EPA Sends Phase I of Final NPDES Updates Rule to OMB for Review
On October 9, 2018 EPA sent Phase I of the NPDES Updates Rule to the Office of Management and Budget. EPA initially proposed (May 18, 2016) to update the NPDES regulations in order to eliminate inconsistencies between regulations and application forms, improve permit documentation and transparency, and provide clarifications to the existing regulations. EPA has indicated the plan to divide the rule into two phases. Phase I is moving quickly and will likely include definitional updates, application requirements for vessels and pesticides, updated application forms, and revised public notice requirements to allow for web based notification. Phase II is still early in development but could include updates related to effluent limit bases–max daily/average monthly for POTWs, reasonable potential, conflicts of interest, §401 certification, antibacksliding, and antidegradation. We do not currently expect to see the proposed updates for fact sheets or objection to administratively continued permits in either phase of the rulemaking. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register at: https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-11265.
- Proposed: May 18, 2016
- Extended Comment Deadline: Aug. 2, 2016
- Submitted for OMB Review: October 9, 2018
- Phase I Final: Likely December 2018
EPA Seeks Input Managing Excess Flows
EPA is hosting three public listening sessions to seek input on a rulemaking effort intended to provide greater certainty regarding management of peak wet weather flows at municipal wastewater treatment plants. As part of the announcement, EPA highlighted the years of experience individual cities, states, tribes, and utilities have managing wet weather challenges associated with POTW operations. The public listening sessions will be held:
October 16, 2018, 9am local time; EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
October 24, 2018, 9am local time; EPA Region 7 in Lenexa, Kansas
October 30, 2018, 11am EDT; online listening session
For more information on this rulemaking effort please click here.
The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) recently announced a new technical-regulatory guidance document titled Stormwater Best Management Practices Performance Evaluation. This document offers details on post-construction best management practice (BMP) lifecycle processes including contracting, cost consideration, construction challenges, inspection checklists, quality control, and record drawings. Data and information from existing publicly available BMP performance programs have been incorporated into an online BMP Screening Tool. Using site-specific pollutant treatment requirements and installation considerations, the tool identifies potentially suitable BMPs for a given site conditions.
Congress Passes America’s Water Infrastructure Act
On 10/10/18, Congress passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act (S. 3021) by a margin of 99-1. You can read the Senate Environment and Public Works committee press release here. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law shortly. The bill, which provides funding for a host of water infrastructure initiatives, expands water storage, assist local communities in compliance initiatives, and more. The bill authorizes $6 billion in funding for US Army Corps work on ports, harbors, and waterways. Notably, the bill also re-authorized the DW SRF at rising levels for three years, reauthorized WIFIA through FY21. For more information, contact Julian Gonzalez.
ITRC Releases Fact Sheet on Aqueous Fire Fighting Foam
The Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) added an Aqueous Fire Fighting Foam Fact Sheet to their repository of PFAS related fact sheets. This fact sheet summarizes the latest science and emerging technologies and is meant to be a resource for local, state and federal regulators. The fact sheet provides useful information on how to properly identify, handle, store, capture, collect, manage, and dispose of AFFF.
Senate Delays Vote on Incidental Discharge Act
The Senate delayed a vote on the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act (S. 1129) which contains the Commercial Incidental Discharge Act (CVIDA) to November 13th. ACWA wrote a letter in opposition to CVIDA in the past because it preempts state authority o protect state waters from harmful invasive species and water pollution discharged from vessels. If you have any question or concerns regarding CVIDA please contact Frances Bothfeld.
EPA Holds Public Hearing on Oil and Gas Wastewater Study
On Tuesday, October 9, EPA held a public hearing on the Agency’s study of oil and gas extraction wastewater management. The study’s purpose is to take a holistic look at how EPA, states, tribes and stakeholders regulate and manage wastewater from the oil and gas industry, also known as produced water.
At the hearing, EPA explained the findings of the study so far and allowed for oral comment. Based on feedback from the public meeting and other discussions with stakeholders, EPA plans to develop a white paper discussing policy options by early 2019. The Office of Water plans to make a decision by the middle of next year on whether to amend its effluent rules for onshore oil and gas extraction to allow for increased discharge options. For more information on the study, go here.
USGS Releases Tool for the Health of Midwest Streams
The USGS released an online interactive tool for learning about pesticides, nutrients and the health of Midwest streams. This tool is meant for both resource managers and the public and can be used to better understand the effects of stressors on aquatic health in streams. The tools can be accessed here.
EPA and ACWA Hold Call on Pretreatment of PFAS
On Wednesday, October 10, ACWA and EPA hosted a conference call for state pretreatment coordinators on how Michigan DEQ’s industrial pretreatment program manages PFAS. Michigan DEQ’s Carla Davidson and Anne Tavalire went into great depth discussing DEQ’s efforts to curb PFAS pollution, including limits and targeting monitoring across the state. The presentation prompted a lively discussion. For more information on Michigan’s program, go here and here.
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 using this link, or 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.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hiring the Director of the Water Quality Program position in the Division of Environmental Management. This position will be stationed in the DNR Headquarters in Madison, WI. This position has responsibility to direct and administer all policy, planning, personnel and budget activities associated with Water Quality permitting and compliance programs. Duties include establishing overall Water Quality program objectives and workplans, streamlining policy and procedures as necessary, responding appropriately to proposed federal legislation and encouraging cooperative relationships despite policy disputes. This position will also develop a continuous program to improve regulation and enforcement polices and monitor implementation consistency.
Deadline to apply is October 17, 2018. See the job announcement and information to apply here.
And be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.
Watersheds Committee Call
October 25, 2:30 – 4:00 PM ET
For more information contact Julian Gonzalez.