EPA Pre-Publication Version: Updating Regulations on Water Quality Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing for public comment a pre-publication version of a proposed rule providing updates and clarifications to the substantive and procedural requirements for water quality certification under Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act) section 401. According to EPA, The proposed rule would replace and modernize the existing water quality certification regulations at 40 CFR Part 121. Additionally, the proposed rule would provide greater clarity and regulatory certainty for the water quality certification process, consistent with the April 2019 Presidential Executive Order entitled “Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth.” The Executive Order directed the EPA to review and issue this new guidance in 60 days and to propose new section 401 regulations in 120 days. Click here for ACWA’s summary.
EPA will also host a public webinar to help explain the key elements of the proposed “Updating Regulations on Water Quality Certifications” rule on August 20, 2019 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm (Eastern Daylight Time). The webinar will be recorded.
EPA to Hold Water Modeling Workshop in Dallas, TX : October 29 – November 1, 2019
EPA’s Water Modeling Workgroup has announced a workshop on exploring and applying surface water modeling tools. This four-day workshop is for program staff from EPA, states, tribes, and territories who want to learn more about surface water quality modeling and how these tools can be used to support their program activities.
The workshop format includes a pre-workshop hands-on training (Monday, October 28 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm), morning plenary sessions, and four afternoon break-out session tracks (HSPF hands-on training track, WASP hands-on training track, model overview track, and model managers track). The workshop agenda is available here.
All workshop sessions will take place at the EPA Region 6 Office (Renaissance Tower, 1201 Elm Street, Dallas, TX). https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/visiting-epas-region-6-office-dallas
To attend, please register here.
If you have questions about the workshop, please contact Kellie DuBay: firstname.lastname@example.org
EPA Releases FY2018 Progress Report Showing Continued Commitment to Environmental Justice
EPA released its Environmental Justice FY2018 Progress Report. Required by EO 12898, the report shows how EPA is providing greater certainty to our federal, states, tribal and local partners; certainty in EPA programs; and certainty in how we communicate risk. This certainty will help to strengthen environmental and public health protections for low-income, minority, indigenous, and disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately likely to live near contaminated lands or be impacted by environmental hazards.
The report describes EPA efforts to remediate Superfund sites and return these sites to productive use to communities, to improve air quality, and to finance critical investments to improve the nation’s water infrastructure. It also describes actions to protect children from lead exposure, to provide funding and technical support for community-driven projects, and to integrate environmental justice into enforcement and science.
To read EPA’s FY2018 Environmental Justice Progress Report: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/annual-environmental-justice-progress-reports
For more information on the EPA’s Environmental Justice Program: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice
EPA Announces Federal Partnership to Build Nationwide Resilience to Natural Disasters
EPA joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and federal partners, in close coordination with experts across governmental agencies, academia and non-governmental organizations, to announce the agency’s participation in the National Mitigation Investment Strategy (NMIS). The NMIS provides a national, whole-community approach to investments in mitigation activities and risk management across federal, state, local, and tribal and territorial government and the private and non-profit sectors. The investment strategy’s overarching goal is to improve the coordination and effectiveness of “mitigation investments,” defined as risk management actions taken to avoid, reduce, or transfer risks from natural hazards, including severe weather.
Below are recent examples of EPA’s continued dedication and investment in mitigation strategies across the country.
- Regional Resilience Technical Assistance – After helping three California regions take large-scale action for disaster resilience, EPA and FEMA partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association of Bay Area Governments to create a toolkit that helps regions plan for disasters by working across multiple jurisdictions and with non-governmental partners. The Regional Resilience Toolkit provides a step-by-step process to help decision makers engage with partners and stakeholders, conduct vulnerability assessments, identify and prioritize strategies, fund projects, and evaluate results.
- Integrating Water Quality and Nature-Based Approaches into Hazard Mitigation Plans – EPA’s Office of Water and Office of Community Revitalization are partnering with FEMA to help states and communities integrate hazard mitigation plans and water quality plans. Project locations include: Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Albany, New York; Huntington, West Virginia; Ashland, Oregon; State of Kentucky; Lower Meramec Valley, Missouri; Denton, Texas; Phoenix/Maricopa County, Arizona; and Mystic River in Massachusetts. Results, to date, demonstrate the benefits of using green infrastructure for multiple community goals including hazard mitigation, water quality, and floodplain management. Several of the communities are already seeing reduced flood insurance rates based on adoption of stormwater policies that reduce risk.
- Building Flood Resilience in Vermont – In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused significant flood damage to historic structures, homes and businesses in Vermont’s Mad River Valley. In 2012 at Vermont’s request, EPA partnered with FEMA to identify state and local policy options to increase community flood resilience. The state adopted several of the strategies that emerged from the workshop. The project developed a Flood Resilience Checklist that communities can use to assess their preparedness for future flooding events. The state provided this checklist to several other Vermont communities through a follow up project, the Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative, and the checklist is the basis for the Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities tool offered by EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.
Recommendations proposed in the NMIS will reduce loss of life and injuries, damage to property, and negative impacts to the economy and the environment and will lead the whole community in building a more resilient future.
For more information on the NMIS, visit www.fema.gov/national-mitigation-investment-strategy.
Understanding EPA’s CWA-NPDES SNC Rate Reduction National Compliance Initiative
EPA will be hosting a webinar on August 28, 2019, from 1:00pm – 3:00pm eastern, for state CWA NPDES compliance staff and ICIS-NPDES data stewards in states, tribes, and EPA. This webinar will be presented as part of the ICIS-NPDES Users Group webinar series in conjunction with the SNC Reduction National Compliance Initiative Workgroup. The webinar will provide a high-level explanation of:
- Reducing SNC with NPDES Permits NCI – its purpose, and intent, roles of EPA and states, compliance assurance tools used, universe of facilities included,
- Required NPDES noncompliance reporting,
- Purpose of NPDES SNC, how it is defined and used by EPA,
- How ICIS-NPDES supports SNC tracking,
- Use of EPA tools to access and analyze SNC data,
- References, training resources, future webinar topics and training needs
Recordings of this and the rest of the ICIS NPDES Training series are available at: https://icis.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360029677172-ICIS-NPDES-Training-Schedule
For additional information see the Reducing SNC with NPDES Permits NCI webpage: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/national-compliance-initiative-reducing-significant-non-compliance-national-pollutant
For a copy of the registration link, please contact Sean Rolland at email@example.com.
EPA/USDA Hold Innovative Financing Strategies for Reducing Nutrients Workshop
This summer, EPA’s Water and Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center hosted a series of four webinars covering innovative financing mechanisms in both the public and private sectors for reducing nutrients. Each webinar delves into case studies of successful approaches from across the country. This work culminated in a workshop this week hosted by EPA and USDA in Washington, DC. Participants shared information and discussed options and considerations for financing nutrient reductions. To learn more about this effort and to view the recorded webinars, go here.
Experts Directory – A New Service
As per the FY2018-FY2022 ACWA Strategic Plan, over 70 state staff volunteered to be part of an Experts Directory, which is a new ACWA service provided in the Member365 Environment. These subject matter experts (SMEs) volunteered to make themselves available should their peers in other states have programmatic related questions. This new Directory was been added as a drop down on the Memebr365 dashboard page and is organized by Expert Subject Area. The subject matter areas include 316(b), 401 Certification, 404 Assumption, CAFO/Animal Agriculture, Enforcement and Compliance, Funding, Legal Affairs, Monitoring & Assessment, Nutrients Policy, NPDES Permitting, Nonpoint Source, Oceans and Coastal Issues, Pesticides, Pretreatment, State Implementation of CWA Programs, Steam Electric, Stormwater – Municipal, Stormwater – Industrial, Technology and Innovation, Water Quality Trading, Water Quality Standards, Water Quantity, and Watersheds & TMDLs. If you have programmatic questions, this may be another option to help you find out how other states are addressing the issue. Several volunteers offered to help research a question if they did not have an answer readily available. Beyond answering Member questions, ACWA may also ask the SMEs to identify:
- challenges & barriers to program implementation
- opportunities for state program improvement & enhancement
- state advances and innovations
- needs for training, guidance, tools, and other support materials
- positions the Associations wishes to take on specific issues
ACWA to Release Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker Version 2.0 in September
The Nutrients Working Group (“NWG”), a partnership between ACWA, EPA, and ASDWA, began work in 2014 to identify a set of measures that demonstrate progress toward nutrient reduction in the nation’s waters. States recognized that while there is a national metric tracking state adoption of numeric nitrogen and phosphorus criteria for lakes, estuaries, and flowing waters, there was an opportunity to also measure the myriad of other approaches states are taking to reduce nutrient pollution. The NWG concluded that the best way to begin to track and demonstrate progress on nutrient reduction would be a short, easy-to-complete form of agreed upon measures that states would complete on a routine basis. The Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker Version 1.0 – 2017 (“Tracker 1.0”) was the culmination of that effort.
The Nutrients Reduction Progress Tracker Version 2.0 – 2019 (“Tracker 2.0”) follows Tracker 1.0, seeking to both track state progress on nutrients pollution reduction efforts since 2017 and also seek more detail on state programs. The Tracker will be released to states on September 3.
ACWA asks your support in completing Tracker 2.0 to demonstrate progress in reducing nutrient pollution to our waters nationwide. For more information, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
Annual Meeting 2019 August 27 – 29, 2019
To register to the meeting, go Here. This year’s theme is “Navigating and Targeting Water Quality Priorities.”
To view the final draft agenda, go HERE.
We are excited to see so many of our members participant in this year’s meeting. We look forward to an insightful and productive discussion regarding water quality priorities.
All Annual Meeting activities are included in your registration. Please remember to confirm your attendance by registering at the link provided. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need lodging. Request are case by case.
2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop – September 2019
Meeting SOLD OUT !! ACWA is no longer able to accept new registrations. If you have any questions, please contact Sean Rolland.
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.
2020 National Stormwater Roundtable – SAVE THE DATE!
February 4 – 6, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas
Purpose: The 2020 National Stormwater Roundtable supports implementation of federal and state municipal, industrial, and construction stormwater programs nationwide by sharing best management practices, showcasing innovative state programs and initiatives, highlighting new technologies, facilitating discussion on national program enhancements and improvements, identifying state resource needs including tools, training and guidance, and proposing solutions to challenges and barriers faced by the regulators and other stakeholders.
Attendees: The Stormwater Roundtable is national meeting specifically organized by state and federal regulators for EPA and state program staff representatives. Attendees include:
- State managers, permit writers, inspectors, and compliance staff involved in regulating stormwater
- EPA Headquarter and Regional staff involved in stormwater regulation
- Partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to the stormwater program
- Invited guests
Website: Future updates for this meeting can be found on ACWA’s webpage – https://www.acwa-us.org/event/2020-national-stormwater-roundtable/
2020 National Pretreatment Meeting – SAVE THE DATE!
The 2020 National Pretreatment Meeting will take place May 11-13 in Nashville, Tennessee. Though the agenda is currently in development, tentatively, Monday, May 11 will be a series of training sessions from 1-5; Tuesday, May 12 will be an all-day states-only meeting; and Wednesday, May 13 will be an all-day meeting partnered with NACWA at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University.
Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy is look to fill the position of Environmental Quality Program Specialist II. This position position contributes to the fulfillment of the agency’s mission to protect, preserve, and enhance Nebraska’s air, land, and water resources. Specifically, this position manages Water Quality Standards for Nebraska surface water resources. To view the full job description and to apply, go here. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 CT on September 6, 2019.
How’s My Waterway Workgroup
Thursday, August 22, 2:00-3:00 pm ET
For more information, contact Katie Foreman
National Estuary Programs Nutrients Activities Webinar – ACWA Nutrients Policy Committee
Thursday, August 22, 2019, 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET
For call-in information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
On this call, Chris Orvin of the National Estuary Programs (“NEP”) will discuss the NEP’s nutrients reduction work. Chris will provide a background on the NEPs, speak on the range of efforts to reduce nutrients employed across the 28 NEPs, and answer questions.