Tag Archives: EPA

Proposed Waters of the U.S. Revision

Proposed Waters of the U.S. Revision

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army published a proposed revision to the definition of waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) in the Federal Register on February 14, 2019. The purpose of the proposed rule is to comply with the requirements of Executive Order 13778.

The proposed revised definition of WOTUS includes six categories of waters, as follows:

  • traditionally navigable waters (TNWs) including the territorial seas;
  • tributaries that contribute perennial or intermittent flow to TNWs;
  • certain ditches;
  • certain lakes or ponds;
  • impoundments of otherwise jurisdictional waters; and
  • wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters.

The proposed rule is available for public comment, which must be received on or before April 15, 2019, via the federal rulemaking portal (online), e-mail, mail, or hand delivery.

If you have any questions regarding the proposed rule or how it may affect a current or proposed project, please contact Westward’s Ecology Team at (830) 249-8284.

Fireplace Tips

Useful Fireplace Tips

This time of year fireplaces across the area are burning—both for additional heat and ambiance. But did you know there are many variables that you control that can impact both the indoor air quality of your home as well as what blows out your chimney?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best wood to use for your fireplace has been seasoned outside, off the ground and covered, for at least 6 months with a moisture content of 20 percent or lower, and was harvested locally.

The EPA also has the following tips to keep indoor and outdoor air quality safe while using your fireplace:

  • Never start a fire with gasoline, diesel or charcoal starter; use newspaper, dry kindling or natural fire starters;
  • Never burn household trash, including cardboard, plastics, foam, magazines, boxes, and wrapping paper, because they contain chemicals that can be released into your home and the atmosphere (high levels of toxic metals such as barium); and,
  • Fireplaces manufactured after 1992 are much cleaner-burning.

Any smoke that comes from your fireplace is made up of gases and fine particles (PM2.5); the hotter it burns with well-seasoned firewood, the less chance of harmful air pollutants infiltrating your home and outdoor atmosphere.

Curt Campbell PE, Vice President of Engineering & Natural Resources at Westward, is a LEED AP engineer and suggests researching fireplaces when building or retrofitting a home or business, “The U.S. Green Building Council states that fireplaces used for LEED-certified structures must provide doors that close or a solid glass enclosure to minimize gases seeping into occupied space.”

For more useful fire tips, visit https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/best-wood-burning-practices