2017 NPDES Program Managers Meeting – Live Streaming Access
ACWA is providing a live stream of content at the upcoming 2017 NPDES Program Managers Meeting from October 31, 2017 – November 2, 2017!
Our goal is to provide States and EPA Regional offices access to the meeting at different times throughout the day, from their own offices. If more than one person from your office is planning to access the live stream, we recommend using a conference room to view the meeting together. Remote access will be limited to the presentations and some of the discussion sessions. This meeting is open only to State/EPA co-regulators. If you would like to get more details on accessing the live stream, please contact Frances Bothfeld. This is new technology for the association; we appreciate your patience and understanding as we troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
ECOS Results Launched
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) launched ECOS Results, an interactive web tool designed to communicate state stories of public health and environmental progress. ECOS Results displays measures within four fundamental areas that help tell the story of state environmental progress: air healthy to breathe, healthy and thriving communities, less and properly managed waste, and water clean and available for all uses. This is a voluntary, state-led effort that relies on existing, routinely-collected and reported data. States can elect to report on different measures and are able to provide state-specific comments through the “Gain Additional Insights” buttons under a chart, therefore illustrating their own stories of progress to protect public health and the environment. Each state has its own story to tell and data to share; as such ECOS is not supporting this tool as a means to compare states. This is a phased project, with more states expected to participate by ECOS’ Spring Meeting in March 2018, and the remaining states participating by ECOS’ Fall Meeting in August 2018. ECOS will continue to revise and update ECOSResults.org. Future phases of the project will include refining the existing measures, compiling more data, and enhancing the site’s graphics as appropriate and impactful. ECOS welcomes all states to participate in ECOS Results.
ACWA Comments on Administration Infrastructure Initiative
ACWA sent a letter to President Trump this week outlining the association’s priorities as the Administration works to implement Executive Order Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects. The letter encourages the Administration to consider three key recommendations and principles:
1. Addressing critical water and wastewater infrastructure as part of any infrastructure package , while ensuring states are positioned to be a strong and stable partner and ensuring projects can proceed unencumbered, including timely issuance of necessary permits.
2. Funding that builds upon existing water and wastewater infrastructure programs at the state and federal level that provide low cost, critical funding for large and small communities.
3. Clarify process for states to assume the 404 permitting program to enable local and efficient permitting at the local level.
Mike Shapiro Announces His Retirement
ACWA colleague and friend, Mike Shapiro, announced his plans to retire at the end of the year. As many ACWA members know, Mike currently serves as the Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Water and over the years he has been instrumental in promoting cooperative federalism and partnership between the states and EPA. Mike joined the Office of Water as the Deputy Assistant Administrator in November 2002. Prior to that, he was the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER). Mr. Shapiro has also served as Director of the Office of Solid Waste, and Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, where he directed implementation of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. From 1980 to 1989, Mr. Shapiro held a variety of positions in the Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, where one of his responsibilities was developing EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory.
Regulation and Innovation in the Wastewater Sector
This week ACWA sent out a survey to State NPDES Program Managers encouraging them to participate in a UC Berkeley research study on regulation and innovation in the wastewater sector, as states can provide a unique perspective on the issue. The study is funded by US EPA, and the survey is a collaboration between UC Berkeley and ReNUWIt, with state regulator outreach and communication support from the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA). In previous research, UC Berkeley identified costs and financing, risk and risk aversion, and regulatory compliance as barriers to innovation in the wastewater sector. In this survey they are focusing specifically on the relationship between regulation and innovation. Once the research study is completed, UC Berkeley will provide ACWA with an overview of the information they collected. If you would like a copy of the survey link, please contact Sean Rolland. For questions about the study itself, please contact Alida Cantor at email@example.com.
Animal Waste Air Reporting Guidance
On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted certain farms from reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste and on April 11, 2017, the DC Circuit Court vacated this rule. On October 25, 2017 EPA released guidance related to reporting air emissions of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms. Unless the court further delays this date, all farms (including those previously exempted) that have releases of hazardous substances to air from animal wastes equal to or greater than the reportable quantities for those hazardous substances within any 24-hour period must provide notification of such releases. EPA has indicated they will “revise this guidance, as necessary, to reflect additional information to assist farm owners and operators to meet reporting obligations.” Interested parties should submit comments or suggestions by November 24, 2017 to CERCLA103.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue and Settle Directive Being Implemented
This week EPA posted over 150 notices of intent to sue the agency, per Administrator Scott Pruitt’s recent directive. Publishing these notices on EPA’s website is one step in a series the agency will take when considering a settlement agreement or consent decree for complying with statutory deadlines. Administrator Pruitt has indicated these steps are intended to increase transparency. Per the directive, the Office of General Counsel will “publish online a notice of intent to sue the Agency within 15 days of receiving the notice.”
While an overwhelming majority of January 1, 2016 and later notices relate to the Clean Air Act, there were seventeen Clean Water Act issues noted including allegations of: (1) a mandatory duty to promulgate WQS in Washington State; (2) failure to establish a Lake Champlain phosphorus TMDL within 30 days of disapproving VT’s 2002 TMDL; (3) failing to perform a mandatory duty under 303(c) to review an alleged revision to West Virginia’s water quality standards; (4) failing to approve or disapprove West Virginia’s 2014 303(d) list; (5) failing to approve or disapprove Virginia’s 2014 303(d) list; (6) failing to take action on revisions to WV NPDES program; (7) violations with aerial spraying of pesticides in Puerto Rico to combat the Zika Virus; (8) failing to establish TMDL for temperature on Lower Columbia River; (9) failing to designate Blairsville, PA as a small MS4; (10) violations of the ESA regarding approval of WQS in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut; (11) failing to approve or disapprove Oregon’s 2012 303(d) list; (12) failing to approve or disapprove Ohio’s 2016 303(d) list; (13) failing to approve or disapprove NYS’s primary contact recreation criteria; (14) failing to act on a TMDL for Westport River Estuary submitted to EPA R1 by Massachusetts DEP; (15) failing to make a determination whether stormwater discharges in Baltimore require NPDES permits; (16) failing to designate for NPDES permitting of certain discharges in LA watershed; (17) violations of the ESA associated with consultation on Washington State’s revised sediment management standards for Marine Finfish Facilities.
Committee Approves EPA Political Appointees
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved David Ross for the Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water and Matthew Z. Leopold for Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Counsel. The nominations will now be sent to the Senate floor. For more information on these two nominees, refer to Issue 32 of ACWA’s Weekly Wrap.
Watersheds Committee Call on Statewide TMDLs
The ACWA Watersheds Committee held a call on Thursday, October 27, where members of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection presented on Statewide TMDLs. The well-received presentation covered Connecticut’s experiences creating statewide TMDLs, including using TMDLs to address bacteria impairments to recreation and shell-fishing uses, using a statewide approach to address impervious cover, and to assess nutrient impact on lakes. The presenters discussed topics ranging from broad issues such as why a statewide approach was needed in particular scenarios to specific technical obstacles such as how they streamlined calculations for bacteria source evaluation. The call ended with several attendees from other northeastern states briefly commenting on their own experiences creating and implementing statewide TMDLs. For more information, or for the slides from the presentation, contact Julian Gonzalez.
Monitoring, Standards and Assessment Variance 101 Committee Call
ACWA’s Monitoring, Standards, and Assessment (MSA) Committee held their monthly call last week. This month The EPA gave a Variance 101 presentation in advance of the Variance Face-to-Face Workshop. If you were unable to attend the call and would like the view the slide deck, please contact Frances Bothfeld. At this time, we can only provide slides to state employees.