Agency Extends Comment Period on Perchlorate

In response to requests, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing more time for public comment on its preliminary regulatory determination not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water at a national level. The agency is now asking for comments by Nov. 28.

A regulatory determination is a formal decision by EPA as to whether it should initiate development of a national primary drinking water regulation for a specific contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA will make a final determination for perchlorate after considering information provided in the public comment period.

For information on Drinking Water Regulatory Determinations, visit http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ccl/reg_determine2.html.

Metropolitan, Local Agencies Sponsor Solar Cup Contest

Melding engineering and environmental lessons, the seventh annual Solar Cup™ has been launched by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California with 40 schools and about 800 students from four counties participating.

The seven-month-long program began Nov. 8 at Three Valleys Municipal Water District headquarters in Claremont where about 20 teams built identical, 16-foot one-person hulls from pre-cut kits of marine-grade plywood. A second boat-building event for the remaining teams was scheduled for Nov. 15.

In coming months, teams from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties will equip the hulls with solar-collection panels, motors, batteries, and steering, and over the weekend of May 15-17, 2009 they will use solar energy to race the boats at the Solar Cup event at Metropolitan's Lake Skinner reservoir near Temecula in southwest Riverside County.

During the three-day competition, the boats compete in 90-minute endurance races around a 1.4-kilometer course and in 200-yard sprint races.

"In this year of drought, Solar Cup extends the messages of water conservation and renewable resources to hundreds of future leaders," said Timothy F. Brick, chair of Metropolitan's board of directors. "In addition, we encourage participants to return to Southern California's water agencies after they've graduated from college and are looking for a job."

"In fact," Brick added, "we are always pleased to hear that Solar Cup has been a deciding factor in students' decisions to go on to college and to pursue majors and careers in engineering, communications, math, and science-related fields."

Local water agencies throughout the region sponsor the teams with $4,000 for newcomers, $2,500 for returning teams. Returning teams must build a new hull, but may reinstall equipment from previous boats. Veterans and newcomers compete in separate categories.

In addition to building and equipping their boats, teams are required to attend two Saturday-morning technical workshops at Metropolitan's Los Angeles headquarters; submit three technical reports; and produce a conservation-promoting video or brochure. Points for attendance at the workshops, the technical papers, and for the water conservation project are added to scores earned at the Solar Cup competition.

"Solar Cup gives students hands-on application of textbook lessons in engineering, math and physics, and gives them experience in problem-solving and team-building," said Julie Miller, Solar Cup team manager and a certified teacher in Metropolitan's Education Programs section. "Many past-participants have told us that Solar Cup was the highpoint of their high school years."

Returning in this year's program are the champions of the 2008 Solar Cup, Nogales High School of La Puente, which won the veteran class, and Palos Verdes Peninsula High School of Rolling Hills Estates, which won the newcomer competition.

A video of the 2008 Solar Cup competition and other information about the program is at Metropolitan's Web site, mwdh2o.com.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.

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