President’s Budget Request Released
The Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request, A Budget for America’s Future, this week and continues the Administration’s focus on cutting federal spending. The Administration requested $6.7 billion to fund the Environmental Protection Agency, an amount that is 26.5% below the levels enacted by Congress in December. The budget proposal continues the Administration’s trend of requesting lower levels of funding for key Clean Water Act (CWA) programs, including the DW and CW SRF programs. The budget proposal calls for $1.11 million for the CWSRF, $863,235 for the DWSRF and $25 million to implement the WIFIA program. The budget proposal zeros-out several important programs including the 319 program, the beaches program and several regional programs including the Puget Sound, Long Island Sound, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Champlain. Finally, the budget proposal also includes $6 million for the EPA to implement the National PFAS Action Plan and $15.0 million for the Nutrient and Harmful Algal Blooms Reduction grants program, a competitive grant program to fund prevention and response efforts for harmful algal blooms with significant health or economic impacts.
ACWA has updated its Funding Chart and it is available here.
EPA Proposes Changes to MSGP
A pre-publication versions of EPA’s proposed Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) can be found on at EPA’s Industrial Stormwater website: https://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater-discharges-industrial-activities. EPA plans to take comments on the proposal for 60 days once published in the Federal Register. Once published, comments can be submitted on www.regulations.gov for docket ID # EPA-HQ-OW-2019-0372. Key proposed changes in the permit include new requirements for permit eligibility, authorization, monitoring, and updates to the stormwater control fact sheets. Per a 2016 settlement agreement, the agency is also considering recommendations provided by the National Academies of Sciences study: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25355/improving-the-epa-multi-sector-general-permit-for-industrial-stormwater-discharges.
EPA is planning to host two public informational webcasts.
Webcast 1: Proposed 2020 MSGP
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (eastern time)
Webcast 2: Proposed 2020 MSGP
Thursday, April 9, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (eastern time)
ACWA has also requested a overview be provided to states during the comment period. If your state would like to see ACWA provide comments on this permit, please contact Sean Rolland.
WEF Releases Coronavirus Resources
In response to the recent outbreak of CoVid-19 or coronavirus, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) Disinfection and Public Health Committee (DPHC) Waterborne Infectious Disease Outbreak Control (WIDOC) Working Group has created a series of articles that explain the current situation to help put the outbreak of COVID-19 into perspective for the water sector. These articles also contain many links to developing research on this epidemic. Visit WEF.org/coronavirus to access the resources.
ECOS Releases PFAS Standards White Paper
Processes & Considerations for Setting State PFAS Standards was published this week by Environmental Council of the States. It examines information and data from 23 states on their processes, rulemaking requirements, and other considerations for establishing PFAS guidelines related to drinking water, groundwater, surface water, soil, and other environmental media. Specific toxicity criteria for each state’s guidelines are outlined in the appendices.
The information will help authorities and stakeholders understand and communicate about differences in PFAS guidelines, and avoid any unnecessary duplication of PFAS-related efforts. ACWA thanks its members for their involvement in developing the paper and with the ECOS PFAS Caucus.
ASWM State/Tribal/Federal Coordination Meeting – April 7-9, 2020
ASWM is holding an annual meeting to support state and tribal wetland program managers and other wetland professionals as they respond to challenges in the coming year. This meeting will take place from April 7-9, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. Meeting info can be found here. Please click here for draft agenda.
For questions regarding registration and logistics, please contact Laura Burchill at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (207) 892-3399.
NRCS Invites Comment on Regional Conservation Partnership Program Interim Rule
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the popular Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) at $300 million/year through 2023. Historically, the RCPP has coordinated soil and water conservation and regenerative agriculture practices in partnership with states, agricultural producers and forested land owners, other local entities, and USDA-NRCS. RCPP has leveraged programs such as the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP). The Interim Rule published this week outlines proposed changes to RCPP requirements and administration as required by the 2018 Farm Bill, including such provisions as:
- A general framework for administering RCPP as a stand-alone program
- Expanding the purpose of RCPP to include protection of drinking water and groundwater
- Prioritizing projects that align with existing watershed restoration plans
- Outlining responsibilities of RCPP project partners and agricultural producers to achieve conservation benefits on a regional and/or watershed scale
- Changing the competitive application process for, and criteria for awarding, RCPP project resources.
Find the interim rule here. Comments are due April 13.
2018 Toxics Release Inventory Report Published
The 2018 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Report and Analysis provides the public with an overview of data reported to EPA, states and tribes from entities handling and disposing of TRI chemical wastes. The report compares the volume of chemicals and the manner in which they were disposed of or recycled across manufacturing sectors from 2007-2018, as well as how specific companies handled production-related wastes in states and regions.
According to the report, in 2018, 32 billion pounds of production-related TRI chemical waste was handled by 21,557 facilities. Direct releases of TRI chemicals to water, land, and air (i.e. not disposal at other facilities such as POTWs/WRRFs) totaled 3,369,249,603 pounds. Nitrates composed 89% of all chemical releases to water (40% of which came from food manufacturing facilities), followed by manganese, ammonia, and methanol. The report also details air and land releases of TRI chemicals that are of specific interest to water professionals and stakeholders, such as lead and dioxins. Additionally, the report features a “Watersheds” section that compares releases to America’s Large Aquatic Ecosystems (for example, Gulf of Mexico, Puget Sound, or Lake Champlain Basin).
The Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) model produces a score that accounts for aggregate and specific TRI chemical release volumes, proximity to populations/potential human exposure, chemical fate and transport properties, and toxicity. The aggregate RSEI Score across the US has declined since 2007, but increased from 2017 to 2018. For chemical releases to water, the 2018 RSEI Score nearly doubled relative to 2017, largely attributable to mercury compounds.
Inventory of GHG Emissions and Sinks 1990-2018 Released for Comment
This week, the public review draft of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks 1990-2018 report was published. Each February, EPA releases inventory data on carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride emissions and sinks. These data result from activities and events like wastewater treatment, land conversion to/from wetlands, and forest fires, as well as major categories such as energy generation, industrial processes, agriculture, land use change, and waste management.
View the draft inventory report here. Public comments are due March 13. A public data explorer that visualizes the data is available here (note: it will not contain 2018 data until the draft report is final).
House Passes HR 2546 to Designate Scenic River, Wilderness Areas
The “Protecting America’s Wilderness Act” was approved by the House of Representatives this week. It would achieve the following:
- Addition of almost 1,000 miles of waterbodies/segments in several western states under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
- Allows circumstantial appropriation/adjudication of water rights by Department of the Interior to maintain surface water flows on and across new wilderness areas such to protect aquatic and riparian communities and biological, scenic, and other resources.
- Designates 1.37 million acres of federal lands, close to half of which are in Colorado, as wilderness; and, permits fire and insect management activities in said areas.
- Tasks GAO to study flood mitigation of residential areas via upstream forest and wilderness protection.
Find the bill language here. Though the bill is less likely to pass the Senate, the White House has issued a Statement of Administration Policy that threatens to veto the legislation. In 2019, similar legislation became law, designating ~2.3 million acres as either wilderness or other conservation classifications while reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund.
USGS To Hold Webinar for ACWA on Gulf Hypoxia
Reducing delivery of nitrate to the Gulf of Mexico is critical to decreasing the size of the “dead zone”—an area of hypoxia, or low dissolved oxygen—in Louisiana coastal waters. A new USGS study reports that larger, more widespread decreases in nitrate loading to the Gulf are needed to achieve the target levels of a 25% reduction by 2025. The USGS study quantified trends in nitrate loading from 2002 to 2012 at more than 100 river monitoring sites throughout the Mississippi River basin.
On Tuesday, February 25, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern representatives from USGS will present their study and answer questions.
To register for the webinar, go here.
ACWA Annual Membership Survey
The ACWA FY2018-FY2022 Strategic Plan directs management to annually survey the membership to evaluate ACWA’s services and member satisfaction. The survey results are intended to assist Leadership, Management and Staff in planning for the future. This survey is 17 questions long and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. This survey is being directed to the main ACWA member from each state and all their staff that might participate on our committees and workgroups. Please plan to complete the survey by Friday, February, 21, 2020. Please contact Sean Rolland if you have any questions. Thank you for your assistance!
Nutrients Tracker Still Open for State Responses
The Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker 2.0 – 2019 (the “Tracker”) is still open for states to respond.
For some background, the Nutrients Working Group (“NWG”), a partnership between ACWA, EPA, and ASDWA, began work in 2014 to identify a set of measures that demonstrate progress toward nutrient reduction in the nation’s waters. States recognized that while there was a national metric tracking state adoption of numeric nitrogen and phosphorus criteria for lakes, estuaries, and flowing waters, there was an opportunity to also measure the myriad of other approaches states take to reduce nutrient pollution.
The Nutrient Reduction Progress Tracker Version 1.0 – 2017 was the culmination of that effort. The NWG released a Report in March 2018 summarizing the data received.
The Nutrients Reduction Progress Tracker Version 2.0 – 2019 follows the 2017 version, seeking to both track state progress on nutrients pollution reduction efforts since 2017 and also seek more detail on state programs.
You may access the Tracker here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ACWATracker2019.
If you would like a fillable .pdf to assist in your efforts, you may access that here: Nutrient_Reduction_Progress_Tracker_2.0_-_2019.
For assistance in filling out the Tracker, please consult ACWA’s FAQs here: Nutrient_Reduction_Progress_Tracker_2.0_-_2019_FAQ.
If you have any other questions regarding this effort, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire or 202-756-0604.
2020 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting – March 17–18, 2020
The guaranteed room rate ends February 21. Reserve your room now! Use group code MWC to reserve online here.
To register for the meeting and view the draft agenda, go here.
2020 National Pretreatment Meeting – May 2020
You may now register for the 2020 National Pretreatment Meeting. The meeting will take place May 11-13, 2020 at the Holiday Inn Nashville Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. Monday, May 11 will be a series of training sessions from 1-5:00 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 view the draft agenda, go here. There is no registration fee for this event.
Lodging is available at the Holiday Inn Nashville Vanderbilt, 2613 West End Ave.,Nashville, Tennessee 37203. To reserve via web, go here. (Scroll to “Details” to reserve your room.) To reserve by phone: Direct: 615-327-4707 or 1-877-3243 (Group code ACW).
If you have any questions, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire at email@example.com or 202-756-0604.
2020 ACWA Modeling Workshop – October 20-23, 2020
ACWA will be holding a Modeling Workshop, October 20-23, 2020 at the EPA Region 5 facilities in Chicago, IL. This workshop is aiming to build off of last year’s EPA-led workshop in Dallas. We have a great planning team of State and EPA members working hard to put together an agenda. There will also be a Pre-Conference Workshop on Monday, October 19 designed as an intro course for those new to modeling or interested in a refresher.
Please stay tuned for more information regarding travel, lodging, and content.
Wisconsin: DNR Environmental Management Division Policy Director
This position is located in the Office of Emerging Contaminants, in Madison, WI. Wisconsin DNR is seeking a division-level Policy Director to lead this new office. This career executive position plays a lead role in assuring program integration, innovation, issue management, and policy evaluation relating to a broad set of major environmental policy matters including emerging contaminants, such as PFAS, among other initiatives that have a significant impact on the state’s resources. Apply by 2/24/2020. To view the position details and apply, go here.
Washington: Department of Ecology Water Quality Program Manager
This position is located in Thurston County, WA. Washington Dept. of Ecology is seeking a motivated and innovative problem-solver, with both strategic and operational experience, to lead and manage the Water Quality Program. This new Program Manager will build strong relationships with various stakeholders in order to achieve results through technical and financial assistance and regulation. This a highly visible environmental management role which impacts fisheries, hydropower, land use, and other aquatic related programs. To view the position details and apply, go here.
New Mexico: Municipal Team Supervisor within the Point Source Regulation Section
This position is located in Sante Fe, Mexico. The New Mexico Environment Department, Surface Water Quality Bureau is looking for candidates to fill the Municipal Team Supervisor position within the Point Source Regulation Section. This position is responsible for the protection of the State’s surface water quality through implementation of the Bureau’s Point Source Regulation Program and works with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review and certify National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to ensure compliance and conformance with the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the New Mexico Water Quality Act (WQA), the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, the New Mexico Ground and Surface Water Protection Regulations (20.6.2 NMAC), and the New Mexico Standards for Interstate and Intrastate Surface Waters (20.6.4 NMAC). This position also serves as a point of contact to disseminate information about the NPDES program to regulated entities. This position reviews NPDES permits and activities of permitted or unpermitted municipalities and industries, and assists EPA with surface water-related compliance evaluation inspections including enforcement actions for entities not meeting State and Federal discharge requirements. This position also involves direct supervision of two employees including review of technical work and documents generated by the team, performance evaluations, time reporting and approval, and recommendation for hiring or discipline. To view the position details and apply, go here and search Municipal Team Supervisor (NMENV/WPD #38201). If you have questions, contact Sarah Holcomb, PSRS Program Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-827-2798).
How’s My Waterway – Update on Recent Changes
February 20, 3:00-4:00pm EST
On this webinar, EPA HQ will provide an update on recent changes made to the How’s My Waterway App.
For further agenda and call-in information, contact Jasper Hobbs.
Watersheds Committee Call
February 27, 2:30 – 4:00pm EST
This webinar will feature case studies and discussion on the Alternatives goal of the 303(d) VISION.
For further agenda and call-in information, contact Jasper Hobbs.