concentrations allowed in drinking water will be lower than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s standard. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Michigan Senior Policy Advocate Cyndi Roper said in a statement , “There is no safe level of lead in drinking water, so despite some troubling loopholes, these rules set an example other states and the Environmental Protection Agency could follow to address an issue plaguing water systems across the country.” More than 18 million Americans received water through systems with lead violations in 2015, the NRDC said . Lead contamination of drinking water still troubles people across the U.S., and Michigan is taking some action. Their new Lead and Copper Rule, as laid out in a statement from Governor Rick Snyder, lowers the level of allowable lead to 12 parts per billion (ppb) in 2025. The EPA’s Lead Action Level is 15 ppb . Related: Flint activist and stay-at-home mom wins the Goldman Environmental Prize All public water systems will be required to replace lead service lines at a rate averaging 5 percent a year starting in 2021 during a 20-year period. The rules also require a second sample collection at locations that obtain water from lead service lines and the creation of a statewide water system advisory council. All public water systems will have to conduct asset inventory under the new rules as well. “The new Michigan Lead and Copper Rule is the most stringent in the world when applied to cities with lead pipes, yet it strikes a reasonable balance between cost and benefit,” Virginia Tech University engineering professor Marc Edwards said in the governor’s statement. “It provides the EPA  with a good exemplar to follow, if they ever begin to wage their long-promised war on lead in water.” + Office of Governor Rick Snyder + Natural Resources Defense Council (1 , 2) Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2)

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Michigan adopts most robust lead water rules in US

Michigan Governor declares Flint water safe, ends free bottled water service

April 9, 2018 by  
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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has announced that Flint water is once again safe to drink, and the state will soon cease the free bottled water service it has provided to Flint residents in the wake of the city’s drinking water crisis. “The scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended,” the office of the Republican governor said in a statement. “Since Flint’s water is now well within the standards set by the federal government, we will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward.” Residents and local representatives are reportedly hesitant to trust assurances from the same administration that was responsible for the water crisis in the first place. Even though officials declared Flint water  safe based on scientific assessments, the multi-faceted damage caused by the water crisis will be hard to repair. “Governor Snyder has failed to address the psychological trauma that his administration put the people of Flint through,” said Michigan State Representative Sheldon Neeley, who represents much of the majority-black city of 100,000. “The fact is, the people of Flint don’t trust the Snyder administration or the science they pay for — science that previously allowed our city to be poisoned.” Related: 11-year old inventor becomes “America’s Top Young Scientist” for creating lead-detecting sensor Although the city switched from Flint River water to Lake Huron water — the original source of clean water for the city — in 2015, the community remains wary. “I don’t trust the water. Period,” Flint resident Debra Coleman told WJRT local news . “It could be five years from now and I’ll still never drink this water.” While trust remains an issue, some of those responsible for the crisis are now being held accountable. In 2017, six current and former state and local officials were charged for actions that contributed to the crisis. Via Ecowatch and Reuters Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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Michigan Governor declares Flint water safe, ends free bottled water service

The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought

April 9, 2018 by  
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New reports show that nearly twice as much crude oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota last November than originally estimated. TransCanada spokesperson Robynn Tysver said that roughly 9,700 barrels of oil leaked instead of the estimated 5,000 barrels. This new information means the leak is among the biggest onshore spills in the United States since 2010. There are 42 gallons in one barrel of oil, so instead of 210,000 gallons as was originally estimated, around 407,700 gallons leaked in what TransCanada refers to as the Amherst incident . This means the spill was the “seventh largest onshore oil or petroleum product spills” reported to the United States Department of Transportation since 2010, according to Aberdeen American News. Related: Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision TransCanada started utilizing the pipeline again 12 days following the leak. Tysver told American News, “The remediation work on the property has been completed. We have replaced the last of the topsoil and have seeded the impacted area.” The Amherst incident cost the company around $9.57 million, according to the news publication, citing an updated pipeline safety administration report. TransCanada said on their website they sampled groundwater at 12 monitoring wells and there “was no impact to groundwater.” The Keystone Pipeline connects oil fields in Alberta, Canada to refineries in the United States; Reuters described it as a 590,000 barrel-per-day pipeline. Aberdeen American News said according to a preliminary report, the pipe may have been damaged in 2008, during construction. Reuters said they had reviewed documents revealing Keystone has leaked far more oil, and more frequently, “than the company indicated to regulators in risk assessments” before operations started in 2010. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration , part of the Department of Transportation, could release the final report on the leak in the upcoming few weeks. Via Aberdeen News and Reuters Images via TransCanada

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The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought

MVRDV to upgrade historic French city with modern, ecological design

June 15, 2017 by  
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France’s historic Bordeaux World Heritage Site is getting a modern ecological refresh thanks to prolific Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV . Working together with local architecture studio Flint , the architects unveiled Ilot Queyries, a pilot project for a new neighborhood that combines the European city’s historic qualities with eco-friendly and contemporary features. The dense and mixed-use masterplan not only calls for modern architecture and green space, but will also include solar panels, an integrated water system, and optimization of natural lighting in all buildings. Located east of the River Garonne, the 2.5-hectare Ilot Queyries neighborhood occupies a coveted riverside site with views towards the water and the historic city. The mixed-use masterplan comprises over 300 apartments, commercial units, a glass-fronted rooftop restaurant, and a large public park located at the heart of the development with a garden of alder, birch, and high grasses. To optimize views, natural ventilation , and access to daylight , the architects designed the building facades with 45-degree angles. These angular buildings give the development a modern sculptural aesthetic. A large landmark building at the riverfront will feature a unique angled facade covered with varying gold shades of ceramic tiles for a beautifully textured effect. Related: MVRDV transforms an abandoned highway into a “plant village” in the sky “For the Bastide Niel master plan we make an update of the European city: based on the values of the historic city that is intimate, dense and mixed, whilst at the same time proposing new objectives like sunlight for all, even on the ground floor, new energy supplies with solar panels , integrated water system and more green spaces,” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. “The concept of the cuts of the volumes is introduced here at Ilot Queyries which can be interpreted as a pilot project of the master plan Bastide Niel. Cuts in the volume allow the new qualities and allow adapting to the neighbours and mimic the height of nearby buildings. The result is ‘a true Grande Dame’ which stretches from very low pavilion-like housing towards the neighbourhoods at the back and more ambitious and monumental where the scale permits to do so, for example at the Garonne riverside facing the historic left bank.” Ilot Queyries is located next to and is a part of the larger ZAC Bastide-Niel masterplan, also designed by MVRDV, that aims to create an inviting, attractive, and greener extension to Bourdeaux’s city center. Ilot Queyries will be completed in mid-2019. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV to upgrade historic French city with modern, ecological design

1,700 Flint residents sue the EPA over tainted water

February 1, 2017 by  
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More than 1,700 residents of Flint, Michigan are seeking class action status for a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming it mismanaged the water crisis in the city. The suit was filed in a U.S. District court in Michigan on Monday, and alleges that the agency failed to warn them of the dangers of the tainted water , and did nothing to pressure state or local authorities to address the issue. The plaintiffs are seeking a collective $722 million in damages. According to Reuters , part of the 30-page lawsuit reads, “This case involves a major failure on all levels of government to protect the health and safety of the public. Local, state and federal agencies and employees, working individually and at times in concert with each other, mismanaged this environmental catastrophe.” The EPA had not yet issued a comment on the court action at the time of publication. The water crisis resulted in thousands of children being exposed to water laced with lead , which is known to stunt cognitive development and cause a number of chronic health issues. Researchers believe there is no safe lower limit for lead exposure. Related: EPA regional head steps down after agency rules response to Flint water crisis “inadequate” While the city has switched back to a safe water source as of October 2015, it’s been a struggle for residents to access clean water in the meantime. The previous water system caused irreparable damage to the city’s pipes, and replacing them has been a very slow and expensive process. Though filters are available for residential taps, many are still limiting themselves to bottled water out of fear that contamination may still seep through. Via Reuters Images via Steve Johnson and Wikipedia

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1,700 Flint residents sue the EPA over tainted water

6 Michigan state workers charged with misconduct over the Flint Water Crisis

July 29, 2016 by  
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Residents of Flint, Michigan are one step closer to justice in the aftermath of the Flint Water Crisis . Today Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed misconduct charges against six state workers. Three employees are from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services , and three employees are from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality . The workers (including one former employee) are charged with misconduct for a variety of reasons, including allegedly misinterpreting federal regulations, manipulating reports, and conspiring to misconduct. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services employees charged are Nancy Peeler, Robert Scott, and Corrine Miller. In addition to misconduct, their charges include ” willful neglect of duty related to allegedly concealing or disregarding test results ” after tests revealed high levels of lead in the blood of Flint residents. Peeler and Scott both work in a “childhood lead poisoning prevention program” for Michigan. Miller is the Michigan Director and State Epidemiologist. Related: 33 other U.S. cities have cheated water tests that detect lead The sole state employee fired so far over the Flint Water Crisis has been Liane Shekter Smith, who was the chief of Michigan’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance. She is among the charged employees. The other two employees to receive charges are water regulators Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook of the Department of Environmental Quality. Emails show Rosenthal manipulated reports about the lead levels in Flint water, and other emails show Cook wanted to quiet EPA expert Miguel Del Toral who asked about the corrosion control chemicals Flint lacked. According to The Detroit News , it is still considered unsafe to drink Flint water. In a statement, Schuette said “The families of Flint will not be forgotten. We will provide the justice they deserve. And in Michigan, the justice system is not rigged. There is one system of justice. The laws apply to everyone, equally, no matter who you are. Period.” Via The Detroit News Images via screenshot and Wikimedia Commons

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6 Michigan state workers charged with misconduct over the Flint Water Crisis

Our water systems are a disaster — how can we change that?

May 5, 2016 by  
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In the wake of the Flint crisis, communities turn to innovative technology and financing to prevent the next crisis.

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Our water systems are a disaster — how can we change that?

A changing China for a changing climate

May 5, 2016 by  
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The country may be the world’s largest carbon emitter, but China has the potential to become a clean energy leader.

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A changing China for a changing climate

CH2M and IBM have a fix for our water systems disaster

April 15, 2016 by  
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In the wake of the Flint crisis, communities turn to innovative technology and financing to prevent the next crisis.

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CH2M and IBM have a fix for our water systems disaster

As Masters wins are tallied, how about the environment?

April 15, 2016 by  
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Golf has some opportunity to push for environmental stewardship. Why hasn’t it done much?

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As Masters wins are tallied, how about the environment?

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