National NPDES SNC Rate Reduction Workgroup Symposium
This week, ACWA staff, states, EPA HQ and Regions met in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss EPA’s SNC Rate Reduction initiative. Several subgroups of the workgroup identified products and tasks that will be implemented in the short term (3-6 months) and long term (6-24 months). Subgroups include: 1) Outreach, Engagement, and Policy; 2) Data Quality and DMR Nonreceipt; 3) Effluent Violations; and 4) Federal Facilities. The focus of this meeting was to continue the work of the main workgroup and subgroups to identify effective approaches for reducing the SNC rate while ensuring the worst SNC violators are addressed. Discussion at this meeting included efforts to further identify and discuss options for solving data quality challenges, continue to identify best practices for reducing DMR non-receipt and effluent violations, refine the list of communication products, and discuss next steps for all of the sub work groups. For more information on this effort, please contact Sean Rolland.
Permitting Council Holds First Stakeholder Engagement Forum
The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council held its first stakeholder engagement forum to provide an overview of how they can help create a tailored and predictable roadmap for the infrastructure project permitting process. The Permitting Council was established by FAST-41 to serve as an oversight body to oversee the cross agency Federal environmental review and authorization process. FAST-41 created a new governance structure, set of procedures, and funding authorities to improve the Federal environmental review and authorization process for covered projects. The Permitting Council consists of members from 14 Federal agencies, the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget. The Council states that infrastructure projects covered under FAST-41 will benefit from increased visibility and predictability; enhanced coordination, increased accountability, enhanced legal protections and dispute resolution procedures. FAST-41 projects are posted on an Online Permitting Dashboard that includes information on environmental review and authorization target completion dates.
Updated Version of NPDES SNC/Category 1 Violations Dashboard
This week EPA released Version 2 of the NPDES SNC/Category 1 Violations dashboard on ECHO Gov. This is an updated version of the “CWA NPDES SNC + Category 1 Violations (by rolling year)” dashboard which was previously on ECHO Gov. The new version includes everything from the previous version and adds new functionality including a mapping feature and a drilldown option for effluent violation data. Most significantly, the updated dashboard defaults to a quarterly view, rather than a rolling year view – though the rolling year data is still available on the 4th tab. The primary purpose of this dashboard is to help EPA and states track progress in reducing the rate of significant noncompliance (SNC) in the Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The dashboard will also be used to inform EPA and authorized state discussions about development and implementation of strategies for reducing this rate, to report to EPA management on progress toward strategic goals for reducing the SNC rate, and to assist Regions and states in reviewing their SNC facilities. The dashboard shows SNC and Category 1 noncompliance rates by state and allows users to drill down to facility-level data. SNC is broken down into its five categories. To assist EPA and state users, EPA is offering training on this new version. If you have any questions/concerns about the dashboard, or wish to get more details about the upcoming training in May, contact Jesse Yourish (Yourish.firstname.lastname@example.org).
AWWA, NACWA and WEF Report: Developing a New Framework for Household Affordability and Financial Capability Assessment in the Water Sector
AWWA, NACWA and WEF developed recommendations for the EPA on a new methodology and guideline for assessing household affordability and community financial capability to replace its current guidance document: Combined Sewer Overflows – Guidance for Financial Capability Assessment and Schedule Development (EPA, 1997). This effort was prepared in anticipation of the EPA updating its financial capability assessment (FCA) guidelines after the 2017 National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Developing a New Framework for Community Affordability of Clean Water Services (NAPA Report). The NAPA Report acknowledged deficiencies in EPA’s FCA guidance and proposed improvements to both the Residential Indicator (RI) and Financial Capability Indicator (FCI) components that would provide a better starting point for EPA and permittees to address clean water compliance schedules. The AWWA, NACWA, and WEF report is intended to develop a new framework and methodology that EPA can adopt as its new household affordability and FCA guideline to address the shortcomings of the existing guideline and accommodate the recommendations contained in the NAPA Report. The Report concludes that EPA should consider both household affordability and financial capability for a water utility and its community when determining the cumulative financial burden associated with all available water services.
National Green Infrastructure Awards Applications Due by May 31, 2019
The National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA) is accepting applications for the 2019 Stormwater Management Green Infrastructure Awards Program through 11:59 pm EDT on Friday, May 31. Projects much be completed by May 1, 2019, to be considered. Applications will be submitted electronically. Per the application, the project description needs to include a site plan or diagram, and description s of the project’s environmental impact, economic impact, outreach eﬀorts, results, maintenance (monitoring, upkeep, costs and reporting) and conclusion. This year’s award winners will be announced at NAFSMA’s 2019 Flood and Stormwater Management Conference on August 20-22, 2019 at Terranea, in Los Angeles, CA (Rancho Palos Verdes).
NAFSMA also has a separate awards program to recognize Excellence in Communications in the categories of “Public Awareness of Flooding and/or Flood Prevention and/or Emergency Preparedness” and “Improving Water Quality.” Application submissions for Excellence in Communications are also due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 31, 2019 and are to be submitted electronically. Click here to submit your 2019 Excellence in Communications Award application form online.
Applications for both awards programs can be accessed at www.nafsma.org. Both awards programs are open to all public agencies as well as private ﬁrms working with a public agency on a green infrastructure project or on communications eﬀorts. For questions on the Green Infrastructure Awards Program, please contact Dusty Williams (951-313-0257). For questions on the Excellence in Communications Awards Program, please contact Sofia Chatos (301-404-1332).
To view the video from the successful 2018 Awards programs, click here.
$6 Billion in Loans Available for Water Infrastructure Projects
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened its third funding round. EPA has approximately $6 billion in credit that could finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure projects through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Prospective borrowers seeking WIFIA credit assistance must submit a letter of interest by July 5, 2019 at 11:59 pm EDT. Learn more in this year’s Notice of Funding Availability.
Updates to NPDES eRule Reflect MS4 GP Remand Rule
April 23, 2019 the EPA Administrator signed a proposed rule titled “Updates to NPDES eRule Data Elements to Reflect MS4 General Permit Remand Rule.” EPA is proposing to update data elements in the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule that apply to regulated MS4s. EPA indicates these changes are needed as a result of the 12/9/2016 final NPDES Ms4 General Permit Remand Rule and ensures required MS4 data elements are consistent with the current MS4 regulations, corrects related typographical errors, and makes other selected clarifications at the request of state NPDES permitting programs. This proposal also incorporates recommendations detailed in Technical Paper No. 9. A copy of the proposal can be found here. The comment period ends on 29 July 2019. Please contact Sean Rolland if you have any concerns with this proposal.
ACWA Program Manager, Julian Gonzalez, Leaving ACWA
ACWA Environmental Program Manager Julian Gonzalez has accepted an opportunity to join GreenLatinos, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., beginning next week. GreenLatinos is a national non-profit organization that convenes a broad coalition of Latino leaders committed to addressing national, regional, and local environmental, natural resources and conservation issues that significantly affect the health and welfare of the Latino community in the United States. Julian will be managing their Clean and Healthy Waters program. ACWA thanks Julian for his three years (and one internship) of great work helping states work on CWA implementation!
Animal Agriculture Program Survey
This week, ACWA released a survey on animal agriculture programs. The CAFO/AFO survey is intended to provide basic information associated with state agency roles and responsibilities in regulating animal agriculture facilities and to answer a couple of questions that came in from a couple state program managers. The survey is 18 questions long and should take no more than fifteen minutes to complete. A short report will be generated and shared with the survey participants at the conclusion of the effort. We currently have 23 states that have replied. This survey deadline has been extended to Friday, May 3, 2019.
To take part in the survey, go here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019_AFO.
316(B) Cooling Water Intake Topic Survey
The 2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop is scheduled for September 17-19, 2019 in Washington, DC. As part of that meeting there will be a full day’s track dedicated to 316(b) (Cooling Water Intake) topics. We are asking that states help us narrow this list to those top 7 or 8 most of interest to the state. The rest of the topics that do not make it as high priority topics will likely end up as topics for future conference calls. Please respond to this very short survey no later than Friday, May 3, 2019.
To take part in the survey, go here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019_316b
ACWA Starting 304(a) Joint Prioritization State Workgroup
In August ACWA and EPA’s Office of Science and Technology formalized a Cooperative Federalism Work Plan. As a part of this work plan, OST and ACWA agreed to work towards jointly prioritizing 304(a) criteria. ACWA formed a workgroup based upon stated interest received in the Criteria Prioritization Survey sent to the MSA committee last month. The workgroup will meet for the first time on May 15th at 1pm EST. If you are interested in joining this workgroup or would like more information, please contact Frances Bothfeld.
ACWA to Create PFAS Subcommittee
ACWA is setting up a PFAS Subcommittee for members of the Monitoring, Standards, and Assessment (MSA) Committee. The goal of this committee is to create a forum to present new surface water related PFAS research and PFAS related program development from the EPA and States, provide updates on PFAS analytical methods for water, soil, and tissue, and provide updates and information from other media organization’s PFAS work groups. Additionally, the subcommittee aims to establish a forum of state experts to discuss state updates related to PFAS monitoring, standards, and assessment in surface water and to pose questions to colleagues from other states regarding PFAS in surface water. The first meeting of this subcommittee will be on May 21st at 3pm EST. For more information or to join the Subcommittee please contact Frances Bothfeld.
ACWA to Host Make Up Introduction to Water Quality Standards Webinar
Due to popularity, ACWA is hosting another Introduction to Water Quality Standards Webinar for states on May 16 from 1-3pm EST. Not everyone who registered for the original 3/21 session was able to access the webinar. While not a replacement for the extensive in-person Water Quality Standards Academy, this webinar will provide an introduction to the core components of water quality standards. All interested parties should contact Frances Bothfeld for a registration link
2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop – September 2019
The State/EPA 2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop will be held September 17-19, 2019 in Washington, DC. This meeting is intended to help support states and EPA to showcase permit writer innovations, assist with analysis of training, guidance, tools, and other support material needs, improve administrative efficiencies, clarify roles and responsibilities, build stronger linkages to WQS & TMDLs, modernize permit terms and data management, discuss program performance measures, and identify program areas where targeted technical assistance would be most beneficial. For more information, contact Sean Rolland or see our website.
ACWA Nutrients Permitting Workshop – November 2019
Registration for the November 2019 Nutrients Permitting Workshop located in Alexandria, Virginia at the AlexRenew facility November 5-7, 2019 is live. To register, go here. The workshop will focus on identifying challenges and building solutions regarding water quality standards and permitting for nutrients. To view a draft agenda, go here.
Lodging is available at the Embassy Suites Alexandria Hotel. To reserve your lodging, call direct 703-684-7900 or 1-800-EMBASSY and ask for the Association of Clean Water Administrators group of rooms, or reserve online here.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is looking to hire a Monitoring & Assessment Unit Program Manager. The selected candidate will be responsible for the oversight and tactical decision making over a unit dedicated to developing, reviewing, and updating water quality standards, developing and implementing monitoring strategies for Arizona’s waters, and data analysis and reporting to produce a timely assessment of water quality and list of impaired waters. This position assists with the prioritization of impaired waters for further study or remediation and the development of strategies to achieve environmental outcomes by reducing the number of impaired waters in Arizona. Further responsibilities include evaluating and documenting employee performance, coaching staff and developing a corporate culture of continuous improvement and the ADEQ way. For further information, click here.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Bureau of Water Resources has posted 2 positions on MassCareers, the Commonwealth’s hiring website.
Environmental Engineer IV: Under the supervision of the Division of Watershed Planning & Permitting Manager or his/her designee, the Environmental Engineer IV performs engineering support for MassDEP’s Title 5 Innovative and Alternative Technology (IA) Program, Title 5 Program and Groundwater Discharge Permit Program. For more information, click here.
Environmental Analyst IV: Under the supervision of the Watershed Planning Program’s Non-point Source Section Chief, the Environmental Analyst IV assists with the implementation of the Department’s Nonpoint Source Program, including administration of pass-through 604b Water Quality Management Planning grants to cities, towns, regional planning agencies, and conservation districts. The EA IV participates on intra and inter-agency water quality project/proposal reviews and selection and administers the Watershed Planning Program’s annual Water Quality Monitoring Grants. This position will be based in Worcester at DEP’s Watershed Planning and Program’s Office at 8 New Bond Street. For more information, click here.
Office of Water
EPA’s Office of Water is hiring a GS-14 Engineer/Physical Scientist that will become the lead instructor of the NPDES Permit Writers course. Other responsibilities include:
– Perform a variety of senior regulatory and program management functions related to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting.
– Use senior technical expertise in the physical sciences and/or environmental engineering and provides leadership in the development and application of guidance and technical assistance.
– Advise senior management on the development of the NPDES permitting programs and their implementation; coordinates with external stakeholders.
– Resolve complex program and project issues which require an advanced and sophisticated understanding of linkages between the Clean Water Act (CWA) and other environmental laws and programs.
– Consult and coordinate with other engineers and scientists, outside contacts of Agency communicating complex technical and policy information.
For more information, click here.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.
How’s My Waterway Webinar/Call
2-3 PM EST
Contact Katie Foreman for more information.