News Briefs: Large Wastewater Spill Concerns Sarasota Bay Residents

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will prohibit companies from manufacturing, processing or importing products containing certain long-chain PFAS without prior approval

Local residents are reporting environmental impacts as a result of a 26 to 28 million gallon wastewater spill that occurred at the end of June in the town of Longboat Key in the Sarasota Bay area of Florida.

The Department of Environmental Protection was notified recently of the spill, which happened after a section of pipe broke on undeveloped land leading to the Manatee County Wastewater Treatment Facility. “Initially, the town and Manatee County Utilities staff believed there may have been meter and equipment issues causing anomalous flow readings. Not until June 29 did they determine there was an actual leak in the pipeline,” Town Manager Tom Harmer tells Fox 13 News.

According to the news station, some residents are concerned about the potential for future issues with the underwater pipe, as it travels through Sarasota Bay.

DOE Announces $20 Million in Funding for Water Infrastructure Tech

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recently announced a $20 million funding opportunity to develop technology innovations that strengthen America’s water infrastructure and enable advanced water resource recovery systems that have the potential to be net energy positive.

This funding opportunity is part of DOE’s Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House-initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure and affordable water.

“Today’s funding opportunity will invest in innovative water technologies and systems that will modernize and increase efficiency of our current water infrastructure,” says Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes. “Ensuring reliable, reusable and sustainable water infrastructure is something this Administration is strongly focused on achieving.”

EPA to Prohibit Companies from Using PFAS Without Approval

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Action Plan, EPA is issuing a final rule giving the agency the authority to review an expansive list of products containing PFAS before they could be manufactured, sold or imported in the United States.

This action, issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), means that EPA is prohibiting companies from manufacturing, processing or importing products containing certain long-chain PFAS, which persist in the environment and can cause adverse health effects, without prior EPA review and approval. As part of the agency’s review, EPA could place restrictions on these products to protect public health.

“The regulation can stop products containing PFAS from entering or reentering the marketplace without our explicit permission,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA is committed to aggressively addressing these chemicals of concern under the PFAS Action Plan.”


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