Idaho Conservation League Denied Review
This week EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) issued a decision supporting EPA’s acceptance of Idaho DEQ’s interpretation of mixing zone regulations. In the petition, Idaho Conservation League requested review of EPA NPDES permit for the City of Sandpoint wastewater treatment facility. In particular, the Idaho Conservation League objected to the size of the mixing zone that set the limit for phosphorus, which is the “area or volume of water surrounding the pollutant discharge point in which water quality criteria do not apply”. Idaho DEQ has long interpreted their own regulation as giving them flexibility in choosing the size of mixing zones and EPA Region 10 has support that interpretation. The EAB denied the petition for review and indicated EAB decisions “generally give substantial deference to a state’s interpretations of its own laws.” The EAB went on to say that “[t]he League has not offered a compelling reason demonstrating that the Region clearly erred in accepting Idaho DEQ’s interpretation of the EPA-approved state mixing zone regulation in issuing the City of Sandpoint’s NPDES permit.” A copy of the EAB decision can be found here.
EPA/USACE Announce Plans to Revise Mitigation Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) briefed state and local government organizations this week on their plans to revise the jointly-promulgated regulations titled “Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources” (Mitigation Rule) (40 CFR Part 230, Subpart J and 33 CFR Part 332). This action is intended to implement a legislative principle in the Administration’s February 2018 Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America, entitled “Remove Duplication in the Review Process for Mitigation Banking by Eliminating the Interagency Review Team.” This legislative principle is aimed at improving the efficiency of the process by which federal, state, local agencies, and tribal nations review proposed mitigation banks or in-lieu fee programs and provide comments to the Corps. Consistent with this principle, the agencies are considering removing the Interagency Review Team (IRT) process for proposed mitigation bank and in-lieu fee program evaluation and see suggestions for rule changes that continue to provide opportunities for federal, tribal, state, and local input, while making the review process more efficient. The agencies also seek suggestions for retaining the IRT while identifying efficiencies in the instrument review process. The Agencies thus intend to propose amend the Mitigation Rule to ensure the review process for mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs are timely and efficient, while protecting the environment. The Agencies are also soliciting input on whether modifications to the rule text are needed to: better address compliance with the Miscellaneous Receipts Act (31 U.S.C. 3302(b )); clarify the requirements of in-lieu fee program accounts; address credit accounting for multipurpose mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs; and facilitate state assumption of Section 404 Program. Finally, the Agencies seek input on approaches to quantify stream mitigation credits that better reflect the total amount of stream ecosystem restored, enhanced, or preserved in rivers and larger streams, or stream-wetland complexes, while maximizing available credits and opportunities for larger compensatory mitigation projects within a given watershed (For example, whether linear feet, square feet, or some other metric that considers stream length, width,
order, and/or flow regime should be the preferred credit metric).
Senate Committee Approves PFAS Legislation
Earlier this week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved, by voice vote, legislation that would require the EPA to designate nationwide drinking water standards for PFAS. This proposal is included as an amendment to a must-pass defense authorization bill (S. 1790). The amendment would give EPA two years to set nationwide drinking water standards and would also give water utilities a five-year grace period to come into compliance with these standards. The legislation would require companies to report to the EPA when they release PFAS into the environment. Though the EPA has previously stated that it would decide on whether to set drinking water standards for PFAS by the end of this year, passing this amendment could expedite the process as well as give a definitive deadline to address PFAS contamination.
To view the amendment, go here.
Joint EPA Water Research/Tools and Resources Webinar: CyAN App
July 24, 2019, 2:00 to 3:30 PM ET
Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (HABs), which can appear in water bodies across the country, are an indicator of poor water quality and can potentially cause serious environmental and human and aquatic health effects. Historically, monitoring these HABs has been labor intensive and limited due to cost, time, and logistical constraints. EPA developed the CyAN app to help local and state water quality managers make faster and better-informed management decisions related to cyanobacterial blooms. It provides an easy to use, customizable interface for accessing algal bloom satellite data for over 2,000 of the largest lakes and reservoirs in the United States. The CyAN app is free and available for download on Google Play™. It is designed for use on Android™ devices and is compatible with versions 4.2-8.0 (API levels 18-26). It is currently being developed as a web-based app, which will be compatible with most devices.
- Overview Presentation and Q&A Session (2:00-2:30 pm ET)
This portion of the webinar will provide a general overview of the app including what it is used for, why and how it was developed, and who it was designed for, as well as state case studies from their beta testing of the CyAN app. The research that led to the development of the app was conducted in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) through the CyAN Project (epa.gov/cyanoproject).
- Step-by-Step Training and Q&A Session (2:30-3:30 pm ET)
The second half of the webinar will be a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the CyAN app. We will walk through example scenarios and show you how to make fast and efficient initial assessments across water bodies that are roughly one square kilometer or greater. You will learn how to view cyanobacteria concentrations on a national-scale or zoom in to see data for a specific lake or reservoir, how to set queries to determine if blooms exceed your set limits, how to compare multiple water bodies at once, and how to use other functions in the app.
To join this webinar, please register:
Want to follow along using your Android device during the step-by-step training?
Download the CyAN app today: epa.gov/water-research/CyANapp
ACWA Hosts Call on NWQI FY20
On Monday, ACWA’s 319/Nonpoint Source Workgroup held a call with EPA and NRCS on the upcoming FY2020 National Water Quality Initiative (“NWQI”). EPA’s Lynda Hall and Erika Larsen, and NRCS’s Matrin Lowenfish and Dee Carlson provided an overview of the FY20 NWQI including watershed selection, important NWQI program changes, and details of the NWQI watershed assessment guidance. To view the slides, go here.
Annual Meeting 2019 – August 27 – 29, 2019
Registration for Annual Meeting 2019 located in Austin, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Austin – Lady Bird Lake is LIVE. To register, go here. This year’s theme is “Navigating and Targeting Water Quality Priorities.” To view the latest draft agenda, go here.
All Annual Meeting activities are included in your registration. Please remember to confirm your attendance.
Go now, and reserve your lodging at the Hyatt Regency Austin. Call 877-803-7534 to reserve your lodging by phone and ask for the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) block of rooms, or reserve online here. Cut-off date for guaranteed rooms and rate is August 5, 2019.
ACWA ASDWA Water Reuse State Regulators Summit – September 8th 2019
ACWA and ASDWA will be holding a Water Reuse State Regulators Summit prior to Annual WateReuse Symposium. The goal of this workshop is for states to discuss barriers and research needs and for state to state information sharing on water reuse. There is no registration fee associated with this summit and states can register for the WaterReuse Symposium for a discounted rate. To register for this summit or for more information please email Frances Bothfeld.
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.
ACWA offers a limited number of scholarships for state travel support to ACWA state members who would not otherwise be able to able to send a representative to an ACWA meeting. Preference will be given to member organizations that have not been able to send a representative to a Mid-Year or Annual Meeting in several years and Members who are seeking assistance to bring another staff member to the meeting who would not otherwise be able to attend. The scholarships will cover meeting registration fee, airfare, local travel, hotel and associated taxes.
To apply for a scholarship, please contact Sean Rolland, Deputy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 465-7179.
New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC)
NEIWPCC is seeking interested candidates to fill an Environmental Analyst IV (WQ-HAB, NAB, Monitoring, RI DEM) position. This individual would serve as project manager in the Water Quality Division, working on the Harmful Algal-Bloom (HAB) program and Monitoring program; will organize workgroup meetings of appropriate state and federal staff for the HAB and Monitoring workgroups, developing agendas and responding to requests for information from workgroup members, as well as updating the Executive Committee and Commission. Will manage the Northeast Aquatic Biologist conference. In addition, the candidate will work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, including the supervision of one full-time staff member. This position is located in Lowell, MA. To apply go, here.
NEIWPCC is seeking interested candidates to fill an Environmental Analyst IV (WQ) TMD,PEP, WQS) position. This individual would serve as project manager manager in support of the Commission’s mission on regional and national Water Quality Standards (WQS), nutrient and numeric water quality standards, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), Mercury, Clean Water Act 303(d) national listing and TMDL training workshops. Candidate will serve as project manager for the Peconic Estuary Program (PEP), including the supervision of NEIWPCC staff. Will serve as project manager for the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (LINAP) including the supervision of a one full-time staff member. Will organize workgroup meetings of appropriate state and federal staff for the WQS, nutrient and numeric water quality standards, TMDL, and Mercury workgroups developing agendas and responding to requests for information from workgroup members, as well as updating the Executive Committee and Commission. Will develop and administer work plans, budgets, and contract/grant amendments, as well as develop requests for proposals, section of contractors, and management of contracts. This position is located in Lowell, MA. To apply go, here.