PFAS Community Engagement Event Information Released
EPA announced more details for their next PFAS Community Engagement Event in Horsham, Pennsylvania on July 25th. Additionally, locations for future engagement events include Fountain, Colorado and North Carolina. More details for these two events will be announced soon. More information and meeting materials from the first engagement event in Exeter, NH are available here.
State Media Associations, ECOS & NGA Join to Request Comment Deadline Extension on the Consistency and Transparency in Considering Costs and Benefits in the Rulemaking Process ANPR
ACWA joined with our state media associations partners like ASDWA, ASWM, NACAA, ASTSWMO, ECOS and NGA in requesting a comment deadline extension on the ANPR: Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Costs and Benefits in the Rulemaking Process. The coalition is seeking an additional 90 days of comment as well as public hearings on the issue. EPA had not responded to the request at the time of publication of this newsletter. ACWA staff will keep you informed of any announcements from EPA. Cost Benefit Comment Extension 6_26_17
Revisions to Federal CAFO Regulations Not Necessary
This week EPA sent a letter to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) indicating that “revisions to the federal CAFO regulations are not necessary for the states to achieve their Chesapeake Bay agriculture pollution reductions goals.” EPA’s assessment of state programs and the federal regulations was one of several commitments EPA had made to CBF in a settlement agreement (Fowler et al v. EPA, as amended May 29, 2013). In the letter, EPA highlights several actions taken to fulfill the settlement agreement commitment including completing state animal agriculture program assessments, specific AFO watershed assessments, state CAFO permit and NMP reviews, and the annual bay TMDL progress reviews. In the letter EPA highlights three components of the Chesapeake Bay states’ agriculture programs that, “in combination, appear to correlate with achievement of animal agriculture pollution goals.” These include: (1) well Implemented and well enforced programs; (2) voluntary incentive programs that address farming operations not covered under regulators programs; and (3) a targeted annual state agriculture cost share program and other financing programs that supplement USDA Farm Bill funding to implement agriculture conservation practices called for in the Water Implementation Plans (WIPs). Lastly, EPA indicates it will “continue to perform its oversight responsibilities to confirm that these strategies are implemented. A copy of the letter can be found here.
EPA Tools and Resources Webinar: Nutrient Visioneering
EPA’s Office of Research and Development will host a webinar on July 18th from 3:00 to 4:00 PM ET on Nutrient Visioneering. Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems. To help address this issue, the US EPA organized an innovative public-private coalition to address the issue of excess nitrogen and phosphorous levels in water, for which the impacts to the economy are estimated to be in the billions annually. On June 19, the Challenging Nutrients Coalition held Nutrient Visioneering II at the Jonsson Center in Woods Hole. The meeting convened 23 experts in nutrients from a broad cross section of interests. They were asked to consider the pressing aspects of nutrient water quality and to frame potential “challenges” that could be initiated by the federal agencies and others. The group collectively brainstormed an array and mix of problems that involved technology development, management, governance and social behavior. EPA Office of Research and Development’s Dr. Denice Shaw will discuss the meeting and the output from the national experts.
Who should attend?
State environmental and health agencies, tribes, local governments, communities, stakeholders and others interested in learning more about the challenges surrounding nutrients.
To join the webinar, please register: http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/nutrientvisioneering/event/registration.html
If you are unable to listen through your computer speakers, please dial: 1-866-299-3188, Access Code: 202-564-6669. Please note telephone lines are muted during the webinar.
Additional information and webinar recordings: https://www.epa.gov/research/epa-tools-and-resources-webinar-series
EPA Highlights Permit Streamlining Success
EPA’s Smart Sectors program released a video, Best Practices in Permitting, highlighting best practices in environmental permitting. The video, which was developed to encourage replication for other permitting projects, features The Boeing Company, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (S.C. DHEC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), The Nature Conservancy, Open Space Institute, and Lowcountry Land Trust.
Septic Smart Week Social Media Guide
The Partners of the EPA’s Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership released social media guide for Septic Smart Week. The Guide includes resources to promote Septic Smart Week including social media, blog and tv spot resources as well as proclamation templates for Governor’s and local leaders to issue. The Guide is available here: 2018 MOU Partners SSW Social Media Guide_Final.
Farm Bill Passes in Both Chambers
On June 28, the Senate Farm Bill (S. 3042) passed by a vote of 86-11. Last week, the House Farm Bill (H.R. 2) passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 213-211. The House bill would phase out the Conservation Stewardship Program (“CSP”), which awards farmers years-long grants to address soil health, water quality and other environmental issues on their land, and fold much of it into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (“EQIP”), an initiative that gives farmers one-time payments for conservation projects. Overall, the House bill would cut the conservation title by nearly $800 million over a decade. The Senate version would keep funding for conservation programs flat, but shift money away from the CSP and into a regional initiative that partners federal, state and local officials with farmers for technical and financial assistance. The Senate and House have been discussions and hope to get a bill to the President soon.
New Resource for Water Utilities to Protect Drinking Water Sources with USDA Conservation Programs
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) today released a guide that highlights opportunities for water systems to utilize U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs to protect drinking water sources. Over the past several years, AWWA, the largest association of water professionals in the world, has emphasized the importance of collaboration between the water community and agricultural producers to reduce nutrient runoff and better protect source waters. The online guide, titled USDA Tools to Support Source Water Protection, explains how utilities can leverage USDA programs – particularly through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – to expand the effectiveness of community partnerships.
USDA has funding and programs in place to assist farmers and ranchers in implementing conservation practices, including source water protection. The guide encourages water utilities to work with the agricultural community and local partners to access these programs for the benefit of all parties. The guide emphasizes that water utilities can:
1. Help shape how conservation dollars are spent, focusing them on the greatest benefits to source water protection.
2. Foster mutual trust and understanding between water systems and farmers, encouraging constructive problem-solving.
3. Make progress on specific source water concerns by focusing on practices that will best address them.
4. Save on treatment costs or delay or avoid installing additional treatment.
5. Reduce risks to their water supplies.
6. Increase public confidence in both water and agricultural sectors.
7. Leverage every dollar they contribute through NRCS and other partners.
No Wrap Next Week 07/02
There will be no Weekly Wrap next week due to holiday scheduling.
ACWA and Willamette Water Quality Trading Toolkit and Videos
If you or your state are interested in water quality trading, check out ACWA and Willamette Partnership’s Water Quality Trading Toolkit and accompanying videos. The Toolkit, based on the National Network on Water Quality Trading publication Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations, consists of a series of templates that provide a blueprint for states/organizations seeking to create a water quality trading program. The accompanying videos provide an introduction to the Toolkit, a detailed guide on how a state or organization can use the Toolkit, and how the Toolkit addresses the issue of trading baseline.
2018 ACWA Annual Meeting – Registration is LIVE!
2018 National CAFO Roundtable
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.
November Nutrients Permitting Workshop
The next 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop will be held November, 6-8, 2018 in Gulfport, Mississippi at the Courtyard Marriot Gulfport Beachfront, 1600 East Beach Blvd., Gulport, Mississippi. Secure your lodging now using the group code G-3657 to receive the group rate when making either online reservations or reservations over the phone. You can call the hotel direct at 228-864-4310. To register and for more information, go here.
The agenda is currently in development, however, the meeting will focus on the relationship between TMDLs and permitting for nutrients.
For more information on the meeting, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Division of Water Resources is hiring a State Revolving Fund Director. The selected candidate will be responsible for leading the State Revolving Fund loan program and handle the supervision of approximately 20 employees. All interested candidates should submit via email (TDEC.Careers@tn.gov) resume and cover letter to Beth Smith. The position will remain posted until July 20, 2018. Questions can be addressed to Beth at TDEC.Careers@tn.gov.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s website!