USGS Releases Point-Source Load Estimation Tool
USGS released their new Point-Source Load Estimation Tool (PSLoadEsT). This tool estimates total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorous (TP). This tool is a user friendly tool that can be used for consistent and reliable data for nutrient concentrations released by point source discharges. PSLoadEsT estimates point-source nutrient loads, annual total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP), for all major point-source facilities. Although there are almost 3 times as many minor wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) as major WWTFs, the TN load contributed by major WWTFs to streams is estimated to be 15 times larger. Similarly, major WWTFs contribute about 13 times more TP to streams. For more details see Point-source nutrient loads to streams of the conterminous United States, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1101 and Annual wastewater nutrient data preparation and load estimation using the Point Source Load Estimation Tool (PSLoadEsT): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1025.
2019 Water and Wastewater Rate Survey
AWWA recently released the results of a comprehensive survey that provides up to date water and wastewater utility rate and other financial data. AWWA and Raftelis Financial Consultants have produced this biennial survey for North American utilities since 2002. The most recent survey included input from 234 water and 108 wastewater utilities. As part of the analysis, it is noted that average increases in potable water and wastewater charges continue to outpace increases in other U.S. goods and services. “AWWA believes that the public can best be provided water and wastewater services by self-sustaining enterprises adequately financed with rates and charges based on sound utility accounting, management and financial principles.” Over the short trend, from 2016 – 2018, rates for water increased 7.2% while general inflation was roughly 4.6%. For more details on this survey effort and the associated analysis, please see AWWA’s website.
USACE Convenes Session on Revolutionizing USACE Civil Works Program
In response to the Administration’s infrastructure priorities over the last two years, the USACE has begun a program of revolutionizing the civil works program to accelerate project delivery. The Corps is focused on three overarching objectives: (1) accelerate project delivery; (2) transform project financing and budgeting; and (3) improve permitting and regulation reform. During the session, Corps representatives provided broad overviews of the initiatives and the actions the agency has taken to date, including streamlining section 408 permission request, synchronizing review of section 404 and 10 waters; mitigation and wetlands delineations, state assumption under section 404 and the WIFIA program. The Corps intends to hold several webinars in the future to continue the conversation with interested stakeholders. Information about the webinars can be found at USACE website.
Senate EPW Submits Amicus Brief in Maui case
This week, Republicans in the Senate Committee for Public Works and Environment submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The senators’ brief explained, “Congress only intended for the Clean Water Act to require federal discharge permits where pollution travels directly from a point source to a water of the United States.” Further, senators argued, “There is already sufficient state and federal regulation to protect ground and surface waters without contravening the will of Congress. At the federal level, groundwater quality is already regulated by several federal laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, all fifty States regulate groundwater through state or cooperative-federal programs.” To view the brief, go here.
EPA Tools and Resources Webinar: Nutrient Management in Coastal Communities
May 22, 2019 – 3:00-4:00 PM ET
Conventional septic systems are not designed to remove nitrogen, an issue that is especially important to coastal communities, where excess nitrogen causes eutrophication, hypoxia and toxic algal blooms leading to beach closures. Adding nitrogen sensors to advanced septic systems could help manufacturers, homeowners, and local/state governments be assured that these are performing and protecting valuable coastal resources. EPA and partners launched an Advanced Septic Systems Nitrogen Sensor Challenge, Social-Ecological Systems Research, and the Nutrients Translational Science Pilot. EPA ORD’s Tim Gleason will present the challenge’s results as well as the broader nutrients research efforts in Cape Cod and how those efforts apply to other communities.
Human Health and Ecological Decision Support in the 21st Century: Intro to the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard and RapidTox
June 3, 2019 – 2:00-3:00 PM ET
EPA’s Office of Research and Development will host a webinar to demonstrate the utility and functionality of the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard and the RapidTox workflow. The CompTox Chemicals Dashboard is an online tool that integrates available biological, chemical, and computational information to help scientists and decision-makers evaluate chemicals. The webinar will include a presentation (2-3 PM ET), and interactives demos (3-5 PM ET) showing how this resource can benefit states in a multitude of problem formulations, such as emergency response.
Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management Released By EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public input on a draft study that takes a holistic look at how the agency, states, tribes, and others view the current state of regulation and management of wastewater from the oil and gas industry and provides insight into how this wastewater might be returned to beneficial use in the water cycle. In May 2018, EPA announced the initiation of a Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management. The agency conducted a robust outreach effort to gather input from state, tribal, industrial, academic, environmental, public health, and other entities for the study. This included meeting with individual entities, accepting written input through a public docket on regulations.gov, and hosting a national public meeting in October 2018 to report on what EPA had learned to date and to provide stakeholders an additional opportunity to provide input. For more information on the draft study, visit EPA’s website at: www.epa.gov/eg/study-oil-and-gas-extraction-wastewater-management.
WEF MS4 Needs Survey
This month, WEF released national survey results intended to identify “information and technical resource needs of MS4 permittees and to better understand MS4 stormwater program challenges.” The survey received 622 responses from 48 states and DC, with 25% of the respondents being Phase 1 MS4s, 65% of respondents Phase II Ms4s, 7% non-traditional Phase II permittees, and 3% state departments of transportation. Respondents generally ranked lack of funding or availability of capital, aging infrastructure, and increasing or expanding regulations as their most important stormwater program challenges. Respondents also identified several broad areas where further information and technical resources were needed including funding and financing, GI and other innovative BMPs, asset management, TMDL compliance, post construction stormwater runoff, and watershed-based stormwater planning. WEF reported that there is “a clear need for information and resources related to funding and financing of stormwater programs, including analysis of funding sources and needs as well as information on co-benefits. This information could help permittees leverage or establish alternative funding sources and educate decision makers on the importance of stormwater investments.” More information on this survey, the results, and the analysis can be found here.
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 New Mexico Department of Environment is looking for an Environmental Scientist Specialist to conduct water quality sampling and coordinate with laboratories, landowners, and other agencies to ensure data collections are accurate, defensible, and entered in to the bureau database. The ideal candidate will have a Masters Degree in a relevant field and four years experience collecting water quality samples, biological samples, and aquatic habitat data as well as operating and maintaining monitoring equipment such as sondes, data loggers, pumps, and flow meters. To read the job description, click here. To apply, go here.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.