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In This Issue:

Reissued Construction Runoff Permits Effective August 1

MPCA Study Detects High Nitrate Levels

Two Updated AWWA Releases: Nitrification Manual & Operator Training Handbook

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USEPA Releases Report About the Impacts of Municipal Development

EPAThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has released its most comprehensive review to date about how the way communities are built directly affects public health and the environment. The report, "Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality," illustrates how certain design and construction methods can reduce negative impacts to the environment and the public's health. “This report will be useful for communities across the country looking to make smart development decisions,” said USEPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Whether it’s housing, transportation, or environmental issues, this report can help communities protect public health and the environment by avoiding harmful development strategies.”

The report summarizes trends in land use, buildings, travel behavior, population growth, and the expansion of developed land. It also explains the environmental consequences of trends such as habitat loss, degradation of water resources and air quality, urban heat islands, greenhouse gas emissions, and global climate change as well as other health and safety impacts.

The report identifies these environmental impacts:

  • At least 850,000 acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds are thought to be impaired by stormwater runoff.
  • An estimated 50,000 miles of rivers and streams are thought to be impaired by stormwater runoff.
  • Although technology has reduced per-car vehicle emissions, an approximate 250 percent increase in vehicle miles travelled since 1970 has offset potential gains.
  • Transportation is responsible for 27 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions; residential and commercial buildings contribute 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

The report also includes strategies to reduce the negative effects of urban development:

  • Safeguard sensitive areas.
  • Focus development in built-up areas and around existing transit stations.
  • Build compact.
  • Design mixed-use developments.
  • Design streets that are safe for all users, including walkers and bikers.
  • Employ green building techniques.

To access "Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, click here. This is the USEPA's second edition of its municipality development report. The original was published in 2001.

 

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