EPA, Army Corps Publish Proposed Rule Redefining WOTUS
On Thursday, February 14th, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers published the long-anticipated official proposed rule redefining WOTUS in the Federal Register. That also means the 60-day comment period began Thursday – you can submit comments on regulations.gov here. The proposed rule as published is substantively identical to the pre-publication version which EPA had posted on their website in December.
ACWA (along with ECOS, ASWM, and AFWA) submitted a comment letter via regulations.gov asking EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers to extend the comment period by another 60 days in light of the important and complexity of the rule, and because of the delayed public outreach meetings. The letter is not visible on the official proposed rule docket quite yet (it takes some time to process comments), but it is available on ACWA’s website here.
If you have thoughts or questions, please contact Julian Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPA Releases PFAS Action Plan
The EPA released their Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan on Thursday, February 14th. This action plan was in response to the six PFAS Community Engagement Sessions they had this past summer and fall. The plan provides details on how the EPA will move forward with the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) process for PFOA and PFAS. It also addresses clean up strategies, monitoring for PFAS, and future research. For more information please see the fact sheets or the Action Plan.
Congress Reaches Deal on EPA Budget
Congress passed a budget for the seven remaining departments averting another partial government shutdown. The EPA will receive $8.1 billion, which is a slight increase from FY18 and $2.66 billion more than the president’s request. The Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs funding levels would remain the same. STAG grants and WIFIA would see a slight increase in funding. For more information, the conference report is available here and a summary is available here. ACWA will release a budget chart when all information is available.
EPA Unveils New Water Quality Trading Guidance
Last week, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, David Ross, announced a new policy memorandum that will help states, tribes, and stakeholders use market-, incentive-, and community-based programs to reduce excess nutrients and improve water quality in their communities. The memorandum adopts six broad “market-based principles” that EPA supports in future trading programs, without mentioning the regulatory or enforcement approaches that state and tribal authorities should use to implement them.
EPA plans to hold a webinar on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 1:00‐2:00 pm ET to discuss the memorandum and EPA’s efforts and take questions. To participate, email email@example.com.
Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace Announces Water Quality Trading Report Webinar
Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace will host a webinar on February 21, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET (10:00 am PT)on a recent report from the National Network on Water Quality Trading (“NNWQT”), Breaking Down Barriers: Priority Actions for Advancing Water Quality Trading (Through its participation in the NNWQT, ACWA assisted in the creation of the report). The report provides an investigation into what is keeping water quality trading on the sidelines and proposes a detailed action agenda to help get water quality trading implemented in more watersheds across the United States.
Hosted by report co-authors Willamette Partnership and Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, the webinar will provide a dive into the report’s findings while exploring the individual and collective actions needed to move forward with water quality trading and other market-based approaches to clean water.
To register for the webinar, go here.
EPA’s NSmart Program Webinars Rescheduled
Save the date for EPA’s NutrientsSmart (“NSmart”) program kickoff webinars! The webinars were rescheduled for April 10, 2019, 1 – 2 pm EDT and April 11, 2019, 3 – 4 pm EDT. You can view the informational flyer here.
To register for the webinars, go here.
For some background, NSmart is a proposed voluntary program to recognize water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs), and their watershed partners, progress towards reducing nutrients in waterbodies. The EPA Office of Water and the NSmart Steering Committee are hosting an interest and information webinar to introduce a proposed voluntary recognition program for POTWs, WWRFs, communities, and other stakeholders and potential partners that have reduced or are working towards reducing nutrient loadings to streams, rivers, lakes, and other surface waters. As one of these stakeholders, we would like to provide you with background and answer your questions on the different ways to participate and be recognized as NSmart and gauge your interest in NSmart. We want to know how best to engage with you and make recognition valuable to you, your ratepayers, partners, and local communities.
Please send questions and comments to EPA’s Mary Reiley.
NPDES Updates Rule Published 2/12/2019
On Tuesday, February 12, 2019 EPA published the final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): Applications and Program Updates Rule. The original rule was proposed May 18, 2016. As part of this rule making, EPA finalized specific revisions to clarify and update the permit application requirements to improve consistency, accuracy, and usability. Along with other updates, EPA is now requiring an applicant to provide both SIC and NAICS codes on application forms. EPA finalized definitions for ‘‘Pesticide discharges to waters of the United States from pesticide application,’’ as well as a regulatory definition for ‘‘pesticide residue.’’ EPA decided to retain the 24-month requirement for non-POTWs to submit effluent data after the commencement of discharge, rather than reducing to the 18 months that was proposed. EPA is not finalizing the proposed revision to the definition of significant industrial user (SIU) and is instead retaining the previous requirements. EPA’s has also decided to allow public notice of permitting actions to be published on the permitting authority’s publicly available website, in lieu of the newspaper publication requirement, as EPA believes this will increases transparency and promote opportunities for public involvement. This decision also preserves states’ flexibility to notice in a way that best ensures their public will be given a meaningful opportunity to participate in the NPDES permitting process. EPA also finalized updates to addresses, email addresses, web addresses, information sources, and other logistics related revisions. Finally, EPA noted that they would be deferring action on the following proposed provisions:
1. Definition of Proposed Permit
2. Definition of Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET)
3. Application Requirements—Latitude and Longitude
4. Reasonable Potential Determinations for New Discharges
5. Dilution Allowances
6. Antidegradation Reference
8. Design Flows for POTWs
9. Objection to Administratively Continued Permits
10. CWA Section 401 Certification Process
11. Fact Sheet Requirements
The Federal Register notice can be found here.
Mid-Year Meeting 2019
Reserve Your Room Now! Guaranteed space and room rate ends February 22nd.
Early Bird Registration is available and ends February 28th
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.
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. 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop
The State/EPA 2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop will be held September 17-19, 2019 in Washington, DC. This meeting is intended to help support states and EPA to showcase permit writer innovations, assist with analysis of training, guidance, tools, and other support material needs, improve administrative efficiencies, clarify roles and responsibilities, build stronger linkages to WQS & TMDLs, modernize permit terms and data management, discuss program performance measures, and identify program areas where targeted technical assistance would be most beneficial. For more information, contact Sean Rolland or see our website.
ACWA Nutrients Permitting Workshop Registration is LIVE!
Registration for the November 2019 Nutrients Permitting Workshop located in Alexandria, Virginia at the AlexRenew facility November 5-7, 2019 is now live. To register, go here. 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 to meetings 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.
Washington Department of Ecology
Washington Department of Ecology, has several new positions open, to view and apply go here.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
MDEQ is looking for an Environmental Science Modeler (Modeler) with analytical and technical skills. The Modeler provides watershed and water quality modeling and analytical support for various programs within the Department of Environmental Quality. Responsibilities include selecting and utilizing appropriate models for projects; compiling model input data such as basin hydrology, land use, water quality and climate data; documenting model construction and parameters; calibrating, validating and evaluating model performance; and developing model report documents. For more information and how to apply, go here.
New Mexico Environment Department
The Surface Water Quality Bureau is seeking qualified candidates for a vacant Environmental Scientist Specialist-Operational position. This position is responsible for developing Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) watershed documents and related implementation or restoration plans through assessment and modeling of surface water quality and other environmental data to fulfill federal Clean Water Act requirements and EPA grant commitments. This position will also present TMDL documents to stakeholders during public meetings and for approval to the Water Quality Control Commission. The ideal candidate will have experience with state and federal surface water quality regulations as well as experience with technical writing and document preparation, public speaking, and environmental modeling in addition to proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
To access the position description and apply (now through February 27, 2019), please go to the State Personnel Office website current position openings and search for Job ID 104522.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.