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Home arrow Health arrow Best practices for environmental health : environmental pollution, protection, quality and sustainability


(See endnote 14)

US Environmental Protection Agency

  • 1. Clean Water State Revolving Fund—This fund has provided over $100 billion for more than 33,320 low interest loans to build wastewater treatment plants, control non-point source pollution, and protect estuaries.
  • 2. WaterSense—This program teaches and encourages society to protect water, our most valuable resource, by creating efficiencies for utilities, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. In November 2012, the WaterSense program released information to help facility owners, operators, designers, and managers better understand effective water management. This document was entitled “WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities.” (See endnote 56.)
  • 3. Sustainable Water Infrastructure program—This program promotes adoption of better utility management practices regarding water efficiency and protection of the watershed.
  • 4. Sustainable Communities Program—This program provides technical and financial assistance to partner groups who support improving the water infrastructure while reducing health risk. This is done for small, underserved communities who lack access to safe water.
  • 5. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program—This program controls water pollution in the waters of the United States by regulating point source discharge of pollutants into the surface waters. Permits have to be issued for any discharge as part of the Clean Water Act from industrial sources, municipal treatment plants, and stormwater management groups. The permit ensures that the discharge will not contaminate the US waterways as they have done in the past contributing an estimated 223 billion pounds of pollutants to the US waters. (See endnote 50.)
  • 6. Green Infrastructure—This program identifies stormwater as a valuable resource and promotes the use of techniques that will allow it to percolate to the groundwater supply or go cleanly to surface bodies of water.
  • 7. State and tribal water pollution control programs—These programs use federal assistance to states, territories, interstate agencies, and tribes to help establish ongoing water pollution control programs to provide better water quality.
  • 8. Decentralized Wastewater Management Program—This program promotes the proper management of the septic systems and other decentralized wastewater treatment systems which treat more than 4 billion gallons of sewage every day. It is a formal partnership between the federal, state, and local governments as well as academia and industry. It encourages the proper design, operation, and maintenance of the decentralized systems. In the program, the federal government works with partners of all types to help local decision-makers understand the economic, environmental, and health benefits of using on-site systems properly. These benefits include mitigating the risk of disease and human exposure to pathogens which may be found in surface water, drinking water, or shellfish beds when they are contaminated with unnecessary overflow from the decentralized wastewater system; and using the decentralized wastewater system appropriately to reduce the cost of the substantial infrastructure and amount of energy needed in typical wastewater collection and treatment for small numbers of people spread out over large areas.
  • 9. Examples of demonstration projects of decentralized wastewater programs include La Pine, Oregon, where an innovative nitrogen removal technology was developed and used; Ephesus, Virginia, where a model program was developed for the education and training of citizens in the use of septic tank systems; Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, which developed a special tool for helping plan water and wastewater treatment systems including reuse of wastewater effluent; and the National Environmental Health Association which has developed credentialing programs to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals who will be approving the installation of or installing on-site wastewater treatment systems. (See endnote 15.)
  • 10. SepticSmart Week which is a program to help homeowners learn how to use and maintain their septic systems since malfunctioning systems are the second greatest threat to groundwater quality in the United States and may cause homeowners to spend, individually, many thousands of dollars to replace the septic systems if they are not maintained properly.
  • 11. The National Community Decentralized Wastewater Demonstration Project funded by Congress to rapidly move ahead the technology transfer of improved treatment methods and management approaches. The Rodale Institute, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, is a model for the effective use and treatment of water resources including rainwater used for toilet flushing, and constructed wetland treatment for wastewater. This center which is now called the Water Purification Eco-Center is used to help educate large numbers of different types of individuals including officials of local agencies, watershed management groups, and the general public in how best to manage and utilize decentralized wastewater treatment systems.
  • 12. A Model Program for On-Site Management in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed helps states to develop and implement a model program to manage on-site sewage systems and minimize the impact of nitrogen on the Chesapeake Bay.
  • 13. The Wastewater Collection System Toolbox provides a series of free sources on approaches of how best to manage wastewater collection systems including: financial and regulatory needs; preventive maintenance programs; managing the existing infrastructure assets; using information systems including GIS; improving system capacity; and dealing with system overflows. (See endnote 39.)

Fairfax County, Virginia, Sewer Maintenance Program

(See endnote 32)

This program covers over 3000 miles of sewer lines and consists of visual inspections, scheduled sewer cleanings based on past history, unscheduled sewer cleanings as needed, utilizing mechanical and hydraulic cleaning procedures, appropriate record-keeping and analysis to determine problem areas, and scheduling cleaning prior to problems actually occurring, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the staff.

City of Los Angeles, California, Sewer Maintenance Program

(See endnote 32)

This program covers over 6500 miles of sewer lines with diameters ranging from 6 inches to 12.5 feet. About half of the system is more than 50 years old. A computerized maintenance management plan has been put into effect and it emphasizes prevention and correction quickly of potential problems as well as actual problems. Inspection, cleaning, and rehabilitation of the sewer system is prioritized based on a scoring system that uses the age of the pipes, size, and construction materials that were used. GIS, computer, and logic programs are utilized to effectively determine where inspections and cleaning should be done most frequently. Corrosion abatement is considered to be of extreme importance.

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