The Stream, October 10, 2019: U.S. EPA Set to Tighten Standards on Lead in Drinking Water

The Global Rundown

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to announce new standards for lead in drinking water. A hospital in Washington D.C. where the legionella bacteria was discovered will be without potable water for another week. Ethiopia moves forward with construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam despite tensions with Egypt. An environmental group in Washington says a slow-moving cleanup of state waterbodies violated the U.S. Clean Water Act.  A survey finds that residents living in U.S. flood zones have unequal access to buyout options.

“Homeowners who want to relocate cannot apply to FEMA directly. They rely on their local government to apply on their behalf. If their local government doesn’t have those resources, you’re going to have people who are trapped in these at-risk places.” –A.R. Siders, a researcher at the University of Delaware, in reference to inequalities in the flood buyout program run by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. In order for residents to participate in voluntary buyouts, local governments must first set up the program through FEMA. An analysis of federal records found that residents in higher-income, heavily-populated counties are more likely to have access to the buyout program. NPR

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – October 7, 2019  — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on India’s late monsoon, worldwide groundwater pumping, and new PFAS regulations in New Hampshire

HotSpots H2O: India’s Monsoon Season, Wettest in 25 Years, Comes to an End — Following a slow start, India was deluged this year with its heaviest monsoon rains in a quarter century. 

By The Numbers

1,600+ Bodies of water in Washington state that the U.S.Department of Ecology developed cleanup plans for in 1998 as part of an environmental lawsuit. Two decades later, the environmental group involved in the lawsuit, Northwest Environmental Advocates, is in court again over claims that federal and state officials failed to follow through on the plans by a 2013 deadline. The group says the slow pace is a violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The Seattle Times 

Science, Studies, and Reports

St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington D.C. will be without drinking water for another week due to the presence of legionella and other bacteria in its water system. The bacteria, which can cause Legionnaires’ disease, was detected during routine testing on September 26. The Washington Post

In context: The Rapid Rise of Legionella: Q&A with Patrick Breysse of the CDC

On the Radar

U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the agency plans to announce new standards for lead in drinking water on Thursday afternoon. In a radio interview, Wheeler said that the EPA is tightening standards due to the impact of lead contamination on children. The Hill

Ethiopia is moving forward with work on its $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam despite a diplomatic quarrel with Egypt, a move that the latter country has criticized. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry says continuing the construction and filling of the dam is a violation of the Declaration of Principles signed by the two nations and Sudan in 2015 as a starting point for negotiations over the dam. Reuters

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