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As reported by John Marino for Caribbean Business
The six municipalities, which face a total $291,177 in fines, are: Cayey, Hatillo, Las Piedras, Loíza, Río Grande and Toa Alta.
“In order to prevent harmful discharges from their sewer systems, EPA is forcing these six municipalities to comply with federal clean water laws,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “Discharges from small municipal sewer systems can contaminate drinking water and recreational waterways, impairing these valuable resources.”
EPA ordered the municipalities to comply with stormwater requirements for sewer systems earlier this year after they were unable to provide evidence to EPA of compliance following a request in 2007.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, established under the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States. Municipalities are required to apply for NPDES permit coverage in order to operate the sewer systems, EPA officials said. Under this permit, operators are required to develop and implement a stormwater management program to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable to protect water quality. A total of 70 municipalities in Puerto Rico are currently subject to these requirements.
Municipal stormwater discharges are of concern because they often contain high concentrations of pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, oil, litter and sediments, EPA officials said. Stormwater runoff picks up and transports untreated pollutants into waterways. Municipal stormwater discharges can result in the destruction of habitat, fish mortality, and contamination of drinking water supplies and recreational waterways.
The breakdown in fines are: Cayey, $48,920; Hatillo, $48,071; Las Piedras, $47,738; Loíza, $47,409; Río Grande, $49,393; and Toa Alta, $49,646.
NOAA is seeking applicants for a newly created PR Coral Reef Management Fellowship.
The goal of this fellowship assignment is to support the DNER on several tasks pertaining to the PR Coral Reef Program and natural reserves management plans.
The local community of Rincon, with support from the Surfrider Foundation, has been very involved in the process to establish the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve and to develop a Management Plan for the site. As a representative of DNER, the fellow will work with the community to begin implementation of this plan with an emphasis on an outreach and education program with community involvement in related activities.
The fellowship starts January 2010 and will end January 2012.
Applications are due by July 31, 2009.
Details on the fellowship and application process can be downloaded here
en español abajo
Thursday July 30
Municipal Assembly Room – Casa Alcaldía del Municipio de Rincón.
Read the Public Notice
VISTA PUBLICAsobre el Plan de Manejo de la Reserva Marina Tres Palmas de Rincón
The Rincon of the Seas Hotel lobby came alive with 39 colorful aquatic paintings during the student art opening on June 25, 2009. The talented artists, all junior high school and high school students from Rincon, brought their friends and family that evening to enjoy the unique art, appetizers, the “Porta Coeli Jazz” band, and the launching of a coral reef lesson book created with their art.
The bright canvases are hung along the hotel lobby’s walls beautifying it and giving a positive environmental message to the community. All the students in the exhibit had attended two all-day workshops on coral reef lessons, ocean conservation, and painting in March. The ocean-themed paintings they produced during the workshops were weaved into a coral reef lesson book which was handed out at the exhibit to all who attended.
This project sponsored by Surfrider Foundation and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program is the educational component of the ambitious community driven program “Coral Reef Protection through Marine Debris Removal at Reserva Marina Tres Palmas,” where more than 475 tires have been removed in the last 2 years, among other debris.
If you haven’t seen the show it will be up until July 9. You can pick up a copy of the book at the hotel front desk.
Everyone enjoyed the wonderful live jazz provided by “Porta Coeli Jazz” from San German, we thank them. Many thanks to Rincon of the Seas who sponsored the exhibit and the appetizers. Special thanks to Arnaldo Ruiz, Lizandra Ayala, Victor, and front desk staff at the hotel. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this happen, specially the students and their family. Thanks to Leon and Ali Richter for handling the book printing efforts.
If you are a business owner, teacher, or school and want copies of the book (while supplies last) to hand out contact us at 787 823 2784.