Evaluating Cost-Effective Technology Solutions for Industrial Wastewater Discharges
For more than 20 years, ERG’s industrial process experts have supported the development of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) national standards for industrial wastewater discharges, known as effluent limitations guidelines and standards. This work has entailed the evaluation of operations and processes, treatment practices, and pollution prevention opportunities for a wide range of industries. We have conducted hundreds of facility site visits and sampling efforts, performed detailed analyses of facility operations, and held face-to-face discussions with industry representatives. We have also worked with EPA to determine the applicability, costs, and impacts of various technologies on sites within these industries.
Helping Americans Save Water Through “WaterSense”
ERG supports all aspects of WaterSense, an EPA partnership program that makes it easy for Americans to save water and protect the environment by using products with the WaterSense label. ERG provides technical, implementation, and marketing support for the program. ERG’s technical support includes market screening, specification development, certification process support, and product evaluation tool development. ERG also handles partner recruitment, support, and recognition; customer relations management; Web development and support; conformity assessment protocol; tracking, evaluation, and analysis; and strategic planning. In addition, ERG provides brand development, creates outreach materials, and conducts outreach campaigns to raise awareness of WaterSense programs and products.
Conducting a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) Study
Emerging contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and hormones, are increasingly being detected in the environment, and there is concern that wastewater might be a significant source of these pollutants. As part of a comprehensive analysis of POTWs, ERG identified technologies that have been demonstrated to remove emerging contaminants from water or wastewater. ERG developed an easy-to-use database to manage emerging contaminant removal data and is using this database to manage information retrieved from published technical literature. ERG is also conducting engineering site visits, wastewater sampling and analysis, data quality review, and data analysis in support of an EPA study on the occurrence of emerging contaminants in POTW wastewaters. In addition, ERG developed a profile of POTW industry characteristics and treatment capabilities and developed a POTW survey questionnaire and information collection request.
Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Wastewater Discharges from Cruise Ships
In an ongoing effort to assess the environmental impact of large cruise ships, ERG supported three EPA wastewater discharge studies in Alaskan waters. The information collected from the studies will help EPA determine if new wastewater discharge regulations are needed for cruise ships. EPA partnered with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) to conduct three related studies in July 2008 using EPA’s Ocean Survey Vessel, Bold. For some or all of these studies, ERG procured study materials, developed study methodology, conducted onboard cruise vessel visits, and prepared sampling episode reports. The first study was designed to characterize near-field cruise ship discharge plume characteristics in Skagway Harbor, Alaska. The second study assessed whether phytoplankton growth in Skagway Harbor is limited by nutrients. The third study examined nitrogen uptake by primary producers in Skagway Harbor to assess the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic sources of nutrient inputs.