Electric Vehicle Incentive Program Makes $2.5 Million in Grants Available to Communities
The Clean Energy and Climate Plan Goal under the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) calls for Massachusetts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHS) emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. With the transportation sector accounting for a third of the GHG emissions, the Commonwealth has targeted the deployment of more electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as one important step toward reaching that ambitious goal.
To get more electric vehicles (or EVs) on the road, on Earth Day 2013 EEA, MassDEP and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) launched the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP), which will provide funding to municipalities to help purchase all-electric or plug-in hybrids. The program will also provide funding to communities for the installation of dual electric charging stations. The $2.5 million incentive program will encourage increased deployment of advanced-technology vehicles, improve air quality, reduce reliance on foreign oil, and help Massachusetts attain the aggressive emission-reduction goals set under the GWSA.
“This incentive program is intended to encourage and increase the deployment of zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles that will provide significant air pollution emission reductions,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Over the lifetime of an electric vehicle, the owner can reduce fuel consumption by more than 6,000 gallons of gasoline, reduce fuel costs by thousands of dollars, and cut our reliance on foreign oil.”
This program will be operated by MassDEP, and will offer eligible municipalities grants up to $7,500 per electric vehicle and up to $15,000 per publicly-accessible electric charging station. It is the first of what the state plans will be other incentive programs to increase electric-vehicle deployment and ease their use.
For more information on MassEVIP and how municipalities can apply for EV grant funding, visit: Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates Earth Day 2013 with Launch of Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program for Municipalities.
$929,000 in SWMI Grants Awarded to Assist Communities with Water Conservation, Demand-Management Projects
MassDEP moved the Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI) forward this spring by making nearly $929,000 in grant funding available to assist 11 communities with water conservation, demand-management and other projects that will help to mitigate the ecological impacts of water withdrawals.
The SWMI Grant Program will help water suppliers by providing grants for planning projects for specific watersheds, developing implementation projects to improve ecological conditions, and managing projects aimed at reducing the demand for water within a municipality or watershed. The grants also support mitigation projects that will increase in-stream flow, improve the handling of wastewater and stormwater, upgrade ecosystem habitat, manage water demand and improve the water supply. SWMI is an effort by MassDEP, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and its agencies to maintain healthy rivers and streams and improve degraded water resources over time.
The grant funding was awarded to: Amherst, Brockton, Dedham-Westwood Water District, Franklin, Halifax, Hopkinton, Kingston, Medway, Pembroke, Scituate, and Worcester.
“A number of communities in the Commonwealth have implemented water conservation measures, but we need to do more to protect our water supplies and the ecosystems they support,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “These projects will help to remove dams, increase waterway flow, recharge aquifers by keeping local water within its own watershed, and reduce the daily demand for water.”
For more information on SWMI and the grant program, visit: Patrick-Murray Administration Grants Nearly $929,000 to Assist Communities with Water Conservation, Demand Management Projects.
MassDEP Protecting the Public from Drinking Water Fraud in Milford
Back in 2009, the Town of Milford was suffering through more than a week of a boil-water order that was required by MassDEP, when the operator of the privately owned Milford Water Company decided to take matters into his own hands. The company official, Henry Papuga, decided to douse that day’s water samples with bleach in order see the boil order finally lifted. Instead, his ruse was uncovered by MassDEP, he was eventually charged with a crime, and recently he was found guilty in court and sentenced for his transgressions.
Papuga was found guilty of six counts of Tampering with an Environmental Monitoring Device or Method and two counts of Making False Statements. The judge sentenced Papuga to one year in the House of Correction, suspended for a five-year probationary period, during which Papuga is prohibited from having any involvement in the drinking water industry, and he must complete 250 hours of community service.
“We depend on the integrity of water system operators to ensure that water quality sampling results are accurate and timely to protect the public health,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “We take with utmost seriousness our obligation and mandate to ensure that drinking water delivered to the public is safe.”
You can see more details about this case here: Former Manger of Milford Water Company Found Guilty, Sentenced for Tampering with Drinking Water Samples
An editorial about this case published in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is here: Water lesson -
Milford case shows DEP is on guard.
MassDEP Web Site Pulls Into ‘New Portal’
MassDEP’s web site on May 1st moved seamlessly over to the larger EEA portal web site as required under Governor Patrick’s IT consolidation plan. The new look has all of the best from what the public has come to expect and more of what MassDEP’s web customers have requested. Joining EEA in this new portal arrangement brings many positives, like a more modern toolset, Google analytics and better integration with other EEA agency sites. Also, by moving to the portal, MassDEP’s web pages gained more room for agency content and are now “mobile-ready” or easier to view on smart phones and tablets.
At the same time, change is rarely easy and MassDEP expects this change to be no exception. MassDEP is working to try to make the transition to the EEA portal as painless as possible, but please be aware of the following impacts:
- Although the MassDEP homepage is still be reachable at http://mass.gov/dep/, most old links to MassDEP web pages no longer work;
- The current layout and design of MassDEP’s web site has now changed to look more like EEA’s; however, the agency’s information has remained structured in largely the same way that it was previously;
- Not all of MassDEP’s 20,000 content items were moved initially, so more content will be coming online over the next several months. MassDEP focused on making information that people need to do business with us (e.g., regulations and permit applications) available first; and
- Users may be confused when their bookmarks no longer work and/or the site looks different from what they are used to.
It is important to understand that for the next several months, the MassDEP web site will be very much a “work in progress,” so the agency appreciates your continued patience.
MassDEP Recognizes 81 Providers with 2013 Public Water System Awards
During National Drinking Water Week in May, MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell presented the annual Public Water Systems Awards at the Springfield Technical Community College. This year, a total of 81 large and small drinking water systems throughout the state were given awards for having posted a consistent year of clean and reliable service.
Since 1991, MassDEP has given these awards to acknowledge outstanding service. While clean and safe water will always be the one and only acceptable baseline, these awards provide a chance for MassDEP to acknowledge the accomplishments over the past calendar year of the very best, the most reliable, the most consistent of Massachusetts public water systems, and those whose future planning and maintenance programs demonstrate a commitment to continuing that excellence.
“In 2012, the Commonwealth was fortunate to have 1,752 public water systems that consistently demonstrated outstanding performance that remains essential to public health and preservation of our natural resources,” said Commissioner Kimmell. “It is with pleasure that each year, from among the state’s many worthy public water systems, we note those whose effort we feel over the past year deserve special recognition.”
For more information on the Public Water System Awards and this year’s winners, visit: Patrick-Murray Administration Awards More Than $512 Million in Loans to Fund Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects.
Natural Resource Damages Cases Will Repair Environmental Injuries at Woburn Site and in Buzzard’s Bay
Natural Resource Damages (NRD) cases have resulted in millions of dollars to fund restoration efforts at the Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, and the release of a final restoration plan and environmental assessment for a species injured by the Bouchard oil spill into Buzzard’s Bay.
In Woburn, state and federal officials have received a $4.25 million settlement from two companies, Pharmacia Corp. and Bayer CropScience Inc., for resource damages to Aberjona River and the surrounding watershed. From the 1850s to the 1960s, companies at the Industri-plex dumped hazardous substances that degraded the Aberjona River, wetlands and the Mystic Lakes downstream. NRD Trustees are developing a plan to use the settlement funds to restore the injured resources. For more information on this case, visit: Defendants Pay $4.25 Million Settlement for Restoring Natural Resources at Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn.
In Buzzard’s Bay, the NRD Trustees released the final restoration plan for the threatened piping plover population impacted by the 2003 Bouchard spill. To help restore the plovers, the plan will use $715,000 from the settlement to implement an enhanced management program at selected breeding sites. The program will target predator management, increase enforcement of the local beach ordinances on plover-nesting beaches, and public outreach and education. The piping plover restoration plan is the first of three plans utilizing $6.5 million to restore Buzzard’s Bay and nearby sites in order to compensate for natural resource injuries and lost use of areas affected by the Bouchard oil spill. For more information about this case, visit: Trustees Release Final Restoration Plan for Piping Plovers Injured by April 2003 Oil Spill in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
With Lower TCE Values, LSPs Must Continually Monitor Contaminated-Site Conditions
Since January, Trichloroethylene (TCE) Status Updates were posted on the MassDEP web page to provide guidance to Licensed Site Professionals (LSPs) and other parties involved with sites that are contaminated with TCE (see New EPA TCE Toxicity Information: Implications for Chronic and Shorter-Term Exposure and Status of MassDEP Review ).
As the TCE Status Updates explain, the 2011 changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toxicity values for trichloroethylene mean that TCE exposures can pose a human health risk, including an Imminent Hazard, at concentrations that are significantly lower than previous toxicity values would indicate. The most sensitive populations are pregnant women and women of child-bearing age (15 to 49 years old) due to the risk of fetal heart malformations from TCE exposure. Indoor air concentrations as low as 2 µg/m3 at residential settings, and 8 µg/m3 at commercial settings (assuming 40 hours a week exposure) could result in an Imminent Hazard. Moreover, the exposure duration of concern could be as little as a few weeks for pregnant women due to the sensitive developmental stage of a fetus.
MassDEP is working with its advisory committee of risk assessment and toxicology experts to better understand the basis and implications of the new toxicity values so that MassDEP can appropriately address TCE exposures at sites in a timely manner.
In light of this information, MassDEP has begun outreach to remind LSPs and responsible parties that, under these provisions, they must continually assess and evaluate release and site conditions in order to determine if an Immediate Response Action is required. This requirement represents an ongoing obligation to look for conditions that could pose an Imminent Hazard or Condition of Substantial Release Migration (triggering a two-hour or 72-hour notification, respectively). MassDEP is working with parties who notify of TCE exposures of concern to identify and implement appropriate mitigation options based on case-specific exposure considerations, with the goal of quickly reducing TCE levels and ongoing exposures. MassDEP will monitor TCE cases to ensure that Imminent Hazards are abated as quickly and permanently as feasible.
New “Dashboard” Showing Progress on the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act
This spring, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) launched a new, on-line tool to help citizens, agency personnel, and other interested parties monitor the Commonwealth’s success in reducing emissions that contribute to global warming. This new tool was funded by a grant from the Barr Foundation, and was developed in collaboration with the Environmental League of Massachusetts. It will help track successful implementation of the state’s plans to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of 25 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2020.
In 2008, Governor Patrick signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The Act mandates that the state will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and to at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The new GWSA dashboard shows progress and trends in GHG emission reductions, as well as providing information on the sources of GHGs and changes in areas like energy efficiency, green buildings, and lower-emitting transportation. The information in the Dashboard will be updated periodically, and MassDEP will be among the Commonwealth’s agencies that contribute to the Dashboard content.
Explore the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act Dashboard at: Global Warming Solutions Act Dashboard.
Learn more about global climate change, and what the Commonwealth is doing to protect our climate, and how you can get involved, at: Greenhouse Gases & Climate Change.
MassDEP Launches New On-Line Tool Showing Water Quality in Rivers, Lakes, and Estuaries
MassDEP, with the help of MassGIS, has launched a new on-line interactive mapping tool depicting the water quality status of the rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and estuaries in Massachusetts . The information in this on-line mapping tool is based on the most recent MassDEP report on surface water quality (the 2010 “Integrated List of Waters”) that was submitted to, and approved by, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The two reporting elements included in that report are the 305(b) and 303(d) sections of the federal Clean Water Act. Section 305(b) reports on the water’s capacity to support the “designated uses” listed in the surface water quality standards. These uses include: Aquatic Life; Fish Consumption; Public Water Supply; Shellfish Harvesting; Primary Contact-Recreation (such as swimming); Secondary Contact-Recreation (boating), and Aesthetics. Section 303(d) identifies those waters that are found to be “impaired” (and not supporting the designated uses) and the reason for the impairment. These 303(d) listed waters are prioritized by the state for the development of pollution control plans called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
The new mapping tool allows users to view assessed waters throughout the state as of 2010, and whether they are meeting the water quality standards. Users can click on an assessed segment of a water body to view information on description, category, watershed, water type, size, class and number of finalized TMDLs. A sample screen shot from this online tool is above.
For more information on how the data was gathered or regarding completed TMDLs, contact Arthur Johnson (508-767-2873) or Richard McVoy (508-767-2877) in MassDEP’s Division of Watershed Management in Worcester.