Appropriators Reach Tentative Deal on Government Funding
Congressional appropriators reached a tentative deal on federal funding this week. Specific details will not be announced until next week but the expectation is that Congress will address all 12 annual spending bills before they depart for the holiday recess. If passed, the tentative $1.3 trillion deal would avoid a government shutdown on Dec. 20, when current funding expires.
EPA Webinar on Integrating Water Quality and Natural Hazard Mitigation Planning
This webinar is set to be a great introduction on how to work with FEMA to integrate our water quality efforts with their focus on mitigating natural hazards. Water program integration and green infrastructure solutions in urban-to-agricultural settings can aid in resilience to flooding, drought, water contamination, erosion, urban heat island, and airborne dust particulates. This webinar will provide tools to help integrate water protection planning (e.g., water quality protection, watershed planning, source water protection) into hazard mitigation planning, provide an overview for hazard mitigation specialists and watershed planners on how to align program goals and activities, and illustrate how planning efforts can be enhanced through a cooperative, coordinated approach. When collaborative concepts are applied during goal-setting and preparation of planning documents, professionals can better leverage the resources available from all programs and stakeholders and achieve multiple benefits. State Hazard Mitigation Plans that have natural resource protection as a goal will be highlighted, as their approaches help mitigate both the impacts of sudden natural disasters as well as the risks to health and water resources in a changing world.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 (please note that this webcast was rescheduled from December 10).
1:00 – 2:30 PM, EST.
Final NDAA, with PFAS Language, Emerges
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) emerged from Conference Committee and could move to the White House as early as next week. Its PFAS-related provisions include:
- Nationwide sampling of ambient waters and drinking water, and analytical methods development and training program (USGS/EPA).
- Guidance on Cooperative Agreements with States to address PFAS and a DOD PFAS remediation plan to be written by end of 2020.
- UCMR listing of PFAS that have an approved analytical method.
- EPA interim guidance (2021) on destruction and disposal of PFOA/PFAS or materials containing them including landfill leachate, soil, biosolids, and byproducts of water treatment processes.
- Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) listing of PFOA, PFOS, Gen X, PFNA, and PFHxS at a 100lb reporting threshold.
- A DOD phaseout of firefighting foams containing PFAS by 2024, though only if deemed “possible” by DOD at such time; and usage on marine vessels exempt.
The NDAA does not include the following provisions, which were the “sticking points” in negotiations all year. The House has separately introduced the “PFAS Action Act” with these provisions, but it is not considered “passable” in the Senate.
- Superfund designation for select PFAS or PFAS broadly.
- An MCL for PFOA/PFOS.
- Effluent Limit Guidelines and Pretreatment Standards by 2022.
The NDAA also includes non-PFAS provisions of interest:
- CECs: Establishes “Emerging Contaminants Interagency Workgroup” chaired by EPA; directs development of a Federal CEC Research Strategy; directs EPA to evaluate how it can best assist states on CECs, and compile a CEC resources clearinghouse that can be integrated into the Water Contaminant Information Tool; and, directs the federal family to provide technical assistance to states.
- Establishes DOD water use targets to be achieved by 2030 (2% reduction/year relative to 2010) and sustainable stormwater/wastewater infrastructure incentives.
Find the Conference Report (i.e. the agreed-upon bill language) here.
Also this week, a peer-review panel affirmed the findings of the National Toxicology Program’s study of PFOA and cancer in rats. “Clear evidence” of carcinogenic activity was found. Find the draft report and associated materials here.
EPA Releases 2018 TRI Data Set
EPA has posted the complete 2018 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) dataset. The 2018 data are available in the online TRI tools, downloadable Basic data files and Basic Plus data files.
The complete data set contains data about chemical releases and other waste management practices and pollution prevention (P2) activities that took place during 2018 at more than 20,000 federal and industrial facilities across the country. EPA has reviewed these data and conducted various data quality processes to help verify them. This TRI data release includes some summary and trend information, but doesn’t include EPA’s analysis of the 2018 data. EPA will present its analysis to the public early next year in the TRI National Analysis. The TRI National Analysis will interpret the 2018 TRI dataset and examine trends in releases, other waste management practices, and P2 activities. The 2018 data are available in the various online TRI tools and data files, including the location-based TRI factsheets. Find out more about TRI at www.epa.gov/tri.
CWSE Workgroup Call – Proposed Rule
This week ACWA’s Cooling Water Steam Electric Workgroup was briefed on the proposed updates to the Steam Electric ELG. The proposal relaxes some of the technology requirements and zero discharge limitations. For example, the 2015 Rule established a zero-discharge limit for all pollutants in bottom ash transport with an updated compliance date of November 1, 2020. The 2019 proposal would provide a 10% allowance for high recycle systems and address concerns related to a full purge for maintenance. Likewise, for flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater would adjust limits and allowable technologies (CP+LRTR) for selenium. The Voluntary Incentives Program specifies that facilities can use Member Filtration and extend their compliance date to December 31, 2028. This proposal is estimated to annually save approximately $175 million dollars pre-tax compliance costs and $137 million dollars in social costs. EPA believes that participation in the voluntary incentive program would further reduce the pollutants by approximately 105 million pounds per year. Proposed updated compliance dates include:
- BA Transport Water (High Recycle Rate Systems) = December 31, 2023
- FGD Wastewater (CP + LRTR) = December 31, 2025
- Voluntary Incentives Program (Membrane Filtration) = December 31, 2028
- Early Retirement Subcategory (Retirement) = December 31, 2028
For a copy of the presentation please contact Sean Rolland.
Deadline Extended for Version 2.0 of Nutrients Tracker
ACWA is extending the deadline for responses to the Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker 2.0 – 2019 (the “Tracker”) to January 13, 2020.
For some background, 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 was 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 take to reduce nutrient pollution.
The Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker Version 1.0 – 2017 was the culmination of that effort. The NWG released a Report in March 2018 summarizing the data received.
The Nutrients Reduction Progress Tracker Version 2.0 – 2019 follows the 2017 version, seeking to both track state progress on nutrients pollution reduction efforts since 2017 and also seek more detail on state programs.
ACWA asks that your state complete the Tracker on SurveyMonkey by the new date of January 13, 2020. ACWA will then review the results and publish a report by March 2020. As you will see in the Tracker, some answers are to be provided by EPA. ACWA will distribute EPA’s data for state review in early 2020.
You may access the Tracker here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ACWATracker2019.
If you would like a fillable .pdf to assist in your efforts, you may access that here: Nutrient_Reduction_Progress_Tracker_2.0_-_2019.
For assistance in filling out the Tracker, please consult ACWA’s FAQs here: Nutrient_Reduction_Progress_Tracker_2.0_-_2019_FAQ.
If you have any other questions regarding this effort, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire or 202-756-0604.
2020 National SNC NCI Symposium – January 2020 – Limited Availability
The 2020 National SNC NCI Symposium, taking place January 22-24, 2020 in Dallas, Texas, has limited seats left. Please review details about this meeting on ACWA’s website and register by no later than December 18, 2019.
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 a national meeting specifically organized by state and federal regulators for EPA and state program staff representatives. Attendees include state managers, permit writers, inspectors, 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/
Mid-Year Meeting 2020 – March 2020
Reserve your lodging for Mid-Year Meeting using the group code MWC; Reserve online here.
2020 National Pretreatment Meeting – May 2020
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.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a job vacancy for a General Counsel Supervisor position (20-01490), within the Legal Bureau, located in Des Moines, IA. Under the general guidance of the Deputy Director, this position serves as Bureau Chief of Legal Services and as General Counsel for the Department. The position provides, directs and controls the provision of legal services, public records management and enforcement actions to staff in all program areas within the Department so that those programs are operated in conformance with applicable law and so that the requirements of those programs are effectively administered and enforced. The posting for this position will close on January 3, 2020.
For more information and how to apply, go here.
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking an Environmental Program Manager for the Wastewater Management Program in DEC’s Watershed Management Division. This is a classified manager position that will supervise seven staff persons engaged in implementing Vermont’s EPA-delegated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, which regulates direct discharges to Vermont’s surface waters and industrial discharges into wastewater treatment facilities. This work includes issuing facility permits, conducting compliance monitoring and facility inspections and providing outreach and technical assistance. Will serve as the liaison with EPA for the NPDES program and ensure that Vermont’s annual commitments to EPA for permitting and inspections are met. This position will interact frequently with other Division programs, other Department Divisions and Agency legal counsel. This position will also oversee implementation of Vermont’s new Combined Sewer Overflow Rule. Will be responsible for responding to media requests and will represent the Department before legislative committees as assigned. The posting for this position will close on December 18, 2019.
For more information and how to apply, go here.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.
Watersheds Committee Call: Protection
Thursday, December 19, 2:30-4:00 EST.
This call will feature presentations and discussion on the protection goals of the VISION.
You may register here. Please contact Jasper Hobbs with any questions