TCEQ Trade Fair and Conference: Wrap-Up

TCEQ Conference

 

 

 

 

This week marked the annual TCEQ Environmental Trade Fair and Conference, held here in our own Austin, Texas. Conference attendees worked toward renewed certifications and learned about specifics of the environmental industry. Although many of the classes present similar material year to year, we heard about several sessions that stood out to our colleagues as being very helpful.

Additionally, the TCEQ conference is a great opportunity for networking and establishing personal connections with some of the people we work with most often. My coworkers and I took turns stepping away from the office to spend time in the main exhibition hall, chatting with clients and industry professionals. It was great to see familiar and new faces alike and continue to learn about how business is going across the state. As one would hope, the first day of the conference is followed by several networking happy hours and evening events, allowing out-of-towners to explore Austin and have some fun.

We hope everyone who came into town enjoyed the conference as much as we did!

environmental dataMeghan Juedeman
mjuedeman@banksinfo.com

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TCEQ Trade Fair and Conference

We will be at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Trade Fair and Conference this year. Please stop by booth #303 and say hello!

environmental data expertCarissa Ries
carissar@banksinfo.com

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Dillo Dirt™ at Hornsby Bend

dillodirtOne of my favorite school field trips was to the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant in Austin, Texas. I found the processes of turning sludge and wastewater into useful products fascinating. For instance: Dillo Dirt™.

Dillo Dirt™ is a unique Texas product created in 1989 and recognized with a first-place award by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Biosolids Recycing. It was the first program in the state of Texas and one of the oldest in the nation.
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Flying drones down to the farm

www.precisiondrone.comIn the United States, roughly 40% of the land, or 915 million acres, is dedicated to farming. That land provides an estimated 32% of the corn, 50% of the soybeans, and 30% of the cotton for the planet, according to reports from the EPA and USDA. The progression towards more efficient, accurate farming practices will benefit not only our domestic economy, but the supply of crops globally. Continue reading

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Deepwater Horizon oil spill: 5 years later

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The benefits of solar power

Fossil fuels emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. According to the EPA, the main human activity that emits CO2 is the combustion of oil, coal, and natural gases for energy and transportation. Alternative energy sources such as solar power do not produce CO2 emissions. Solar thermal uses the sun to provide heat, and in turn inverts that heat into chemical fuels or electricity that can be transported and used elsewhere.
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Texas House Bill 40 would ban local fracking bans

The Texas Legislature introduced House Bill 40 this week. The House Committee on Energy Resources voted 10-1 to approve the legislation for consideration by the full House. HB40 is among a number of bills filed after Denton residents voted a city-wide ban on fracking into effect last November. This bill seeks to “explicitly confirm the authority for regulation of oil and gas activities within the state”, and thereby preempts any municipality from superseding state law and oil and gas regulation by the Railroad Commission (RRC). Continue reading

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Homes made from recycled plastic bottles

The shortage of low-cost homes and growing number of homeless people is a global challenge. Many charities and organizations, such as Eco-Tec, are finding alternative ways to save money as well as build sustainable homes out of recyclable plastic bottles. Continue reading

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First federal fracking regulations in 30 years

US Department of the Interior

US Department of the Interior

The regulation of hydraulic fracturing has recently been seen as a local and state government issue. After more than 30 years however, the Obama administration has unveiled the nation’s first major federal regulations. According to the Interior Department, the new laws only apply to federal lands and will affect around 100,000 wells. Continue reading

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EnviroMentor program helps Boy Scout ranch meet regulations

TX EnvironMentor BoyScouts

Thanks to the TCEQ EnviroMentor program, Central Texas Boy Scouts will soon be able to safely hydrate using water from a water well on site.

Government regulations have a reputation for being difficult to understand and comply with. Luckily, the TCEQ has an answer for this issue in Texas. The EnviroMentor program aids small businesses, non-profits, and local governments in meeting state environmental regulations. The program is supported by many environmental specialist volunteers. One important aspect of the program is that the assistance is provided confidentially and therefore without the threat of compliance enforcement. Recently, volunteers and environmental professionals Therese Baer, P.E. and Rosemary Wyman, P.G. were able to help a Boy Scout ranch and day camp facility near Liberty Hill, Texas come into compliance. Continue reading

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Supreme Court ruling over Republican River a victory and a loss

This past week the Supreme Court made a decision on the decades long debate over the Republican River mandating that Nebraska pay Kansas $5.5 million in damages for violating the terms of the Republican River Compact. Both states claim this ruling as a win, but did both really come out equitably? Continue reading

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Google Earth Pro is now free

Google Earth is a useful tool that allows you to explore any location in the world. You can view different imagery layers and even overlay a few historical aerials. The search features allow you to zoom anywhere in the world and view places in 3D or street view. Google Earth is a handy way to share site information too, our clients often send us site maps created by Google Earth. Or you can map a portfolio of sites and save as a KMZ file which can be shared easily. Continue reading

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Managing lake levels in Texas

Central Texas has been enduring a drought for many years. However, according to the Texas Water Development Board, drought conditions are the best they have been since November 2010. Which is good news: with the rapidly growing population of the city, water resources are becoming increasingly important.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) board recently approved a $214.9 million reservoir project 60 miles southwest of Houston. The project is designed keep Austin hydrated and thriving, while capturing additional rainfall. The regions is currently in La Nina weather pattern, in which northern and eastern states receive above-average rainfall and powerful hurricanes, but the average level of rain in the southern and southwestern states diminishes.

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Pennsylvania to form Geospatial Coordinating Board

Last November, the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a bill to establish the Geospatial Coordinating Board. This board will consolidate maps and data from all levels of government to create a central repository for geospatial information.
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Interactive Population Map Tool: USA

Austin, TX has an influx of visitors every fall for the ACL music festival. Some of these visitors just might become permanent residents in the next 15 years!

Austin, TX has an influx of visitors every year for the ACL music festival. Some of these visitors just might become permanent residents in the next 15 years!

At Banks Environmental Data, we have an appreciation for seeing data clearly and effectively presented in map form. We recently came across this really neat interactive population and demographics mapping tool for the United States, and thought it was worth sharing with our readers. According to this data, our hometown of Austin, Texas is expected to grow in population by over 50% in the next 15 years – OUCH!

We hope you’ll have fun checking out your hometown or browsing details about that city you’ve been dying to visit. Click the link below to find out more. Enjoy!

Mapping America’s Futures

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