Category Archives: Waste Management

A Community Guide to Environmental Health

Source: Jeff Conant and Pam Fadem, Hesperian Foundation, May 2008

From the press release:
Drawing the connections between people’s health and the environments in which we live, this groundbreaking book empowers health promoters, development workers, educators, activists, community leaders and ordinary people to take charge of their communities’ health.

Years in the making, this comprehensive guide has twenty-three chapters which break down the broad overview of environmental issues and concerns into specific examples of how they affect peoples’ health, and how communities have organized to improve their environment and thus their own lives. These chapters include: Promoting Environmental Health; Environmental Rights and Justice; Protecting Community Water; Building Toilets; Mining and Health; Solid Waste: Turning a Health Risk into a Resource; Preventing and Reducing Harm from Toxics; Sustainable Farming; Restoring Land and Planting Trees, The False Promise of Genetically-Engineered Foods; and Clean Energy.

Eighty-two specific stories from communities around the world enliven the chapters, showing the environmental challenges faced, and what people and grassroots organizations have done to empower themselves and transform their communities. The book also includes 22 activities and 40 easy-to-build “how-to” projects.

Costly Returns: How Corporations Could Profit From Inflating the Already High Cost of Repairing the Nation’s Crumbling Water and Sewer Infrastructure

Source: Food & Water Watch, June 2008

From the press release:
A future favorable to investor owned water utilities will result in higher rates, fewer consumer protections, a limited or non-existent federal safety net for low income communities and large infrastructure investments built to maximize profit, not the interest of the public, according to a Food & Water Watch analysis of investor briefs.

“Corporations have a financial incentive to oppose conservation, protection of drinking water sources and other policies and programs that would save money and help offset the economic burden on communities across the nation,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Wasted water drives up a company’s revenue, which flows from people’s water bills.”

In fact, the investor research firm believes that if “faulty underground infrastructure were to interrupt a major city’s water supply for an extended period,” the public would be less resistant to rate hikes that benefit corporations. The analysis also reveals U.S. states where regulators are especially friendly to private ownership or management of water: Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut, with a nod to California’s recent about face on strong consumer protections and shift toward encouraging privatization of water service.

Although public utilities provide water to about 86 percent of people on community water systems, a private sector push is on to change this. The report, Costly Returns: How Corporations Could Profit From Inflating the Already High Cost of Repairing the Nation’s Crumbling Water and Sewer Infrastructure, analyzed investor briefs by Boenning & Scattergood and reveals that, thanks to some fancy finance and accounting, private utilities tie higher earnings to increased costs.
Executive Summary

Water Infrastructure Needs and Investment: Review and Analysis of Key Issues

Source: Claudia Copeland, Congressional Research Service, January 23, 2008

Policymakers are giving increased attention to issues associated with financing and investing in the nation’s drinking water and wastewater treatment systems, which take in water, treat it, and distribute it to households and other customers, and later collect, treat, and discharge water after use. The renewed attention is due to a combination of factors. These include financial impacts on communities of meeting existing and anticipated regulatory requirements, the need to repair and replace existing infrastructure, and concerns about paying for security-related projects.

This report identifies a number of issues that have received attention in connection with water infrastructure investment. It begins with a review of federal involvement, describes the debate about needs, and then examines key issues, including what is the nature of the problems to be solved; who will pay, and what is the federal role; and questions about mechanisms for delivering federal support, including state-by-state allotment of federal funds. Congressional and Administration activity on these issues from the 107th to the 109th Congresses also is reviewed.