Congress Seeks GAO Study on Federal Response to HABs
Several members of Congress have written to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting the agency investigate the federal government’s response to harmful algal blooms (HABs). The letter asks GAO to investigate the federal government’s response to HABs and hypoxia, including how it is helping state and local governments address the problem, what adaptation methods are being employed, and officials’ plans for studying and addressing the role of climate variability and extreme weather events in exacerbating HABs and hypoxia. Under the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA), federal agencies coordinate their activities, develop future work plans, and identify gaps. The inter-agency working group formed under the act is co-chaired by EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
USDA Announces $15 Million for CIGs (Water Reuse)
Comment Period for Proposed 2020 MSGP Extended
Water Research Foundation Hosts International Summit on Environmental Surveillance of COVID-19 Indicators in Sewersheds
WRF’s two-part summit was held this week discuss the capabilities and limitations of wastewater analysis conducted at the community level to detect and potentially assist in the management of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. Monitoring for indicators of the virus in untreated sewage is considered a potential tool for detecting COVID-19 in a community before residents become symptomatic and positive test results are confirmed.
The summit addressed several technical issues to advance work that researchers are performing throughout the world, including:
- Location, timing, and procedures for collecting and preserving samples of wastewater
- Approaches for identifying the concentration of indicators of COVID-19 in wastewater samples
- Relationship between concentrations of COVID-19 indicators and the presence and progress of COVID-19 cases in the community, including the severity of disease and length of time since the initial infection
- Sensitivity of analytical results as an indicator of changes in community prevalence of COVID-19
The recorded presentations and materials can be accessed by registering here (opening session) and here (closing session).
NPDES eRule Readiness and Reporting Dashboard (Version 2 – Beta)
The 2015 NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule (“NPDES eRule”) requires the EPA to assess the progress each authorized state is making in implementing NPDES electronic reporting and to repeat these assessments annually [see 40 CFR 127.26(j)]. These assessments are performed at the end of each June. EPA has been using the ECHO NPDES eRule Readiness and Reporting Dashboard (Version 1) to conduct these assessments. Version 2 (beta) of the dashboard can be found on ECHO GOV and also identifies how well states are doing at implementation Phase 1 of the NPDES eRule (DMRs), along with how they are doing at sharing these data with EPA’s ICIS-NPDES. More details regarding Version 2 (beta) review and comment can be found here and the users guide can be found here. EPA is requesting comments and suggestions from EPA Regions and states on Version 2 (beta). Please send any comments, suggestions, or requests for dashboard demonstrations to Carey Johnston (firstname.lastname@example.org). It would be helpful to receive your comments by July 17, 2020.
EPA Environmental Justice Grants 2020 Request for Applications open to States, Local Governments, Tribes, and Territories: Opportunity to Address COVID-19 Impacts Faced by Vulnerable Communities is Now Open
Full Application Due Date: Tuesday June 30, 2020 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
EPA is making $1 million in grant funding available to states, local governments, tribes, and territories for projects to improve the health and welfare of low income, minority, tribal, and indigenous communities. EPA will give special consideration to those applications aimed at addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic communities with EJ concerns. The State Environmental Justice Environmental Justice (SEJCA) Cooperative Agreement Program will provide funds to eligible states, local governments, tribes, and territories. EPA anticipates issuing 5 grants of approximately $200,000 each for a two-year funding period.
See additional details here.
Informational Pre-Application Assistance Calls: Potential applicants are invited to participate in conference calls with EPA to address questions about the SEJCA Program and this solicitation. For dial-in information and a list of the conference call dates and times, please visit the FY2020 SEJCA webpage. The calls will all occur from 4-5:30pm Eastern Time on the following dates: Tuesday, May 5; Thursday, May 7; Thursday, May 21; and Tuesday, June 2.
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.
For State Laboratories: EPA Webinar on Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template
May 6, 2020, 11:00am Eastern Time
To register, click here.
It is imperative that laboratories be able to continue their essential core functions when incidents occur that disrupt their normal operation. To ensure continuation of these essential activities, laboratories should have an effective COOP in place. This webcast is designed as an introduction to the WLA COOP Template, and will cover: 1) rationale for developing the COOP Template, 2) a basic overview of the contents in the COOP Template, 3) demonstration of how to use the COOP Template’s fillable form, and 4) highlight the value of the COOP Template.