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EPA Public Engagement Highlights for the Week of February 29, 2016

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EPA Funds Small Businesses to Develop Environmental Technologies

SBIR-STTR.  America's Seed FundAre you an entrepreneur with an idea for green technology? EPA’s SBIR Program may help advance your innovation.EPA recently announced eight contracts to small businesses to develop innovative technologies to protect the environment, funded through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. These phase II contracts provide the companies $300,000 to further develop and commercialize their products and ideas.

Each year, EPA funds many environmentally-minded small businesses to assist them in bringing their innovative technologies to market. This year’s business are developing technologies such as a filtration device to control emerging contaminants in drinking water supplies and a system to produce biofuel from grease trap waste.

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Online Mapping Tool Helps Protect Drinking Water Sources

Welcome page of DWMAPS includes prompts to guide users through queries about their drinking water sources.DWMAPS lets you know if your drinking water source is polluted.EPA recently released the Drinking Water Mapping Application to Protect Source Waters (DWMAPS). This robust, online mapping tool provides critical information on the sources of America’s drinking water. The maps assist water system operators, state programs, federal agencies and citizens with better information to safeguard our critical water resources.

Specifically, DWMAPS allows users to learn about their watershed and see if sources of their drinking water are polluted. DWMAPS empowers users with ways to help protect drinking water sources in their community.

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International Efforts to Combat Algal Blooms in Lake Erie

algal bloom in lake eerieThe 2015 algal bloom in Lake Erie was the largest one this century.Canada and the U.S. recently announced they have adopted targets to reduce phosphorus entering affected areas of Lake Erie by 40 percent. These targets will minimize the extent of low oxygen “dead zones” in the central basin of Lake Erie; maintain algae growth at a level consistent with healthy aquatic ecosystems; and maintain algae biomass at levels that do not produce toxins that pose a threat to human or ecosystem health.

Algae occur naturally in freshwater systems and are essential to the aquatic food web and healthy ecosystems. However, too much algae, linked to high amounts of phosphorus, can lead to conditions that can harm human health and the environment. Since the 1990s, Lake Erie has seen an increase in algal growth that has compromised water quality and threatens the Lake Erie region’s recreation-intensive economy.

Learn what you can do to reduce nutrient pollution and help prevent algal blooms.

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$26 Million Available to Clean Up Diesel Engines

Truck in a neighborhoodThe Clean Diesel Program is designed to reduce air pollutants that negatively impact our health.EPA recently announced the availability of $26 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from the existing fleet of diesel engines in the U.S.

Diesel-powered engines move approximately 90 percent of the nation’s freight tonnage. Today, nearly all highway freight trucks, locomotives, and commercial marine vessels are powered by diesel engines. EPA is soliciting proposals for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure, especially from fleets operating in areas designated as having poor air quality.

Proposals are due April 26, 2016.

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