Evolution of Stormwater Permitting and Program Implementation Approaches
On May 17, 2018 EPA released a Region 9 workshop report that summarized discussions among 29 national stormwater experts from local, state, and federal agencies, along with participants from consulting firms and nonprofit organizations. The report provides a “synthesis of participant ideas and contributions, along with other existing research, to identify the most impactful opportunities for strengthening MS4 permits and program implementation.” The report is organized by workshop session and includes specific actions, case studies, summaries of known efforts, related recommendations, and a level of commitment to make progress. Example recommendations include:
• Establish National Stormwater Program Implementation Expectations
• Build Capacity Related to Stormwater Program Funding
• Increase Research and Enhance Guidance on BMP Performance and Cost
• Build Capacity for Asset Management
• Highlight Benefits of Different Planning Approaches
• Foster Coordination Across Water Programs
• Clarify MS4 Permitting Requirements and Expectations
• Consolidate Phase I and II Requirements
• Provide Flexibility in MCM Requirements
• Explore Options to Provide Longer Planning Timeframes for Permittees
• Develop Transparent Compliance Assessment Expectations
• Improve Monitoring and Reporting Approaches
• Coordinate Efforts at Various Scales
• Increase Flexibility and Encourage Targeted Efforts
• Improve Stormwater Messaging Programs
Please note – The recommendations and possible actions described in this white paper do not represent binding commitments by EPA or other parties. A copy of the report can be found here.
Stormwater Capture Enhancing Recharge and Direct Use Through Data Collection
Released in April 2018, the Southern California Water Coalition published a white paper update to “gain a better understanding of actual stormwater runoff capture volumes, costs, benefits, and project performance across the region.” This whitepaper supplements prior year’s efforts and uses the most recent, and best available, stormwater data. Thirty stormwater programs across southern California provided data associated with stormwater and urban water runoff capture volumes, cost to manage, benefits, and performance of existing stormwater projects. The main objective in the data analysis was to calculate the cost per acre-foot of captured stormwater. For each project, the annual cost per acre-foot of stormwater captured was calculated. Included in the findings were:
- Costs of the projects range from $59 per acre-foot to more than $250,000 per acre-foot. The median cost per acre-foot is $1,070 and is bracketed by the 25th and 75th percentiles costs range from $334 to $4,911.
- Projects that have the ability to annually capture larger amounts of stormwater (over 600 acre-feet) have a lower cost per acre-foot captured (less than $1,200).
- Median costs for distributed projects are $25,000 per acre-foot, new centralized projects are $6,900 per acre-foot, and retrofit projects are $600 per acre-foot.
- Retrofit Projects tend to be more cost effective than new projects. Since retrofit projects by their nature exclude costs such as land acquisition and have a simpler permitting process, they are generally less expensive than new projects.
The report goes on to say “[s]tormwater capture is one of the many water supply opportunities for agencies and municipalities to pursue as they strive for a more sustainable and reliable water future. Cost and climate uncertainties may continue to be a barrier, and Southern California as a region should continue to invest in a broad range of water supply alternatives including, investments in imported supply reliability, recycled water, desalination, groundwater cleanup, and stormwater capture.” A copy of the whitepaper can be found here.
EPA R6 Annual Stormwater Conference
Registration is open for the EPA Region 6 Annual Stormwater Conference, which will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico from August 19-23, 2018. This year’s Conference will bring great early workshops, panels, and even a bike field trip along the Rio Grande Bosque Trail with AridLID Installation site visits. For more information, see the event page here.
WRDA Passes Out of Committee After Full Mark Up
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) unanimously and without riders on Wednesday May, 23rd by voice vote. Several amendments were approved, including an amendment by Representative Mast (R-FL 18) for the Army Corps of Engineers to support research to develop early detection, prevention, and management techniques. For more information please see the committee’s website.
Senate EPW Approves Legislation Including Narrowed “SRF WIN” Provision
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a managers amendment to the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 including language from the “Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now” (SRF WIN) bill from Senator John Boozman. The language would amend WIFIA to create a new class of loans for states to pay for projects on their SRF intended use plans. The original SRF WIN language authorized EPA to spend $1 billion over five years on the aforementioned loans, the modified language limited the program to two years and authorizes $100 million per year for those two years. We will continue to monitor any developments related to this legislation, and if you have questions we encourage you to contact either Julian Gonzalez or Julia Anastasio.
ACWA Joins State and Local Leaders at National Summit on PFAS
ACWA, along with representatives from over 30 states and localities, participated in a two day PFAS National Leadership Summit hosted by the EPA. Executive Director Julia Anastasio and ACWA Monitoring, Standards and Assessment Committee Co-Chair Connie Brower (NC), represented the Association at the event. The purpose of the two day meeting was to share information on ongoing efforts to characterize risks from PFAS compounds and develop monitoring, treatment and cleanup technologies; identify short term and long term actions needed to address the challenges currently facing states and local communities; and develop risk communication strategies to assist communities as they address public concerns. Administrator Pruitt kicked off the Summit by announcing a four step plan to address these compounds:
- Evaluate the need for a Maximum Contaminant Level for PFOA and PFOS;
- Establish liability under CERLA for PFOA and PFOS;
- Develop a groundwater cleanup recommendation for contaminated sites; and
- Develop toxicity values for GenX.
The agency also announced plans to develop a PFAS Management Plan by the end of the year and that the agency will host meetings across the country this summer in local communities to hear about the challenges they face. Participants at the meeting heard various presentations from representatives from federal, state, local, public health and environmental groups on the ways they have been addressing PFAS contamination. Presentations and other materials from the meeting are available at https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-national-leadership-summit-and-engagement.
Associations Submit Comment Deadline Extension Request on Proposed “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” Rule, EPA Extends Comment Period
On Wednesday, May 23, ACWA, along with ECOS, ASDWA, ASTSWMO, ASWM, AAPCA, and NGA submitted a comment deadline extension letter to request an additional 60 days on the EPA proposed rule titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” A copy of the rule proposal can be found here. The comment period for this proposal is currently only 30 days (ending on 5/30). As stated in the letter, ACWA believes the rule as proposed is vague and ambiguous, making it difficult for ACWA and states to provide thoughtful comments.
On Thursday, May 24th, EPA announced that it would extend the comment period to August 16th. EPA also announced a public hearing for the proposed rule on July 17th, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Parties interested in presenting oral testimony at the public hearing should register online by July 15, 2018. The official Federal Register notice for the extension was released today (5/25).
If you have any questions regarding the extension request, feel free to contact Julia Anastasio.
ACWA Hosts Legal Affairs Committee Call on Hydrologic Connection Litigation
On Thursday, May 24, the ACWA Legal Affairs Committee hosted a panel of litigants and moderated discussion on five recent cases involving alleged discharges to groundwater that led to surface water via direct hydrologic connection: Hawai’i Wildlife Fund; Sierra Club – Maui Group; Surfrider Foundation; West Maui Preservation Association v. County of Maui, Upstate Forever; Savannah Riverkeeper v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P.; Plantation Pipeline Company, Inc., 26 Crown Street Associates, LLC v. Greater New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control Authority, et al., Kentucky Waterways Alliance; Sierra Club v. Kentucky Utilities Co., Tennessee Clean Water Network v. Tennessee Valley Authority. The panel of litigants discussed key case facts and offered perspective on the issue. To join the Legal Affairs Committee, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
ACWA Submits Comments on Hydrologic Connection Request
Last week, ACWA submitted its comments for EPA’s Request for Public Comment entitled, Clean Water Act Coverage of “Discharges of Pollutants” via a Direct Hydrologic Connection to Surface Water. To view the letter, go here.
No Wrap Next Week – 05/28/18
Due to the shortened week after Memorial Day weekend, there will be no Weekly Wrap. We will resume the following Friday for the week of June 4, 2018.
Member Services Temporarily Out of Office
Due to the holiday weekend, ACWA will be short staffed for a few days. Any inquiries sent to email@example.com email will be answered as quickly as possible. We thank you in advance for your patience.
Save the Date – Fall 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop
SAVE THE DATE! ACWA Fall 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop, November 6-8, 2018, Gulfport, Mississippi. More information coming soon!