ACWA’s New Website is Live!
After several months of planning and work, ACWA staff is pleased to announce that our new ACWA website is live! For the first time, you can access ACWA’s website on your desktop and mobile devices! We have designed the website to serve as a one-stop shop for easy access to all of ACWA’s focus areas, committees, recent documents, events, the Weekly Wrap and leadership. If you have trouble loading the new site, please try clearing out your cookies and caches.
Assumable Waters Subcommittee Final Report Transmittal
The Assumable Waters Subcommittee to the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT) official submitted their final report to Administrator Pruitt for consideration. You can see the transmittal letter here, and see the final report here.
In a 2014 letter to U.S. EPA, three state associations requested the EPA to provide clarity on the question of over which waters a state or tribe may assume Clean Water Act section 404 permitting authority. In response, and for the purpose of making recommendations to EPA on how the agency might provide such clarity, EPA established the Assumable Waters Subcommittee under NACEPT and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Members of the Subcommittee came from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, and local, state and tribal governments. Several ACWA members served on the FACA.
The Subcommittee came to a majority and minority set of recommendations, with all members but the USACE agreeing to the majority recommendations. The majority included numerous state representatives as well as those representing farming, homebuilding, and wildlife interests. The majority recommendation is that those waters over which the USACE retains permitting authority should be identified based upon existing Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 Lists of Navigable Waters and the USACE should retain all wetlands landward to an administrative boundary established during the development of the memorandum of agreement between the state or tribe and the USACE, with a 300-foot national administrative boundary as a default. The USACE did not agree with the majority recommendation and recommends that they retain all section 10 waters as defined by the Rivers and Harbors Act, plus all CWA (a)(1) Traditionally Navigable Waters (TNWs). Additionally, the USACE recommends that the USACE retains all adjacent wetlands regardless of furthest reach.
ACWA will continue to work with EPA as they consider this report and potentially take steps to implement the report. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.
EPA and State Workgroup release WQX Nutrients Best Practices Guide
The Water Quality eXchange (WQX) Nutrient Best Practices Guide, created by EPA in collaboration with USGS and WQX state partners, will guide your organization when submitting nutrient data to WQX and help you address other metadata issues. This guide will also make submitting nutrient data sets more user-friendly, promote consistency when submitting data and remove confusion and ambiguity for secondary data users. The guide can be accessed here.
EPA Reviews Letters of Interest for WIFIA Loans
EPA announced this week that the WIFIA program received 40 letters of interest from prospective borrowers in communities across 19 states, including AK, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, ME, MD, MA, MI, MO, NE, PA, TN, WA and WI. The legislation creating the WIFIA program provided a “right of first refusal” for state revolving fund programs as part of the process. As such, EPA has informed the revolving loan fund programs in the 19 states of these prospective projects so that SRF programs can decide if they would like to fund the project under the state’s SRF program. EPA is currently evaluating project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility, and alignment with WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria. Through this competitive process, EPA will select projects that it intends to fund and invite them to continue to the application process this summer. For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.
ACWA Water Quality Trading Workshop
The Workshop will take place Tuesday, June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC and will be a venue for face-to-face 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. To view the Workshop agenda, go here. Lodging is now closed at the Hilton Garden Inn, however, there are other lodging options available in the area and registration for the Workshop is still open. For more information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
Cyanotoxins in Freshwater Systems Webinar
On Tuesday, June 6, EPA held a webinar entitled Tools for Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Freshwater Systems. The webinar focused on various EPA tools and resources that can be used by public water systems, state environment and health agencies, tribes, and local governments who may benefit from the use of these tools to manage cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in drinking and recreational water. The webinar was recorded and can be viewed here.
This week EPA, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) requested a 120-day extension for initial filing to “allow the parties to engage in negotiations to explore whether this matter can be resolved without the need for adjudication.” The EPA construction general permit (CGP) being challenged became effective February 16, 2017 and applies to construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land, or smaller areas that are as part of a development that disturb one or more acres of land. While EPA’s permit is only directly binding in Massachusetts, Idaho, New Hampshire, New Mexico and the District of Columbia, the CGP is a model that other states may choose to follow. One important legal issue being raised by NAHB relates to the permit creating “joint liability” among several construction firms working onsite. While the legal arguments have not yet been submitted to the court, CBF has traditionally pushed for increased transparency, greater reporting requirements, stronger permit controls, application to smaller disturbances (< than 1 acre), and short periods when stockpiles/debris can remain uncovered (<14 days). We will keep you updated as more details are provided.
Monitoring Standards and Assessment Committee Holds Webinar on Variances with the EPA
The EPA and ACWA co-hosted a webinar on tools for the enacting variances. ACWA has worked with the EPA to facilitate the adoption of variances by promoting the WQS Variance Decision Tool. This webinar was the first in a series of a conversations to help states take advantage of variances. This will end in a face-to-face meeting in the fall. For more information please contact Frances Bothfeld.