Final Navigable Waters Protection Rule Published
The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers published the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the Federal Register on April 21, 2020. The final rule defines the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. The rule will become effective on June 22, 2020.
Senate EPW Releases Draft WRDA and Drinking Water Infrastructure Bills
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) released two bills to boost funding for Army Corps of Engineers projects and the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Programs. America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 would fund Army Corps’ projects and also includes several provisions related to EPA’s clean water programs. The clean water provisions include reauthorization of the CWSRF at up to $3 billion annually and includes technical assistance, grant and circuit rider funding. The Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 would amend and reauthorize programs under the Safe Drinking Water Act to provide resources and technical assistance to communities and includes $300 million for emerging contaminants, with a focus on PFAS, within the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund for fiscal years 2021 through 2024.
EPW is conducting “An Information-Gathering Process on Draft Legislation entitled, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (WRDA) and The Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020”. On Friday, May 1, 2020, no later than 4 p.m. (ET), the Committee will electronically accept written comments submitted by stakeholders. Written comments from stakeholders shall each be electronically submitted as a single file in PDF format to the Committee at QFR@epw.senate.gov. Written comments shall include a contact name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Comments that do not comply with each of these requirements will not be accepted. For more information, click here to visit the committee website.
SCOTUS Decides County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-1-3 in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund holding that Clean Water Act permits are needed “if the addition of the pollutants through groundwater is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters.” Factors the Court deemed relevant to the “functional equivalent of a discharge” analysis include: (1) transit time, (2) distance traveled, (3) the nature of the material through which the pollutant travels, (4) the extent to which the pollutant is diluted or chemically changed as it travels, (5) the amount of pollutant entering the navigable waters relative to the amount of the pollutant that leaves the point source, (6) the manner by or area in which the pollutant enters the navigable waters, (7) the degree to which the pollution (at that point) has maintained its specific identity. The Courted noted that “[t]ime and distance will be the most important factors in most cases, but not necessarily every case.” At issue in the case was whether Maui County in Hawaii violated the Clean Water Act by injecting wastewater underground without a permit that eventually seeped into the Pacific Ocean.
COVID-19: WEF Convening Blue Ribbon Panel to Evaluate Biological Hazards and Precautions for Wastewater Workers
To ensure the protection of wastewater workers during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, the Water Environment Federation is convening a blue-ribbon panel of experts to evaluate information on biological hazards and safety precautions. The panel is comprised of a diverse array of experts involved in water operations, science, health and safety and will provide appropriate input to U.S. government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). The panel will review WEF and federal guidance to determine if supplemental advice or recommendations are warranted to protect worker health and safety. The panel is expected to work quickly and present its initial findings within a few weeks.
Comment Period for Proposed 2020 MSGP Extended
EPA and NRCS Provide NWQI Update
The NRCS has finalized and posted the NWQI Update for FY21. The release of the changes may be found here. The ACWA NPS/319 Workgroup held a webinar on Tuesday, April 21, at 2:00 PM Eastern, which featured presentations from NRCS and EPA regarding changes to the NWQI and the release of the FY21 Bulletin.
Presentation slides from the webinar may be found here.
Contact Jasper Hobbs for more information.
New Water Permits Division Director – EPA OWM
This week Chris Kloss was named the new permanent Director of the OWM Water Permits Division, effective May 4, 2020. Prior to his selection, Mr. Kloss served for five years as the Municipal Branch Chief overseeing NPDES permitting for CSOs, SSOs, MS4s, as well as integrated planning and green infrastructure programs. During his 9-year tenure at EPA, Mr. Kloss has also been the principle lead on the green infrastructure program and helped to established the Green Infrastructure Collaborative. Before coming to EPA, Mr. Kloss spent nearly 15 years in the non-profit and private sectors working on national stormwater policy. Chris has a B.S. in Biological Resources Engineering from the University of Maryland, a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, an Master’s degree Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. Sally Gutierrez, who was serving as Acting Director of the Water Permits Division, will be returning to Office of Research and Development in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Opportunity for state NPS programs
EPA Headquarters is offering to provide direct assistance via its CWSRF contractor, Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants, to states that are interested in expanding their CWSRF programs to address priority nonpoint source (NPS) needs and decentralized wastewater needs. We are seeking brief proposals from states for technical assistance in establishing financing programs for NPS or decentralized projects through the CWSRF program. We are seeking projects that have sufficient buy-in and capacity to start immediately so they may be completed by the end of 2020. Past examples of this assistance include helping Vermont create a NPS sponsorship CWSRF sub-program and helping Kansas fund equipment for no-till cover crop agriculture. Interested states should submit short project proposals (no more than one page) by May 15 to Don Waye (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Zach Lowenstein (email@example.com). States may also send questions ahead of the deadline to Don and Zach.
National Pretreatment Meeting Postponed
ACWA has officially postponed the National Pretreatment Meeting to 2021. In 2021, the meeting will still be collocated with NACWA at the same hotels in Nashville, Tennessee, the Holiday Inn Nashville Vanderbilt and the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University.
If you have not cancelled your hotel and airfare, please do so now or change your reservations for next year. We will resume planning and have more information once things return to normal.
Nutrients Permitting Workshop Postponed
ACWA has officially postponed the June Nutrients Permitting Workshop. Thank you for your patience as we worked through options for the June 2020 Nutrients Permitting Workshop due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have not cancelled your hotel and airfare, please do so now. We will have more information on rescheduling once things return to normal.
ACWA Modeling Webinar – Overview of US EPA Homeland Security Research Program Stormwater Modeling Studies
On April 28th, 2020 at 2:00 PM Eastern, EPA will be presenting an Overview of US EPA Homeland Security Research Program Stormwater Modeling Studies.
The Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response (CESER) in the Office of Research and Development at the US Environmental Protection Agency conducts research to enhance response capabilities and community resilience to man-made and natural disasters. Following an intentional or accidental release of a chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) agent, tracking contaminant fate and transport is necessary for effective recovery. This presentation will highlight a number of laboratory, field, and modeling efforts being conducted in CESER to develop capabilities to accurately parametrize stormwater models for CBR agents. This includes rainfall simulator washoff studies of spores, SWMM modeling of radiological deposition across a city, and expansion of PySWMM to access additional water quality and pollutant data in SWMM5.
You can register for the webinar here.
Contact Jasper Hobbs for more information on ACWA’s modeling workgroup.