ACWA Past President, Martha Clark Mettler, Testifies on Behalf of ACWA on The Appropriate Role of States and the Federal Government in Protecting Groundwater
On Wednesday, April 18, Martha Clark Mettler (IN) represented ACWA testifying in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing entitled The Appropriate Role of States and the Federal Government in Protecting Groundwater. Martha was joined by representatives from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (“NACWA”), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Aquilogic. The hearing was held in response to EPA’s request for public comment entitled Clean Water Act Coverage of “Discharges of Pollutants” via a Direct Hydrologic Connection to Surface Water. The majority’s testimony and questions indicated that they believe including groundwater in the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) is inconsistent with Congress’ intent. Whereas, the minority appeared to believe that inclusion of discharges through groundwater to navigable waters in the CWA is integral to protecting Waters of the US. Martha’s testimony is available here. The hearing is available in full here.
House Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill
On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also referred to as the Farm Bill. The bill passed with a partisan vote of 26-20 and will now move to the House floor for full vote.
The bill calls for increases in funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (“EQIP”) to $3 billion per year over the life of the farm bill and incorporates the best features of the Conservation Stewardship Program (“CSP”). Further, the bill provides $250 million per year for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (“RCPP”), $500 million per year to the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (“ACEP”), and $100 million per year to Small Watershed Rehabilitation, while simplifying complicated application processes and adding program flexibility.
Vessel Incidental Discharge Act Fails to Pass Senate
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill, which was included the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA). If enacted VIDA would preempt state authorities to protect state waters from harmful invasive species and water pollution discharge from vessels by giving authority to the Coast Guard. Many democrats, especially those from Great Lakes states, opposed VIDA. This opposition caused the bill to fail on the Senate floor. ACWA has previously written a letter in opposition to this bill in all forms. It can be found here.
Wet Weather Regulations for Wastewater Treatment Plants
This week EPA announced a new rulemaking to address the uncertainty that has existed around “blending.” Blending is a process used by some POTW’s to avoid shutdown or damage to their treatment system when excess water from rain or snow melt enters the wastewater collection system and exceeds the POTW’s capacity. A POTW would route some of the incoming water around the secondary (biological) treatment units and then “blend” it back in with secondary treatment effluent for disinfection prior to discharge. EPA will be conducting a stakeholder outreach during the coming months to gather critical input prior to issuing a proposed rulemaking. For more information, please contact Sean Rolland.
EPA Closes First WIFIA Loan
EPA will provide $134.5 million in financing to King County, Washington to construct the new Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station. This project is designed to reduce the amount of untreated wastewater and stormwater entering the Duwamish River by over 95 percent and create approximately 1,400 jobs. King County expects to save up to $32 million by financing the project with a WIFIA loan. The treatment station will use high-rate clarification, conveyance pipelines, and outfall structure to treat and convey combined sewer overflows prior to being discharged into the Lower Duwamish Waterway. When constructed, the station can treat up to 70 million gallons of combined rain and wastewater a day that would otherwise have discharged directly to the Duwamish without treatment during storm events. This project is designed to control two existing combined sewer overflows to meet the Washington State control standard.
NEIWPCC 303(d)/TMDL Webinar Series on TMDL Alternatives
NEIWPCC and the National 303(d)/TMDL Webinar Series will present a webinar on TMDL Alternatives. This webinar will take place on Thursday, May 3rd, from 1-3pm EST, and you can register here. Scott Heidel (PA DEP) will present on The Alternative Restoration Plan for Kishacoquillas Creek charts, a path toward restoration of aquatic life and attainment of water quality standards for an agricultural watershed in Central Pennsylvania, Cam Mcnutt (NC DWR) will give a presentation titled “Watershed Action Plan: Online mapped based tools to build watershed restoration plans,” and Heather Husband (ND DOH) will present on “North Dakota’s Alternative Plans.” For more information contact Jasper Hobbs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ACWA Hosts National Pretreatment Meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland
This week, ACWA hosted the 2018 National Pretreatment Meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland. The two-day meeting held at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center brought together over 80 representatives from states and EPA Headquarters and Regions to discuss issues including pretreatment enforcement, the Dental Amalgam Rule, contaminants of emerging concern, deindustrialization and changing industries, food processing and breweries, and more. Thank you to all those that attended the meeting in person and that streamed via GoToWebinar. Next week, ACWA will make the meetings presentation slides available.
2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop
The 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop will be held June 5-7, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio at the Riffe Government Center, 77 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. If you plan to attend the meeting, you must register. Please do so by Friday May 18, 2018. To register for the meeting, go here. To view the most recent draft agenda, go here.
For more information on the meeting, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
2018 TMDL Modeling Workshop
The 2018 TMDL Modeling Workshop will be held June 19-21 in Denver, Colorado. The workshop will support implementation of state 303(d) programs by building a community of practice among state agency staff who use or want to use TMDL modeling in implementation of state 303(d) programs. This discussion-based workshop will feature presentations, breakout sessions, and dialogue where states will share and highlight modeling implementation success stories, obstacles faced, and lessons learned to begin an ongoing transfer of knowledge between states via the ACWA TMDL Modeling Workgroup.
A very preliminary agenda is available here and will be updated periodically. To attend you must register – the registration deadline is May 31st. To register go here. The registration page also contains information about lodging and a link to reserve lodging. Julian Gonzalez sent out an email to ACWA members and committees with much of the aforementioned information, including an official request for states to submit requests for travel support from ACWA, as we will be providing limited travel support in order to help as many states as possible attend the meeting. If you have questions or want to know more, contact Julian Gonzalez.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a job vacancy for an Executive Officer 2 position, within the Water Quality Bureau located in Des Moines, Iowa. This position works to administer the State of Iowa’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund program in coordination with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
For specific job duties, requirements, and application information, visit https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/iowa , and search by job title.
The Environmental Health Section of North Dakota Department of Health has an Environmental Scientist II opening in the Division of Water Quality. For a full description of job duties and application requirements, go here. All applications for open Department of Health positions must be made via the Careers site: http://www.nd.gov/omb/jobs.
EPA is looking for an Interdisciplinary Biologist/Ecologist. This position is located in Office of Water/Office of Wetlands Oceans and Watersheds/Oceans Wetlands and Communities Division/Program Development and Jurisdiction Branch in Washington, DC. To review the vacancy announcement and instructions on how to apply for the position, go here.
Be sure to check out other job opportunities on ACWA’s website!