ACWA Holds Successful Nutrients Permitting Workshop
This week, ACWA held the 2017 Nutrients Permitting Workshop in Boise, Idaho. Over fifty individuals from the states and EPA participated in the workshop. Presentations were given on POTW technologies, permitting flexibilities and innovations, the interrelation of permitting for nutrients and other pollutants, and other issues. A group of attendees also visited the Dixie Drain project in Parma, Idaho. Thanks to everyone that made the workshop a success. Next week, ACWA will make the workshop presentations available. For more information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
Susan Bodine Confirmed by Senate to Head EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
On December 7th, the Senate confirmed by voice vote the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to head the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), Susan Bodine. Bodine, most recently chief counsel for the Republican Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has spoken on several ACWA mid-year meeting panels related to updating members on a wide variety of water and budget issues. Prior to her position at the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, Bodine was a partner at Barnes and Thornburg, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, and staff director of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Following the confirmation, Administrator Pruitt stated that “I look forward to working with Susan to ensure stakeholders across the country are in compliance with the law and that polluters continue to be held accountable.”
Update on Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
R.D. James, a career farmer and longtime member of a Corps advisory board on Mississippi River issues, received bipartisan support at a December 6th Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on his potential confirmation as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. In this role, James would lead the US Army Corps of Engineers in administering Dredge and Fill permits under the CWA and helping define Waters of the United States in a new jurisdictional rule, among other topics. Various members of the committee, from both political parties, questioned James on issues related to infrastructure permitting, sea-level rise, and climate change. Many members verbally expressed confidence in James’ experience as well as his likelihood to be confirmed soon.
Congress Passes a Continuing Resolution to Keep the Government Open until December 22nd
The Senate and House passed a continuing resolution, avoiding a government shut down. The current CR will keep government funded until December 22nd, when another CR is likely. Continuing Resolutions generally keep EPA funding equal to FY17 levels and make it difficult to start new projects, programs, and initiatives.
CWA/CERCLA Contaminated Sediment
This week EPA posted a copy of a sample memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was created to provide a template and to facilitate collaboration among EPA, states, and federally-recognized Indian tribes, as well as other federal agencies regarding contaminated sediment. Close collaboration is crucial when addressing contaminated sediments and their associated waters because roles and responsibilities under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) often are shared by multiple entities. The accompanying transmission letter provides an overview and background on the development of the sample MOU. The letter notes that EPA has “issued extensive regulations, policies, and guidance addressing contaminated sediment sites, and this memorandum and attached sample MOU are not intended to supersede, limit, or change these preexisting authorities and tools.” EPA further notes that “Coordination between programs can be challenging but we [EPA] are confident this sample language and recommended framework provided in this MOU can serve to improve integration and collaboration among parties who have an interest in the success of cleanups at contaminated sediment sites.” For more information on this sample MOU please visit EPA’s website.
Aluminum Criteria Work Group
ACWA is setting up an Aluminum Criteria Work Group which will provide comments on the the draft aluminum 304a criteria recommendation. If your state is interested in participating, please let Frances Bothfeld know by Tuesday, December 12th. We will be forming the group shortly thereafter.
EPA Webinar: Enabling the Water Resources Utility of the Future
The landscape that has traditionally driven clean water utilities is changing rapidly. Today’s utility managers are no longer just treating and discharging wastewater. They are looking for ways to optimize their efficiency, recover valuable resources, and enhance their contribution to the overall health of watersheds and their communities. As “anchor institutions” in their communities, these Utilities of the Future employ innovative approaches not only to meet their own goals, but also to support the financial and social health of the communities they serve. Please join NACWA, WEF, USEPA, WateReuse, and WE&RF for this webinar describing how leading clean water utilities are using innovative assistance programs to support low-income ratepayers and small water systems serving surrounding communities, enhancing the overall economic and social well-being of the entire area. You can register for this webinar here.
EPA Releases Materials to Remind People to be Septic Smart this Holiday Season
The EPA created a shareable post card to remind people to be reminded of simple tips to keep their septic system working through the holiday season. The postcard, which can be shared with homeowners and communities is available one EPA’s website.