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November Upfront News & Views

November Upfront News & Views

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    Filterra Bioretention Systems combine landscape plants with an engineered filtration media to capture and remove stormwater runoff pollutants —trash and debris, oils and grease, sediments, nutrients, metals, and bacteria — prior to discharging treated runoff into local waterways.

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CommunityMidwest water off-limits to thirsty regions

President Bush signs a long-debated agreement preventing Great Lakes water from being shipped to other states — and even other countries. The compact also requires the Great Lakes' eight states to regulate their large-scale water uses and promote conservation.

The compact drew bipartisan support, and both U.S. presidential nominees, Barack Obama and John McCain, supported it.

The Great Lakes states negotiated for more than four years until Michigan became the final state to sign it July 9. The nearly decade-long push to strengthen legal protections against diverting the water then picked up speed, with the Senate passing the measure Aug. 1, and the House of Representatives following suit Sept. 23.

The compact bans all new diversions of water, except for communities near the basin boundary that meet strict requirements.

It also gives the states flexibility regarding their water use while requiring them to meet common standards. Regional goals are expected to be reviewed every five years.

AssociationsAWWA OKs proposed change to coliform rule

After a year of discussions, the American Water Works Association and other stakeholders in the EPA's plan to revise the Total Coliform Rule (TCR) agree on a rulemaking framework designed to help drinking water customers better understand indicator organisms without alarming them about the presence of bacteria.

The rule, which was last revised in 1989, is designed to detect and eliminate microbial contamination through-out the distribution system. It requires suppliers to monitor rigorously for generally harmless total coliform bacteria that may indicate possible presence of pathogenic contaminants.

The current rule includes a maximum contaminant level (MCL) based on the presence or absence of total coliform in samples collected monthly in addition to an acute MCL based on whether fecal coliform or E. coli are detected.

The revision would eliminate the MCL for total coliform and any consideration of fecal coliform, but it would maintain the MCL for E. coli. It also would replace the total coliform MCL with a new treatment technique in which total coliform occurrence would trigger efforts to identify and repair potential sanitary defects in the distribution system.

The EPA is expected to propose the revised rule in 2010 for comment; a final rule would likely be adopted in 2012 with compliance due in 2015. The change would affect more than 150,000 small and rural communities nationwide.