EPA Protects New Mexico and Citizens from leaks and releases of hazardous waste
DALLAS – (Aug. 26, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $450,000 to the New Mexico Environment Department as the first funding portion of an annual $900,000 state program continuing grant. The grant helps to fund the state’s Hazardous Waste Program.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program is delegated to New Mexico byEPA. Program activities include permitting, clean ups and public outreach, as well as, inspections, compliance assistance and enforcement. New Mexico matches the grant by 25 percent.
RCRA was enacted by Congress in 1976, and strengthened in 1984 with the passing of the Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments. RCRA bans all open dumping of waste, encourages source reduction and recycling, and promotes the safe disposal of municipal waste. RCRA also mandates strict controls over the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste, the “cradle to grave” approach to hazardous waste management. RCRA helps protect one of our most valuable resources - groundwater. Groundwater supplies half of our nation’s drinking water, is a semi-nonrenewable resource is in limited supply, and is vulnerable to pollution from both legal and illicit disposal of hazardous chemicals.
EPA also relies on the Clean Water Act to protect rivers, lakes, bays, wetlands and coastal waters. Streams and wetlands benefit communities by trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater supplies, removing pollution and providing habitats for fish and wildlife. Families and farms located downstream understand the importance of healthy headwaters upstream. One in three Americans get their drinking water from public systems that rely on seasonal and rain-dependent streams. EPA is taking public comment on a rule to help protect our Nation’s waters. For more information please visit: www.epa.gov/uswaters.