Save the Date! October NPDES Program Managers Meeting
The 2017 National NPDES Program Mangers Meeting will take place October 31 – November 1, 2017 in Silver Spring, Maryland at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center. For more details on this meeting please go to ACWA’s website.
Save the Date! November Variances Workshop
ACWA will be holding a Variances workshop with the EPA November 16 – 17, 2017 in Washington, DC at the Morrison-Clark Inn. Please contact Frances Bothfeld if you are interested in attending. For more information, please visit the webpage, which will be periodically updated.
Save the Date! December Nutrients Permitting Workshop
ACWA’s Nutrients Permitting Workshop will take place December 5-7, 2017 in Boise, Idaho at the Riverside Hotel. For room reservations, contact the Riverside Hotel at 1-888-606-0563 or 1-208-343-1871 and ask for the Nutrient Permitting Meeting group rate. To view the extremely bare bones agenda, go here. ACWA is currently forming a Planning Committee for the Workshop, if you are interested in joining, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
EPA publishes WOTUS Repeal in Federal Register
On Thursday, EPA published the proposed rule “Definition of “Waters of the United States”-Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules“, also known as “step 1” of the WOTUS repeal-and-replace strategy, in the Federal Register. ACWA previously sent out a pre-publication version of the rule released by EPA, but now you can access the official federal register notice here. As ACWA has mentioned before, this proposed rule would repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule and reset the “Waters of the US” definition to what it was prior to the 2015 rule.
Notably, this means that the official comment period on the rule has now been initiated. It is open for comment until August 28, 2017. ACWA is working to draft a comment letter, and if you have any thoughts you would like us to consider please do not hesitate to let us know by emailing Julian at firstname.lastname@example.org, or emailing Julia at email@example.com.
EPA Releases Summary Findings on Wetlands Loss Assessment
This document describes the results from the wetlands loss assessment that EPA has conducted in four different coastal watersheds over the past couple of years by the Interagency Coastal Wetlands Work Group (ICWWG). The four watersheds studied are San Francisco, CA, Galveston, TX, Cape Fear, NC, and Tampa, FL between 1996-2010. This study identified the main drivers of wetlands loss to be intense development pressure, silvicultural drainage practices, and insufficient restored wetland acres to offset wetland acres lost in coastal watersheds. The full summary can be found here.
The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge
On Thursday, July 27, a federal partnership announced a technology-accelerating water quality challenge to demonstrate how nutrient sensors can be used by states and local communities to help manage nutrient pollution. Teams will compete for $150K in cash prizes by demonstrating effective use of low-cost continuous nutrient sensors and how collected data can be part of state and local decision-making. As a key player in helping to address the nutrient pollution problem, your involvement in this challenge is encouraged. Please share this opportunity with your colleagues.
The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge is a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Institute of Science and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. Joining the federal collaboration is the Alliance for Coastal Technologies.
Details of the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge are here. Stage 1 of the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge closes on September 20, 2017. An informational webinar for the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge will take place August 2, 2017 at 2 pm ET. The webinar is open to anyone interested in learning more about the Challenge. For more information, go here.
Compliance Assistance Tools for EPA’s Construction Stormwater Program
As part of EPA’s compliance assistance for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) construction stormwater program, EPA created a “Do I Need A Permit?” flow chart to help construction operators determine if and from whom they need to get NPDES permit coverage for their construction activities. EPA also updated the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) template and Inspection and Corrective Action Report templates for the new 2017 Construction General Permit (CGP). These fillable templates help construction site operators develop a SWPPP and prepare inspection and corrective action reports that meet the requirements of EPA’s 2017 CGP. The templates are available on the construction stormwater website under the “Resources, Tools, and Templates” section and can also be found directly below:
Inspection Report template:
- Field Version of the Inspection Report Template (Word Version) – Formatted to be used in the field and filled out by hand
- Electronic Version of the Inspection Report Template (Word Version) – Formatted to be filled out electronically and includes text fields that direct you to populate the form with your site-specific information.
Corrective Action Report template:
- Field Version of the Corrective Action Report Form (Word Version) – Formatted to be used in the field and filled out by hand.
- Electronic Version of the Corrective Action Report Form (Word Version) – Formatted to be filled out electronically and includes text fields that direct you to populate the form with your site-specific information.
If you have any questions about these resources or the NPDES construction stormwater program, please contact Emily Halter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-564-3324.
Monetizing 316(b) Benefits
This week, the Cooling Water Steam Electric Workgroup hosted a call that focused on how to calculate biological benefits, with specific focus on the Cooling Water Intake Structure Rule. Topics covered on the call included the rule requirements, categories of benefits, estimating annual losses, modeling effects, biological benefits, use and non-use benefits, biological baselines, market and recreational characterizations, harvest vs. catch-and-release considerations, forage fish value, methodological challenges, the concept of benefits transfer, unique biological gains and loss prevention, and appropriate treatment of uncertainty. Presenters were Mr. William Dey, President and a Principal Scientist with ASA Analysis & Communication, Inc., an environmental consulting firm that specializes in providing §316(a) and (b) services, and Dr. David Harrison, Managing Director at NERA Economic Consulting, a global firm of approximately 500 economists in more than 20 offices in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on the Cooling Water Steam Electric Workgroup please contact Sean Rolland.
Congratulations on Retirement, Betsy!
This week, EPA’s Betsy Southerland, Director of the Office of Science and Technology in the Office of Water retired. In her 20+ year career with the EPA Office of Water, Betsy oversaw numerous major initiatives and regulatory programs for water quality protection. ACWA thanks Betsy for her work with the states and interstates over the years and wishes her all the best in retirement.