2017 National NPDES Program Managers Meeting – Registration is Live!
The 2017 National NPDES Program Managers Meeting will take place October 31 – November 1, 2017 in Silver Spring, Maryland at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center. Please contact the facility by phone to lock down your hotel stay at (202) 645-4000. Also, please be sure to register for the meeting online. For the latest information on the agenda and more details on this meeting please go to ACWA’s website. If you have any questions regarding this meeting please contact Sean Rolland.
ACWA Outlines WOTUS Engagement Expectations
This week, ACWA wrote to EPA Administrator Pruitt and Douglas Lamont with the Army Corps of Engineers urging the agencies to work directly with state water quality program directors as they develop a new WOTUS rule. In the letter, we urge EPA to continue to take advantage of the expertise and experience of ACWA’s members by working directly with us as the proposed rule is drafted. Specifically, we ask that EPA provide at least an early draft of regulatory text, or options with sufficient detail, for our workgroup members to give EPA useful and specific feedback on the new rule. Providing this information to state surface water program directors would be tremendously beneficial for EPA, as our members are uniquely qualified to evaluate the regulatory text in terms of technical details, implementation challenges and barriers, and unintended consequences. This type of dialogue is much better suited to the Administration’s stated goals than a perfunctory exchange shortly before a proposed rule is published, due to the opportunity to have actual substantive dialogue with states over the course of several meetings, allowing for a thorough consideration of the mechanics of the rule by co-regulators working together. The letter is available here.
Funding & Congressional Relations Committee Holds Call
The ACWA Funding & Congressional Relations Committee, chaired by Shellie Chard (OK), met this week and were provided updates on legislative and regulatory developments. Members of the committee were provided an update on the three (3) month Continuing Resolution agreement that was reached to keep the government funded through December and on the recently passed House FY18 Budget and the outlook for FY19 Administration Budget proposals. An updated ACWA funding chart is available here. Additionally, members were updated on HR 3043, the Hydropower Modernization Act of 2017, and ACWA’s plans to develop ideas for the upcoming Farm Bill debate.
Registration is LIVE for the ACWA Nutrients Permitting Workshop in December
ACWA’s Nutrients Permitting Workshop will take place December 5-7, 2017 in Boise, Idaho at the Riverside Hotel. To register, go here. 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 a draft agenda, go here. For more information, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
Registration Information for the Variance Workshop
The Variance Face-to-Face Workshop will be held November 16 – 17 , 2017 in Washington, DC. The workshop will be a venue for face-to-face information sharing between the state water quality standards staff and the EPA. For more information on this meeting and a draft agenda please see the website, which will be updated periodically. ACWA will be able to provide some travel support for the states. For more information on travel support and to register for this workshop, please contact Frances Bothfeld. The last day to register is October 23, 2017.
ACWA Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker Released to States
On Friday, September 15, ACWA released the first version of the Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker to states. Over the past several years EPA developed tools to measure nutrient pollution reduction progress on a state-by-state basis. However, states expressed concern that the only national metric utilized for demonstrating progress on addressing nutrient pollution was the establishment of nitrogen and phosphorus criteria for lakes, estuaries, and flowing waters. States believed there was a potential for more robust national metrics to demonstrate state actions taken to reduce nutrient loads in conjunction with the development of nutrient criteria. Therefore, over the last three years members of the ACWA/ASDWA/EPA Nutrients Working Group worked to develop a tool to track nutrient reductions in every state. The Tracker is the culmination of that work.
ACWA Creates Farm Bill Workgroup
The 2014 Farm Bill expires in September 2018. Therefore, Congress is now beginning the process of drafting a new bill. As the Farm Bill affects ACWA members in various ways, ACWA is creating a Farm Bill Workgroup to develop ideas and priorities to focus on as Farm Bill discussions heat up in late 2017/early 2018 and continue through 2018. If you are interested in participating in this new Workgroup, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
NAWQA Study: Chloride in U.S. Rivers May Degrade Drinking-Water Quality and Water Infrastructure
A new USGS study was released in August that showed an increase in chloride in U.S. rivers from 1992-2012, which contributes to corrosion in water infrastructure. The increase chloride is attributed to the use of road salt and can lead to increased lead concentration in drinking water, among other issues. For more information, please refer to the study.
Water Quality Trading Case Studies
ACWA is still seeking case studies on water quality trading programs to share on the ACWA website. We are looking for states at various levels of program development to describe their programs/efforts answering questions such as, what are/were the drivers for starting a water quality trading program?; what was the process to get the program created and running?; who are/were the players in the process?; what is the public reception of your program?; what do you hope to achieve with the program?; and what challenges did you face in development and implementation of your program? If your state used or is using The Water Quality Trading Toolkit, please describe your work with it as well. Even if your state/organization is at the beginning of the process, we would still appreciate hearing the status of your efforts. The descriptions need not be longer than a page or two.
If you would like to contribute, please reach out to Mark Patrick McGuire.
IG Report: CAFO Air Emissions
This week, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (IG) released a report recommending that EPA conduct systematic planning for future development of animal agriculture emission estimating methodologies. Based on the results of this planning, EPA should determine whether it can develop emission estimating methodologies of appropriate quality for each of the emission source and pollutant combination. The IG also recommended that if EPA determines that it cannot develop reliable emission estimating methodologies, the Agency should end civil enforcement protections. Should EPA determine that reliable emission estimating methodologies that can be developed, the Agency should establish public milestones for issuing the draft methodologies.
These current protections exist per a 2005 consent agreement between EPA and the animal feeding operations industry, which also fund a National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS). This study was to be used to help EPA develop improved emission estimating methodologies. The NAEMS completed more than 7 years ago at a cost of about $15 million, but EPA has not finalized any emission estimating methodologies for animal feeding operations. The current applicability of requirements to control emissions from individual animal feeding operations remains undetermined, enforcement protections for consent agreement participants have remained in effect longer than anticipated, and a number of agency actions on animal feeding operation emissions continued to be on hold. A copy of the report can be found here.
Where to Put the Water: Assessing the Vulnerability of Urban Stormwater Systems to a Changing Climate
This week, ACWA staff and several states participated on a NOAA webinar that provided a case study for assessing urban stormwater vulnerability. Michael Simpson with Antioch University New England discussed Minneapolis, MN and Victoria, MN as case studies for how one might conduct urban stormwater vulnerability assessments when considering increased frequency and duration of extreme precipitation events. As part of this effort, the presenter discussed structured approaches on how to complete urban stormwater vulnerability assessment, the data that is required to conduct such an assessment, options that may be available in highly-built urban landscapes to mitigate impacts from run-off, what adaptive management really means when talking about built infrastructure, and understanding of comparative costs for mitigation in the context of avoided damage costs. Options for building resilience into the system was also discussed, along with a cost associated when planning for uncertainty. The presentation also discussed examples of how low-impact development and green infrastructure can be used to mitigate projected impacts. For more information on these types of topics go here.
ACWA Watersheds Committee Call
Thursday, September 28, 2017, 3:00 – 4:30 pm Eastern
For call-in information and agenda information, contact Julian Gonzalez.
ACWA Legal Affairs Committee Quarterly Call
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern
For call-in information and agenda information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.