In April, Tennessee’s governor passed Senate Bill 2450 requiring quicker notification of dangerous lead levels in public water. Under this law, public water systems must notify the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation within 24 hours and affected residents within 72 hours of discovering levels above the federal standard. The water utilities must also provide information regarding potential contamination sources, health effects and possible mitigation to the agency. The previous law allowed utilities to wait 60 days before notifying the public of lead contamination. — Hannah Petersen
An ongoing study by Dr. Dan Richter, a professor of Soils and Forest Ecology at Duke University, shows Piedmont soils are making a slow recovery from erosion and carbon damages caused by cotton production.
According to university news outlet DukeToday, the land in the Piedmont and in western South Carolina lost half a foot of topsoil to erosion due to cotton farming. This caused the soil’s organic carbon level, an indicator of soil health, to drop by almost half by the middle of the 20th century. Richter explains that forests have returned to the area and falling leaves and branches have begun to return nutrients to the soil. — Hannah Petersen
The Hawksbill Greenway in Luray, Va., was honored with a gold medal as a part of the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards. The greenway consists of a two-mile walking and biking trail along the Hawksbill Creek.
A report from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality states that by providing citizens with fitness classes and protecting the creek from pollution using natural barriers, the greenway “encourages wellness and connectivity” throughout the community. — Savannah Clemmons
The National Park Service opened Camp Brookside Environmental Education Center in Brooks, W.Va., on May 21. Originally a children’s summer camp, Camp Brookside was renovated to house research and environmental education services. The center has seven cabins, a mess hall, field study tools and other amenities that can be found at nps.gov/neri. — Hannah Petersen
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an online resource where users can learn more about water sources and water quality. The Drinking Water Mapping Application to Protect Source Waters allows users to enter an address and see both the source of drinking water for that area as well as potential or existing sources of contamination. The tool is located at epa.gov/sourcewaterprotection/dwmaps. —Dylan Turner