ACWA 2017 Water Quality Trading Workshop
On June 27, 2017, ACWA is hosting a Workshop in Washington, DC on water quality trading. The Workshop will be a venue for information sharing between the states with various levels of involvement in water quality trading, including states with robust programs, states in the process of starting programs, and states looking to learn more about trading. The goal of the Workshop is to establish open lines of communication between practitioners nationwide. Lodging is available at the Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/U.S. Capitol, 1225 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. To make a reservation, call 877-782-9444 or go here. Please inform the hotel that you are attending the ACWA Water Quality Trading Workshop and will be using the per diem rate. Reservations must be made by JUNE 2, 2017. For more information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
ACWA Submits Comments on Regulatory Reform
May 15, 2017 was the deadline for comments on Executive Order 13777, Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. ACWA submitted a 3 page comment letter which emphasized the need to jointly prioritize any regulatory review actions with state water quality programs, the importance of regulatory flexibility for states to effectively implement the Clean Water Act, the removal of outdated processes or requirements, unfunded mandates, and the importance of sound science and preventing water quality backsliding. The comments are not currently available on regulations.gov, but should be posted in the coming days under comment tracking number 1k1-8wej-1a5o. For more information, contact Julian Gonzalez.
ACWA Collecting State Comments on Regulatory Reform
ACWA is collecting any state submissions to the comment docket concerning Executive Order 13777, Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. Several state staff have provided us with copies of state comment letters: AL, KY, MN, OK, SD, and IA. If you are not in one of those states and are aware of a comment letter submitted by your state, we ask that you please get in touch with Patrick McGuire. While ACWA submitted a broad letter on important considerations for EPA regulatory reform, we are very interested in specific programs, regulations, guidance, etc., which other states believe can be improved, as well as states’ concerns on ways that regulatory reform could backfire and harm environmental progress.
Legal Affairs Committee Call Recap
On Thursday, May 18, 2017, ACWA’s Legal Affairs Committee held its quarterly call. On the call, Attorney Derek Teaney of the Appalachian Mountain Advocates in West Virginia presented on two recent cases. The first case, OVEC v. Fola, dealt with narrative standards in NPDES permits in West Virginia. Attorney Teaney discussed the Fourth Circuit decision, providing background and explaining the plaintiffs’ arguments in the case. The second case, OVEC v. Pruitt (formerly OVEC v. McCarthy) dealt with TMDLs for conductivity in West Virginia. Attorney Teaney discussed the Southern District Court of West Virginia’s decision and the concept of “constructive submission.” The next Legal Affairs Committee call is September 14. Contact Mark Patrick McGuire for more information.
This week ACWA’s Stormwater Workgroup hosted a webcast with Dr. Arthur McGarity from Swarthmore College. Dr. McGarity shared some of the research on testing the idea that quantifiable benefit functions can be developed to optimize investments in green infrastructure, in the context of community-based urban stormwater implementation. The research includes methodologies for delineating zones of green infrastructure and assessing a range of attributes influencing performance, benefits, and costs of GI practices. They have developed an app, called StormWISE, that is intended to help with decision making by visually showing the tradeoffs that can be made to maximize benefit for certain investment levels. For more information on this initiative, please contact Art McGarity at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NPDES Permit and Groundwater
On May 15, 2017 the town of Marion, Massachusetts filed an appeal with the EPA’s Environmental Appeal Board to remand portions of the recently issued permit requesting that Region 1 be directed to remove conditions in the permit associated with sewage sludge lagoon. The town is claiming the NPDES Permit exceeds federal authority in attempting to regulate ground water impacts. This is the first time an EPA permit has been challenged by a permittee on this issue. The town claims EPA erred by failing to substantiate the claims that the lagoon was leaching significant amounts of nitrogen into a local waterway via groundwater contamination. EPA also wrongly determined that placement of sludge in the lagoon constituted sludge disposal, that the lagoons were now viewed as not part of the exempt treatment facilities, and the agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously.
Monitoring Standards and Assessment Committee Call Recap
The MSA committee held their monthly call on May 17, 2017. On the call, EPA Office of Standards and Technology discussed the states’ comments on Chapter 3 of the WQS Handbook. The EPA is grateful for the State’s input and has amended the Handbook accordingly. This was followed by a walkthrough of the new HABS swimming advisory support material for recreational water managers. The materials were sent out to the states for review, which is due by May 25, 2017. For more information, please contact Frances Bothfeld.