2017 National NPDES Program Managers Meeting
This week states and EPA participated in a national NPDES co-regulator meeting that generated a number of thoughtful discussions including identification of challenges & barriers to NPDES program implementation, highlighting of opportunities for permitting authority program improvement & enhancement, showcasing innovations, improving administrative efficiency, clarifying roles and responsibilities, building stronger linkages to WQS & TMDLs, modernizing permit terms and data management, and identifying program areas where targeted technical assistance would be most beneficial. There were over 100 participants at the meeting, with representatives from 39 states, interstates, and territories, along with EPA representatives from all ten regions and headquarters. A copy of the full agenda can be found here. This meeting was subsidized by EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management and is the first of three NPDES program managers meetings that will occur over a five year period. For more information on this and future meetings, including a link to the 2017 meeting presentations, please contact Sean Rolland.
EPA Seeking Comments on Applying Federal Permitting Best Practices to State-Issued Infrastructure Permits
On October 31, EPA issued a Federal Register notice seeking comments on whether federal permitting best practices are generally applicable to infrastructure permits delegated or authorized as described in Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41).
Federal “best practices” specifically refers to the January 18, 2017 document, “Recommended Best Practices for Environmental Reviews and Authorizations for Infrastructure Projects” developed by the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council. The document includes eight best practices – enhancing early stakeholder engagement; ensuring timely decisions regarding environmental reviews (including exploring opportunities to expand use of general permits where appropriate); improving coordination between federal, state, and tribes; increased transparency; reducing administrative burdens by using online permit applications, eliminating unnecessary internal process steps, and routine evaluations of permit processes; use of geographic information systems (GIS) to expedite permitting; creating and providing training; and other best practices such as use of conflict resolution and third-party neutral facilitators.
Comments are due by Monday, November 20.
EPA Recognizes Excellence and Innovation in Clean Water Infrastructure
On Tuesday, October 31, EPA recognized 28 water quality treatment projects for excellence and innovation within the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program. Honored projects include large wastewater infrastructure projects to small decentralized and agriculture projects. EPA’s Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) program celebrates innovation demonstrated by CWSRF programs and assistance recipients. The CWSRF is a federal-state partnership that provides communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. Over the past 30 years, CWSRF programs have provided more than $125 billion in financing for water quality infrastructure.
ACWA Sends Comment Letter to EPA on Draft Strategic Plan
On Tuesday, October 31, ACWA submitted a comment letter on the Draft FY 2018-2022 EPA Strategic Plan. ACWA’s letter touched upon the Strategic Plan’s statements regarding cooperative federalism, investment in wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, financial and technical assistance to states, and prioritization of robust science. To view the letter, go here.
10 Years of Collaboration in Action – 2016 Source Water Collaborative Accomplishments Report
The vision for the Source Water Collaborative is simple – all drinking water sources are adequately protected. The National Source Water Collaborative (SWC) started in 2006 with fourteen national organizations, concerned about the implications of shifting landscapes and quickly expanding developments on the safety and sustainability of drinking water supplies. Those 14 members knew that they were faced with a challenge and an opportunity, and by acting together now, they could protect sources of drinking water for generations to come. Over the past ten years, the SWC has experienced tremendous growth and progress—the original 14 members has nearly doubled and is now 27 strong, after welcoming our newest member, American Rivers. Our one-stop-shop website boasts a compendium of valuable resources and targeted toolkits, as well as products of member collaborations, while our Twitter feed (@sourcewatercol) has quickly become the place for source water protection news, updates, and member accomplishments. In 2016 the SWC launched the popular Learning Exchange webinars and resources, and participation at high-profile national conferences has greatly expanded our reach and impact.
While the last ten years have been marked by change, the core principle that we were founded on remains— that by working together and combining our strengths, resources, and will to action, this diverse set of member organizations would be able to realize far greater successes than by working alone. This principle still provides the foundation of the Collaborative’s approach and success today.
We are proud of our accomplishments and invite you to explore a sampling of the Collaborative’s 2016 efforts from the past year celebrating 10 years of achievement in source water collaboration. The SWC’s work and its member organizations far exceed the capacity of this report. Our 2016 Accomplishments Report presents a sampling of our various individual and collaborative efforts.
Hypoxia Task Force Releases 2017 Report to Congress
On Thursday, November 2, the Hypoxia Task Force released its 2017 Report to Congress on the actions the federal, state, and tribal members have taken toward the goal of reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin and shrinking the size of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone.
The Report to Congress:
- Discusses the environmental, economic, and social impacts of Gulf of Mexico hypoxia and harmful algal blooms;
- Provides information about the size of the hypoxic zone since 1985 and sources of nutrient loading in the MARB;
- Describes the progress of state nutrient reduction strategy development and implementation;
- Discusses federal agency programs that support state implementation of nutrient reduction strategies;
- Evaluates and highlights lessons learned by presenting broader HTF successes and successful state projects; and
- Focuses on recent HTF efforts to track the environmental results of state strategy implementation.
To learn more about the Hypoxia Task Force, visit: https://www.epa.gov/ms-htf.
ACWA Farm Bill Workgroup Call
Wednesday, November 8, 11 am Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire
ACWA Monitoring, Standards, and Assessment Webinar: Modernizing Public Hearings
Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 3-4 pm Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Frances Bothfeld
ACWA Watersheds Committee Monthly Call
Thursday, November 16, 2:30 – 4:00 pm Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Julian Gonzalez