EPA Budget Moves to House Floor
The House Appropriation Committee approved a $7.95 billion EPA budget. This budget is about 1% lower than FY18 level, but $2 billion more than the president’s budget request. Highlights include $2.6 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and $75 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. The budget also includes rescission suggestions- most notably a suggested $75 million rescission of unobligated funds from STAG grants. The budget will now head to the floor for approval. ACWA will update.
WRDA Passes House
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA) by a vote of 408-2. WRDA passed without riders due to Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R PA-9) stated commitment to keep the bill focused on the Army Corps Division of Civil works. The bill will now go the the Senate, where a Senate version recently passed out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
ACOE to Host Infrastructure Stakeholder Webinars
The US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Infrastructure Team will be hosting stakeholder webinars in June to discuss its efforts to respond to the Administration’s Infrastructure Initiative. Further details regarding the stakeholder webinars are below and can be found on the ACOE Infrastructure Initiative website at: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/infrastructure/. If you have questions regarding the webinars or the ACOE’s efforts on the Infrastructure Initiative, please contact us at CW.Infrastructure.Team@nullusace.army.mil.
Wednesday, June 20 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm EST:
Access Code: 184323
Web Conference URL: https://www.webmeeting.att.com Meeting Number: (511)468-6455 Participant Code: 674364
Source Water Quality and the Cost of Nitrate Treatment
On May 23, 2018 the Northeast-Midwest Institute released a report titled Source Water Quality and the Cost of Nitrate Treatment. This report discusses the heavy use of fertilizers and manure on agricultural fields that has contributed to the high levels of nitrates in the waters resulting in algal blooms, contaminated drinking water, and “dead zones.” The report analyzes water quality and treatment cost data over a 10-year period at three water utilities in the Mississippi River Basin. In each of the watersheds where these facilities draw water, farm fertilizer was the largest contributor of nitrogen loading, representing 51-62 percent of the total loading. Capital expense was a significant component of the overall cost of nitrate treatment at the three utilities, with amortized capital costs of the treatment outweighing annual operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. The report goes on to note that “conservation programs have the potential to limit some of these costs to utilities.” The report notes that water utilities are increasing their engagement on watershed conservation practices in an effort to limit the need for specialized treatment units and reduce rate increases. Finally, the report discusses the role of the Farm Bill in promoting conservation programs, and makes additional recommendations to encourage cost reporting by utilities. “With additional research, policymakers will have access to better data connecting conservation efforts to changes in water quality, and their associated costs.” A copy of the report can be found here.
ANPR: Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Costs and Benefits in the Rulemaking Process
EPA released a notice of advanced rulemaking announcing its plan to consider developing implementing regulations that would increase consistency across EPA divisions and offices, increase reliability to affected stakeholders, and increase transparency during the development of regulatory actions. Many EPA statutes, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, provide language on the consideration of costs, but costs have historically been interpreted differently by the EPA depending on the office promulgating the regulatory action. According to the agency, this has led to EPA choosing different standards under the same provision of the statute, the regulatory community not being able to rely on consistent application of the statute, and EPA developing internal policies on the consideration of costs through non-transparent actions. By developing implementing regulations through a notice-and-comment rulemaking process, it will provide the public with a better understanding of how EPA is evaluating costs when developing a regulatory action and allow the public to provide better feedback to EPA on potential future proposed rules. Comments will be due 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.
ITRC Seeking Proposals for 2019 Technical Teams
ITRC is requesting proposals for new 2019 technical teams! ITRC achieves its mission through projects completed by ITRC Teams, which is the primary mechanism for participation in ITRC. ITRC Teams composed of state and federal environmental regulators, federal agency representatives, industry experts, public/tribal/emeritus stakeholders, and academics. Projects are completed by ITRC Teams over two to five years and include activities such as conducting surveys of environmental professionals, writing overview and technical regulatory guidance documents, creating training curricula, and instructing environmental professionals on technical topics. ITRC Teams provide a forum for information exchange and technology transfer among environmental professionals and ultimately capture this value in ITRC guidance documents, training courses, and other products.
ITRC Board of Advisers issues request for team technical proposals on June 7, 2018, with all proposals due by July 13, 2018. Proposals to ITRC will be evaluated against the 2018 survey results from the States on priority issues in Remediation (i.e., traditional CERCLA and/or RCRA focused issues) and Remediation Plus (i.e., Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act focused issues) sectors of environmental protection. Find out more information here: https://www.itrcweb.org/About/Planning .
USGS Releases Two Circulars on Nutrients and Water Quality
The USGS released two circulars entitled, “Understanding the influence of nutrients on stream ecosystems in agricultural landscapes,” and “Agriculture — A river runs through it — The connections between agriculture and water quality.” The two studies are a product of decades of intensive studies in agricultural areas across the united states. The circulars are labeled 1433 and 1437.
ACWA Holds Nutrients Permitting Workshop
This week, ACWA held its latest Nutrients Permitting Workshop in Columbus, Ohio. The second workshop in a series of seven, the Columbus workshop focused on the relationship between technology and permitting for nutrients. Presenters spoke on specific types of technology, optimization and alternative approaches to nutrients removal, costs analyses, operator training, small systems, and more. Also, attendees visited two facilities in the greater Columbus area to learn about treatment processes and technologies. The presentation slides will be made available next week. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
2018 National CAFO Roundtable – Registration is LIVE!
The 2018 National CAFO Roundtable will be held in Boise, Idaho from Tuesday, September 25, 2018 to Thursday, September 27, 2018. A copy of the draft agenda for this meeting can be found on the 2018 National CAFO Roundtable events page. If you are with a state or interstate and have attended ACWA meetings in the past, we recommend you login to Member365, go to the Events Calendar, and register from there. If you do not remember your login credentials, please contact Member Services. If you are with EPA or another organization, or you have never attended an ACWA event in the past, then please use the public registration link found here. Registration for the meeting is free, registration for the field trip is $25.00 and is limited to 45 seats. If you intend to go on the field trip, we highly recommend you register ASAP and select the “Field Trip Workshop” option. Please direct all meeting registration questions to Katie Foreman. Be sure to also book a room at the Riverside Hotel.
Save the Date – Autumn 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop
SAVE THE DATE! ACWA Autumn 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop, November 6-8, 2018, Gulfport, Mississippi. More information coming soon!
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hiring a Northeast Lakeshore Total Maximum Daily Load Project Coordinator project position in the Division of Environmental Management. This position will be located in Madison (Dane county) or Oshkosh (Winnebago county) depending on the applicant. This is a project position expected to end on June 30, 2021. For more information, see the job posting here.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s website.
WRF Webinar: Nutrient Permitting – Challenges, Limitations, and Solutions
On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 2 pm – 4 pm EST, the Water Research Foundation will host an online workshop on nutrient permitting. Following ACWA’s Nutrient Permitting Workshops (Boise, Idaho, December 2017; Columbus, Ohio, June 5-8, 2018), this online workshop will continue to discuss the barriers and challenges to implementing nutrient permitting programs. Discussions will focus on the limitations to traditional nutrient permitting and the various alternative nutrient permitting frameworks that can allow for greater flexibility for wastewater utility compliance, while still meeting water quality objectives, including advances in nutrient removal technologies to bubble permits. This online workshop is open only to state regulators and EPA staff.
Please join WRF for this interactive session where you will be able to ask questions and share your thoughts and experience regarding permitting nutrient effluent limits. Your input will help create a path for utilities and regulators to work together when dealing with nutrient pollution. For registration and agenda information, contact Christine Radke at WRF.
Introduction to ECHO – How Do I Search For … ??
EPA is hosting a webinar Tuesday, June 12, 2018 from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm EST. This webinar will provide an overview of the data in ECHO and guide users through using the site to answer environmental enforcement and compliance questions. Based on feedback from previous webinar attendees, the focus of this session will be a collection of short, step-by-step demonstrations geared toward both new and experienced users. EPA will also demonstrate the capabilities of the ECHO Facility Search and other features to answer questions such as:
- How do I search for a specific facility?
- How do I search for facilities in my community?
- How do I search for facilities releasing a pollutant?