News from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

DEP Calendar of Events

Nov. 19
Environmental Quality Board meeting, 9 a.m., Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.

Nov. 19
Citizens Advisory Council meeting, 11 a.m., Room 105, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg.

Nov. 26
Keystone Energy Education Program Workshop, 8:30 a.m., Allegheny Intermediate Unit, 3475 East Waterfront Dr., Homestead.

Dec. 2
Southeast Regional Roundtable meeting, 10-11:30 a.m., Delaware and Schuylkill Conference Rooms, DEP Southeast Regional Office, 2 E. Main St., Norristown.

Dec. 3
Storage Tank Advisory Committee meeting, 10 a.m., Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.

Dec. 3
Bridge Road HSCA public hearing, 7 p.m., Skippack Township Building, 4089 Heckler Rd., Skippack, Montgomery Co.

Dec. 4
Public Hearing for the Revisions to the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Ozone Maintenance Plan, 1-2 p.m., Susquehanna Room A, DEP Northeast Regional Office, 2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre.

Dec. 9-11
Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference, Radisson Valley Forge, King of Prussia.

Dec. 10
State Board for Certification of Water and Wastewater System Operators meeting, 10 a.m., Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.

Dec. 11
Coal and Clay Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund Board meeting, 10 a.m., Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.

Dec. 12
Radiation Protection Advisory Committee meeting, 9 a.m., 14th Floor Conference Room, Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.

Dec. 12
Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee meeting, 9:15 a.m., Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.

Dec. 16
South-central Regional Roundtable meeting, 10 a.m.-noon, Susquehanna Confererence Room A, South-central Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg.

Dec. 16
Public meeting/hearing on the Cleveland Pork Farm NPDES/CAFO permit application submitted by Joel Knoebel, 6:30 p.m., Elysburg Fire Co. #1, 1 East Mill St., Elysburg, Columbia County.

Dec. 17
Environmental Quality Board meeting, 9 a.m., Room 105, Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.

Upcoming Webinars

Nov. 15
Public Participation Center Overview, 9:30 a.m. Click here to register.

Nov. 20
Act 13 Natural Gas Vehicle Grants Round 2 webinar,  2-3 p.m. Click here to register.

Public Input

Nov. 18
Comment Deadline for DEP's Proposed Fine Particulate Nonattainment Area Designation Recommendations

Nov. 20
Comment deadline for DEP's Draft Assessment and Listing Methodologies

Nov. 25
Comment deadline on the draft Policy for the Consideration of Community Environmental Projects (CEP) in Conjunction with Assessment of Civil Penalty

Dec. 2
Comment deadline on the Draft NPDES General Permit for Wet Weather Overflow Discharges from Combined Sewer Systems

Speakers' Bureau

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DEP Opens Second Round of Act 13 NGV Grants

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SCRANTON -- The Corbett Administration recently opened the second round of Act 13 Natural Gas Vehicle grants providing an estimated $11 million to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas fleet vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds. The Act 13 Natural Gas Vehicle grants are financed by impact fees paid by natural gas operators.

The announcement was made at Scranton’s Johnson College, a leader in natural gas job training, where DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo also announced the award of more than $3 million in Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIG) to 33 companies, counties and organizations making the switch to compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), or propane for medium to light-weight fleet vehicles.

Fifty percent of Act 13 Natural Gas Vehicle grant funding is allocated exclusively for local transportation organizations, including non-profit agencies providing public transportation services and public transportation, port and redevelopment authorities, as well as school bus projects.

Others eligible to apply include incorporated non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, state-owned or state-related universities, commonwealth or municipal authorities, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Grant requests can be no more than 50 percent of the incremental purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle, with a maximum of $25,000 per vehicle. Applications are due by 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, and will be awarded in the spring.

Applicants are encouraged to participate in a related webinar, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 2 to 3 p.m.To register for the webinar, or learn more about the Act 13 and AFIG grant programs, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and  click on the “Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program” button. 

Homeowners, Small Businesses Urged to Take Advantage of Solar Rebates

HARRISBURG -- Residents and small businesses are to act now to take advantage of the remaining $1 million in rebates available through the agency’s Sunshine Solar Program, ending Dec. 31 or when funds are exhausted.

The $1 million in remaining funds will be disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Homeowners are eligible for rebates of up to $7,500 for solar electric projects; and small businesses of 100 or fewer employees are eligible to receive up to $52,500.
 
Homeowners are eligible for rebates of up to $5,000 for solar hot water projects, while small businesses are eligible to receive up to $50,000.

As required under the Alternative Energy Investment Act, eligible applicants must select and work with a DEP-approved installer.  The installer applies for the rebate on behalf of the homeowner or business once the project is completed.  A list of approved installers is available on DEP’s website, www.dep.state.pa.us; keyword: Sunshine.

The balance of remaining funds will be updated weekly on the Sunshine Solar webpage.

Completion of Mine Subsidence Work Underscores Importance of Insurance

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MONESSEN – DEP has completed two mine subsidence projects on two neighboring homes that had suffered severe structural damage in late summer. It happened when the roof of a mine last worked in 1905 collapsed underneath the houses.  Separate inspections in early September confirmed the damage. Because of serious health and safety concerns, a stabilization plan was quickly drawn up and put out for bid.  The low bidder was Armstrong Drilling of Murrysville.

Work to stabilize the properties began within three days after the drilling company was notified to proceed.   A total of 18 boreholes were drilled.  The contractor then pumped a liquid mixture of sand and concrete into the holes, filling the mine cavity.  Work on both projects was completed within two weeks and under budget.

Unfortunately, neither building was insured against mine subsidence.  Since 1960, DEP has provided low cost mine subsidence insurance to property owners in Pennsylvania.  At about $57 for each $100,000 dollars of insurance, the program represents affordable peace-of-mind for building owners.  Currently, about 60,000 mine subsidence insurance policies are in effect, but DEP estimates that more than a million structures in the state are built over abandoned mines.

For more information, visit DEP’s mine subsidence insurance program website.

Opening of New Exhibit Marks America Recycles Day at State Museum

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DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo, right, with Pa. Recycling Markets Center Ex. Director Bob Bylone.

HARRISBURG -- DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo joined officials from the Recycling Markets Center, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association in cutting the ribbon on a new exhibit, Recycling Works! – America Recycles Day, unveiled today at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

Today, in celebration of America Recycles Day, the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (RMC) proudly unveiled their exhibit, Recycling Works! – America Recycles Day, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Also taking part was Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association (PWIA).

The Recycling Works! exhibit displays Pennsylvania-manufactured recycled-content products; provides the history of recycled content product manufacturing and grassroots recycling in Pennsylvania; and showcases the advancements in recycling technology, including single stream recycling.

The exhibit will be on display in Harrisburg through early January 2014 and is included with a paid admission to the State Museum. It is anticipated that the exhibit will make stops at additional museums across the state during 2014.

For more information about the museum, visit www.statemuseumpa.org.

DEP to Conduct Webinar on New Public Participation Center Website

HARRISBURG -- DEP will conduct a webinar on the department’s new online Public Participation Center from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 15.  Staff from DEP’s Office of External Affairs and Policy Office will show users where to find important documents and tools to stay up-to-date on department events and important regulatory proposals.

Registration is required and is available here.

The new website is part of DEP’s enhanced public participation and education initiative aimed at improving its outreach to the public to more actively engage citizens and the regulated community in the development of policies and regulations.

DEP’s Radon Chief Receives National Award

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DEP's Bob Lewis receives his certificate from Acting Sec. Abruzzo.

HARRISBURG -- Robert Lewis, chief of DEP’s Division of Radon, recently received the national Radon Hero Award from the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD). 

“For his accomplishment in radon risk reduction, his unwavering commitment demonstrated by his years of sustained exemplary leadership, and his consistently helpful, supportive guidance for state radon programs, Bob Lewis is recognized as our 2013 Radon Hero,” the organization stated in presenting the award.

CRCPD is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to addressing and resolving radiation protection issues.  The organization highlighted Lewis’ work in developing indoor air radon concentration action levels, testing protocols, proficient standards, and actual methods to mitigate homes.   Lewis has worked to develop some of the first Pennsylvania state laws, certification regulations and guidance to ensure the laboratories, testers and mitigators were performing to acceptable standards.

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17105