EPA Release 2018 Year in Review
This week EPA released a report outlining its accomplishments for 2018 and outlines its policy agenda for the coming year. The report includes updates enforcement numbers, summaries of the past year’s regulatory and deregulatory activities and outlines key policy priorities for the coming year.
Trump Signs Executive Order on Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure
This week President Trump signed another executive order (EO) aimed at boosting US steel, iron, aluminum, and concrete used in infrastructure projects that use federal assistance. This EO has cost implications for water infrastructure projects that are funded through WIFIA. It is important to note that this executive order does not contain an enforcement mechanism or purchasing targets, and instead requires the heads of executive agencies to prepare reports on how they plan on implementing this EO within 90 days of January 31st (the day when the EO was published). The EO, while available on the White House website, has not yet been published in the federal register.
USGS Identify Urban Stressors Affecting Health of Southeast Streams
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Society published an article linking chemical and physical stressors associated with urban development to the health of small streams in the Southeast. The study found that even small amounts of urbanization impairs stream health and the impairment increased with more urbanization. The study used statistical ecological models to identify the most important stressors among hundreds of potential stressors measured. The study is apart of the Regional Stream Quality Assessment (RSQA) program. The article can be found here.
Confusion Over PFAS Regulation Arises
This week Politico reported that the Trump Administration would not set a drinking water standard for PFOS and PFOA. This report prompted EPA’s Office of Water Assistant Administrator Andrew Wheeler to release a statement in the contrary:
“Despite what is being reported, EPA has not finalized or publicly issued its PFAS management plan, and any information that speculates what is included in the plan is premature. The agency is committed to following the Safe Drinking Water Act process for evaluating new drinking water standards, which is just one of the many components of the draft plan that is currently undergoing interagency review.”
These contradictory reports will likely spill over into Acting Administrator Wheeler’s confirmation process. A committee vote is expected next week.
Supreme Court To Rule on Federal Agency Deference
A United States Supreme Court case to be argued this term, Kisor v. Wilkie, will likely have a huge impact on federal agency deference. The facts of the case involve a dispute with the Department of Veterans Affairs, however, the case challenges longstanding agency deference as explained in Auer v. Robbins and Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., that courts must defer to agencies’ reasonable interpretations of their own regulations. Over the last week, Scotusblog.com hosted an online symposium publishing various scholarly articles on the case. You can view them here.
Nutrients Project Identification
In late 2018, the Nutrients Working Group (“NWG”), a partnership between ACWA, ASDWA, NASDA, and EPA created to confront nutrients pollution related issues, worked to identify priorities. Specifically, the state partners of the group polled their memberships and introduced a series of priorities to the NWG.
The top five priorities for the state members of the NWG are:
- Technology implementation for POTWs (e.g., optimization, new nutrients removal technology, etc.),
- Harmful algal bloom (“HAB”) management (including scientific research to help understand how and when toxic HABs occur),
- Nonpoint source management (including 319 funds/resource availability),
- Small Facilities/Lagoons (specifically the issue of affordability in small towns where construction, maintenance, and operation of mechanical biological nutrient reduction is unaffordable)
- Improving coordination with agricultural agencies and interests.
(ACWA’s full list of ranked priorities is attached here.)
ACWA and the members of the NWG currently confront these issues in various ways including the Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker, the Nutrients Permitting Workshops, EPA’s POTW Study on Secondary Nutrients Removal, EPA’s Compendium of Nutrients Practices, and more. However, ACWA and the NWG are looking to see if there are specific projects or concepts relative to the broad priority areas identified by states.
Please provide Mark Patrick McGuire (firstname.lastname@example.org – 202-756-0604) with any ideas you have on projects on which the NWG can work that would be helpful for your state on any of these big issues.
Examples of projects could be: a deeper study into the needs of small town systems and potential solutions, a blueprint for collaboration between state water and agriculture departments, a project that allows for increased access to trading or new partnerships to reduce nutrients, a project identifying POTWs that would greatly benefit from support to optimize processes to reduce nutrients, etc.
Please respond by Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
ACWA and NEIWPCC Seeking State Examples of Novel Infrastructure Funding
ACWA created a survey to gather examples of innovative approaches to funding water and wastewater infrastructure. The results will be shared with the states. If you have any examples of innovative approaches to funding water and wastewater infrastructure please contact Frances Bothfeld to receive a link to the survey.
Mid-Year Meeting 2019
Planning is underway for the upcoming 2019 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting. We are confident that we can put on a successful meeting in the (unlikely) event that the shutdown is continuing during our Mid-Year Meeting. The Mid-Year Meeting agenda is still under development and is subject to refinement.
Register Now! And receive the early bird rate!
Early Bird Registration is now available and ends February 28th
This meeting is planned as a day and a half meeting. State attendees will lead discussions relevant to states priorities. Members are encouraged to attend. Go here to reserve your lodging accommodations. Guaranteed room rate ends February 22nd. Call direct 703-837-0440 or 1-800 HILTONS and ask for the ACWA – Mid-Year Meeting 2019 group rate. Meeting registration can be found here. Members and invited guest, if you encounter problems logging into Member 365, go here. View the draft agenda here.
ACWA is also offering travel scholarships to the 2019 Mid-Year Meeting. We have funding for 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. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please contact Sean Rolland.
Save the Date! Nutrients Permitting Workshop – November 2019
The November 2019 Nutrients Permitting Workshop will be located in Alexandria, Virginia at the AlexRenew facility November 5-7, 2019. The workshop will focus on the relationship between water quality standards and nutrients permitting. 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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We ask that members registering please use your state email addresses and login credentials provided. If someone is registering on your behalf that does not have an account in Member365 make sure that they have access to your login credentials so as not to create conflicting or overlapping information within the system.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Georgia DNR is looking for an Environmental Protection Manager. This position is located in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) – Water Protection Branch – Drinking Water Program. The successful candidate will manage the program that helps ensure safe drinking water to millions of Georgians. Duties and responsibilities include: perform supervisory duties of considerable difficulty in the development, implementation and enforcement of federal and state public water system regulations, policies, guidance and procedures; direct environmental health and protection activities that provide technical assistance and regulatory interpretation of safe drinking water laws and regulations, water withdrawal laws and regulations, and water well standards law and regulations to the regulated community and public; oversee the investigation and inspection of public water systems; implement Drinking Water State Revolving Fund requirements; provide technical assistance concerning drinking water issues, water supply sources, treatment facilities, and other pertinent environmental issues; review operating permit applications and supporting documents for completeness; and, prepare operating permits with appropriate permit conditions. While the closing date for this position is February 5, 2019, the announcement will run until the position is filled.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has a Chief Science Officer position to fill located in Tallahassee, Florida. The closing date for this position is February 15, 2019.
The role of the Chief Science Officer (CSO) is to oversee and serve as the agency expert in the environmental science functions for the Department of Environmental Protection located in Tallahassee, Florida. In this role, the CSO will lead basic and applied research projects and the development of new procedures in the overall assessment, management, regulation, and restoration of the state’s aquatic ecosystems and water resources, including coastal and estuarine resources. This executive level position reporting to the Secretary, will direct the newly established Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency. The ideal candidate will possess discipline-specific knowledge, leadership and business skills to promote the sustainability, enforcement and efficiency of all state environmental laws and regulations.
Washington Department of Ecology
Washington Department of Ecology, has several current positions open, to view and apply go here.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.