OECA Refocuses Priorities On Compliance
On August 21, 2018 Susan Bodine, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) issued a memo to the Regional Administrators formally informing them of OECA’s decision to move away from National Enforcement Initiatives to National Compliance Initiatives. “The EPA intends to evolve the National Enforcement Initiatives (NEIs) program into a National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs) program by providing states and tribes with additional opportunities for meaningful engagement, by developing and applying a broader set of compliance assurance tools, and by aligning the NCIs with the Agency Strategic Plan measures and priorities.” As part of this effort EPA plans to modify their selection criteria to better align with Strategic Plan measures and priorities, engage more fully with states and tribes in the selection and development of NCIs, enhance EPA’s use of the full suite of compliance assurance tools, extend the priorities four years to better align with the Nation Program Manager Guidance. The memo goes on to indicate EPA plans to remove at least three of the NEI’s and return them to the core programs. These include preventing animal waste from contaminating surface and ground water, keeping raw sewage and contaminated stormwater out of the nation’s waters, and reducing air pollution from the largest sources. The memo also includes a schedule for the selection of the FY2020-FY2023 NCI Selection with State and Tribal Engagement. A copy of the memo can be found here.
Maui Appeals 9th Circuit Decision to Supreme Court
This week, the County of Maui petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Hawaii Wildlife Fund v. City of Maui issued earlier this year. The case involves the issue of direct hydrologic connection. In the case, a County of Maui wastewater treatment facility’s holding wells leaked into the Pacific Ocean via groundwater. The Ninth Circuit held that the discharge to groundwater that eventually led to a jurisdictional water violated the Clean Water Act. The court established a new test stating that for a discharge of pollutants to groundwater to violate the CWA, (1) there must be a discharge of pollutants from a point source, (2) the pollutants must be “fairly traceable” from a point source to a navigable water such that the discharge is the functional equivalent of a discharge into a navigable water, and (3) the pollutant levels reaching a navigable water are more than de minimis.
EPA Pilots NPDES Notification
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is piloting an effort to improve compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit effluent limits through an automated notification system. This innovative system alerts by e-mail the person who signed and submitted a Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) to EPA’s NetDMR system any week a DMR was submitted that shows a new effluent limit exceedance. The pilot began in July 2018 with three EPA-run state programs (MA, NH and ID), and one state-run program (MD) participating.
EPA plans to collaborate with states to develop this system as an innovative way to promote faster return to compliance. Before making the service more widely available to other states, EPA is working to test how email notifications affect the level of compliance with effluent permit limits and plans to expand the scope of the pilot by sending notices to DMR submitters in additional states during fall 2018. The participation of additional states is necessary to be confident about the effect of email notifications on compliance. If proven effective, the notification system would become available as a regular feature of the NPDES compliance and enforcement program to encourage facilities to return to compliance. EPA will be briefing interested states on the next steps for getting involved. To register interest in the project, please contact Mr. Carey Johnston (firstname.lastname@example.org).
State Feedback on Data Completeness Dashboard
The 2015 NPDES Electronic Reporting rule (“NPDES eRule”) identified the minimum set of NPDES program data that must be collected or generated by authorized NPDES programs (see Appendix A to 40 CFR part 127). In order to help states more easily understand existing data gaps in ICIS-NPDES for these “Appendix A” data, EPA is in the earliest stages of expanding the existing “NPDES eRule Readiness and Data Completeness Dashboard.” EPA would like to get early input from states before it builds out new capabilities to the dashboard. EPA can provide a webinar demonstration of the working proto-type so that states can provide this early feedback to EPA’s developers. The proto-type will provide status updates for the following data:
- Facility Latitude and Longitude
- Effluent Limitations Guidelines
- Permit Application Received Dates (Initial or Complete)
- Permit Application Total Design Flow or Total Actual Average Flow (POTW only)
- Permitted Feature Latitude and Longitude
- Permitted Feature Receiving Waterbody
- SIC or NAICS code (one or both)
EPA’s current plans are to incorporate initial feedback from states into the proto-type and then publish the dashboard to ECHO Gov (only available to EPA and states). Please send an email to Carey Johnston (email@example.com) if you would like to provide early feedback on the prototype dashboard.
ASDWA and EPA Hold Webinar on NWQI/Source Water Protection Linkages
ASDWA and EPA recently held a webinar on the linkages between the EPA/NRCS National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) and Source Water Protection. You can view the archived webinar on ASDWA’s website here.
Stakeholder Roundtable on Peak Wet Weather Flows
ACWA and State members will participate at an EPA’s Stakeholder Roundtable in Washington, DC on Septemeber 13, 2018. This Roundtable is intended to gather early input on a yet to be proposed peak wet weather flow blending rule. The following states will be represented at the meeting: OH, AR, WA, IA, and VA. Other stakeholder groups invited include municipalities, environmental groups, states, tribes, and public health officials. The meeting will focus on public health concerns, operational practices, and emerging technologies. EPA announced three public listening sessions that will occur this fall.
- October 16, 2018
9:00 a.m. EDT until all registered participants have spoken or 2:00 p.m. EDT
EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC
- October 24, 2018
9:00 a.m. EDT until all registered participants have spoken or 2:00 p.m. EDT
EPA Region 7 Office in Lenexa, Kansas
- October 30, 2018
Online Listening Session
11:00 a.m. EDT until all registered participants have spoken or 4:00 p.m. EDT
More details regarding this rulemaking can be found here.
2018 National CAFO Roundtable
Please Note: The field trip is now at full capacity. If you are not attending the field trip, please make travel plans accordingly.
The 2018 National CAFO Roundtable will be held in Boise, Idaho from Tuesday, September 25 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. Please direct all meeting registration questions to Katie Foreman.
November Nutrients Permitting Workshop
The next 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop will be held Tuesday, November 6 to Thursday, November 8, 2018 in Gulfport, Mississippi at the Courtyard Marriott Gulfport Beachfront, 1600 East Beach Blvd., Gulfport, 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 draft agenda is available here. It is subject to change.
For more information on the meeting, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
Multi-Committee Call on EPA’s “How’s My Waterway?” Tool
Thursday, September 6 from 3-4:30 pm ET
For more information contact Julian Gonzalez.
Legal Affairs Committee Quarterly Call
Thursday, September 13 from 2-3:00 pm ET
For agenda and call-in information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.