**ACWA 2020 Mid-Year Meeting (March 17/18) Will Go On…Virtually!**
Pursuant to coronavirus (COVID-19) management efforts, the ACWA Executive Committee made the difficult decision to host the 2020 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting in a “Virtual” rather than “In-Person” format. Please see the Mid-Year Meeting event page for more information and to check for periodic updates. Speakers and participants in the Mid-Year Meeting will receive as-needed guidance from their ACWA staff liaison to facilitate the virtual format.
CDC Releases Guidance/FAQ on COVID-19 & Water Transmission
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a guidance and frequently asked questions document on Coronavirus and water transmission. To date, there are no reports of COVID-19 virus contamination in wastewater or the water supply. However, the CDC has advised that wastewater workers take extra precautions to minimize exposure by wearing protective gear and exercising other safe work practices. The CDC will continue to review all data on virus transmission as information becomes available and will update the guidance with new evidence as needed. EPA has also created a website devoted to information on COVID-19, drinking, wastewater.
Legislation to Modernize Water Treatment Systems Introduced
Representative John Katko introduced H.R. 6113, the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Water (ARPA-H2O) Act of 2020, a bill to ensure communities across the country have access to safe drinking water and effective wastewater treatment systems. The legislation would create and fund an EPA office to foster technology to improve water quality, processes, and costs through the modernization of water infrastructure, protection against emerging contaminants like Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), and promotion of sustainable water management. Also introduced this week were several bills focusing on hazard mitigation revolving funds, western water resilience, water security in rural and tribal communities, and water recycling.
Department of Defense Estimates $3 Billion Needed for its PFAS Management
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, testifying to the House Appropriations Committee, provided the updated cost estimate this week. DOD is expected to release an updated report on DOD-related PFAS impacts and site remediation cost estimates later this month. Also this week, senators introduced legislation that would provide grants (proposals range from $2-20 billion) tied to the existing State Revolving Funds to assist in community response to PFAS contamination. The most recent federal assistance on PFAS came in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, allocating $100 million.
USGS Study: Nitrate concentrations in groundwater elevated beneath irrigated cropland
Concentrations of nitrate and—in some areas—arsenic and uranium are higher in groundwater that underlies irrigated cropland, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Program.
Scientists collected groundwater samples each decade for two or three decades from 39 wells in the Columbia Plateau (Washington State) and 32 wells in the High Plains (Nebraska) to determine how irrigated cropland affects groundwater quality. They found that concentrations of nitrate in groundwater that recharged (entered the aquifer) after intensive irrigation began around 1950 were consistently high during the sampling period (1994-2014 for Columbia Plateau; 2003-2015 for High Plains)—more than 25% of the wells had a nitrate concentration that exceeded the drinking-water benchmark of 10 mg/L as nitrogen. None of the wells that pump groundwater that recharged before the onset of intensive irrigation had a nitrate concentration that exceeded the benchmark.
Although most of the benchmark exceedances were in shallow monitoring wells not used for drinking water, the elevated nitrate concentrations could mean that nitrate-rich groundwater is accumulating in the shallow subsurface and could eventually migrate into deeper groundwater used for drinking.
In the Columbia Plateau study area, concentrations of arsenic and uranium also were higher in groundwater that recharged since the onset of intensive irrigation. The median arsenic concentration in the most recent sampling of these wells was 6.5 µg/L, more than half of the arsenic drinking-water benchmark of 10 µg/L. The elevated concentrations of arsenic and uranium may be connected to changes in phosphorus and bicarbonate concentrations in groundwater.
For information on this study, contact Jim Tesoriero.
No Weekly Wrap the Week of March 16, 2020
ACWA will not produce a Weekly Wrap next week as staff and members focus on the ACWA 2020 Mid-Year Meeting.
2020 National Pretreatment Meeting – May 11-13, 2020
The 2020 National Pretreatment Meeting will take place May 11-13 in Nashville, Tennessee. To view the draft agenda, go here. Monday, May 11 will be a series of training sessions from 1-5 pm; 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.
To register, go here.
Lodging is available at the Holiday Inn Nashville Vanderbilt.
Nutrients Permitting Workshop – June 2-4, 2020
ACWA’s next Nutrients Permitting Workshop will take place June 2–4, 2020 at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel Madison in Madison, Wisconsin. This is the fifth workshop in a series of seven. This workshop will focus on nutrients permitting flexibilities such as water quality trading and other market based methods, integrated planning, and more.
Attendees will include:
- State program staff involved in managing nutrients and permitting programs
- EPA Headquarters and Regional staff involved in nutrient and permitting program management
- Partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to the nutrient and permitting programs
- Invited guests
To register, go here.
Lodging is available at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel Madison. ACWA has secured a block of rooms for workshop attendees at the government rate of $131 (plus applicable taxes) for a single-person room. To secure your lodging at this rate, please make your reservations by May 2, 2020. To make your reservations, go to this link or call 1(800) 780-7234 and request the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) room block.
ACWA is able to organize this meeting because of a Cooperative Agreement with EPA. Included in the agreement are funds to assist with state travel. If you plan to request travel support from ACWA, please do your best to provide an estimate of the cost categories and total expenses (e.g., airfare, lodging, per diem, miscellaneous) you will need. Requests for travel support should be sent to Mark Patrick McGuire by Friday, March 27.
Save the Date! – 2020 National CAFO Roundtable – September 22-24, 2020
The 2020 National CAFO Roundtable will be held in Bismarck, North Dakota on September 22 – 24, 2020. The goal for this meeting is to support the implementation of animal agriculture programs nationwide by helping support states and EPA to further identify challenges and barriers to CAFO/AFO program implementation, sharing new technologies & best management practices, showcasing innovative state programs and initiatives, 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 agriculture industry and other stakeholders. This meeting is specifically organized by state and federal regulators and attendees generally include state and federal program managers, permit writers, inspectors, and compliance staff involved in regulating AFO/CAFO programs. This meeting also attracts partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to animal agriculture facilities. The agenda for this meeting will be developed over the next two months. Further details about this meeting can be found on ACWA’s website.
Save the Date! – 2020 ACWA Modeling Workshop – October 20-23, 2020
ACWA will be holding a Modeling Workshop on October 20-23, 2020 at the EPA Region 5 facilities in Chicago, Illinois. This workshop aims to build off of last year’s EPA-led workshop in Dallas. We have a great planning team of state and EPA representatives working hard to put together an agenda. There will also be a Pre-Conference Workshop on Monday, October 19 designed as an introductory course for those new to modeling or interested in a refresher.
Lodging is available at the Palmer House Hilton. ACWA has secured a room block for workshop attendees at the per diem rate of $229 (plus applicable taxes). To secure lodging at this rate, please make your reservations by October 5, 2020. To register, go here and use the group code: ACW.
Please stay tuned for more information regarding travel, lodging, and content, and contact Jasper Hobbs with any questions
Washington Department of Ecology: Chemical Action Plan Implementation Monitoring Hydrogeologist
This Hydrogeologist 2 position serves as a staff hydrogeologist in the Department’s Environmental Assessment Program (EAP), which provides a range of scientific, monitoring, laboratory, and quality assurance services. This position serves as staff hydrogeologist in EAP’s Groundwater/Forests and Fish Unit. The position is responsible for planning and conducting hydrogeologic investigations and providing technical services for groundwater, unsaturated zone and/or surface water investigations.
More details can be found here.
Washington Department of Ecology: Southwest Region Watershed Resources Unit Supervisor
This position supports and supervises the 11 unit staff, which includes environmental specialists and environmental planners. It provides leadership for the implementation of municipal and construction stormwater programs, non-point compliance and enforcement, and related water quality issues. It develops and implements the unit’s strategic plan and policy for stormwater and non-point complaint response activities. This position also coordinates with regional and headquarters managers to encourage consistency and communication related to water quality issues.
More details can be found here.
ACWA Nutrients Policy Committee Webinar – American Farmland Trust Soil Health Case Studies
Date: Monday, March 23, 2020 | 3:00-4:00 PM Eastern
Registration: Register Here
Many farmers believe the scientific evidence that soil health practices improve soil and water quality. However, they are reluctant to change management techniques without knowing the costs and benefits of soil health practices.
In response to this, American Farmland Trust (AFT) began a study to quantify the costs and benefits of investing in soil health. AFT used a variety of methods to estimate the net economic benefits eight farmers experienced from investing in soil health practices. AFT also quantified the water quality and climate benefits of these practices. The result of the study was eight two-page case studies. To learn more, go here.
Michelle Perez, Water Initiative Director at American Farmland Trust, will present on these case studies and speak on the study’s findings relative to nutrients.
EPA Webinar – Optimizing Performance of Aerated Wastewater Lagoon Systems Part 2/2
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern
Registration: Register Here
Audience: Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators, Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) technical assistance providers, permit writers and compliance staff from states, tribes and US EPA. While all plant operators may find this useful, it is geared more toward smaller systems with flow of less than 1 million gallons per day.
Presenter: Steve Harris, President H&S Environmental, LLC who is working under a grant with the Environmental Finance Center – US EPA Region 8.
US EPA NPDES Expert Q&A Support: Michael Tate, PE, EPA Region 7 Water Division, Permits & Loans Branch; Louis Salguero EPA Region 4’s Municipal Compliance Assistance Section.
Description: US EPA is presenting a series of technical assistance webinars to highlight best practices for optimizing performance at small wastewater treatment lagoons. These webinars will cover methods, techniques, and strategies operators can use to get more BOD5 reduction, better TSS removal, odor control, sludge reduction, nutrient removal, and how to get more years of dependable service out of the lagoon system the community is currently using. We will present case studies of “how to” solutions to make lagoon operators more effective at their jobs. Attendees will learn how to fine-tune their systems using relatively simple process control tools and methods in order to optimize performance and return their system to compliance. Attendees will be able to ask questions via a chat box.
References: To get the most benefit from the Webinar, which will be fast paced and covering a lot of topics, attendees are encouraged to review these background materials.
https://www.rcap.org/resource/wastewater-lagoon-basics/ 56 minutes webinar
https://www.rcap.org/resource/wastewater-lagoon-troubleshooting/ 61 minutes webinar
EPA – Wastewater Technology Fact Sheet Facultative Lagoons (4 pages)
EPA – Wastewater Technology Fact Sheet Aerated (5 pages)
EPA Webinar – Resilient Design Assistance in the Mid-Atlantic
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 | 1:00 – 2:30 PM EST
Registration: Register Here
In 2019, EPA worked directly with stakeholder communities to identify and facilitate policy and planning measures that promote green infrastructure and help address flood management and water quality needs. The Resilient Design Assistance Tool, developed as part of EPA’s Water Technology and Innovation Initiative, is a design method that fosters multi-functional and distinct neighborhoods that provide communities with a variety of environmental benefits.
This approach was piloted in Seaford, DE, and Huntington, WV, to support and enhance existing community integrative hazard mitigation objectives and address flooding from extreme storm events. These pilot projects will serve as models for other interested communities. In this webcast, Jason Bernagros with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Matthew Konfirst and Samantha Rachko with EPA Region 3, and Breanna Shell, Planning Director for the City of Huntington, WV, will discuss how EPA is working with communities to advance the implementation of green infrastructure within hazard mitigation frameworks and promote sophisticated but feasible approaches to community resilience.
- Jason Bernagros, EPA Office of Research & Development
- Samantha Rachko, EPA Region 3
- Matthew Konfirst, EPA Region 3
- Breanna Shell, Planning Director, City of Huntington, West Virginia