EPA Submits Amicus Brief on Discharges to Groundwater Case
This week, EPA submitted its amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case, County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. EPA argues that the Court should consider the agency’s newly revised position on the CWA’s reach into groundwater and exclude any sub-surface releases from the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit program. EPA stated further, “The Congress that enacted the CWA was keenly aware of the link between groundwater and surface waters, and in particular of the potential for pollutants to reach jurisdictional surface waters by migrating through groundwater. Yet Congress rejected proposals to regulate groundwater under the NPDES program…” To view EPA’s brief, go here.
EPA Issues Recommendations for Recreational Water Quality Criteria and Swimming Advisories
EPA has issued final Recommended Recreational Ambient Water Quality Criteria or Swimming Advisories for two Cyanotoxins, Microcystins, and Cylindrospermopsin. States, territories, and authorized tribes can consider adopting these recommended criteria into their water quality standards and using them for Clean Water Act purposes. Alternatively, they can use these same values as the basis of swimming advisories for public notification purposes at recreational waters. For more information on these recommendations please see the EPA website.
House Appropriations Committee Marks Up Interior-Environment Bill
The House Appropriations Committee approved the funding bill for the EPA, Interior and related agencies with a 30-21 vote. In this bill the EPA recieved $700 million more than current funding levels and rejected the President’s austere budget request. This budget is not expected to pass the Republican held Senate in it’s current form. For more information and a video of the hearing, please see the committee website.
Residual Designation Authority
This week EPA filed a Notice of Appeal of the Blue Water Baltimore, Inc., et al v. Andrew Wheeler March 22, 2019 district court decision. The district court judge determined that residual designation authority (RDA) under the stormwater program is mandatory for stormwater-impaired areas. RDA specifically refers to EPA’s authority to require NPDES stormwater permits for any facility determined to “contribute(s) to a violation of a water quality standard or is a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United States” under CWA 402(p)(2)(e). In particular, the judge said Congress “left no gap in the statute” that would give EPA discretion in this area. Environmental NGOs over the last several years have been advocating that, once EPA affirms a waterbody is impaired by stormwater from unpermitted facilities, RDA is automatically triggered requiring those facilities to get NPDES permits. EPA will likely argue to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that courts should view RDA as a discretionary authority and that EPA has determined that other cleanup strategies will be more effective than RDA. ACWA will continue to track this case as it progresses.
Senate Holds PFAS Hearing
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reviewed six PFAS related bills on Wednesday:
- S. 638, the “PFAS Action Act,” from ranking member Tom Carper (D-Del.) would require EPA to designate PFAS as hazardous substances under the Superfund law.
- S. 950, the “PFAS Detection Act,” from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) would require the U.S. Geological Survey to carry out nationwide sampling of PFAS in the environment.
- S. 1251, the “Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act,” from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) aims to improve collaboration between states and the federal government.
- S. 1372, the “PFAS Accountability Act,” also from Stabenow would set requirements for PFAS cleanup at federal facilities.
- S. 1473, the “Protect Drinking Water from PFAS Act,” from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) would push EPA to set limits for PFAS.
- S. 1507, the “PFAS Release Disclosure Act,” from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), would include PFAS in the inventory of toxic releases.
Republicans on the committee and chemical industry representatives pushed back on some of the bills that called for more regulation surrounding PFAS. Senator Barasso expressed concern over potentially circumventing the rule-making process. For more information and a recap of the hearing, please see the committee website.
No Wrap Next Week – 05/28/19
ACWA Submits Comment Letter on EPA 401 Certification Effort
On Friday, May 25, ACWA submitted a comment letter responsive to EPA’s request for pre-proposal recommendations on the Agency’s efforts to engage with states, authorized tribes, and relevant federal agencies to identify provisions that require clarification within section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) and related federal regulations and guidance. EPA’s effort is in response to the Administration’s April 10, 2019 Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth. To view ACWA’s letter, go here. To view ACWA’s accompanying state survey summary, go here.
ACWA and ASDWA Release Contaminants of Emerging Concern Recommendations Report
In this recommendations report, ACWA and ASDWA identified the tools state water managers have to respond to this challenging situation. ACWA and ASDWA convened a workgroup of clean water and drinking water resource managers from across the country to discuss recommendations to improve the management of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs). The workgroup developed recommendations across five action areas.
- Establish a national priority framework and research agenda for priority setting;
- Engage industry to develop and improve access to comprehensive chemical data;
- Increase coordinated monitoring across water resource management programs;
- Expedite risk assessment and response; and
- Improve risk communication
The full report is available 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 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is recruiting for the position of Director of the Division of Water.
Services of the Division are organized in two main areas: Facilities and Water Quality. The Facilities programs provide grants, loans, and engineering and technical assistance for the construction and operation of drinking water, sewerage, and solid waste facilities in villages and cities throughout Alaska. The Water Quality Programs establish water quality standards; issue wastewater discharge permits and ensure compliance with permits; monitor cruise ship compliance with environmental and sanitation requirements; monitor and report on the health of Alaska’s waters; and clean up polluted waters. The Director is responsible for the planning, budgeting, staffing and operation of the Division and for the determination and implementation of water quality policy. For more information, click here.
The State of Connecticut, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is seeking to hire a Bureau Chief to lead the Water Protection and Land Reuse (WPLR) Bureau in fulfilling its important mission and to be a part of the DEEP’s senior leadership team. The Bureau Chief of WPLR directs the operation of three Divisions – Water Planning & Management, Land & Water Resources, and Remediation. This position offers a challenging and rewarding opportunity for an experienced and proven environmental manager. The successful candidate will show a commitment to public service and to leading the Bureau’s engineers, scientists, administrative support staff, and managers in making a real difference in the protection of public health and safety and sound management of Connecticut’s water resources. For more information, click here.
NEIWPCC AND NYSDOH
The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Bureau of Water Supply Protection (BWSP) are seeking highly organized and detail-oriented candidates for an Environmental Analyst – Drinking Water Specialist for the Geneva, New York region to conduct, or oversee the conduct of, investigations on matters such as source water assessment and protection, water storage, treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment and discharge, point-source and non-point source pollution, permitting, or other compliance and regulatory issues. The incumbent will develop and update source water assessment plans (SWAPs), collect, or oversee the collection of environmental samples for analysis, and summarize, evaluate, and present environmental information and data. Will develop written materials to provide guidance and training for local municipalities, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and local health departments (LHDs) on source water protection strategies and implementation. Will provide support for associated programs by implementing procedures and performing sampling and testing to ensure compliance and will develop concise and coherent multi-media documents for communicating program activities and accomplishments. To apply, go here.
The NEIWPCC and NYSDOH has another Environmental Analyst – Drinking Water Specialist position located in Rochester, NY. To apply, go here.
The Washington Department of Ecology is looking for an Uplands Unit Supervisor (Environmental Engineer 5). This position supervises the Uplands Unit comprised of individuals whose primary responsibility is the management of formal cleanup sites. The unit supervisor provides direction, supervision, mentoring, and site management expertise to the members of the unit. This position also manages high profile projects or cleanup sites as assigned by the Section Manager. We are looking for applicants who can be patient, who can see the road ahead for the long-term MTCA projects, an excellent writer and editor, as much of their job will be to manage correspondence and review multiple types of documents. This individual will provide leadership, verify accuracy and completeness of team member’s work with agency regulations, policies, and guidance, all while providing support, coaches, mentors, develops training plans and work load analysis to meet required program performance goals for staff within the Uplands Unit. To apply, go here.
Washington Department of Ecology has a second position to fill as a Senior Permit Writer/Conservancy Board Coordinator (Environmental Specialist 4). The Senior Permit Writer/Conservancy Board Coordinator is responsible for administration of all Water Conservancy Board (WCB) efforts throughout the Central Region, ensuring that Boards have been established and are conducting business in a manner consistent with the state’s Water Conservancy Board Rule (Chapter 173-153 WAC) and with all other applicable water resource statutes, regulations, case law, and Ecology policies and guidance. As a senior permit writer, this position works with multiple stakeholders, including water purveyors, watershed groups, other programs and agencies and the general public on water right and water supply issues, which have significant environmental, economic and political consequences. To apply, go here.
Office of Water (EPA)
The Water Permits Division is seeking to hire a new Director. The Director of the Water Permits Division (WPD) in the Office of Wastewater Management within the Office of Water is responsible for providing national program direction to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, pretreatment, and sewage sludge management programs under Sections 401, 402, and 405 of the Clean Water Act. For more information, click here.
Water ReUse Webinar
Wednesday, June 5, 2-3:30 pm ET
For agenda and call-in information, contact Frances Bothfeld
Legal Affairs Committee Quarterly Call
Thursday, June 6, 2-3:00 pm ET
For agenda and call-in information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire
How’s My Waterway Workgroup
Thursday, June 6, 2-3:00 pm ET
For more information, contact Katie Foreman