EPA Makes Agency Guidance Available to the Public
EPA launched a new guidance portal that provides public access to agency guidance documents. This new searchable database is designed to make it easier for the regulated community to find and follow agency guidance. The new guidance portal provides an indexed database that allows the public to search for documents based on a range of criteria that include date of issuance, general subject matter, and summary of contents. Prior to the launch of the portal, EPA conducted an exhaustive review of its current guidance documents and withdrew those documents that were determined to be no longer relevant. The guidance portal also provides a mechanism for the public to request modification or withdrawal of any documents. The EPA uses guidance documents to clarify existing obligations for interested parties, but not as a vehicle for implementing new, binding requirements on the public.
This action is in response to an October 2019 President Trump issued Executive Order 13891, Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents, to promote transparency by ensuring that all active guidance documents are made available to the public. In addition to the guidance portal, by August 28, 2020, EPA is developing a regulation that establishes the processes and procedures for issuance of new guidance documents.
For additional information and to access the portal, visit: https://www.epa.gov/guidance.
EPA’s Announces Next Watershed Academy Coastal Series Webinar
Registration is now open for EPA’s Watershed Academy webinar on State Legislation on Ocean & Coastal Acidification, which will take place on March 19, 2020. This is the second webinar in a five part webinar series with a focus on coastal resilience. More information on the other webinars will be posted as information is available.
To register click here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7640467124031827211.
For more information on the Watershed Academy, visit: https://www.epa.gov/watershedacademy.
EPA’s National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies
On October 22, 2019, the EPA launched a survey to collect basic information on treatment in place and wastewater characteristics at the more than 18,000 Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) nationwide.
This is the first phase of the National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies. This study’s goal is documenting nutrient reductions obtained from “optimizing” operations and maintenance practices, rather than implementing advanced and often costly treatment options. A number of POTWs have demonstrated significant nutrient reductions using this method, and a statistically representative study will assist with an evaluation of whether these site-specific case studies are nationally applicable.
This study will also provide national information needed by states and treatment plants to enable a clearer understanding of the tradeoffs between point and nonpoint source controls on site-specific waterbodies impaired by nutrients. Watershed planning and innovative permitting approaches that better utilize trading of nutrient loads between non-point sources and point sources require a solid understanding of each source’s nutrient loads.
EPA intends to make the results of this voluntary survey available as an online searchable tool of existing technologies and operational strategies for nutrient removal that POTWS are employing. Other POTWs may choose to adopt such strategies to save money. All the data collected during this phase of the study is integral to subsequent phases of the study where EPA will attempt to more accurately document the level of nutrient removals achieved through operational modifications to secondary treatment facilities.
EPA currently has survey responses from 49 of 50 states representing a variety of types and sizes of POTWs. We are working to increase the number of responses in order to better define the full population of wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. and their treatment characteristics. To complete the electronic survey you can register online here.
The most recent responses by state can be found here.
If you have any questions about this questionnaire, are unable to register your POTW, or need other assistance, please contact the EPA POTW Screener Questionnaire Helpline at 703-633-1696 or POTW_Help@nullerg.com.
National Water Reuse Action Plan Released
In a kickoff ceremony in Washington, DC, EPA and federal partners released the Final National Water Reuse Action Plan: Collaborative Implementation. The Final Plan is a coordinated and collaborative effort across the water user community to advance consideration of water reuse to ensure the security, sustainability, and resilience of domestic water resources. The plan focuses on both non-potable and potable reuse opportunities relating to targeted environmental restoration, agriculture and irrigation, groundwater storage, industrial processing and cooling waters, stormwater, and oil & gas produced water. In addition to the plan, an online platform was established by EPA to facilitate collaborative implementation.
Senior leaders from EPA, USDA, DOI, Reclamation, Army Corps, and CEQ, as well as partners such as State of Oklahoma, El Paso Water and water associations were on hand on February 27th to deliver the announcement. ACWA’s Julia Anastasio, Melanie Davenport (President), Shellie Chard, and Jake Adler attended the kickoff. States and their associations (such as ACWA, ASDWA, and ECOS) played an integral and early role in collaborative development of the plan, and are slated as leaders and collaborators on several actions of high priority to states, such as “compiling existing state policies and approaches to water reuse.”
If you have any questions about the Plan and ACWA’s role, please contact Jake Adler.
EPA Announces NPDES eRule Phase 2 Extension Proposed Rule
This week EPA published in the Federal Register the proposed NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule – Phase 2 Extension. As part of this proposal, EPA is proposing an extension to the compliance deadline for implementation of Phase 2 by three years, from December 21, 2020 to December 21, 2023. The proposed rule would also give states flexibility to request additional time to implement Phase 2 if needed. Further, this notice proposes changes to the NPDES eReporting Rule that would clarify existing requirements and eliminate duplicative or outdated reporting requirements. EPA claims these changes will help ensure a smoother transition from paper to electronic reporting for the NPDES program. The Federal Register notice can be found here. The comment period is scheduled to be 60 days with comments due April 28, 2020. If you have questions about the proposed rule please contact Carey Johnston at EPA. ACWA will likely be providing comments on this proposal so please send your initial thoughts to Sean Rolland.
Call for Papers – 2020 Onsite Wastewater Mega-Conference
A Call for Papers has just been released for the 2020 Onsite Wastewater Mega-Conference, which will be held October 25-28, 2020 in Hampton, VA, at the Hampton Convention Center. Education sessions covered by this Call for Papers will be held October 26-27. You may access the Call for Papers online by clicking here.
The Mega-Conference is a collaboration between three Decentralized MOU Partners – NOWRA, NAWT, and SORA – along with the Virginia Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (VOWRA).
Please note that a Research Needs Symposium about onsite/decentralized wastewater will be held Wednesday, October 28. Researchers, members of the academic community, engineers, soil scientists, and other interested parties are invited to join in a full-day program intended to identify and prioritize needed research into onsite/decentralized wastewater. The expected deliverable will be a peer reviewed white paper outlining the research needs of the community. More details on the Symposium will follow soon. If you or colleagues within your organization’s membership are engaged in research activities related to onsite/decentralized wastewater, this conference is a good opportunity to not only share your research by submitting a paper and/or presentation, but to also be a part of this effort to identify future research needs.
Abstracts must be received no later than Friday, April 10, 2020 to be considered. Please note that if your paper or presentation is accepted you will be expected to register for the Mega-Conference. If you submit a paper, you will receive a $50 discount off your registration fee. One day registrations are available also. All travel, lodging and food costs incurred are at your expense.
Nutrients Policy Committee Hosts USGS on Webinar
On Tuesday, February 25, ACWA Nutrients Policy Committee hosted USGS on a webinar,USGS Study on Nitrate loading to the Gulf of Mexico. USGS’s Ted Stets and Lori Sprague presented and answered questions on a new USGS study on nitrate loading to the Gulf of Mexico. Their work 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.
To view the presentation slides, go here.
2020 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting – March 17–18, 2020
Lodging guaranteed at the Hilton Old Town Alexandria has closed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need lodging.
To register for the meeting and view the most recent draft agenda, go here.
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.
Save the Date! – ACWA 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 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, Illinois. 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 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 to the following link: https://book.passkey.com/go/ACWATMDL2020, and use the group code: ACW.
Please stay tuned for more information regarding travel, lodging, and content, and contact Jasper Hobbs with any questions.
Legal Affairs Committee Quarterly Call
March 5, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern
For agenda and call-in information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
EPA Public Webcast 1: Proposed 2020 MSGP
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (eastern time)
EPA Public Webcast 2: Proposed 2020 MSGP
Thursday, April 9, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (eastern time)