Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hanford Groundwater

KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA
"RICHLAND, Wash.- Fluor Hanford is just finishing a second round of chemical injections to prevent contamination of the Columbia River. It is called a chemical barrier. They're injecting the apetite in an aquifer along 300 feet of Columbia River shoreline in hopes that it will stop radioactive strontium from seeping into the river. Over the past two days, about 80 gallons a minute of Calcium-Phosphate has been injected into the shoreline aquifer where contaminated water from the N-Reactor used to be dumped up until 1992."

KNDO/KNDU has interesting video at the link given above. This station has been doing a commendable job on covering this important story.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Proposed Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, and Bull Trout Recovery Plan


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 082806C]

Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of Availability; request for comments.

----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the availability of the Proposed Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, and Bull Trout Recovery Plan (Plan) for public review and comment. The Plan addresses the Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU), the Upper Columbia Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Distinct Population Segment (DPS), and Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in the Upper Columbia region. The Plan was prepared by the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board (UCSRB)in conjunction with NMFS. Bull trout, listed as threatened, are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and are the subject of a draft recovery plan published by the USFWS in 2002.

NMFS is soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested parties on the spring Chinook salmon and steelhead portions of the Proposed Plan. If comments are received on the bull trout portion of the Plan, NMFS will pass them on to the USFWS.

DATES: NMFS will consider and address all substantive comments received during the comment period. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on November 28, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Please send written comments and materials to Lynn Hatcher, National Marine Fisheries Service, 304 South Water Street, Ellensburg, WA 98926. Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to: Include in the subject line of the e- mail comment the following identifier: Comments on Upper Columbia Salmon Plan. Comments may be submitted via facsimile (fax) to 503-872- 2737. Persons wishing to review the Plan can obtain an electronic copy (i.e., CD-ROM) from Carol Joyce by calling 503-230-5408 or by e-mailing a request to, with the subject line ``CD-ROM Request for Upper Columbia Salmon Plan''. Electronic copies of the Plan are also available on-line on the NMFS Web site; or the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board Web site; planning/salmon--recovery.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Hatcher, NMFS Interior Columbia Salmon Recovery Coordinator (509-962-8911 x223), or Elizabeth Gaar, NMFS Salmon Recovery Division (503-230-5434)."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ecology & BOR Identify Four Reservoir Sites for Further Study

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 27, 2006 06-194 Four Columbia River reservoir sites identified for further study YAKIMA - The Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have narrowed to four a list of potential off-channel mainstem Columbia River storage sites that could help serve the future water needs of the Columbia River Basin. Sites identified for further analysis include Hawk Creek in Lincoln County, Foster Creek in Douglas County, Sand Hollow and Crab Creek, both in Grant County. [snip] A copy of the original pre-appraisal assessment is available online ..."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

DOE Extends Key Hanford Contracts

"For Immediate Release:

September 26, 2006


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has extended two of its major prime contracts at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State. The extensions for Fluor Hanford, Inc. (Fluor) and CH2M HILL Hanford Group (CH2M HILL) are for up to two years and are valued at approximately $1.3 billion and $500 million respectively. The extensions are part of the Department of Energy’s Hanford Central Plateau acquisition strategy, which will result in three new cleanup contracts in 2008 covering Hanford mission support, tank farm operations and closure, and waste material storage and disposition. The extensions will ensure uninterrupted site activities while the competitive procurements are completed.

The Fluor contract is managed by the DOE’s Richland Operations Office. During the extension period, the company’s cleanup work will include: - Completing demolition of the radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facilities and cleaning out glove boxes at the Plutonium Finishing Plant; - Finishing containerization and transfer of radioactive sludge from the K East reactor basin to the K West reactor basin and design of the sludge treatment system; - Reaching 60% of all suspect-transuranic waste retrieved for disposal; - Installing and/or operating systems to address groundwater contamination, including a new pump-and-treat operation at 100-K, a new technology at 100-D, a 300-foot barrier at 100-N, and at least 30 new monitoring wells; - Demolishing 10 high-risk industrial facilities; and - Removing about 700 gallons of sodium from the Fast Flux Test Facility

The CH2M HILL contract is managed by the DOE’s Office of River Protection. Work during the extension period will include: - Maintaining and operating the tank farms, the 242-S evaporator, and the 222-S building; - Continuing the retrieval of radioactive and chemical waste from single-shell tanks; - Advancing the Demonstration Bulk Vitrification System Project; and - Reducing base tank farms operations costs through efficiencies and continuing the upgrade of tank farm systems and equipment. The official website for the Hanford Central Plateau Acquisition is the DOE E-Center at The DOE E-Center is the sole distribution medium for all information requiring the upcoming acquisitions. ### RL-06-0011"

The Law of Unintended Consequences

AOL News

HT to Prof. Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy

"The chain saws started in February, when the federal Fish and Wildlife Service put Boiling Spring Lakes on notice that rapid development threatened to squeeze out the woodpecker. The agency issued a map marking 15 active woodpecker “clusters,” and announced it was working on a new one that could potentially designate whole neighborhoods of this town in southeastern North Carolina as protected habitat, subject to more-stringent building restrictions. Hoping to beat the mapmakers, landowners swarmed City Hall to apply for lot-clearing permits. Treeless land, after all, would not need to be set aside for woodpeckers. Since February, the city has issued 368 logging permits, a vast majority without accompanying building permits."

Monday, September 25, 2006

State proposes water rights for Lake Tapps water-supply project

Draft Report of Examination
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 25, 2006 06-195

State proposes water rights for Lake Tapps water-supply project

OLYMPIA - Today the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) proposed a water right that would help supply the long-range water needs of the Central Puget Sound region, protect salmon, improve water quality and assist ongoing efforts to sustain Lake Tapps for many uses. The proposal is open for public review in a 45-day public comment period. Using Lake Tapps as a water supply reservoir to retain the lake was the preferred option from the Lake Tapps Task Force. In 2004, PSE stopped hydropower operations at its Lake Tapps facility as a result of licensing conditions that affected the economics of the project. Puget Sound Energy (PSE) applied for two interrelated water rights, in addition, to create the water supply project. One of the new water rights would authorize diverting water from the White River into Lake Tapps. The second related water right would authorize the storage of the diverted White River water in the Lake Tapps Reservoir. PSE and the Cascade Water Alliance, which is a consortium of cities and water suppliers in the Central Sound, are negotiating agreements that would allow the alliance to purchase these water rights and PSE's Lake Tapps facilities."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

BOR to Release Odessa Aquifer Study

Columbia Basin Herald - BY CHRYSTAL DOUCETTE
"COLUMBIA BASIN - Constructing a fix for depleting aquifer levels in Odessa could start in 2010. The Bureau of Reclamation presented four alternatives in a draft study for replacing water in the Odessa Sub-Area Aquifer Wednesday to the Columbia Basin Development League. The study area is 121,000 acres of land irrigated with groundwater. The final study will be released Sept. 29. Study Manager Ellen Berggren said an appraisal of the options takes six months to a year, and a feasibility study takes about three years. After those studies are complete, the chosen project needs funding approval from Congress. When the funding is obtained, contracts can be put out and construction can begin."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Tug Boat for Neah Bay

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 21, 2006 06-192

Rescue tug service starts Nov. 1

OLYMPIA - This year, rescue tug service in the Strait of Juan de Fuca will start Nov. 1. A rescue tug has been stationed at Neah Bay during the past eight winters to help assist disabled ships before they drift onto rocks and spill oil. The Department of Ecology (Ecology) oversees the rescue tug contract. Winter storms present a higher risk of oil spills from the more than 7,000 tankers and cargo ships traveling through the strait each year. Cargo ships can carry up to 1 million gallons of cargo oil, and oil barges or tankers can carry up to 33 million gallons of oil. Since 1999, the rescue tug has assisted 29 disabled ships plying state waters. "Preventing oil spills is our primary mission because we know that even under the best of conditions, oil is difficult to clean up but impossible to contain in the bad weather our coast often experiences," said Dale Jensen, who manages Ecology's spills program. The state Legislature provided $1.4 million with the goal of providing 200 days of service for the 2006-07 winter season. For about $6,000 a day Foss Maritime was slated to provide rescue tug coverage this winter. In August, the tug and barge company notified Ecology that the company is experiencing a shortage of tugs in the Pacific Northwest and exercised its option to opt out of its 2006-07 contract for the month of October. Foss will station a rescue tug at Neah Bay in November and December. Ecology sought to find coverage for October 2006. The department, however, received a single bid for $22,500 a day to place a rescue tug at Neah Bay. "Unfortunately the bid was too high. If we had accepted it, we would have been in the position of spending nearly all the money earmarked for the tug in three months - with some of the worst winter months to come," said Dale Jensen, who manages Ecology's spills program. "The current contract issue highlights the need to find a stable, long-term funding source for a rescue tug," Jensen said that during October 2006, Ecology will have the option to charter a tug if a major storm hits the coast. Ecology also will solicit bids seeking rescue tug service for winter 2007 and the next 2007-08 winter season. A major spill could cost millions to respond and cleanup and hurt Washington's fishing and shellfish industries, further endanger salmon runs, kill birds and marine mammals, ruin public beaches, halt vessel traffic, and dampen tourism, said Jensen."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Public Comment Period Announced on Changes to Hanford TriParty Agreement

"This is a message from the Tri-Party Agreement Agencies

30-day notice prior to public comment period



The U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office (RL), the Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the Tri-Party Agreement Agencies) are completing negotiations on draft changes to the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA). These draft changes lay out the regulatory processes for Central Plateau non-tank farm waste sites and groundwater. Over the last few years the TPA agencies participated in many public forums where Central Plateau values and issues were shared. Based on tribal and stakeholder input, the Tri-Party agencies have re-evaluated the need for additional data leading to cleanup decisions in the Central Plateau. This approach changes the sequencing of when characterization data is gathered, requiring more site characterization to be completed prior to making cleanup decisions as opposed to confirmatory sampling normally performed after cleanup decisions are made. Conducting additional characterization prior to cleanup decision-making provides the opportunity to better understand the potential impact waste sites or existing groundwater plumes pose to the environment. This approach, we believe, will provide greater confidence that cleanup decisions are protective of human health and the environment. Because additional characterization data will be gathered prior to cleanup decisions, this approach changes and extends two major milestones M-015-00 and M‑015‑00C, by three years. These milestones complete investigations and remedy recommendations in the Central Plateau. The completion date for the overall Central Plateau cleanup remains unchanged (September 30, 2024). The proposed draft change package also includes a milestone to address deep vadose zone contaminant uncertainties. This milestone establishes a treatability test plan supporting the identification of potential technologies to address the hazards presented by these contaminants. Another proposed change will tighten up the transition from the remedial investigation/feasibility study (evaluation/study) process to the remedial action (cleanup) stage. The Parties propose new language and milestones that require USDOE submit a work plan for remedial design and actions. The work plan(s) must be submitted within 180 days after the signing of a ROD, or another period named in the ROD, for lead regulatory agency review and approval. The plan will include a schedule with draft milestones. The agencies plan to hold a 45-day public comment period expected to run from mid- October through mid December. At this time no public meeting is scheduled. If you are interested in a public meeting, please contact Karen Lutz (509-376-4766). For more information, please call the Hanford Cleanup Line at 800-321-2008."

Emphasis added.

Hanford Area 300 Buildings: Stay or Go?

Tri-City Herald - By Annette Cary, Herald staff writer
"DOE is in the early stages of evaluating whether retaining some 300 Area buildings could be an option, she said. The agency is determining whether keeping the buildings would be safe and whether cleanup momentum in the 300 Area can be maintained, she said. In the past, DOE has said all buildings must come down as part of cleanup because of contamination beneath the site and the contamination in or near utility piping. Now DOE has told the city of Richland that it's studying retaining the 331 Building, a three-story reinforced concrete structure built in the 1970s with 115,127 square feet of space. It includes laboratories on the first and third floors with a mechanical service floor on the second. A three-story office wing on the west end of the building has 60 offices and a two-story office addition was added in 1996."

At the recent Hanford Advisory Meeting, the representaive from the City of Richland stated that the city supported the rehabilitation of some of these buildings.

Chromium (VI) Release at Hanford

From WA Department of Ecology:

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 19, 2006 06-189

Ecology Department issues violation notice to U.S. Energy for toxic spill

RICHLAND--The U.S. Department of Energy (Energy) today received notice that it has violated a Hanford cleanup agreement by allowing highly concentrated sodium dichromate to leak onto the ground, potentially threatening workers and the Columbia River. Energy is liable for the violations under the terms of an agreement called the Tri-Party Agreement, among the Department of Ecology (Ecology), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Energy. Ecology Director Jay Manning announced in Richland today that Ecology has issued Energy a notice of violation and expects the EPA to follow up with a monetary penalty. Ecology and the EPA regulate Energy's environmental cleanup at the Hanford site. These violations are a significant concern to Ecology, because the spill occurred near the Columbia River. This area is an extremely valuable and sensitive habitat for spawning salmon and for other species. "Were it to reach the river, pure sodium dichromate would be a huge threat to salmon in the Columbia River," Manning said. "This situation represents a breakdown of oversight, management, compliance, and just plain common sense." Sodium dichromate is a "hexavalent chromium" compound that is considered to be cancer-causing. Sodium dichromate is harmful and can be fatal if inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the skin. According to Ecology reports, an Energy contractor, Washington Closure Hanford LLC (WCH), caused the spill while excavating pipelines in the 100-D nuclear reactor area, along the Columbia River. The 100-D and 100-DR nuclear reactors operated from 1944 to 1967. When operating, the nuclear reactors were cooled by Columbia River water that passed through the reactor cores. Sodium dichromate was added to the river water to inhibit corrosion of the cooling system pipelines. In June 2006, WCH began excavating pipelines that had delivered pure sodium dichromate for the D Reactors. Last year, similar work at a nearby reactor revealed high concentrations of chromium in soil when digging up a similar pipeline. Despite this previous experience, workers had only one appropriate container for the thousands of tons of soil contaminated by chromium. They had no way to contain the more than 30 gallons of red and green liquids that leaked out of the ruptured pipes. Ecology has required Energy to dig up soil contaminated by the liquid, treat it to reduce the hazard, and dispose of it in an approved, lined landfill. Ecology's investigation determined that WCH failed to comply with numerous requirements in work plans previously approved by Ecology and the EPA. The violations by WCH include: workers breached the old pipelines, caused a release of highly toxic waste, failed to take adequate samples, and failed to provide required notification to Energy and the state. After excavating the material and containing a portion of it, the workers buried some of the chromium-laced soil back into the ground within a quarter of a mile of the Columbia River. Although WCH previously encountered chromium hazards at another similar Hanford location, they failed to anticipate it at the 100-D dig site. WCH failed to plan for the hazards and their potential effect. These breakdowns in the WCH safety-management system may have exposed workers to chromium at higher than allowable levels. Washington state does not have authority over worker safety at Hanford. Under federal law, Energy is self-regulating for worker safety at its sites around the nation. The federal agency is responsible for ensuring that its contractors comply with occupational health and safety requirements. "Ecology is very concerned about potential threats to worker health and safety as well as to the environment," said Manning. "We have referred these concerns to Energy for correction." ###

Contacts: Jani Gilbert, public information manager, 509-329-3495; cell, 509-990-9177 Jane Hedges, nuclear waste program manager, 509-372-7905 John Price, project manager, environmental restoration, 509-372-7921"

Saturday, September 16, 2006

TriParty Agencies Announce 2006 State of the Hanford Site Meetings

"The State of the Site meeting begins with the open house where Cleanup decision-makers will conduct one-on-one and small group discussions during the course of the first hour. The open house will be followed by an open dialogue in town hall style format with a strong moderator. Each of the Tri-Party Agency managers will provide a brief introduction, including the issues they heard during the open house as well as issues and concerns brought forward at previous State of the Site meetings. Moderated group dialogue will follow the introductions. This phase of the meeting will last approximately 2 hours.

Locations and Dates:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 Three Rivers Convention Center 7016 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick, WA 6:00 p.m. – Booths, displays, general information 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Town Hall Discussion

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 Seattle Center, Rainier Room 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 7:00 p.m. – Booths, displays, general information 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. Town Hall Discussion

Wednesday, November 1, 2006 Best Western Hood River Inn, Gorge Room 1108 East Marina Way, Hood River, OR 6:00 p.m. – Booths, displays, general information 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Town Hall Discussion

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 Red Lion Hotel at the Park 303 W. North River Drive, Spokane, WA 7:00 p.m. – Booths, displays, general information 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. Town Hall Discussion"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

DOE to try calcium phosphate barrier to contain strontium-90 in Hanford groundwater

KNDO/KNDU AP reports that in an attempt to contain a plume of strontium-90 contaminated groundwater at the Hanford Site, calcium phosphate will be injected in wells near N Reactor.

"U.S. Lumber Company Execs Appeal to Congress to Block Administration Plan Giving Preferential, Off-budget $500 Million Payments to Competitors"

"Canada and the U.S. have been in a decades-long dispute over softwood lumber imports. This summer, negotiators for the two countries reached an agreement that is designed to end the dispute for up to nine years. Part of the deal, however, hands back to the U.S. lumber companies that brought the trade actions against Canada one-half billion of the five billion in duties collected since 2001.

'Giving the petitioners this money will allow them to undercut other competitor lumber companies and even buy out smaller companies, cutting jobs and raising home costs,' Slaughter said. 'It also appears to circumvent a U.S. Court of International Trade ruling that giving money to trade case petitioners under the Byrd Amendment would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Administration wants to give cash to a select group of U.S. companies, harming their competitors.'"

Among those opposing the proposed payover are the following Washington State companies:

Lewis County Forest Products, Winlock, Washington

Mason County Forest Products, Shelton, Washington

Oakville Forest Products, Oakville, Washington

Ponderay Valley Fibre, Usk, Washington

Portac, Inc., Tacoma, Washington

RSG Forest Products, Kalama, Washington

Sauvola's Sawmill, Northport, Washington

Zosel Lumber Co., Oroville, Washington

"Clean Up Resumes At Hanford's K-Basin"

"Hanford workers found more debris sitting on the bottom the K East Basin floor than any other reactor. Workers found junk like old tools, scaffolding, even a computer monitor. Trying to vacuum up the sludge around the debris became extremely challenging.

'We started without a lot of research and characterization of what was in the basin just because records were poor,” said Pete Knollmeyer, Vice President of K Basins Closure Project. “We've encountered a lot of things we didn't expect. A lot of obstacles to overcome.'"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gas Under the Basalt?

OPB - Public NewsRoom
"Canadian-owned EnCana Oil & Gas wants to sink a third exploratory well near the Columbia River town of Mattawa.

It'd go 14,000 feet deep. A project partner, Denver-based Delta Petroleum, is talking about drilling one or two additional holes of its own."

"Tidal power applications filed for Deception Pass, Columbia River"

"MOUNT VERNON, Wash. A group planning to develop tidal power projects has filed applications to study Deception Pass and the mouth of the Columbia River.

The Washington, D-C, based Climate Institute is also looking at other coastal sites around the nation where the power of water currents could generate electrical current. Founder John Topping says the turbines might look like underwater windmills."

Supreme Court Sends Thurston Co. GMA Case to Court of Appeals

The Olympian - By Keri Brenner
"The state Supreme Court on Friday declined to review Thurston County's appeal of a major land-use ruling, instead referring it to the state Court of Appeals in Tacoma.

'It's disappointing news,' said Allen Miller, a county deputy prosecuting attorney. 'It will extend the process - we had wanted the board of county commissioners to get a quicker resolution to this.'

At issue is the county's appeal of a ruling last year by the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board that the county's proposed general plan was flawed. The board ordered Thurston County to rezone its rural lands and shrink its urban growth area boundary to allow for more open space and more protection of natural resources and to curb sprawl."

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Rather Grim Take on the Hanford Cleanup

KTLA -- by Ralph Vartabedian

An article on the Hanford Site cleanup, dwelling on a lot that has gone wrong. It probably isn't the only thing you should read if you are new to the story, but it is worth linking if only for this quote:

"'You want to take somebody out and hang them,' said Rep. David L. Hobson (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that pays for the project. 'It is already outrageous what it is costing.'"

And for a little good news, see Annette Cary's article in the Tri-City Herald: "300 Area cleanup ahead of schedule"

Yakima County Ordered to Revisit Land-Use Regulation

Yakima Herald Republic Online - By DAVID LESTER
"An administrative procedure that permits land designated as agriculture to be changed to another use, such as mining, is the subject of a public hearing before Yakima County commissioners next month. The hearing, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 12 in the commissioners' courthouse hearing room, is in response to a land-use appeals board's ruling that the county failed to perform an environmental review of the proposed change. The Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, in a June 20 decision, gave the county until Sept. 18 to correct the error. The three-member board made its ruling in an appeal to the county's approval of a new gravel mine on Lateral 1, west of Lateral A, northwest of Wapato. The board concluded the county gave the public adequate notice of the emergency request by Columbia Ready-Mix to mine gravel from a 78-acre former orchard. But what the county failed to do, the board said, was consider the environmental impact of the associated change to the comprehensive plan. The change allowed land-use designations to be changed from agriculture to another resource use without considering criteria designed to protect the county's agricultural base."

EPA Extends Deadline for Watershed Restoration Grants

[Federal Register: August 29, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 167)] [Notices] [Page 51192-51193] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:fr29au06-37] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-8213-5] FY 2006 and 2007 Targeted Watersheds Grant Program: Availability of Funds and Request for Proposals for Implementation Projects (CFDA 66.439--Funding Opportunity Number EPA-OW-OWOW-06-3) AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice, extension of the submission date for proposals for watershed projects. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: On August 15, 2006, EPA published a notice announcing the availability of funds for grants and cooperative agreements under EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grant Program. The announcement solicits proposals for watershed restoration and/or protection projects throughout the country. This notice is to extend the submission date for proposals to November 15, 2006. EPA is extending the submission date for proposals to be consistent with Agency communications. DATES: Proposals are now due by November 15, 2006. ADDRESSES: Erin Collard; USEPA; Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds; Room 7136G; Mail Code 4501T; 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW.; Washington, DC 20004; telephone: 202-566-2655. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions regarding this extension, please contact Carol Peterson at 202-566-1304 or by e-mail at A copy of the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program Request for Proposals, this notice extending the date for submitting proposals, and additional information on the program can be found on the

EPA Moving Toward Providing Legally Required Notice by Internet

This applies only to notice to the public, not the violator, but it continues the massive adoption of the internet for conducting government business.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OECA-2006-0748; FRL-8213-1] Notice of Intent To Provide Internet Publication of Proposed Penalties under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to issue notices of proposed penalty orders issued under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act via the Internet. EPA is encouraging the Regions to use the Internet as a more effective and efficient means to provide such notice. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Kaczka Brantner, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Office of Civil Enforcement, Water Enforcement Division, Mail Code 2243A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-9933; fax number: 202-564-0018; e-mail address: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Both the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act authorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess administrative penalties for specified violations of the Act. See sections 309(g) and 311(b)(6) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1319(g) and 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6) and section 1423(c) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), 42 U.S.C. 300h-2(c). These provisions require EPA to provide public notice of any civil penalty order before issuing any such order. For such administrative actions, EPA's Consolidated Rules of Practice Governing the Administrative Assessment of Civil Penalties, 40 CFR Part 22, require notice to the public ``by a method reasonably calculated to provide notice.'' 40 CFR 22.45(b)(2). Typically, notice is provided through publication in newspapers of general circulation. The Part 22 rules and the Clean Water Act do not define what methods of notice are reasonable. Courts have recognized that the Internet may be one method reasonably calculated to provide public notice. Thus, for example in discussing service of process by e-mail, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has recently described in broad language a court's authority to adapt its procedures to meet technological advances as follows: ``In proper circumstances, this broad constitutional principle [i.e., that the selected method of service must be reasonably calculated to provide notice and an opportunity to respond] unshackles the federal courts from anachronistic methods of service and permits them entry into the technological renaissance.'' Rio Properties, Inc. v. Rio International Interlink. 284 F.3d 1007, 1017 (9th Cir. 2002)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Conservation groups sue to overturn parts of 2003 Washington water law"

"YAKIMA, Wash. -- Several environmental groups seeking to overturn parts of a 2003 municipal water law filed suit Friday, claiming the law allows growing cities to draw more water from the state's rivers and streams at the expense of existing water-rights holders and fish. The state Legislature passed the Municipal Water Law to provide more certainty and flexibility for water rights held by municipal water systems. In general, water-right holders who don't use all their allotted water run the risk of losing the right to use it in the future. Cities are generally immune from that rule, but the bill expanded the definition of 'municipal water suppliers' to include public utility districts and other traditional water providers, and also expanded their obligations to conserve water. The bill was a priority for many cities around the state that wanted to be able to grow into their water rights as they expand. Opponents included environmentalists and Indian tribes, who argued that growing populations might dry up water needed for fish habitat."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Waatch River Running Dry, Endangering Makah Water Supply - by VANESSA RENEE CASAVANT
"Wednesday afternoon, the Makah Tribal Council met with representatives of several state agencies to devise a ``worst case scenario'' contingency plan in case it doesn't rain, Tribal Chairman Ben Johnson said. Part of the plan includes having tankers of water standing by in the event of a fire, he said. Without the tankers, one fire could wipe out the tribe's entire water supply, said Charles White, the tribe's general manager. The state is also working with the tribe to line up tankers to ship drinking water to Neah Bay if the supply dips too low, White said. In the meantime, engineers from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs are on their way to Neah Bay to check on the situation, Johnson said."

Advisiory Panel Named for Columbia River [Basin] Water Management Program

From the Department of Ecology: [who, it appears, has changed the name of this program -- again: "Basin" is apparently out of the mix since the notice of preparation of a programatic EIS. Getting hard to keep up.]
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Aug. 28, 2006 06-169 Columbia River panel tapped to offer advice on new water program YAKIMA - A panel representing a broad spectrum of interested parties will help the state launch a new water management program for the Columbia River to sustain growing communities and a healthy economy, and meet the needs of fish and healthy watersheds. Farmers, local government officials, tribes and environmental groups, joined with water, fish and power managers in Ellensburg recently to inaugurate the Columbia River Policy Advisory Group. "Success on the Columbia River can only be had through collaboration," said Jay Manning, director of the Washington Department of Ecology. "Each of these members brings an important perspective to the table that will serve us well as we implement this plan." The panel will provide advice as state agencies move forward to implement the Columbia River Water Management Program, passed this last legislative session with overwhelming support and a commitment of $216 million from the Legislature. The historic water bill calls for the Department of Ecology to aggressively develop new water supplies and improve water management on the Columbia River to support stream flows for fish and new out-of-stream uses, such as farming, industry and municipal growth. It also allows for creativity and flexibility in achieving water resource solutions through voluntary regional agreements. "For too long we were locked in water wars," Manning said. "As vested partners, we're ready to design a program where both the environment and the economy win." One of the panel's first tasks will be to help agencies develop priorities and criteria for funding conservation and storage projects. In addition the group will play a key role in identifying "preferred alternatives" through the current Columbia River Water Management Program environmental impact statement (EIS) process. A draft EIS will be available for comment this fall. "We've got some looming deadlines," Manning explained. "Supply and demand forecasts are due to the Legislature, projects need to be identified, and mechanisms for implementing innovative management tools - such as voluntary regional water agreements - need to be in place. These leaders are going to help us decide how to get the work done." The panel members include: John Stuhlmiller, Washington State Farm Bureau Merrill Ott, Stevens County commissioner Phil Rigdon, Yakama Nation Rob Masonis, American Rivers Gary Chandler, Association of Washington Business Jim Fredricks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kathleen Collins, Water Policy Alliance John Culp, Washington State Conservation Commission Cindy Custer, Bonneville Power Administration Dick Erickson, East Columbia Basin Irrigation District Rick George, Umatilla Tribes Bill Gray, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Bob Hammond, City of Kennewick Tony Grover, Northwest Power and Conservation Council Joe Lukas, Grant County PUD Mo McBroom, Washington Environmental Council Darryll Olsen, Columbia-Snake Rivers Irrigation Association Gary Passmore, Colville Tribes Lisa Pelly, Washington Rivers Conservancy Rudy Peone, Spokane Tribe Mike Schwisow, Columbia Basin Development League Teresa Scott, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Paul Wagner, NOAA Fisheries - US Department of Commerce Rich Stevens, Grant County commissioner Max Benitz, Benton County commissioner The group will meet monthly over the next several months, after which the schedule will be reevaluated. More information on the Columbia River Water Management Program is available online ..."

Modification to Hanford Vitrification Plant RCRA Permit

"This message is from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Advance Notice

Comment Period

2+2 Melter Configuration Permit Modification

October 2 - November 17, 2006

Washington State’s Department of Ecology invites you to comment on a permit modification for Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). The plant will change millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste, now stored in aging underground tanks, into glass. The draft permit incorporates the following changes into the WTP Permit, Chapter 10 and Attachment 51 of the Dangerous Waste Portion of the Hanford Facility Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit.

The melter configuration is changed from one high-level waste (HLW) melter and three low-activity waste (LAW) melters to two HLW and two LAW melters (2+2) Detailed designs for the HLW melters are added.

A public comment period runs from October 2 through November 17, 2006. Ecology will consider all comments it receives during the comment period. Ecology will also issue a response to comments when it issues the final decision on the modification."

The notice goes on to give a link for the draft permit, but as I post this, I don't see this comment period mentioned there. Probably in a few more days. This modification seems more significant than many of the other numerous permit modifications, etc., at Hanford. The vitrification plant (also called the vit plant and WTP, as I recollect, is going to be a complex of three huge buildings: a pre-treatment unit to separate and prepare the high and low level waste streams, a high level vitrification unit, and a low level vitrification unit. To change the configuration from one high-level melter and three low to two of each, at this point in the festivities strikes me as some kind of big deal.