Proactive, Statewide Testing Complete for Possible Surface Water Contaminants

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2021) – The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection has released Phase II of its statewide study of Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which showed a majority of statewide surface water locations were well below the drinking water health advisory level.

PFAS are a set of manmade chemicals that have been used since the 1940s for their ability to resist heat, oil, grease and water and are or have been found in common consumer products like stain repellants, non-stick cookware and food bags. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PFOA and PFOS are the most studied PFAS chemicals and have been voluntarily phased out by industry, though they are still persistent in the environment and in the human body. Other PFAS, including GenX chemicals, used to make some nonstick coatings, are in use throughout our economy.

The EPA is taking action to identify solutions to address PFAS in the environment – including calling for a new “EPA Council on PFAS” to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks caused by these chemicals. The EPA is also working to develop effective regulation and provide improved public health protections for all Americans and Kentuckians.

The EPA does not have a water quality standard for PFAS, but has issued health advisories for surface with PFOA at 70 part per trillion (ppt), is a measurement of the quantity of a substance in the air, water or soil, PFOS at 70 ppt and PFOA plus PFOS at a combined 70 ppt.

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection proactively tested 40 surface water-monitoring stations throughout the state for the chemicals since results may provide valuable insight for public water systems and consumers.

The department’s surface water study’s highlights include:

  • No PFAS were detected in four of the 40 samples, pulled from the Big Sandy River, Licking River and Cumberland River basins;
  • PFAS levels at less than 5 ppt were detected in 30 of the 40 samples;
  • PFAS levels surpassed the combined PFOA and PFOS health advisory level of 70 PPT for finished drinking water in three of the 40 total samples;
  • The highest single detection was PFOS at 249 PPT at Quarles Spring in Christian County.

The department will be following up this preliminary study with additional water and fish tissue sampling at the four locations where combined PFOA and PFOS exceeded the health advisory level.

“I want to thank all those in the DEP who developed and carried out this phase of proactive PFAS testing,” Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman said. “This brings us one step closer to identifying the locations and levels of these chemicals as we continue to work towards a strategy around them that will protect the health and safety of Kentuckians.”

This study is a follow up to a 2019 DEP investigation conducted to evaluate the occurrence of PFAS in Kentucky’s drinking water. That five-month study analyzed finished drinking water — Kentuckians’ likeliest exposure to PFAS — from treatment plants that covered half of Kentucky’s population. The study found that all samples tested were below the U.S. EPA Health Advisory Level.

Results of the most recent testing are attached and can be found here.

####

Governor Beshear Announces October Energy Awareness Month

Energy Efficiency Day Recognized on October 6

FRANKFORT Ky. (Oct. 6, 2021) – In an effort to increase energy awareness and encourage citizens to make a difference by reducing their energy use, Gov. Andy Beshear has proclaimed October as Energy Awareness Month in Kentucky with October 6 designated Energy Efficiency Day.

“Please join me and the Energy and Environment Cabinet in celebrating Energy Awareness Month during October,” said Gov. Beshear in a video. “Year round, our efforts remain focused on improving the quality of life for all citizens by simultaneously creating efficient, sustainable energy solutions and strategies; by protecting the environment; and by creating a base for strong economic growth.”

“One of the best ways to strengthen our future is through education,” said Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman.  “During the month of October, I encourage you to take advantage of the many resources provided by our Energy and Environment Cabinet to learn how you can use energy more wisely and more efficiently.”

With support of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet develops and implements programs that have a significant influence on Kentucky’s energy reliability, affordability and security.  During the month of October, the Cabinet will feature several Kentucky’s energy programs and provide resources for citizens to take a greater role in managing energy use year round.

To promote public understanding of energy needs and offer no-cost or low-cost ways to reduce the amount of energy we consume, the Office of Energy Policy website provides helpful tips and resources to inspire consumers to take proactive steps to save energy.

To learn more about Kentucky’s energy efficiency potential visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s fact sheet. (Kentucky Residential Energy Efficiency Potential (nrel.gov)

Here are a few actions you can take this month:

###

Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season Begins October 1

The severity of Kentucky’s wildfire season depends on its citizens

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2021) – With wildfires raging in the western United States, Kentuckians are reminded that as the state enters its Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season on October 1, their actions can make a big difference in the number and severity of fires in the commonwealth.

Wildfires are more than 99% human-caused in Kentucky. People deliberately setting forests on fire is the number one cause, followed by the burning of fields or debris, according to Brandon Howard, Director of the Division of Forestry. Other causes are sparks from faulty equipment, downed electrical lines, children playing with fire, and escaped campfires.

“The safety of our communities and the protection of our state’s vast forest resources is our top priority,” Howard said. “But for our state to keep fires to a minimum this fall season, every Kentuckian has to be intentional and responsible.”

In an effort to reduce accidental fires, burning restrictions are in place during fall fire season when fallen leaves can quickly spread flames.  Beginning Oct.1 through Dec. 15, it is illegal under state law to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.  Delaying burning until late in the evening when humidity levels are typically higher and winds are generally lower makes it harder for fires to escape. 

Forestry officials say that individual efforts can go a long way in reducing the occurrence of wildfire.  Taking extra precautions with debris fires and campfires and being alert to forest arson can eliminate the majority of wildfires that occur in Kentucky.  To prevent wildfires, KDF recommends the following precautions:

  • Be aware of all outdoor burning restrictions, including forest fire hazard seasons, air pollution regulations, restrictions imposed by local ordinances, and county burn bans.
  • Avoid burning debris during fire hazard seasons and during times of dry, windy conditions. Outdoor burning is illegal between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brush land during forest fire hazard seasons.
  • Completely extinguish all campfires and debris piles, especially if conditions become too windy. Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Extinguish smoking materials properly. Put out cigarettes, cigars, or pipes only in areas free of vegetation or debris.
  • Avoid parking cars, trucks, or recreational vehicles on dry vegetation. The exhaust system on a vehicle can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees, which is hot enough to start a wildfire during a dry season.
  • Incorporate “Firewise” practices around homes and communities in forested areas. Create a defensible space around homes by removing leaves, debris, and firewood to ensure access for safety personnel and equipment in rural or isolated areas. 
  • Report suspicious acts of arson to the nearest Kentucky State Police post or call the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.

“If everyone follows these suggestions, it will help ensure that our firefighters, citizens and properties stay safe and that our forests remain treasured resources for us all,” Howard, said.

For more information about how you can prevent wildfires, contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 1-800-866-0555 or visit the Division’s website at https://eec.ky.gov/Natural-Resources/Forestry

###

#TeamEEC Lends Muscle in Tug Fork Tug-of-War

Buried for decades in a grave of silt, rock and sand in the Tug Fork River, hundreds of illegally dumped tires resurfaced September 20 as volunteers from two states dug and hauled them from the water for recycling.

A dozen members from the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management Field Operations Branch helped local volunteers from Friends of the Tug Fork River, AmeriCorps, West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Williamson Park and Recreation Commission remove about 500 used tires in the eastern Kentucky Appalachian community of South Williamson.

“A lot of these tires are historically from people and businesses dumping in creeks and as we have more flooding and washouts these are surfacing in the river,” said Brian Osterman, manager of the Division of Waste Management Field Operations Branch. “A month ago, nearly 900 were pulled from the river. Last year, about 2,300 were pulled (from the river).”

Osterman said the tires will be recycled into crumb rubber and used in products such as mulch, rubber modified asphalt, and rubber matting for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) playground.

John Burchett, a Friends of the Tug Fork River volunteer, said this is the third year of the group’s efforts to reclaim tires in the Williamson area from the river, which snakes along the West Virginia and Kentucky border.

“In 2019, the West Virginia DEP came and we recovered 2,321 tires in four days’ work. Three weeks ago, we got 819 tires in one day,” said Burchett. “Today, I don’t know what we will get, but we are making a big difference and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet has come, the West Virginia DEP is here…it’s a two-state river and we have both states working together — that’s the important thing.”

Burchett said volunteers are welcome at future cleanup efforts scheduled Sept. 30, Oct. 2 and Oct. 4.

More information can be found at the public Facebook page Friends of the Tug Fork River.

Read a longer account of the day’s environmental cleanup at the cabinet’s webzine: Land, Air& Water.

####

Division of Water to Participate in Source Water Protection Week (Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2021)

Frankfort, KY— (Sept. 20, 2021)– The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) will be joining the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and water utilities across the nation in celebrating Source Water Protection Week, September 26 through October 2.

Throughout the week, partners for water health will be raising awareness about the importance of protecting drinking water sources. The AWWA has provided a wide range of materials you and your organization can use to help promote the importance of protecting source water. Watch for social media posts highlighting state specific tools that can be used to protect water resources.

Ways To Participate in Source Water Protection Week:

Ways To Protect Source Water Every Day:

  • Manage household hazardous waste properly (cleaners, paints, vehicle fluids, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) – Only purchase what you need. Donate unused portions to friends or community organizations. Recycle leftovers when possible. To find recycling/disposal locations visit http://www.earth911.com or call 1-800-CLEANUP.
  • Avoid dumping – Never put anything down the sink, toilet or storm drain as it can end up in drinking water sources. Dispose of cleaners, medicines, oil/grease, etc. properly.
  • Clean up – Pick up after yourself and your pets. Use trash receptacles and recycle whenever possible. Pet waste can enter storm drains and spread bacteria.
  • Use alternative products – Avoid using products that may contain harmful materials such as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); use cast iron or stainless-steel pots and pans instead of non-stick pots and pans.
  • Find your source – Identify your source of water and check where you live and work relative to source water areas. An example tool that can be used to find this information in the U.S. is DWMAPS.
  • Conserve water – Use water efficiently to ease the burden on water sources and save money. Repair leaks, use a rain barrel, install low flow devices to toilets and showers, wash full loads of laundry and dishes, etc. For more steps to save water visit https://www.epa.gov/watersense.
  • Limit use of fertilizers and pesticides – Reduce the amount of materials used on your lawn or consider natural alternatives.
  • Service your septic system – Have a professional inspect your septic system every 3 years and have it pumped every 3-5 years.
  • Participate in volunteer activities – Attend events such as removing invasive plants and replanting natives, stormwater drain stenciling, rain barrel workshops, litter cleanups, etc. Watershed groups are often familiar with upcoming local events.
  • If you see something, say something – Report any spills, illegal dumping, or suspicious activity to authorities.

More information about Source Water Protection is available on AWWA’s resource page and at the Source Water Collaborative Learning Exchange. Also, be sure to follow the Hashtags #SourceWaterProtectionWeek and #ProtectTheSource.

###

Students Called to Explore Kentucky’s Important Water Resources

Annual Jim Claypool Art and Writing Contest launches

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2021) – Kentucky students can learn about the fundamental need for water, how activities and behaviors affect its quality and ways they can make a difference through this year’s Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing contests. 

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, in cooperation with the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation sponsor the annual contest and provide materials that can be used in classrooms or at home to help students learn about the year’s topic. Articles, suggested activities, fun facts and trivia have been provided to help students understand the importance of water conservation, and include the relationship between forests and water quality, an explanation of the water cycle and watersheds, how pollution and nutrients impact aquatic life and more.

“Kentucky is blessed with abundant water sources, and by teaching our kids the importance of protecting our water, we set them up for a safer, healthier future,” said Gov. Beshear.

The art contest, for grades one through five, and writing contest, for grades six through 12, allow students to use the knowledge they have gained about the topic and transform it into creative artwork and written essays. Entries should focus on encouraging action toward good water conservation practices.

“We look forward to participating in this creative effort every year, and we’re honored to be a part of it,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman. “This project encourages students to learn more about the environment and the world around them, and it provides an excellent, in-depth tool for parents and educators.”

The conservation writing and art contests began in 1944 and 1974, respectively. James B. Claypool was the first assistant director of the Division of Conservation and was hired in 1947. He became director in 1960. A Warren County native, Claypool was a graduate of Western Kentucky University and taught vocational-agriculture at Bradfordsville and Greensburg High Schools. As director of the division, he was instrumental in the expansion of conservation education in Kentucky. He died in 1974.

Paulette Akers, director of the Kentucky Division of Conservation said, “The Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing contest provides students a way to learn more about the water cycle and the importance of clean water. It is always wonderful to see how important the topic is to them and the suggestions they make.”

Schools and home school students should choose their winning entries and submit those to the local conservation district by Dec. 1. The county will then narrow the entries and send finalists to the cabinet for state judging.

Students can earn monetary prizes at the school, county, regional and state levels. County winners will receive $25 from the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation. Area winners receive $50. State first, second and third place winners receive $250, $150 and $50 respectively. Many local conservation districts and other sponsors also provide prizes. 

For more information about the contest, please visit your local conservation district office or http://bit.ly/ClaypoolArtWritingContest.

###

Kentucky Part of Regional Electric Vehicle Information Exchange

Kentucky’s Office of Energy Policy is participating in a regional collaboration with other states to launch an interactive map focused on electric vehicle infrastructure. A supporting webinar is provided September 13 to learn more. Find details below and register for the webinar. Additional questions can be directed to Kenya Stump, executive director, Office of Energy Policy, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Southeast States Launch Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Planning and Deployment Tool

 September 7, 2021 By Cassie PowersTechnology InnovationTransportationElectricityEquitySource: Clean Cities Georgia, NREL 43005

States and territories participating in the Southeast Regional Electric Vehicle Information Exchange (SE REVI) have launched a multi-state electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure map to enable coordination across the region on EV infrastructure investments. The interactive map utilizes various data, including locations of current and planned Level 2 and DC fast chargers, state and national parks, Federal Highway Administration-designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, hurricane evacuation routes, social equity data, and electric service provider territories. Developed with input from each SE REVI participant, the map can be used to inform EV infrastructure investment decisions and to conduct education and outreach on EV infrastructure gaps and opportunities along priority corridors.

SE REVI will host a webinar on September 13 at 2 p.m. ET to review key features of the map and share information about the collaboration. You can register for the event by clicking here.

About SE REVI

SE REVI is a collaboration of State and Territory Energy Offices from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Virgin Islands focused on sharing information and best practices and collaborating on EV infrastructure planning, policy development, and program implementation.

###

Drinking Water and Clean Water Advisory Councils to Meet Sept. 8

Video conference will start at 10 a.m.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 26, 2021) – The Drinking Water and Clean Water Advisory Councils will meet via GoToMeeting on Sept. 8, 2021 at 10 a.m. EDT. 

Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/837577053. You can also dial in using your phone. (For supported devices, tap a one-touch number below to join instantly.)
United States: +1 (224) 501-3412 – One-touch: tel:+12245013412,,837577053#
Access Code: 837-577-053
New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/837577053

Tentative Agenda (subject to change):

Welcome and opening remarks – Carey Johnson, director, Division of Water
• Review of June 2021 meeting minutes
• Per- and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS)
• Waters of the United States (WOTUS)
• Lead & Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR)
• Infrastructure
• 2021 Triennial Review

Division of Water and Division of Compliance Assistance updates
• Sarah Gaddis, ESC, Director’s Office
• Jory Becker, manager, Water Infrastructure Branch
• Constance Coy, manager, Field Operations Branch
• Jason Hurt, manager, Surface Water Permits Branch
• Alicia Jacobs, manager, Drinking Water Branch
• Jessica Wilhoite, Division of Compliance Assistance

Subcommittee status and reports – Carey Johnson, director, Division of Water
• Lead in drinking water
• Infrastructure sustainability
• Source water protection
• Operator recruitment & development

Open discussion – facilitated by Carey Johnson

Upcoming Meetings:

December 14, 2021

2022 meetings dates:  March 8, June 14, September 13, and December 13.

Adjourn

###

Kentucky Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee to Meet Aug. 31

Videoconference begins at 9 a.m. EDT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 25, 2021) – The Kentucky Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee will meet by videoconference on Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. EDT.

Anyone who wants to attend the virtual zoom meeting can follow this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89401268668?pwd=bGQyOWZ0aUdZQk1DNExhNDdBdFdOUT09. Password: 567593

  1. Call to order and roll call
  2. Forest stewardship modernization
  3. Forest action plan
  4. Forest stewardship program update
  5. Forest legacy program change
  6. Wrap up/discussion
  7. Adjournment

###

Division of Waste Management Seeks Applications for Illegal Open Dump Cleanup, Litter Abatement Grants

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2021) – The Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Division of Waste Management (DWM) is calling for grant applications for two of its signature programs, illegal dump cleanup and the cleanup of litter along public roads.

“These two grant programs have successfully helped cities and counties across the state keep roadsides litter free and eliminate illegal open dumps,” said EEC Secretary Rebecca Goodman. “Since 2006, the Illegal Open Dump Grant has funded the cleanup of 2,330 dump sites and the Litter Abatement Grant has assisted every county in maintaining the natural beauty of their roadways.”

Litter cleanup grant awards are awarded based on a formula that considers road miles, total population and rural population in each county. For dump cleanup grants, counties request specific amounts based on estimated dump costs.

Cleanup of Illegal Dumps

Counties that are in compliance with their five-year solid waste management plans can now apply for funds to clean up illegal open dumps. In the event that sufficient funds are not available to award every request, grant awards may be prioritized on several factors, including location of the dump relative to sensitive receptors or protected areas, the relative hazard posed by the contents of the dumps and the size of the dump.

Applications must be received by Lisa Evans at the Division of Waste Management no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1. 2021. The completed, signed original agreement with any supporting documentation must be submitted in order for the request to be considered complete.

Funding comes from the Kentucky Pride Fund, which is supported by a $1.75 per ton fee on municipal solid waste disposal in Kentucky’s contained landfills.

Each grant requires a 25 percent local match. Grant application packets are being sent by email to county judge-executives and solid waste coordinators. For more information, contact Lisa Evans by calling 502-782-6355 or emailing lisa.evans@ky.gov.

Litter Abatement

Grant requests for litter cleanup will be accepted from counties in compliance with their five-year solid waste management plans and from incorporated cities, which by solid waste ordinance or other means, provide municipal solid waste collection service. 

In February, Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Energy and Environment (EEC) Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced approximately $587,000 in grants to clean up 72 illegal dumps in 18 counties across the commonwealth. In December 2020, $5.2 million was awarded to Kentucky counties in Litter Abatement Grants.

The Litter Abatement Grant program is supported by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Road Fund and Highway Construction Contingency Fund. Since 2003, state and local governments have cleaned more than three million miles of roadways with help from these grants.

Grant requests must be received by Lisa Evans at the Division of Waste Management no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. The completed, signed original agreement with any supporting documentation must be submitted in order for the request to be considered complete.

Grant request packets are being sent by email to county judge-executives, mayors and solid waste coordinators. For more information, contact Lisa Evans at 502-782-6355 or by email at lisa.evans@ky.gov.

###