ACWA Comments on WOTUS and Federalism
ACWA submitted a comment letter to EPA as part of EPA’s federally mandated “federalism outreach” for beginning a rulemaking to repeal the prior administration’s clean water rule and replace it with a rule defining “waters of the United States” in a manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Scalia in Rapanos v. United States (2006). ACWA convened a workgroup weekly for the past 2 months to discuss questions posed to states by EPA on potential definitions for terms like “relatively permanent” and “continuous surface connection” (both terms were central to Justice Scalia’s opinion) as well as other implications of changing the definition of “waters of the U.S.”. The workgroup contributed significantly to the crafting of the ACWA comments. The letter touches on those aforementioned terms, on Scalia’s opinion generally, and most of all on the importance of continuous consultation with state experts as the rulemaking process continues. You can read the ACWA comment letter here.
EPA POTW Study – State POTW Emails
Last year, EPA initiated a new study to evaluate nutrient removal at POTWs with secondary treatment. The goals of the study are to establish a nationwide baseline for nutrient removal at municipal wastewater treatment plants and to characterize low-cost options, such as operation and management practices, that result in improved nutrient control at POTWs with secondary treatment. EPA announced plans to conduct a census of POTWs as the first step in this study.
ACWA offered to assist EPA in this effort by providing email addresses for permitted POTWs in each state. Therefore, we hereby ask states to contact the proper parties in their offices to pull the email addresses for permitted POTWs and provide them to EPA in a single document. Please email the information to EPA at email@example.com and cc ACWA’s Mark Patrick McGuire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send this information by Friday, July 28. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Mark Patrick McGuire at 202-756-0604 or email@example.com.
EPA POTW Study – Webinar
On Thursday, June 22, EPA held a public webinar on the first phase of EPA’s study to evaluate nutrient removal at POTWs with secondary treatment. Many people, including an ACWA workgroup, reviewed the draft questionnaire and provided EPA with comments. The comments and questions to the draft questionnaire were addressed. The revised questionnaire was converted into an on-line electronic format. On the webinar, EPA provided an update on the questionnaire, specifically focusing on the content and electronic format. For more information on the study, go here.
NPDES eReporting Rule Readiness Dashboards
This week EPA hosted a webcast for the states to share the status of the “NPDES eRule Readiness and Data Completeness Dashboards.” The NPDES eReporting rule has a milestone action item that requires EPA to complete initial assessment of participation rate of for Phase I implementation. For the initial assessment, EPA is evaluating the percentage of individually permitted facilities that do not have limits data in ICIS-NPDES. These dashboards are currently visible in ECHO GOV and by mid-July EPA plans to publish the dashboard to the public version of ECHO. EPA has offered to help states clean up any simple data quality issues and is also planning to post any data caveats or other information, along with the dashboard that the states believe would be helpful. Please contact Mr. Carey Johnston (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
New MS4 Permit Compendium Series
EPA released a set of MS4 permits that identified different ways of implementing TMDLs in MS4 permits. EPA has released a new compendium of MS4 permits that include water quality-based requirements for specific pollutant parameters, including pesticides, metals, mercury, pH, temperature, oil and grease, trash, DDT, PCBs, marine debris, acid mine drainage, nutrients, sediment, pathogens, dissolved oxygen, and chloride, that are consistent with approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and protecting designated uses.
EPA reviewed existing state and EPA permits and identified different ways of implementing TMDLs through quantitative requirements or pollutant-specific management measures, or a combination of both. EPA obtained examples of how permitting authorities measured the progress of implementation of water quality-based requirements through review and approval of implementation plans, monitoring/modeling, and reporting requirements. EPA also included examples of water quality-based requirements related to discharges to impaired waters without approved TMDLs.
This compendium is third in the MS4 Permit Compendium series. These compendia feature examples from existing MS4 permits of clear, specific and measurable requirements:
Response On-The-Go Mobile App Available
EPA’s Response On-The-Go Mobile Application provides users with real-time access to valuable tools and response information including location-based hazardous weather updates, interactive maps and charts from the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and EPA Incident Action Checklists that outline disaster-specific response actions. During hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages and other emergencies, water utility personnel and first line responders must ensure that they are coordinating closely with stakeholders, maintaining awareness of threats to the water system and surrounding community, and documenting response actions. The App can be downloaded for free for use on a variety mobile devices and tablets. For more information, visit their website.
Monitoring, Standards, and Assessment Call Recap
The Monitoring Standards and Assessment Committee held their June call on the 21st. Lori Sprague and Brian Pellerin joined the call to discuss the NAWQA’s long term water trends map as well as continuous nutrient monitoring. Lori and Brian highlighted ways in which states can get involved in these national programs. For more information or copies of the presentations please contact Frances Bothfeld.
Connecting for a Cleaner Anacostia River
On Wednesday, June 21, the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and the National Park Service (NPS) held the first in a series of conversations regarding the health of the Anacostia River. Tetra Tech provided data from an ecological and human health risk assessment, to analyze whether river contaminants pose a current or potential risk if no action is taken. Hazardous chemicals and substances found include pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins, arsenic, as well as concentrations of mercury found in samples of fish scales. The data will be used to devise a strategy as part of the Anacostia River Sediment Project, an effort to clean up the river. As the project moves towards the remedial action phase, the DOEE is looking to meet safety objectives including a reduction in the concentration of chemicals and prevention of health risks to swimmers and fishers. While the first meeting was aimed at environmental experts, community organizations, and civic leaders, the series will continue to include community members and stakeholders in effected areas. The next meeting will be held in early October. For more on the Anacostia River Sediment Project, go here.