ACWA’s New Member Portal
This week, ACWA’s new member portal system (Member365) automatically sent out an introductory email to all state and interstate staff in our database. Member365 provides secure access to update your contact information, monitor your membership, register for events, and much, much more. Please double check your spam filter to see if this message was flagged. As part of this initial outreach effort, the email also provided log-in credentials and access to user support materials including how to:
You can access the portal by visiting https://acwa.member365.com. Please be aware that ACWA staff is working with Member365 support to fix some initial launch issues. Therefore, if you did not receive the original message and/or need your credentials resent to you, please contact us at email@example.com and we will try to resolve the matter promptly.
EPA Staff Announcements
EPA made several significant personnel announcements this week. The Office of Water announced that Deborah Nagle was named the Acting Director of the Office of Science and Technology. She will begin in this new position on October 2nd. Many ACWA members have worked with Deborah in her most recent role as the Director of the Water Permits Division. Jeff Lape, who has been serving as the Acting Director of OST since the retirement of Betsy Southerland, will resume his responsibilities as the OST Deputy Director. Marcus Zobrist will serve as the Acting Director of the Water Permits Division after Deborah’s departure. Marcus has spent much of his career in the NPDES program, both in Region 2 and at Headquarters. For much of the past year, Marcus served as the Acting Director of the Ocean and Coastal Protection Division in OWOW. In addition to these Office of Water changes, Administrator Pruitt named New York state assemblyman Pete Lopez as the Region 2 Administrator. Last month, Cathy Stepp, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, was named Acting Regional Administrator in EPA’s Region 7 branch. In addition, Trey Glenn, a business consultant and former director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, was picked to lead the Region 4 branch.
EPA Smart Sectors Program Launch
EPA announced in the Federal Register this week that it was creating the Smart Sectors Program within the Office of Policy. The Smart Sectors program will re-examine how EPA engages with industry in order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, create certainty and predictability and improve the ability of both EPA and industry to conduct long term regulatory planning while also protecting the environment and public health. The program will work with aerospace; agriculture; automotive; cement and concrete; chemical manufacturing; construction; electronics and technology; forestry and paper; iron and steel; oil and gas; ports and shipping; and utilities and power generation. The sectors were selected based on each sector’s potential to improve the environment and public health. Staff level points of contact who are highly knowledgeable about specific industries will be assigned to all sectors. The staff contacts will serve as liaisons among industry trade associations and companies, EPA program and regional offices, state and local governments, and other stakeholder groups. The staff contacts will focus on building relationships and improving customer service, developing additional expertise in each industry’s operations and environmental performance and informing the planning of future policies, regulations, and agency processes.
Pollutant Loading Tool
EPA’s Water Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) Pollutant Loading Tool will be moving to the Enforcement and Compliance History Online website in Fall 2017. The Loading Tool is designed to help users determine who is discharging, what pollutants they are discharging, how much, and where they are discharging. The tool calculates pollutant loadings from permit and DMR data from EPA’s Integrated Compliance Information System for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES) and offers a variety of ways to customize searches. Pollutant loadings are presented as pounds per year and as toxic-weighted pounds per year to account for variations in toxicity among pollutants. The ECHO version of the Loading Tool will have a similar look and feel as the current Loading Tool website, with some usability improvements. Comments and questions can be sent to Rebecca Kane (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Variance Workshop Agenda Released
The detailed draft agenda for the upcoming Variance Workshop was released this week. Topics to be discussed include:
- Streamlining and Improving the State/Tribal WQS Variance Process
- WQS Variance Justification/Factors to Justify Variances
- Determining and Documenting the Highest Attainable Condition (HAC)
- Improving Optics and Messaging for WQS Variances
Additionally, ACWA’s Monitoring Standards and Assessment Committee will host a Variance 101 webinar on October 18, 2017 from 2:30-4:oopm. This webinar will address some of the introductory questions identified by the Variance Workshop Steering Committee and will serve as a preface. To attend the webinar or to register for the Variance Workshop please contact Frances Bothfeld. The last day to register for the Variance Workshop is October 23, 2017.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Hold Hearing on Water Infrastructure
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing entitled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Water Stakeholders’ Perspectives.” The hearing focused on water infrastructure needs and the federal role in financing water infrastructure. All of the seven witnesses expressed support of increased WIFIA and SRF funding. The full hearing can be watched here and the summary of the subject matter can be read here.
HABs Legislation Passes in the Senate
S.1057, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017, passed the Senate this week. The bill reauthorizes the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA), which originally passed in 1998. The bill also amends HABHRCA to include more funding for researching HABs events and requires the Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force to submit a scientific assessment of HABs to Congress every 5 years. The bill also includes $22 million in funding for these efforts. The full text of the bill is available here.
Comment Period for Updated Aluminum Criteria Extended
Comments for the Draft Updated Aquatic Life Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Aluminum in Freshwater were originally due September 26, 2017. However, many groups requested an extension, which EPA subsequently granted. The comment period will now close on October 26, 2017. For more information please see the Federal Register.
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.
ACWA Legal Affairs Committee Quarterly Call
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
ACWA Farm Bill Workgroup Call
Friday, October 6, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
ACWA 319/Nonpoint Source Workgroup Call
Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 2:30 — 4:00 pm Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Julian Gonzalez.