Live better together, one street at a time!

We’re rolling out the Transition Streets program in Charlottesville. After a successful pilot of the program, a revision of the handbook, and other new resources from the Transition US team, we’re ready to bring the program to your neighborhood.

Green Grannies Performance and Press Conference

9:30am Saturday, July 18 at Charlottesville City Market, 100 E Water St.

Program coordinators will introduce Transition Streets and explain how residents can get involved. The Green Grannies choir will sing environmental songs set to familiar tunes.

Launch Party

6pm-7:30pm Wednesday, July 29 at Ecovillage Charlottesville, 480 Rio Rd. E

Join us for refreshments, info, and fun. Meet new friends, explore the Transition Streets program, and leave with all the resources you need to start or join a group in your own neighborhood!

What is Transition Streets?

Transition Streets is a community-based project to help individual households save money, energy and waste right here and now. Program participants meet with their neighbors for seven sessions over a period of several months to build a sense of community on their street, and learn fun and easy ways to practice sustainable habits.

Each session is guided by a chapter of the Transition Streets Handbook. The handbook details actions, tips, and facts to empower you and your neighbors to increase your energy efficiency, cut down on waste, eat fresh and local, save money, and build a stronger community.

Is your neighborhood ready for a change?

Join us on July 29th from 6:00PM – 7:30PM at Ecovillage Charlottesville for a launch party to learn more about the program and get the resources you’ll need to get started. You don’t need to have your other neighbors committed yet, just come out, enjoy some refreshments, learn about the program, and decide if you’re ready to start the transition.

More info

If you have any questions, or want to help us spread the word about this initiative email us at streets@transitioncville.org

More info from Transition United States: http://transitionstreets.org/

Watch the Transition Streets video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=S94Owhn2fIM

 

What’s Going Into Our Water: An Information Session on Chloramines

Monday, June 18, 6:30-8:45 PM in the McIntire Room, Central Library

Help spread the word! Share the flyer.

In response to changing EPA regulations, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority begun plans earlier this year to switch from chlorine to chloramine as a secondary water treatment chemical for Charlottesville and the surrounding area.  In response to public outcry about the potential health and environmental risks of adding chloramine to the water, the RWSA and the Charlottesville city council have agreed to take a more thorough look at the purported need for – and potential dangers of – adding chloramine to municipal water, and will receive public comment on the issue at a forum on Thursday, June 21.

In advance of Thursday’s public forum on chloramine with the RWSA and City Council, Transition Charlottesville Albemarle will host a presentation and Q&A on Monday, so that concerned residents can learn about the serious risks chloramine would pose to regional water resources.

Transitioner Lorrie Delehanty has spearheaded local efforts to educate the community about chloramine. Lorrie will be joined by emergency physician Dr. Julia Whiting and engineer Galen Staengl.

According to the EPA, there has been little direct study of the effects of water treated with chloramine on human health and natural ecosystems.  Existing research strongly indicates that chloramine presents serious threats to humans and the environment:

  • The use of chloramine in drinking water can damage water fixtures and has caused increased leaching of lead and copper from copper piping, which can lead to high lead levels in public water.  Blood lead levels in children skyrocketed after Washington, D.C.’s water authority switched from chlorine to chloramine.
  • Research suggests that byproducts formed from the use of chloramine may be mutagenic and carcinogenic, and may cause a range of dermatological, respiratory, and digestive ailments in humans.
  • Strong evidence suggests that drinking water treated with chloramine is toxic to fish and amphibians
  • Chloraminated water used to make baby formula can cause Blue Baby Syndrome
  • Unlike chlorine, chloramine does not easily dissipate from water; the only reasonable way to remove chloramine from water is by using an activated charcoal bed system – a costly and time-consuming solution.

Help keep our community water resources safe. Stop chloramine.

In March of 2014, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority plans to switch from chlorine to CHLORAMINE as a disinfectant in our water supply. Chloramine is a small molecule formed by the combination of chlorine and ammonia.  The water authority says it is being compelled by tougher EPA regulations, and that the chloramine switch would be the most economical. It doesn’t dissipate into the air like chlorine and stays in the distribution system longer.  The RWSA also claims that chloramine forms fewer regulated disinfection by products than chlorine.  However, there is much to be concerned about with chloramine, as it has negative health and environmental consequences.

Water is our most precious resource and the linchpin for our health, food production and economic well-being.  Without a clean, safe source of water, all of our efforts for relocalizing our food and economy – and making a resilient future for ourselves – are seriously undermined or rendered moot.

Below are a few of the problems encountered in water systems with chloramine. To help stop chloramine, read “What Can You Do?” at the bottom of this page.

-Filtration- Chlorine is relatively easy to remove from your tap water. Chlorine dissipates or out gases from water rather quickly on its own.  It can also be removed by common household water filters, like the Pur faucet attachments and Brita pitchers.  However, chloramine is very difficult to get out of the water.  Regular water filters will not remove it. Neither will more complex water distillation or reverse osmosis systems or even boiling the water.  The only reasonable way to remove chloramine is by passing the water over an activated charcoal bed system, and it takes a long time to effectively expose all of the chloramine-contaminated water over a large charcoal bed.  These systems can cost the water customer thousands of dollars. This is an expensive burden to place on the water customer.

-Short Term Health Effects- Hundreds of people across the country are reporting respiratory, dermal and digestive ailments when drinking or showering in chloraminated water.  Chloraminated water used to make baby formula can cause Blue Baby Syndrome. (monochloramine speciates into di and tri chloramine. Tri chloramine is a known respiratory irritant known to cause ‘swimmers asthma’ in lifeguards and routine swimmers. The same effect is being seen when chloraminated water is vaporized in showers.

-Long Term Health Effects- While both chlorine and chloramines are capable of forming disinfection by-products, chloramines also form additional disinfection by products that are up to 100,000 times more toxic.  Some of these highly toxic or carcinogenic  byproducts include hydrazine (component of rocket fuel), iodoacetic acids and nitrosamines. Several recent studies demonstrated a connection between the transformation of pharmaceuticals and common household products like shampoo and dish soaps and the formation of nitrosamines during chloramine disinfection. Nitrosamines are very potent carcinogens. This provides a possible link between the presence of trace levels of certain drugs and household products in drinking water sources and potential adverse health effects

In older homes, the chloramine leaches much more lead and copper out of pipes and soldering, and exposes the consumer to much higher lead levels.  If there is fluoride in the water also, the two chemicals act together synergistically to leach more lead than either chemical alone.  The blood lead levels in children living in Washington DC increased dramatically after the city switched to chloramine as a water disinfectant.

-Damage to plumbing infrastructure- Chloramine corrodes gaskets, valves, elastomer fittings and rubber plumbing parts like toilet flappers and rubber casings.  Chloramine can cause pinhole pitting in copper pipes. Leaks from the pinholes can cause mold to grow. Insurance companies do not cover damage from mold.   Appliances that come in contact with hot water (hot water heater, dishwasher, washing machine) will have shortened life spans.  This doesn’t just affect the homeowner, but every business that depends on hot water to conduct business, like restaurants and laundries.

-Environmental Damage- Water containing tiny concentrations of chloramine is deadly to aquatic life (fish, frogs, and invertebrates). The same is true of chlorine. However, there is a huge difference. Chlorine dissipates very quickly and chloramine takes weeks to dissipate. So if a water main breaks and leaks chloraminated water into natural waterways, chloramine keeps killing aquatic life, whereas chlorine, which can also kill fish and invertebrates, dissipates very quickly so the devastation is quite small in comparison.  Even a minor spill into a local waterway can result in a serious fish kill.  The stream, Pimmit Run goes through McLean, Va.  According to an article in the 4/2/08 edition of the Fairfax County Times, a water main broke, leaking “hundreds” of gallons of chloraminated water into Pimmit Run, and killing “at least 90 percent of the fish”, according to Ed Pickens of Fairfax Trails and Streams. This happened over several miles of the stream, the article stated.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1) Call or email your representatives on Charlottesville City Council or Albemarle Board of Supervisors.

2) Write a letter to the editor for the local newspaper.

3) Get the facts on chloramine: http://www.chloramine.org/chloraminefacts.htm

4) Sign the online petition urging RWSA not to put chloramine in our  water supply:  http://signon.org/sign/rwsa-do-not-use-chloramines?source=c.em.cp&r_by=165880

“Green roofs sprouting around community”

Wouldn’t it be great if more of Charlottesville’s flat rooftops were green?

“Green roofs sprouting around community”
By Courtney Beale, Charlottesville Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The many benefits of green roofing systems were the topic of the presentation at the James River Green Building Council’s luncheon on Tuesday.

Scott Titanish, the LiveRoof area manager at Riverbend Nursery, a green roofing company, detailed how green roofs can counteract some of the negative impacts of urbanization like the urban heat island effect and stormwater management problems.

20120508-citygreenroof
The green roof on Charlottesville City Hall
as viewed from the McIntire Street Parking Garage

“Is green roofing going to stop all this? No, but it is a great way to help mitigate,” Titanish said.

LiveRoof, which is locally distributed by Riverbend, is no stranger to the Charlottesville area despite its Riner location. It has installed green roofs on the SNL Financial building in downtown Charlottesville, UVa’s biomedical engineering and medical science building and private residences throughout the area.

Local government buildings in Albemarle County and the city are no strangers to green roofs either. The city of Charlottesville added a green roof to City Hall and the police annex in 2008. The city’s website states that the vegetation covers 9,250 square feet of roof and features 18,540 plants distributed across its surface.

The Albemarle County Office Building on McIntire Road also had a green roof installed on it in July 2005. Gregor Patsch, water resources engineer for Albemarle, said that the roof frequently attracts students from UVa who want to see one first-hand.

Read the full article at Charlottesville Tomorrow

5/5 “Connect the Dots” Climate Impacts Rally

It’s time to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather. 350.org is organizing its third annual global day of action on May 5, 2012.

Transition Charlottesville Albemarle and the Sierra Club will hold a rally this Saturday to connect the dots between extreme weather, climate change, and Virginia’s dependence on fossil fuels.  Come on down and help us circulate the petition demanding that Dominion Power, one of the country’s largest energy producers, begin generating renewable energy in Virginia.

What: “Connect the Dots” Climate Impacts Rally
When: Saturday, May 5th at 5pm
Where: Freedom of Speech Monument in front of City Hall
WHY: Dominion Power generates ZERO renewable energy in VA. It’s time to take responsibility for climate change and start cutting carbon pollution.

For more information about greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia, visit http://ghgdata.epa.gov/ghgp/main.do.

Monthly Transition Town Meeting – April 2012

Transition Charlottesville Albemarle Monthly Meeting

WHEN? This Monday, April 23rd.  We’ll kick off with a potluck at 6:00p and get the meeting rolling at 6:30p (note: this is earlier than our usual schedule)WHERE? Central Library, 201 East Market Street (McIntire Room, 3rd floor)WHAT WILL HAPPEN? We’re mixing things up a bit this month in honor of 350.org‘s upcoming Climate Impacts Day on May 5.  Whitney Byrd, coalition coordinator for the Wise Energy For Virginia (WEFV) coalition, will give a brief talk on the energy landscape in Charlottesville-Albemarle and across Virginia – where our energy comes from, why it matters, and what we can do to help Virginia create a clean energy future.  We’ll then discuss how energy production and use at home and throughout Virginia contributes to climate change and plan community action(s) for 350.org’s Climate Impacts Day - a day of action geared towards connecting the dots between climate change and the extreme weather of the last year.A little more about Whitney: Whitney Byrd was born in Vienna, Virginia and is very excited to be working toward a clean energy future in her home state. She has a B.S. degree in Biology from Virginia Tech and a M.S. degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana. While in graduate school, she campaigned to move the University of Montana toward carbon neutrality and was an intern with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. This summer Whitney became involved in volunteer organizing and activism with various groups working to end mountaintop removal coal mining, including Mountain Justice and the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards.

Hope to see you there!