Broad Coalition Sends Letter to EPA on Sec. 401
ACWA joined a broad coalition of regional and national organizations in writing to the Office of Water about potential changes to state authority under sec. 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The coalition includes WGA, WSWC, NCSL, ASWM, COG, COG West, AFWA, Conference of Western Attorneys General and the Western Interstate Energy Board. The letter calls on EPA to reject any changes to sec. 401 authority that would preempt states’ CWA authority. The letter also calls on the Agency to engage in a thorough and collaborative engagement process with state officials before moving forward with any proposed reforms.
ACWA Participates in CWA 404(g) Rulemaking Pre-Proposal Meeting at EPA
EPA convened a cross section of leadership and staff from various state agencies including several ACWA members on Thursday, December 6th, for an all-day meeting to discuss state concerns and ideas regarding rulemaking to facilitate state assumption of section 404 permitting programs. Julia Anastasio and Julian Gonzalez attended on behalf of ACWA as observers (along with representatives from ECOS and ASWM). EPA recently included a 404(g) rulemaking on their most recent official Federal Regulatory Agenda as a “Long Term Action” with a goal of initiating rulemaking in 2020. This consultation with states is the latest in a years-long series of developments beginning with the Federal Advisory Committee Act subcommittee on Assumable Waters several years ago at the request of several associations including ACWA.
The December 6th meeting included both explanatory sessions by EPA defining issues they wanted more information on, as well as brainstorming sessions where states provided perspectives to EPA staff on issues including the scope of assumption, costs and benefits analysis, partial assumption, enforcement and compliance issues, and more. For additional information contact Julian Gonzalez.
Congress Extends Continuing Resolution, Avoiding Shutdown
Congress extended the current continuing resolution (CR), which was set to expire on December 7th. The new CR will expire on December 21st. The EPA will continue to be funded at the same levels for the next two weeks. It is unclear whether the Congress will be able to complete the six outstanding appropriations bills by the 21st.
EPA & USDA Issue Engagement Agreement on Nutrients
This week, EPA and USDA sent a letter to all state environmental and agricultural agencies recommitting to working collaboratively on programs to reduce nutrient pollution. EPA – in partnership with USDA – is encouraging increased engagement and a re-invigoration of state, tribal and federal efforts to reduce excess nutrients in waterways, with a focus on market-based and other collaborative pollutant reduction approaches. The Agencies are committed to working with federal agencies, states, tribes and stakeholders such as agricultural producers, wastewater and drinking water service providers, and conservation organizations, to develop solutions tailored to the needs of specific communities and watersheds.
Registration Open for 11th National Monitoring Conference
The National Water Quality Monitoring Council has announced that registration is now open for their 11th National Monitoring Conference. Registration and hotel information is available here. Register before February 15 to receive a discount on your registration.
The conference will be March 25–29, 2019 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, in Denver, Colorado. All water stakeholders—including federal, state, tribal and local water professionals, nonprofits, academia, and volunteer citizen scientists—are welcome at this national forum. Conference themes include:
- Water Quality Prediction: State of the Art and Future Directions
- Emerging Risks in Water Quality
- Monitoring Water Across a Changing Hydrologic Cycle
- Tools to Mine, Share, and Visualize Water Quality Data
- Innovative Designs and Technology for Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment
- Holistic Water Quality Monitoring: Exploring Chemical, Physical and Biological Integrity
- Effective Monitoring Collaborations and Partnerships
- Measuring Effectiveness of Management Actions, Improvement, and Restoration Activities
- Monitoring and Assessment to Protect Human and Ecosystem Health
Presentations from 2018 National Nonpoint Source Training Workshop available Online
The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) has made available the presentations from their 2018 National Nonpoint Source Training Workshop, hosted with EPA in early November in Colorado Springs. You can access them on the workshop page, here, and webinar recordings will be available in the coming weeks.
EPA Modeling Webinar: Reservoir Eutrophication Models
EPA’s Water Quality Modeling Workgroup is hosting a series of webinars to help water quality professionals better understand surface water quality modeling and how models can be used to solve common problems that face water quality regulators. The webinars are focused on modeling as it applies to the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), Standards, and Water Quality Permitting Programs, but they are applicable to a wide range of audiences.
The Wisconsin River watershed is impaired by significant phosphorus loadings which contribute to eutrophication and algal overgrowths. This webinar will give an overview of eutrophication models for three reservoirs on the Wisconsin River that were the focal points of a basin-wide total maximum daily load (TMDL) for total phosphorus (TP). A generalized additive (regression) model was used to evaluate chlorophyll response to TP and to identify site-specific TP criteria that will meet numeric chlorophyll targets to support recreational uses. A TP mass-balance model with empirical estimates of sedimentation and release was then used to estimate external loading to meet the reservoir TP criteria. The webinar will discuss alternative models considered, with a focus on data requirements, complexity, and the endpoints required for management planning.
AEMI Stakeholder Engagement Meeting: Setting Priorities
On Monday, ACWA staff attended a Stakeholder Engagement Meeting hosted by the Alliance for Environmental Markets and Investments (AEMI). This alliance works to connect, convene, and collaborate across all environmental markets. The purpose of the meeting was to identify different opportunities for investors to connect individual markets to build strength to each and the sum of all, and to identify impediments to organizational growth and/or operation to set the priorities for the organization as it moves forward. For more on AEMI visit their website at aemi.org.
**SAVE THE DATE**
ACWA 2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop will be held September 17-19, 2019 in Washington, DC. This meeting is intended to help support states and EPA to showcase permit writer innovations, assist with analysis of training, guidance, tools, and other support material needs, improve administrative efficiencies, clarify roles and responsibilities, build stronger linkages to WQS & TMDLs, modernize permit terms and data management, discuss program performance measures, and identify program areas where targeted technical assistance would be most beneficial. For more information, contact Sean Rolland or see our website.
The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Bureau of Water Supply Protection (BWSP) are seeking diplomatic and highly organized candidates for a Program Manager to conduct, or oversee the conduct of, investigations on matters such as source water assessment and protection, water storage, treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment and discharge, point-source and non-point source pollution, permitting, or other compliance and regulatory issues. Refer to www.neiwpcc.org for full position description. To apply, submit cover letter, resume, and brief writing sample by January 11, 2019 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference 19-NYS-SW-DOH-001 in the email subject line. No phone calls please.
And be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.
Water Resource Management Committee Call
Monday, December 17, 2-3:30 pm EST
Contact Julian Gonzalez for more information
Watersheds Committee Call
Thursday, December 20, 3-4:30 pm EST
Contact Julian Gonzalez for more information