2017 Mid-Year Meeting
ACWA will hold its Mid-Year meeting in Washington, DC March 20-21 and registration is LIVE! Returning users may register for the meeting by going here. New users may register here. Agenda details are still in development. Please direct any questions, suggestions, or comments on the agenda to Julia Anastasio.
Lodging for the Mid-Year Meeting is available NOW! The cut-off date for the room block is February 27. Reserve your room here or reserve by phone by calling 202-408-4870 and requesting the ACWA block of rooms.
Watersheds Committee holds TMDL Modeling Webinar
On Thursday, the ACWA Watersheds committee held a webinar on an ACWA survey about state TMDL Modeling Capacity. The successful webinar provided an overview of modeling challenges encountered in different states ranging from technical obstacles to lack of resources (staff, time, data). The results of the survey and the comments provided by state staff, including modelers, will help ACWA evaluate how best to create an informal TMDL modelers network moving forward. For more information, contact Julian Gonzalez.
Updated Effective Utility Management Primer Released
Since 2008, a unique coalition representing the “Collaborating Organizations,” which include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a growing number of major water sector associations including ACWA and ASDWA, has supported an approach developed by water sector leaders for water utility management. The approach is based around the Ten Attributes of an Effectively Managed Utility and Five Keys to Management Success—known as Effective Utility Management (EUM). EUM is now the most widely recognized water sector utility management program in the country, and this Primer is the foundation of EUM. EUM is a starting point for any utility’s path to effective and sustainable operations. It can help utilities to respond to and plan for current and future challenges and allows utilities to address these challenges in a stepwise process, at a pace that they can control based on the capacity of the utility.
Trump Administration Freezes Regulations
On Friday, January 20, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum affectively freezing all pending federal regulations. The memorandum states that regulations that have not been sent to the Federal Register shall not be sent until a “department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2017, reviews and approves the regulation”, regulations sent to the Federal Register but not yet published are to be withdrawn, and regulations published in the Federal Register but not yet in effect are to be delayed until March 21, 2017. There is an open question as to how broad the term “regulation” is to be defined in the memorandum. ACWA staff is in contact with EPA on this issue and will alert ACWA members when we receive more information.
Proposed CWA Amendment STATEment
The proposed bill, the Water Quality Improvement Act of 2017, seeks to allow State and municipality involvement in the NPDES permitting process. Check out our new STATEment for more information.
WH Regulatory Freeze
On Friday, January 20, White House Chief of Staff Reince Preiebus issued a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies regarding the regulatory process. In order to ensure that the President’s appointees have the opportunity to review any new or pending regulations, agencies are directed to refrain from sending any new rules, except in emergency situations, to the Federal Register until a Trump appointee has had the opportunity to review and approve the action. For those regulations that have been sent to the Federal Register but not yet published, like the construction general permit, they are to be withdrawn following the appropriate procedures.
For those regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but have not taken effect, like the human health criteria and/or swimming advisory values for cyanotoxins or the nationwide general permits issued by the USACE, the effective date is to be extended an additional 60 days from the data of the Preiebus memo. The memo does allow for exceptions for regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadlines.
State Water Quality Program Priorities for the New Administration
On Thursday, January 26, we communicated the important issues for state water quality programs to EPA. We first note the importance of ACWA’s role in helping the EPA create regulations. Our collaborative efforts with the states and the EPA create regulations that are more flexible, efficient, and effective to better service the public. Second, we state the need for the new administration and the states to collaboratively prioritize water issues to prevent diverting resources to less important activities. Third, we stress the importance of maintaining and strengthening our co-regulator relationship. We urge the new administration to ensure that someone with previous experience of managing a state water program remain in the Office of Water to provide a state-agency and implementation-focused perspective.
Lastly, we note that critical CWA Programs supporting state co-regulators efforts must be fully funded. These programs include State and Tribal Assistance Grants, § 319 Non-Point Source Management Programs, and the State Clean Water Revolving Fund Program, which includes the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act pilot programs.