EPA Announces State WIFIA Program
EPA announced the 2020 notice of funding availability under the WIFIA program, including funding for the new State infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. This new program, which was authorized by Congress as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, offers low-interest loans to state water revolving fund programs that then help finance needed water infrastructure projects in local communities. This round of funding will provide SWIFIA borrowers up to $1 billion to support $2 billion in water infrastructure projects. EPA will accept letters of interest from state water infrastructure programs for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA will host a webinar on July 21, 2020. Registration is available here.
ELI Completes its CWA 303(d) Protection Compendium
The Environmental Law Institute announced the completion of its compendium on protection: a collection of various ways that state CWA 303(d) programs have sought to protect healthy waters. The compendium is a Story Map available here and in ELI’s CWA 303(d) Resource Library.
Included in the Story Map are two products inspired by a November 2018 questionnaire completed by CWA 303(d) staff from 44 states and the District of Columbia. A Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) white paper and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) white paper, developed by ELI in consultation with EPA and state staff, detail the federal statutory and regulatory provisions (and clarifications through EPA documents) regarding the use of those funds for protection efforts. This compendium highlights how diverse protection activities have been and identify who has done what, in the hopes of facilitating communication among water quality programs, especially CWA 303(d) programs, about approaches and lessons learned.
NEPA Procedural Provision Updates
This week the Council on Environmental Quality issued regulatory updates to National Environmental Policy Act. A copy of the rule summary can be found below.
“The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issues this final rule to update its regulations for Federal agencies to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). CEQ has not comprehensively updated its regulations since their promulgation in 1978, more than four decades ago. This final rule comprehensively updates, modernizes, and clarifies the regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by Federal agencies in connection with proposals for agency action. The rule will improve interagency coordination in the environmental review process, promote earlier public involvement, increase transparency, and enhance the participation of States, Tribes, and localities. The amendments will advance the original goals of the CEQ regulations to reduce paperwork and delays, and promote better decisions consistent with the national environmental policy set forth in section 101 of NEPA.”
The Office of Management and Budget has determined the regulation constitutes a “major rule” under the Congressional Review Act, which requires the rule package be submitted to both houses of Congress prior to final publication. The effective date of the rule will be 60 days after final publication. A pre-publication copy of the rule can be found here.
PFAS: EPA Updates Drinking Water Treatability Database
This week, as part of commitments provided in the EPA PFAS Action Plan, EPA updated its Drinking Water Treatability Database with new treatment options and references. EPA added treatment and contaminant information about four PFAS compounds, bringing the database total to 26, and added 20 scientific references. The four new PFAS compounds are Difuoro(perfluoromethoxy) acetic acid (also known as Perfluoro-2-methoxyacetic acid); Perfluoro-3,5-dioxahexanoic acid; Perfluoro-3,5,7-trioxaoctanoic acid; and, Perfluoropropane sulfonate. The database update is intended to further help states, tribes, local governments, and water utilities improve decision-making related to PFAS pollution in their communities.
ACWA 2020-2021 Board and Leadership Elections
ACWA is currently conducting its 2020-2021 Board and Leadership Elections. This year, along with the Executive Officers, the even Regions are up for election. All ACWA members should have received a link to the ballot, and all “members in good standing” may participate in these elections. If you have not received an email from Julia Anastasio with a link to the ballot, please email her.
The “member in good standing” is the formal or main ACWA representative for the state/interstate agency that paid dues for the previous fiscal year (FY2020). If you are unsure whether your FY2020 dues are paid or if you did not receive the link to the ballot, please reach out to Julia Anastasio or Annette Ivey and we can let you know. Only one is allowed vote per state/interstate. Please cast your vote no later than July 29, 2020.
2020 National CAFO Roundtable – Virtual Meeting
This year, the 2020 National CAFO Roundtable will be held virtually in the afternoons of September 22 – September 24 from 12:30-5:00 PM Eastern Time. ACWA invites states and interstates to share this meeting information with other state agencies. A draft agenda and meeting registration link are available on ACWA’s website. This meeting is not open to the public, but there will be several non-regulatory guests invited to present. To ensure the meeting is as accessible as possible, there will be no registration fee. If you have any questions about this meeting visit the website or contact Sean Rolland directly.
ECHO Dashboard of the Week
To assist EPA and states with implementing the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule (“NPDES eRule”), EPA has created several dashboards within the Enforcement Compliance History Online (ECHO) website related to the conversion to electronic reporting and the related data sharing requirements. The data used in populating these dashboards are updated each weekend from ICIS-NPDES. To help promote these dashboards, ACWA will be highlighting a new one each week.
NPDES eRule Readiness and Reporting Dashboard
Summary: The 2015 NPDES eRule requires the U.S. 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)]. EPA uses the “DMR Reporting Method” view to conduct these assessments. The NPDES eRule also requires authorized NPDES programs to electronically share the required minimum set of NPDES data (see Appendix A, 40 CFR part 127) with EPA in a timely, accurate, complete, and nationally-consistent manner fully compatible with EPA’s national NPDES data system (ICIS-NPDES). See 40 CFR 127.1(b) and 127.23. EPA will use the “DMR Data Completeness” view to measure each state’s progress in meeting the DMR data sharing requirements. Monthly snapshots of the data are provided to show trends.
Since November 2016, EPA has worked collaboratively with states to improve the functionality of the dashboard and the quality of the data supporting the dashboard. EPA plans to build additional charts and data visualizations over time to make it easier to evaluate implementation of the NPDES eRule. EPA will continue its collaboration with states prior to any new enhancements of this dashboard.
NPDES eRule Implementation: Phase 1 (States: Facility and Permit Info; Permittees: DMRs)
Status: This dashboard is currently soliciting comments from states on this dashboard and is currently posted to ECHO Gov but will be published to ECHO after EPA responds to state comments. Comments are due to EPA by July 17, 2020. The “DMR Data Completeness” view is currently posted to ECHO as the “NPDES eRule Readiness and Data Completeness Dashboard.”
Scope of Dashboard: The dashboard is currently limited to facilities with individual NPDES permits. The dashboard is further limited to only include Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) filers; however, EPA relies on data from states to make this distinction. The dashboard will include all facilities with individual NPDES permits if a state has not yet provided EPA with the necessary data to identify DMR filers. States should contact EPA if they would like to provide the necessary data to identify DMR filers. Below is a summary of the criteria for inclusion in the dashboard.
- Permit Type: Only facilities with individual NPDES permits are included in the dashboard.
- Permit Status: Only permits with the status of Effective, Administratively Continued, or Expired are included in the dashboard.
- Major/Non-Major Status: Both major and minor (non-major) facilities are included in the dashboard.
- Permit Version: Only the current version of the permit is included in the dashboard (i.e., Permit Version = 0).
DMR Regular Filer: Only facilities that are regular DMR filers (i.e., “NPDES Data Group” field includes “G3A”). (Note: This filter does not yet apply to facilities in South Carolina and Nebraska as these states have not shared “NPDES Data Group” data with ICIS-NPDES)
EPA Update on PFAS Analytical Methods (EPA Biosolids Webinar Series)
Date: July 23, 2020 | 3PM Eastern Time
Registration: Click here
Join Dr. Chris Impellitteri of EPA’s Office of Research and Development for a webinar on Per/Polyfluroralkyl Substances (PFAS) analytical methods.
The Biosolids Program initiated a monthly webinars series to provide information to biosolids managers, stakeholders and the public. Speakers internal and external to the EPA address programmatic and regulatory issues, provide technical assistance, and share best practices.
TSCA Overview, Hosted by ASDWA
Date: July 24, 2020 | 1PM Eastern Time
Registration: Click here
The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) will host a three-part webinar series on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These webinars will overview TSCA and its nexus with water programs. The effort is an example of actions taken pursuant to ASDWA and ACWA’s Recommendations Report for Contaminants of Emerging Concern, which calls for more comprehensive utilization of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to address unregulated contaminants in the water environment and source waters.
Water Reuse for Agricultural Purposes: Inactivation of RNA Viruses by Solar and UV Irridation; and, Emerging Contaminants in Agro-Food Systems (EPA Water Research Webinar Series)
Date: July 29, 2020 | 2PM Eastern Time
Registration: Click here
As part of the Water Research Webinar Series, EPA is hosting a webinar on the following topics:
- Inactivation of RNA Viruses by Solar and UV Irridation
- Emerging Contaminants in Agro-Food Systems
Registration opens for this session on July 20, 2020.