United States
October 1993
Region 3, Office of External Affairs



       Printed with Soy/Canola Ink on paper that
       contains at least 50% recycled fiber

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  1 f you are reading this booklet you are among a
  growing number of people becoming involved in
  the world around you.  Learning about the
  environment is an important first step to realizing
  that everyone has some responsibility to protect it.
  When you consider that natural resources can never
  be replaced, that they merely change form or are
  used up, the actions of each individual to save and
  protect them become vital.

  Since 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency
  (EPA) has been working to protect the nation's
 natural resources. We do not work alone.  EPA has
 partnerships with state and local governments,
 other federal agencies, environmental groups,
 businesses and industries, and growing legions of
 concerned citizens.  Together, we have recorded
 remarkable success in reducing many of the
 hazards that have threatened the air, water and
 land. Still, the problems change and persist,
 requiring innovative and effective solutions.

 As you read this booklet, you will become familiar
 with  some of the problems we face and our actions
 to address them. We hope this will be a start for
 you. To assist you in finding answers to some of
 your more specific questions, we have included a
 glossary of topics and phone numbers in the back
 of the book.

We welcome you to join us in the exciting and
important challenges ahead! We're certain that you
will agree that protecting the environment and
preserving the future is everyone's job.

             Is mi % new  Mm
The United States has a long history of protecting
the environment. In the late 1800s the federal
government passed laws to create national parks
and to conserve natural resources. Cities began to
pass laws regulating air emissions. But
industrialization and a growing population have
strained and polluted the nation's resources to the
point where more drastic measures were needed.

EPA was established in 1970, "The Year of the
Environment." In that year Congress enacted the
National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean
Air Act.  In 1972, the Clean Water Act was passed.
These laws gave EPA the authority to set standards
for clean air and water and to regulate polluting
emissions and discharges to them. Since that time,
Congress has passed more than a dozen laws to
protect the natural and living resources and the
 public's welfare. The list on the next page shows
 the diversity of some of those laws.

 In addition to federal laws, states enact their own
 environmental laws. They have environmental
 agencies responsible for ensuring compliance with
 both the state and federal laws.  State agencies
 work in partnership with EPA and have been
 delegated responsibility for many federal
 programs. States are required to design plans for
 implementing how federal air quality standards
 will be achieved. They issue permits regulating air
 emissions, water discharges, and waste disposal.
 States participate in Superfund cleanups of
 hazardous wastes, and they, like EPA, assess
 penalties against those who fail to comply with the

 Federal Environmental Laws

 H  Clean Air Act

 &  Clean Water Act

 H  Oil Pollution Act

 @  Safe Drinking Water Act

 H  Pollution Prevention Act

 H  Comprehensive Environmental Response,
    Compensation and Liability Act, or Superfund

 @  Emergency Planning and Community
    Right-to-Know Act

H Endangered Species Act

H National Environmental Education Act

U Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and
   Rodenticide Act

H Marine Protection, Research and
   Sanctuaries Act

> National Environmental Policy Act

 Asbestos In Schools Hazard Abatement Act

J, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

8> Toxic Substances Control Act

                  J\Jr Pollution is one
                   the greatest risks to
                   human health and the
Lung diseases, cancer, birth defects, brain and
nerve damage are just a few of the health problems
associated with air pollution. Acid rain makes our
lakes and streams unlivable for aquatic life. Air
pollution damages property, crops and vegetation.
Air pollutants have thinned the protective ozone
layer in the stratosphere high above the earth's
surface exposing us to the sun's harmful rays.

Since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, we
have made impressive strides to improve air
quality. Our air is substantially cleaner because of
pollution controls on industrial smokestacks. We
"got the lead out" of our air by requiring emission
control equipment on new cars and by phasing out
lead in our gasoline.

In 1990, Congress amended the Clean Air Act. The
amendments provide more stringent requirements
to improve air quality, reduce acid rain, and prevent
further destruction of the upper ozone layer. These
requirements will affect individuals as well as
 businesses. If you live in an area that has failed to
 meet EPA standards for acceptable air quality, you
 may have to change the way you travel, work or do

 The air inside our homes and offices is another area
 for  concern. A growing body of scientific evidence
 indicates that indoor air can be more seriously
 polluted than the air outside. Radon, asbestos,
 lead-based paint, tobacco smoke, and solvent are a
 few of the causes of indoor air pollution. Radon,
 alone, has been estimated to cause thousands of
 preventable lung cancer deaths every year. In EPA
 Region 3, parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania have

 large concentrations of naturally occurring radon.
 Lead-based paint is likely to be in homes built
 before 1978. Lead poisoning of children is
 considered the country's most serious, and yet most
 preventable childhood environmental threat.
 Since you spend about 90 percent of your time
 indoors, you should become informed about, and
 take actions that will reduce the risks of indoor air

 What You Can Do To Reduce
 Air Pollution

 H Properly maintain your car.

 H Be energy efficient - turn thermostats down,
    use energy efficient light bulbs.

 H Use mass transit or carpool to work.

 @ Keep air conditioners and refrigerators in good jrunninp
    order (CFCs in them  can leak out and damage the
    ozone layer).

 H  Check your house for radon and other pollutants.

 H  Discourage smoking indoors.

 II  Reduce use of pesticides.

H  Get a professional to assess the risk associated
   with lead-based paint.

@ Ensure proper ventilation in your home.        '
               Get Invo

Everyone needs clean water to survive.  That's why
we all must work to prevent it from becoming
polluted. Water becomes polluted when wastes are
poured into it. Air pollutants contaminate the
water's surface. Water below the Earth's surface
can be fouled when wastes in landfills and toxics
from underground storage tanks leach through the
soil. Rains wash pollutants from our landscapes
and streets into storm drains that lead to our creeks,
streams and rivers.

The amount of water available to use depends on
the quality of the water. EPA and state and local
governments are making progress in maintaining
the quality of the nation's waters.

 Special permits that limit polluting discharges, and
 facilities that clean our wastewater have already
 reduced pollution. We are also taking actions to:

 reduce lead, pesticides and microbiological
 contaminants in drinking water;

 reduce ocean dumping of industrial wastes and
 sewage sludge;

 reduce agricultural chemicals in ground water;

 discover new technologies to clean up water
 pollution problems.

 There is still more that must be done to save the

I Here Are Some Things You Can Do

  6*  Avoid dumping wastes into the water.

  U  Limit use of pesticides.

    Recycle the waste oil from your car.

    Plant and landscape your yard (to minimize

     rainwater runoff and soil erosion).

  |  Divert rain from paved surfaces onto grasses.

  | Properly dispose of litter and animal wastes.

  I Dispose of solvents, paints, and pesticides

    according to their labels.

  I Organize a stream cleanup and

    monitoring project.

                      ert faucet will waste 5
                                    "  ~;

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The country is plagued by the exploding volume
of trash, the escalating costs to dispose of waste,
and the harmful effects of hazardous wastes.
Managing waste is an important link in the
environmental protection chain.

Americans dispose of over 1,500 pounds of trash
each year.  Lined up end to end, garbage trucks
filled with that amount of trash would circle the
earth seven times! But while trash output is
increasing, communities are running out of space
for it all as landfills close.

Hazardous wastes (such as heavy metals, asbestos,
 and toxic chemicals) pose special problems. They
 can endanger public health and welfare and the
 environment. Their cleanup is often difficult and
 very costly. Under the Resource Conservation and
 Recovery Act, EPA and states regulate the proper
 handling, storage and disposal of hazardous
 wastes. The Comprehensive Environmental
 Response, Compensation and  Liability Act
 authorizes EPA to clean up hazardous wastes that
 seriously threaten the health of the environment
 and the public welfare-

 Hazardous wastes are not only generated by
  businesses and industries. There are many
  hazards in our own homes (like  lead in paint and
  batteries  and solvents in household cleaners)
  which must be disposed of properly.
  Everyone must all start a process to reduce, reuse
  and recycle wastes.

  Make a commitment today!

Ways You Can Reduce Waste

 H Compost yard and food wastes.

 ft Recycle bottles, cans and paper products.

  Buy recycled products.

 H Buy products with less packaging.

  Pick up all litter.

 @ Dispose of household hazardous
    wastes in the proper manner.

  Use nonhazardous substitutes for
    household cleaning.

Some need, our extra care and attention. The
Oiesapeake Bay, the southern Appalachian
Mountains, the Delaware Estuary and thousands of
miles ofioetlands are some of the treasures of this
region's natural environment which are threatened by
pollution and destruction. Solutions to the problems
facing them are being addressed through partnerships
of government, organizations and people who are
working together to solve them.

Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than
13 million people who live on the dozens of rivers
and thousands of creeks - people who enjoy the
beauty and bounty of the bay's 64,000 square mile
drainage basin.  The bay provides us with food and
recreation, cools our power plants, and fuels our
economy. But the bay, the largest and most
productive estuary in the United States, is in danger.
Growing commercial, industrial, recreational, and
urban activities throughout the bay's watershed are
putting substantial pressure on its fragile ecology.

The states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia,
 the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay
 Commission, EPA and citizens advisory groups have
 formally joined together to restore the bay. They are
 working on ambitious strategies and initiatives to
 address problems of industrial pollution, agricultural
 runoff, and fisheries management.

 Southern Appalachian Mountains
 Air pollution is threatening the resources of the entire
 southern Appalachian chain, from Georgia to
 Virginia. The pollution often falls as acid rain, which
 pollutes streams and damages trees and plants. Air
 pollution from power plants and factories has
 reduced visibility in the Shenandoah National Park

 and other pristine wilderness areas.
 EPA, other federal agencies, and eight states
 (including Virginia and West Virginia) have formed
 the Southern Appalachian Mountain Initiative. They
 are cooperating to remedy existing air pollution and
 to prevent future adverse effects of air pollution
 throughout the region.

 Delaware Estuary
 Running 135 miles through Delaware, Pennsylvania
 and New Jersey, the Delaware Estuary is a major
 transportation channel, a source of fish and shellfish,
 a playground, a home to industry, a place to live,, and
 a source of water. This unique area, where fresh
 water drained from the land mixes with salt water
 from the ocean, is one of the most biologically
 productive places on earth.

 EPA and the states recognize the need to enhance and
 preserve this valuable resource. Together they are
 working to improve water quality and enhance the
 living resources.

 Often called "natural wonderlands," wetlands
 support more wildlife and plants than any other
 habitat. They perform many other functions that
 benefit the environment. They reduce flooding,
 improve water quality, filter pollutants, and provide
 erosion control. Wetlands also offer recreational
 activities and aesthetic beauty. But they are being
destroyed at a rate of 300,000 acres each year to make
way for new highways and other developments.

Because of the importance of wetlands, EPA and
other federal agencies jointly administer a program to
protect wetlands. You can help, too. Learn about
wetlands and support their conservation and

The costs of waste disposal and pollution
cleanup are consuming profits and taxing local
governments. Natural resources are being
used up, eroded and threatened with
extinction.  Although sources of pollution
from industrial sources are now regulated,
agricultural run-off, debris washing off city
streets, and cars inching along congested
highways pose different pollution problems.

That is why preventing pollution has now
become so important. In basic terms,
pollution prevention (P2) means don't create
waste. We all need to reduce or eliminate the
total amount of waste and pollutants used in
the environment.  This can often be achieved
by changing production or cleaning methods,
substituting non-hazardous substances for
hazardous ones, or finding ways to reuse or
recycle wastes. P2 also emphasizes the
efficient use of material and energy resources.

EPA and our state partners are seeking to
make P2 part of all their decisions. Local
governments and businesses have
enthusiastically adopted P2 projects and
recycling programs.  Businesses have reported
substantial savings from P2 initiatives.

Voluntary reduction programs, like EPA's
33/50 Program, which targets specific
pollutants, is another new approach. Through
that program over 1000 businesses nationwide
have committed to reducing releases of 17
highly toxic chemicals by several hundred

million pounds. The Green Lights Program.
encourages government and business partners to
install energy-efficient lighting which will
reduce electricity demand and carbon dioxide

In the preceding pages, we have identified many
ways of preventing pollution of our air, water
and land. Here are a few more.

 More Ways To Prevent Pollution

  Make an audit of your waste and see how it
   can be reduced.

 H Fill your classroom, home, office and garden
   with plants.

 & Take showers in stead of baths.

 H Sweep your sidewalk, driveway or patio
   instead of hosing it down.                 i

 H Buy products that are recycled, recyclable,
   refillable, reliable, repairable and/or

 3$ Make sure your house is well insulated.
 @ Turn off your heat, water heater and pilot
   lights when away on vacation.

 @ Use cloth instead of paper napkins and
   mugs instead of paper or styrofoam cups.

 t& Have yardsales or donate used  clothing,
   toys, appliances and books to charities and
   thrift shops.

 But while the general public shows a
 heightened sensitivity about environmental
 matters, surveys have shown that few people
 really understand environmental problems and
 how their daily actions can affect the
 environment.  There is also a growing concern
 about the declining interest of high school and
 college students in engineering and science
 careers, which comprise one-third of EPA's

 That is why information sharing and public
 outreach and education are part of the fabric of
 all the programs at EPA and in the states. Our
 job is great, but working together and through
 partnerships with businesses, organizations,
 academic institutions and interested citizens,
 we are finding ways to make a difference.

 Here Are Some Things We Do

 ft Provide grants for innovative environmental
    education projects.

 ft Offer training for educational professionals,!

 H Provide a clearinghouse of environmental
    education materials.

 ft Sponsor internships and fellowships to
    attract students to environmental careers.

 ft  Award outstanding contributions to
    environmental education.

 ft  Maintain a public information center which
    provides a host of services and publications.

ft  Provide speakers to businesses, schools and

ft Hold public meetings to discuss local
   environmental issues.
                       Poster by 4th grader,
                       Ryan Foley, courtesy of
                       "WISE" (Women in
                       Science & Engineering).
                       This is one of hundreds
                       of posters submitted by
                       school-age children for
                       the WISE "Poem and
                       Poster Contest."

Although we have learned and accomplished a lot
since 1970, there is still much to be done.

At EPA, our talented and dedicated staff of
professionals (including scientists, chemists,
hydrologists, geologists, toxicologists, engineers,
lawyers, computer specialists, and many others) are
working together to learn how we can be more
effective. We are addressing priorities that will be
important now and in the future:

Preventing pollution before it becomes a problem.

Helping to build the nation's ability to address
environmental issues.

 Striving to enhance our role as an acknowledged
 leader in environmental science.

 Demonstrating that the environment and economic
 growth can be mutually supporting.

 Assuring that the benefits of environmental
 protection can be shared by everyone.

 Approaching our mission with an integrated
 ecosystem approach.

 The job of protecting the environment is not ours _

 Whose job is it?

 It's everyone's job!

               EPA Region 3
   iVEPA Region 3
   Office Locations
To facilitate its mission, EPA is divided into
10 geographic regions throughout the count
Region 3 is comprised of the mid-Atlantic^  ]
states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland,])
Virginia, West Virginia and the District of
 To request additional information, visit or writef

              U.S. EPA Region 3
     Public Environmental Education Center
            841 Chestnut Building,
       Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107

     or call our toll-free number 800-438-2474

EPA:     215-597-6728
PA:      717-787-9702
DE:      302-739-4791
MD:      410-631-3255
VA:      804-762-4001
WV:      304-558-3286
DC:      202-404-1180x3067

EPA:     215-597-9009
EPA:      215-597-6911
PA:       717-787-6827
DE:       302-739-4691
MD:      410-974-2265
VA:       804-527-5061
WV:      304-558-2108 or

EPA:      215-597-4164
PA:       717-787-9870
DE:       302-739-4506
MD:      410-631-3304
VA:       804-762-4003
WV:      304-558-5929
DC:       202-404-1167x3011

EPA:      215-597-9904
PA:       717-783-1736
DE:       302-7364771
VA:       804-7864265
WV:      304-558-2981
DC:       202-404-1180 x3067
EPA:     215-597-6911
PA:      717-787-2666
DE:      302-739-4860
MD:      410-631-3567
VA:      804-527-5172
WV:      304-558-2107
DC:      202-404-1120x3040

EPA:     215-597-9076
PA:      717-787-2868
DE:      302-739-4506
MD:      410-631-3000
VA:      804-762-4000
WV:      304-558-3370
DC:      202-404-1146
                      EPA:      215-597-9905
                      POLLUTION PREVENTION
                      CHESAPEAKE BAY
                      EPA:     410-267-5700 or
                      PA:      717-787-5259
                      MD:      410-631-5681
                      VA:      804-762-4150
                      DC:      202-404-1136
                     EPA HOTLINES
                  Safe Drinking Water 800426-4791
                  Indoor Air Quality 800-438-4318
                  Lead Information 800-LEAD-FYI
                    EPA Region III 800438-2474


     Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources

          Delaware Department of Natural Resources
                  and Environmental Control

           Maryland Department of the Environment

        Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
          West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

               District of Columbia Department
             of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs