Water Quality Protection & Job Creation Act Approved by House Committee
This week the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a slate of bipartisan measures by voice vote, including the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act. H.R. 1497, was introduced by Chairman Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Water Resources Subcommittee Chairwoman Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), and Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and John Katko (R-NY), and authorizes Federal appropriations the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF). The Clean Water SRF, the primary source of Federal funding for wastewater infrastructure, was last reauthorized by Congress in 1987. Its authorization expired in 1994. Yet, Congress has continued to fund this critical investment in our Nation’s wastewater infrastructure through annual appropriations bills—providing more than $43 billion in Federal capitalization assistance to States since 1987 – including a recommended appropriation of $1.784 billion for the Clean Water SRF in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill (H.R. 3055). The bill includes set-asides to assist small and rural communities in addressing their infrastructure needs, as well as additional permit flexibility to help communities address local water quality challenges. The permit flexibility provisions would amend the CWA to allow for the issuance of NPDES with 10 year permit terms for municipal entities. Associated with the increase in permit terms, the legislation includes language addressing administratively continued permits. Under the new provisions, if a state fails to renew/ reissue a permit within 180 days after expiration of the current permit term, the permit will revert to EPA to issue but they will still be considered state authorized permits. To learn more about the specific provisions in H.R. 1497 view the associated fact sheet and summary produced by ACWA staff.
Senate Approves Interior-Environment Spending Bill
The Senate approved a mini-bus spending bill that included appropriations for EPA. The Senate Interior-Environment appropriations bill rejected the Administration’s budget proposal and passed $35.8 billion in funds for the Department of the Interior, EPA, the Forest Service and other related agencies. H.R. 3055 provides about $9 billion to EPA in fiscal 2020. The Senate bill amounts to about $3 billion more than the Administration’s plan but less than the House’s bill of $9.5 billion. The legislation provides $1.1 billion for Drinking Water and $1.6 billion for Clean Water funds. The bill also includes increased funding to $73 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan program. and sewer overflow control projects would get $20.5 million,. Finally, The legislation would provide $20 million to help fund cleanup of the chemicals, such as PFAS/PFOS, as part of a funding increase of $116 million for EPA’s state and tribal assistance grants.
EPA Releases National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies Screener Survey to POTWs
Last week, EPA initiated a multi-phase study to showcase nutrient removal at publicly owned treatment works. The goals of the study are to establish a nationwide baseline for nutrient removal at municipal wastewater treatment plants, and to characterize lower cost options, such as repurposing existing equipment or changing operation and management practices, that result in improved nutrient control. For more information on the study, go here: https://www.epa.gov/eg/national-study-nutrient-removal-and-secondary-technologies.
The first phase of the study is voluntary screener survey questionnaire. ACWA has worked with EPA since the announcement of the National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies in 2016 to improve this survey, make it voluntary, and get it over the finish line. EPA opened the survey and reached out to all POTWs on October 22, 2019. For more information on the survey, go here: https://www.epa.gov/eg/potw-nutrient-survey.
For more information on the survey, the study, or if you have specific questions, please contact EPA’s Paul Shriner at email@example.com.
EPA OIG to Audit CWA Programs’ Effectiveness Against Plastic Pollution Amid Senate and NGO Actions on Plastics
In a memorandum, EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) outlined its forthcoming fieldwork to evaluate how programs in EPA Office of Water and Office of Research and Development address plastic pollution. Specific focus at the onset will be on the Trash Free Waters program and EPA data collected to date relating to plastic pollution and threats to public health and the environment. While no timeline for completion was noted, the audit is listed in OIG’s annual strategic plan. Find more information here.
Also this week, the House Natural Resources Committee convened a hearing on “Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Oceans and Wildlife,” while Senators Udall and Lowenthal began soliciting comment on a framework for amending the Solid Waste Disposal Act to address plastic pollution. Proposed amendments include requiring plastic producers to cover the cost of plastics management, a country-wide plastic bottle deposit requirement, a ban on common single-use plastics, and clauses protecting States and Local governments’ authority to enact other or more stringent plastics regulations. Comments are due 11/21. For more information and draft bill language, visit here.
Lastly, the Center for Biological Diversity delivered its notice of intent to sue EPA for failing to list waters as impaired by plastic pollution in Hawaii.
ACWA Nutrients Permitting Workshop – Next Week!
The November 2019 Nutrients Permitting Workshop located in Alexandria, Virginia at the AlexRenew facility is next week, November 5-7, 2019. To register, go here. The workshop will focus on identifying challenges and building solutions regarding water quality standards and permitting for nutrients. To view the final agenda, go here. We look forward to another excellent Nutrients Permitting Workshop.
If you are unable to attend in person and would like to stream the event, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
2020 National SNC NCI Symposium – January 2020
The 2020 National SNC NCI Symposium will take place January 22-24, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. The goal of this meeting will be to help support states and EPA regions with their efforts to identify and implement activities and actions associated with reducing noncompliance, with particular emphasis on significant non-compliance (SNC). As most of you know, EPA is undertaking a new National Compliance Initiative with the goal of reducing the rate of SNC with an additional focus on identifying and addressing the worst SNC violators. Potential session topics at this meeting may include improving data quality, reducing DMR nonsubmittal, improved understanding of incomplete DMR data transfer, getting permit limits into ICIS, focusing in on small POTW challenges and opportunities for improvement, an overview of current resources available, identification of future training tools and needs, with a large portion of the presentations dedicated to highlighting state and regional SNC success stories. The agenda is currently under development and a draft should be available next week. Further details about this meeting can be found on ACWA’s website. https://www.acwa-us.org/event/2020-national-snc-nci-symposium-dallas-texas/
2020 National Stormwater Roundtable – February 2020
The 2020 National Stormwater Roundtable will be held in San Antonio, Texas on February 4 – 6, 2020, 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. 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, and partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to the stormwater program. 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 and EPA-only meeting; and Wednesday, May 13 will be an all-day meeting partnered with NACWA at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University. ACWA is currently recruiting folks to joined a planning committee to help craft the meeting agenda. Contact Mark Patrick McGuire if you are interested.
District Department of Energy and Environment
DOEE is hiring a Branch Chief (Supervisory Environmental Protection Specialist) MS-0028-14 Job ID 8851(1 position). This position is located in the Natural Resources Administration, Water Quality Division, Planning and Reporting Branch. The announcement is listed as “open to the public” and has a closing date of November 18, 2019.
For more detailed information regarding this opportunity, please visit the District’s career website at https://careers.dc.gov and in the search area enter 8851.
Western States Water Council
The Western States Water Council is hiring for a Policy Analyst. The successful candidate will, under general supervision of the Executive Director, perform professional level work in water related areas such as research and analysis, reviewing and tracking state and federal legislation, rules, regulations, policies and directives, provide staff support to the Council, its members, committees and subcommittees, and assist with preparation and review of external Council positions and internal administrative policies.
Informational Webinar – EPA’s Draft 304(a) Lake Numeric Nutrient Criteria
Tuesdsay, November 12, 2019, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern
For call-in information, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire