Division of Water sampling results for IRONMAN course show improvement

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 5, 2015) – The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) sampling results from the Ohio River near the IRONMAN triathlon race course taken on Thursday, Oct. 1 show microcystin toxin levels lower than past sampling events.

The test results from around the IRONMAN swim course show harmful algal blooms (HABs) microcystin toxin levels to be below four parts per billion. The threshold for issuing the recreation advisory is 20 parts per billion.

A decision by DOW and the Department for Public Health (DPH) related to lifting the recreation advisory will not be made until consecutive tests below 20 parts per billion for microcystin toxins are obtained, and the agencies determine that the likelihood of the area being affected from upstream sources are not significant. A second test showing results below 20 parts per billion would allow DOW to lift the advisory. More testing is scheduled on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

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Sustainable Spirits initiative helps Kentucky distillers improve environmental awareness

Kentucky’s distilleries and breweries provide Kentucky with some of its signature products. Bourbon, whiskey and other spirits are one of the state’s hallmarks, bringing notoriety, tourism and commerce to the state.

But as businesses and manufacturers, distilleries face environmental challenges and opportunities that are unique, challenging and require innovation and best practices.

The Division of Compliance Assistance, in collaboration with the Kentucky Distillers Association, has created the Sustainable Spirits Initiative to bring members of the industry together to discuss and share their experiences about current environmental issues and aspire to shape future opportunities for this sector.

The Sustainable Spirit project is open to all of Kentucky’s distilleries and breweries. A goal of the initiative is to address how Kentucky’s unique bourbon and beer industries can work together to protect and preserve Kentucky’s natural resources. On a regular basis, distilleries and breweries conduct a broad range of environmentally conscious or pollution prevention activities. Through this venture, all citizens may become aware of the choices these entities are making in order to provide a higher quality product while protecting our environment. Distilleries and breweries are encouraged to address the environmental measures taken at their facilities during educational and outreach activities, including employee meetings and public tours. Many activities are already taking place at Kentucky distilleries.

  • Maker’s Mark has a 684-acre property in which they have established a wetland area, promoted native species establishment, and utilized natural insect population control methods.
  • All corn used by Woodford Reserves is locally sourced which limits transportation costs and reduces air emissions.
  • Jim Beam – Clermont built a LEED-gold certified still house visitor center.
  • Wild Turkey uses a closed loop cooling system that recycles used city water, eliminating the need to draw water from the Kentucky River and return it to the river at elevated temperatures.

These are just some examples of the work the distilleries are doing. For more information on these and other activities, please see the Sustainable Spirits document online at http://dca.ky.gov/DCA%20Resource%20Document%20Library/SusSpiritsDoc2014-MJ.pdf.

The Sustainable Spirits initiative regularly holds summit meetings where its members collaborate and share information about the environmental practices at their respective businesses. Wild Turkey hosted the most recent one, with representatives from five of Kentucky’s distilleries present, including two KY EXCEL members: Heaven Hill and Maker’s Mark. Other distilleries involved in the meeting included Wild Turkey, Brown Forman (Woodford Reserve), and Michter’s. Additionally, a representative from the Kentucky Distillers Association attended, and provided ideas for coordinating involvement of other distilleries and breweries and increasing sustainable practices within the industry.

At the most recent summit, Kim Harmon of Heaven Hill, spoke about the establishment and operation of a successful and profitable recycling program. Heaven Hill uses green promotion techniques such as visual signage, placement of recycling bins, allowing employees to bring recycling from home, and setting recycling goals and awarding employees when goals are met. Harmon also addressed the way they manage glass at their facility. Nearly all distilleries and microbreweries have concerns addressing the abundant glass waste stream produced during their normal operations. There are few glass recyclers in the state and glass can be expensive to transport and dispose of at a landfill on a per ton basis.

The summit had representatives from Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence (DEDI) to speak on a national objective of reducing energy use. Systems such as a combined heat and power can help to increase the capacity of efficient, simultaneous, on-site generation of heat and power and decrease environmental impact, providing energy security, and reduce operating costs. Bill Lunsford discussed areas in which distilleries can use these systems in their process and modify existing systems to increase efficiencies.  Kenya Stump provided information on using solar energy and the optimal use systems and locations in Kentucky. Distilleries could place solar panels on the roof of a barrel house or warehouse and utilize existing spaces or establish ground-mounted solar panels. Both Lunsford and Stump elaborated on the wealth of information available including technical service providers and potential financial assistance opportunities. DEDI is able to work with companies to identify a facility’s opportunities and helpful resources.

Wild Turkey provided lunch and a private tour of the facility. The Sustainable Spirits Summit is an opportunity to speak with other distilleries and breweries to address industry-specific questions and ideas. The network of parties involved in the summit is growing. If your facility is interested in sharing how it addresses environmental excellence, or if it is seeking ways to improve our environment, please contact John Eisiminger with the KY EXCEL program at john.eisiminger@ky.gov or call 800-926-8111. To learn more about the KY EXCEL program and read what other industries are doing please visit us online at http://dca.ky.gov/kyexcel/Pages/default.aspx.

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Division of Water working with IRONMAN to ensure safety of athletes from harmful algal blooms on Ohio River

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 2, 2015) – With several thousand IRONMAN triathletes expected in Louisville on Sunday, Oct. 11 for the annual IRONMAN Louisville triathlon, the Kentucky Division of Water (DOW), the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) and representatives from IRONMAN are working together over the next nine days to assess the safety conditions of the Ohio River on race day after harmful algal blooms (HABs) were confirmed in the Louisville area.

HABs in the Ohio River prompted a recreational advisory that extends from the West Virginia state line to the Cannelton Locks and Dam located in Hancock County, Kentucky. Because the swim portion of the IRONMAN triathlon takes place in the affected area, IRONMAN and DOW will confirm water test results are within safe levels prior to inclusion of the swim.

“We want the swim portion of the race to take place, but only if it’s deemed safe for the athletes as determined through testing and visual confirmation that HABs are at safe levels in the river,” said Eric Atnip, race director for IRONMAN Louisville.

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Posted in Division of Water, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection | Tagged

The Kentucky Division of Air Quality’s 2015 Annual Report

The Kentucky Division for Air Quality (DAQ) is pleased to announce the release of the 2015 annual report, which details the division’s mission, function, and commitment to protecting human health and the environment.

Kentucky’s continued trend of air quality improvement is evident in the charts found in the Technical Services Branch section of this report.  These achievements are only obtained through:

  • developing effective regulations and control strategies by the Program Planning Branch;
  • issuing appropriate permits containing all applicable requirements by the Permit Review Branch; and
  • inspecting sources of air emissions and enforcing emission limitations by the Field Operations Branch.

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Current Job Openings at the Department for Environmental Protection – October 1, 2015

If you are interested in working at the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection.

  • 43753BRPROGRAM COORDINATOR – (10/02/15)
  • 43826BR – ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST IV – (10/05/2015)

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Posted in Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection

Guide for Water Health Portal available online

Tool will help users find water quality reports

If you grew up swimming, fishing or boating in Kentucky’s waterways in the 80’s or 90’s, you knew then it wasn’t very easy to get information about water quality without knowing where to look.

And if you did know where to look, combing through a Water Quality Report to Congress was not a simple task. It was a complex, technical document and not very user friendly.

But the need for gWater Health Guide Picetting information in a more timely fashion, and technology upgrades have made getting data about water quality a simpler, faster process.

The Kentucky Division of Water has released the Kentucky Water Health Portal, an interactive-mapping application that allows the average citizen to quickly check on the health of a stream or lake in their community.

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Kentucky Division of Environmental Program Support 2015 Annual Report Available Online

The Kentucky Division of Environmental Program Support (DEPS) is pleased to announce the release of the annual report for the 2015 state fiscal year. The mission of the division is to support the mission of the Department for Environmental Protection by:

  • Managing all of the administrative functions of the department including budgeting, human resources, facilities, vehicle fleet and information technology;
  • Providing analytical laboratory services; and
  • Managing the Environmental Response Team for response to environmental emergencies.

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Posted in Commissioner's Office, Division of Environmental Program Support, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection | Tagged