Office of Water Policy for Draft Documents
The Office of Water issued a policy for managing draft documents this week. EPA often issues guidance and policy documents related to the national program. In some cases, the Office of Water has issued these documents in draft form but not taken steps to issue them timely in their final form. This has caused some confusion for states administering Office of Water programs, the regulated community, and the public.
The Office of Water has determined that draft documents that have not been finalized within a reasonable period of time should be managed appropriately to prevent confusion and misuse of non-final Agency documents. To that end, effective immediately, all draft documents that were issued more than two years ago and that have not been finalized are hereby rescinded. In addition, any draft documents that have been recently issued must be finalized within two years of the draft date or will automatically be rescinded. Lastly, any future draft documents that are not issued in final within two years of the draft date shall be automatically rescinded.
Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention
EPA released a pre-publication version of a final notice declining to issue new Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements to prevent or contain industrial chemical spills. This week Administrator Wheeler signed a rule establishing that there would be “no new regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 311(j)(1)(C) authority for hazardous substance discharge prevention.” CWA section 311(j)(1)(C) directs EPA to issue regulations establishing procedures, methods, equipment to prevent and contain discharges of oil and other hazardous substances from vessels and both onshore and offshore facilities. Environmentalists and emergency management professionals urged the agency to issue regulations under sec. 311 of the CWA after a 2014 spill in Charleston, West Virginia, that impacted local drinking water supplies. On July 21, 2015, EPA was sued for failing to comply “with the duty to issue regulations to prevent and contain CWA hazardous substance discharges under CWA section 311.” On February 16, 2016, a District Court approved a Consent Decree that required EPA to notice and take final action on a proposed rulemaking pertaining to the issuance of hazardous substance regulations. This week’s final agency action has EPA declaring “[a]fter seeking public comment and based on an analysis of the frequency and impacts of reported CWA Hazardous Substances discharges, as well as the existing framework of EPA regulatory requirements, the Agency is not establishing at this time new discharge prevention and containment regulatory requirements under CWA section 311.” The agency concluded that existing rules are sufficient. A signed copy of the pre-published rule can be found here.
More Guidance on Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)
This week the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) provided further clarification regarding the use of SEPs in consent decrees and settlement agreements, with respect to states and local governments. In particular, the new memo highlights the current Attorney General’s position that consent decrees “must not be used to achieve general policy goals or to extract greater or a different relief from the defendant than could be obtained through agency enforcement authority.” And that, by definition, SEPs are generally projects agreed to in settlements that go beyond what is required under federal, state, or local laws. The memo goes on to discuss why arguments that SEPs should be exempted “is unpersuasive.” In particular, Congress has not expressly, or even implicitly, approved of their usage. And use of SEPs by prosecutors effectively “subverts the legislative process” and keeps money from ending up in the U.S Treasury, where Congress could then determine best how to spend it. Particular focus is aimed at the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which formalized EPA’s Integrated Planning policy the DOJ believes does not demonstrate a clear intent to authorize SEPs in enforcement actions involving municipalities. The DOJ goes on to say that “SEPs involving state and local government defendants therefore unambiguously fall within the core of the Attorney General’s November 2018 Policy, and are precluded, absent the granting of an exception based on other considerations.” SEPs exceptions will be “rare,” but may be granted on a case by case basis in consideration of the following factors: 1) must be a discrete project presenting a small component of the overall settlement in terms of duration, dollars, and scope; 2) should provide broad benefits to the community, not individuals; 3) the government defendant should certify the SEP does not violate any legal restriction; and 4) should only be included as a last resort. A copy of the August 21, 2019 memo can be found here.
Deziel Named Region 1 Administrator
Administrator Wheeler named Dennis Deziel as the new head of EPA’s Region 1 that covers the New England states, following his predecessor Alex Dunn’s confirmation as head of the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention earlier this year. Deziel most recently served as the director of federal affairs at Dow Chemical. Prior to entering private industry, Mr. Deziel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Environmental Management at the U.S. Department of Energy from 2012 to 2014 where he led budget, policy and planning development for the Nation’s largest environmental cleanup program. He also managed chemical security issues at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2004 to 2010 and prior to that he served as a policy advisor for the Council for Environmental Quality from 2002 to 2004. Mr. Deziel began his career working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the pesticides and chemicals program.
EPA Announces Proposed Rule: Updating Regulations on Water Quality Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing for public comment 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.
ACWA will be putting together a workgroup as we gauge our members’ interest in commenting. If your state would be interested in commenting or participating on this workgroup, please let us know by Tuesday, September 3. The deadline for comments is October 21, 2019
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
No Wrap Next Week – 08/26
ACWA Staff will be in Austin, Texas for our 2019 Annual Meeting!
Annual Meeting 2019 – August 27 – 29, 2019
“Navigating and Targeting Water Quality Priorities”
We are excited to see so many of our members participate in this year’s meeting. We look forward to an insightful and productive discussion regarding water quality priorities. If you registered to the meeting, you were sent an email containing more information about the meeting and transportation options to and from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Austin, Texas.
All Annual Meeting activities are included in your registration. Safe travels and see you in Austin!
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.
Cambria Community Services District
The Cambria Community Services District has three current vacancies, formerly named the Cambria Water District, which was formed in 1967. Cambria Water District provided sewer services to the community. In 1976, the Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) was formed. This facilitated the expansion of CCSD services to include water, wastewater, fire protection, lighting, refuse, and Parks, Recreation, and Open Space. The CCSD is governed by a five-member board of directors elected by Cambria voters for four-year overlapping terms. A special district is a very basic form of local government, special to the state of California. There are approximately 2,300 independent special districts in California. When residents or landowners want new services or higher levels of existing services, they can form a special district to pay for and administer them. The CCSD is primarily funded by utility fees augmented by a small amount of property tax revenue.
The Cambria Community Services District is currently seeking candidates for their Utilities Department Manager vacancy. This position reports to the General Manager, the Utility Manager is responsible for the supervision of fourteen employees, including a management analyst, six employees in the water department and seven employees in the wastewater department. The Utility Manager will be responsible for all District utility operations, including administration of consultant and construction contracts, managing, planning, organizing, developing, directing and reviewing programs related to CCSD water supply, production, treatment, storage, control, distribution, conservation, metering and customer service programs; and wastewater collection, treatment, and reclamation programs. The Utility Manager provides supervision of all the professional services provided to the District relating to permitting, planning, design and construction of the District’s capital improvement program and for any environmental studies, analysis, investigations, or technical assistance required in the utilities operation of the District or for providing reports and information to regulatory agencies.
The Cambria Community Services District, located on the beautiful central coast of California approximately five miles south of Hearst Castle and 15 miles north of Morro Bay, seeks qualified and highly motivated individuals with a strong work ethic to fill one full-time Water Treatment Operator Grade I or Water Treatment Operator Grade II positions. The Cambria Community Services District serves a population of approximately 6500 and Cambria is considered one of the most desirable places to live in California. Within thirty minutes of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, Cambria offers a quality of life that provides unlimited outdoor amenities, rugged coastlines, rolling hills, clean air and a Mediterranean climate. Cambria offers excellent schools and a work environment that fosters teamwork, collaborative thinking and a sense of community.Under supervision of the Water System Supervisor, the Water Treatment Operator Grade I or Grade II installs, repairs, maintains and replaces water mains, meters, service connection and other water assists in the operation of the water supply, treatment, distribution, storage and pumping systems; reads meters; and, performs other duties as assigned. Submission deadline is September 23, 2019. To apply, go here.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.