Excerpted directly from page 49 of the District Court decision.
“Based on the undisputed evidence that the County discharged tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater from the LWRF into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis at a few monitored seep vents, and balancing the factors set forth by the Supreme Court, as well as the additional volume factor that this court added, this court concludes that the LWRF must have an NPDES permit. The discharge from the County’s injection wells into the groundwater and ultimately into the ocean is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge such that it triggers the NPDES permit requirement. The court would reach this same conclusion even if it did not consider the raw-volume-of-pollutant factor. Summary judgment is therefore granted in favor of Plaintiffs and against the County.”
GAO Report – Clean Water Act: EPA Needs to Better Assess and Disclose Quality of Compliance and Enforcement Data
In 2015 EPA created the National Compliance Initiative to reduce Significant Non-Compliance with NPDES Permits. The goal of this initiative is to reduce significant noncompliance by half by the end of fiscal year 2022. This goal supports EPA’s strategic objective to increase compliance with environmental laws in its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022.
The GAO reports that ECHO data are not reliable for identifying changes in the number of activities states conducted since 2015. The GAO notes that “EPA is working with states to improve data quality, but it does not have a plan to assess the overall accuracy of the data. Until it does so, EPA cannot be certain what its measure is showing and if EPA is making progress toward its goal.”
The report examines (1) changes since 2015 in EPA’s national initiatives for ensuring compliance with the act, (2) changes in NPDES compliance and enforcement activities since 2015, and (3) the extent to which EPA is measuring progress toward compliance with the NPDES program.
- OECA should revise its guidance to select files for its State Review Framework assessments of state-reported data to incorporate statistically valid probability sampling.
- OECA should ensure that consolidated, complete, and updated information on all data limitations is disclosed on the State Water Dashboard.
- OECA should develop a plan to determine the overall accuracy and completeness of the permit limit and discharge monitoring report data recorded in its national database.
- OECA should develop a performance measure to track the reduction in pollutant discharges resulting from enforcement actions for facilities in significant noncompliance and disclose any limitations.
While EPA generally agrees with many of the statements/recommendations in the GAO report, they “respectfully disagree with GAO’s overall conclusion that the data are insufficient to gauge progress in CWA compliance, and note they are working to improve data completeness and quality in the system, as well as addressing CWA effluent violations that the data show are occurring.” (Appendix III: Comments from EPA, Lawrence E. Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for OECA)
NPDES eRule Readiness and Reporting Dashboard (Version 2)
This week EPA has requested that states review NPDES eRule Readiness and Reporting Dashboard (Version 2) (ECHO Gov login required), as this tool will be going public in late August 2021. EPA could also use your help to review and confirm the data caveats (ECHO Gov login required) for this dashboard. Some of these data caveats are old and may not reflect the current state of the data in EPA’s national NPDES data system (ICIS-NPDES). Over the past year EPA has worked with states to improve how it tracks implementation of the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule (“NPDES eRule”). With state input, the new tool has been improved as well. EPA is also pleased to share the news that 90% of individually permitted facilities that are regular DMR filers are now electronically submitting their DMRs. If you have questions, observations, or concerns please contact Carey Johnston at 202-566-1014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western States Water Council Releases Water Reuse in the West: Western State Water Reuse Governance and Programs Report
In early 2020, the Western States Water Council partnered with ACWA to develop a survey of states regarding water reuse laws, regulations and practices. This was intended to update and build upon the 2011 Report by the WSWC, Water Reuse in the West: State Programs and Institutional Issues. Ten years later, water reuse across the west has grown and is maturing. Some states have been practicing various forms of water reuse for decades, whereas others are just starting to explore the practice on the ground. Some have robust legal and regulatory frameworks, whereas others have not yet defined reuse or water reuse practices within their statutes and rules. Regardless of where individual states are along this spectrum, most western states recognize the potential of water reuse to contribute additional water resources to meet growing urban and rural demands as the West experiences continued drought and as climate and weather patterns become increasingly variable and extreme.
This report details water reuse definitions, laws, regulations, and programs, and identifies opportunities and challenges to reuse within each state. We hope this can be a resource as states continue to navigate the complexities of water supply and water quality as water resources become increasingly scarce across western states.
You can access the report here. Thank you to the state water quality programs and staff that informed the development of this report.
ACWA 2021-2022 Leadership Elections
The ACWA 2021-2022 Leadership Elections are now open and all “members in good standing” may participate in these elections. The “member in good standing” is the formal or primary ACWA representative for the state/interstate agency that paid dues for the previous fiscal year (FY2021). If you are unsure whether your FY2021 dues are paid, feel free to reach out to Annette Ivey, and we can let you know. Only one vote per state/interstate. Along with the Executive Officers, this year it is the even Regions that are up for election. Please cast your vote no later than July 30, 2021. If you have not received a link to the ballot, please contact Julia Anastasio.
2021 ACWA Virtual Annual Meeting Registration Available
Agenda and registration is available for the 2021 ACWA Virtual Annual Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for the afternoons eastern time of August 4-5, 2021. There is no registration fee for this year’s meeting. I hope that you and your staff will be able to participate. Please click here for additional information and to register.
ACWA’s FY2021 Annual Report is Now Available
The Association’s FY2020 Annual Report has just been released! Please click here to read more about our activities, accomplishments, and more from the past year.
Meetings and Webinars
EPA ICIS Training
ICIS Business Intelligence(BI) Reports Introductory Training – July 13th, 1-2:30 pm EST
Click HERE to register
ICIS Business Intelligence(BI) Reports Advance Training – August 10th, 1-2:30 pm EST
Click HERE to register
ICIS NPDES Introductory Training – July 21st, 2-4:00 pm EST
Click HERE to register
ICIS NPDES Effluent Violation Training – August 3rd, 3-4:30 pm EST
Click HERE to register
Environmental Law Institute Summer School Series Underway
This series is free, but please register for the individual sessions so that we can plan accordingly! All events are held 12-2 p.m. Eastern Time. There is no CLE available for this series.
ELI is excited to announce the schedule for this year’s complimentary summer school series, which will be held via webinar:
These popular seminars are taught by experts in their fields and introduce the audience to the major environmental statutes, land use law, and environmental justice. Faculty will also incorporate major regulatory and judicial updates to the laws.
The series offers undergraduates, law students, graduate students, and working professionals new to or looking for a refresher course in environmental law a unique opportunity to learn, hear updates, ask questions, and network. Click here to learn more.
EPA to Hold Next NEJAC Public Meetings on August 18 & 19, 2021
EPA is holding the next National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) public meetings on August 18 and 19, 2021. These free meetings are open to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments relevant to the specific issues being considered by the NEJAC.
These meetings are being held from approximately 3:00-7:00 pm (ET) each day. Registration is REQUIRED to attend either meeting.
Agenda: The meeting discussion will focus on several topics including, but not limited to, the discussion and deliberation of work groups activities and recommendations to the EPA Administrator. A more detail agenda will be posted on the website closer to the meeting date.
Public Comment Period: The meeting will have a public comment period on August 18, 2021 from approximately 5:00-7:00 pm (ET). Registration to speak during the public comment period will close at 11:59 p.m., (ET), on August 11, 2021. Also, submitting written comments for the record are strongly encouraged To learn about the Public Comment Guidelines, please visit the NEJAC Guidelines for Public Comment Sessions page.
Questions: Please contact Fred Jenkins at email@example.com or by phone 703-308-7049
Webinar: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Overview & Tribes as Cooperating Agencies
Date & Time: July 21, 2021, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM (PT), 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM (ET)
This webinar will provide an overview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the foundational federal environmental law enacted in 1969, and will include a presentation on a tribe’s experience serving as a cooperating agency for a NEPA review. This webinar is part of the U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Webinar Series for Tribes and Indigenous Peoples – to build the capacity of tribal governments, indigenous peoples and other environmental justice practitioners, and discuss priority EJ issues of interest to tribes and indigenous peoples. Please note that the webinar is planned to be recorded and is expected to be available on the following EPA website a few weeks after the webinar, available here.
- Stacy D. Myers III, Tribe’s Senior Scientist and Governmental Liaison, Seminole Tribe of Florida
- Julie Roemele, NEPA Compliance Division, Office of Federal Activities (OFA), U.S. EPA
- Jake Widner, NEPA Compliance Division, OFA, U.S. EPA
- Chris Yesmant, NEPA Compliance Division, OFA, U.S. EPA
- Connell Dunning, Environmental Review Branch, Tribal, Intergovernmental & Policy Division, Region 9, U.S. EPA
EPA WEBINAR: Improved Watershed Health through Agricultural-Municipal Partnerships
Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Eastern
Register: Webinar Registration – Zoom (zoomgov.com)
EPA Agricultural Municipal Partnerships
Watersheds can benefit when municipal water treatment plants invest in conservation practices on nearby farms. These agricultural-municipal partnerships reflect a commitment to integrated planning across the complete water cycle with a strong emphasis on a highly collaborative and inclusive approach to watershed health improvement. By drawing on an integrated watershed approach, these partnerships unlock additional alternatives to address watershed health stressors and bring a broader array of watershed participants into the mix to craft solutions and take action for watershed health improvement.
You are invited to attend a 75-minute webinar that will discuss three different agricultural-municipal partnerships. You will hear experiences from the City of Boise, Miami Conservancy District, and Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment. This webinar will feature presentations where speakers will share their experiences and reflect on lessons learned. There will also be time for Q+A.
Webinar: Climate-Smart Solutions from Rural America and Native Nations
When: July 16, 2021 from 1:30 -3:15 PM ET
Registration Link: https://aspeninst.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ODdNQxWITGa8Lff62wgWAA
The Aspen Institute will host their next Rural Opportunity and Development Session entitled, Pathfinders: Climate-Smart Solutions from Rural America and Native Nations on July 16, 2021, from 1:30 -3:15 PM ET.
The impacts of climate change are worsening the already disproportionate burdens placed on rural people and Native Nations. In the face of these simultaneous global and hyper-local challenges, rural America and Native nations are essential partners in developing climate-smart solutions – and a source for innovative environmental justice initiatives that provide inspiration and useful ideas for the entire country.
This Session’s Stories & Participants:
- Chitra Kumar, Acting Associate Director for Environmental Justice at US EPA (Moderator)
- Ajulo Othow, Founder and CEO of EnerWealth Solutions
- Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative
- Shirell Parfait-Dardar, Traditional Tribal Chief of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw
- Kristina Peterson, Co-Founder of the Lowlander Center
- Jeremy Richardson, Senior Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists
The ROAD Sessions virtual exchanges are co-designed and hosted by Thrive Rural – an effort of the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – in collaboration with the Housing Assistance Council, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Rural LISC and the Federal Reserve Board. We hope the message of rural innovation will reach an even larger audience because of this joint effort.
If you have any questions, or if you’d like help sharing the event, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Community Strategies Group’s Clifford Deaton at Clifford.Deaton@aspeninst.org.
EPA Tools & Resources Webinar: Small Business Innovation Research
July 21, 2021, 3-4 pm ET
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is a federal program that supports the development and commercialization of novel technologies. EPA’s SBIR Program has an annual funding cycle to support projects in areas which include clean and safe water, air and climate, homeland security, land revitalization, sustainable materials management, safer chemicals and risk assessment. This webinar will provide some examples of EPA SBIR “success stories” – existing and developing technologies in areas of potential interest to states and tribes including: PFAS detection/treatment; wildland fire monitoring; harmful algal blooms monitoring; wastewater treatment/nutrient removal; and plastic pollution. Learn more about EPA’s SBIR Program.
EPA Webinar: Stormwater Infrastructure Funding and Equity Webinar
Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Registration: Webinar Registration – Zoom (zoomgov.com)
On July 27, EPA’s Water Finance Center will host the second in a series of webinars presenting approaches for funding and financing stormwater infrastructure! You are invited to attend a 60-minute webinar that will highlight equity considerations in stormwater infrastructure funding and financing. This webinar features speakers who will share their experiences and expertise. There will also be time for question and answer with the speakers.
Speakers for this second webinar include representatives from the New York Environmental Facilities Corporation, the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland, Moonshot Missions, and Greenprint Partners.
Space for this webinar is limited. Advance registration is recommended.
EPA Webinar: Advanced ECHO Tools
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm eastern
Registration: Webinar Registration – Zoom (zoomgov.com)
Join U.S. EPA for its next Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) webinar on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 1:30-2:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time. This advanced webinar will explore water tools and reports available on ECHO, such as:
- Water Facility Search
- Detailed Facility Report
- Effluent Charts
- Water Pollutant Loading Tool
- Data Downloads and Web Services
These ECHO tools allow users to access and analyze EPA data for water pollutant discharges and facility compliance related to the Clean Water Act. The case studies will demonstrate how to conduct advanced analyses of permitted water features and interpret information.
EPA Webinar: Developing and Maintaining Workforce and Equity Partnerships
Date: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Registration: Zoom Register Here
The water sector faces workforce challenges that can only be addressed by strong and sustainable partnerships that also focus on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Water jobs at utilities offer good pay, security, and a real opportunity to make a difference in our communities. Please join us on September 15th for this webinar.
Candi Jones from the Philadelphia Water Department will describe an innovative partnership with PowerCorps Philadelphia to attract and retain men and women from disadvantaged communities into meaningful careers. She will be joined by Andy Kricun, formerly the director of the Camden County Municipal Authority (CCMUA), and now with Moonshot Missions. Andy will talk about engaging and fostering partnerships with organizations across New Jersey to develop a state-wide water workforce program involving state agencies, utilities, NGOs, community colleges, and others to help address the acute need for water workers across the state.
This webinar is part of an ongoing webinar series hosted by EPA, in partnership with leading water sector organizations around the country. More information on this webinar series can be found here.
- Jim Horne, U.S. EPA
- Candi Jones, Assistant Deputy Commissioner- HR, Philadelphia Water Department
- Andy Kricun, Managing Director, Moonshot Missions
On Tuesday, July 27, 2021 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm (eastern time), the Source Water Collaborative will host its fifth of six webinars in the Source Water Collaborative Forestry Learning Exchange webinar series that highlights the connection between healthy forests and drinking water, and the first of two webinars focused on Wildfire. Wildfires can result in costly impacts to water supply. The Rio Grande Water Fund in New Mexico will describe their watershed-wide approach to reducing wildfire risk across 600,000 acres working with numerous partners. Perspectives from water utilities, land management agencies and implementation partners will be shared by the following speakers:
- Diane Agnew, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
- Michiko Martin, U.S. Forest Service
- Caleb Stotts, Chama Peak Land Alliance
- Collin Haffey, The Nature Conservancy (moderator)
Note: There will be a 30-minute Teams meeting discussion with the speakers immediately following the presentations from 2:00 – 2:30 pm ET (links will be provided in registration confirmation).
REGISTER via the Learning Exchange web page.
EPA Resilience Technical Assistance Webinar: Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change Impacts for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities (Part 2 of 2)
Thursday July 29 2021, 1:00-2:30pm EST
EPA’s Creating Resilient Water Utilities initiative provides drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater (water sector) utilities with practical tools, training, and technical assistance needed to increase resilience to climate change threats and impacts. Mitigation measures can protect your utility by reducing damages and service disruptions. In this webinar, EPA will pro-vide an overview of the CRWU initiative and its tools and resources. In addition we will discuss two case studies illustrating wastewater utility climate change adaptation.
- Curt Baranowski, US EPA HQ
- David Coppes, MWRA
- Shaun Livermore, Poarch Band of Creek Indians Utilities Authority
This is Part 2 of our two-part series on Resilience. Part 1, entitled Protecting your Utility from Disaster, was presented on June 24, 2021. If you missed Part 1, you can register to view the recording HERE. Please note that certificates are not available for viewing past recorded webinars.
EPA Announces Public Webinar on Development of Proposed TSCA Data Reporting Rule
July 27, 1-3pm EST
EPA is holding a public webinar on July 27, 2021 to discuss and collect initial feedback on the development of a proposed rule to collect data to help inform each step of the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation and risk management process.
The agency is interested in ensuring that data collection strategies provide information to better meet chemical data needs related to exposure, health, and eco-toxicity. To this end, EPA is exploring the development of a data reporting rule that is designed to inform specific stages of the TSCA section 6 process. Collecting data geared specifically towards prioritization, risk evaluation, and risk management would help ensure the agency has relevant and timely data to inform each step of the process for reviewing potential risks from existing chemicals. Tying specific reporting requirements to the activities that make use of such reported data will also help reduce the burden related to data collection efforts while ensuring that the agency has the information it needs to fulfill its risk evaluation and risk management responsibilities. Additionally, this new data reporting rule would enhance the exposure-related data collected through the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) process.
If you would like to provide oral comments during the webinar, you must register by July 22. You may register as a listen-only attendee at any point until the end of the webinar. Written comments should be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0436 on www.regulations.gov on or before August 15, 2021. EPA will consider feedback received during the public meeting and comments submitted to the docket as it develops a proposed rule.
Environmental Program Supervisor – Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Location: Des Moines, IA
Closing Date: July 15, 2021
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a vacancy for an Environmental Program Supervisor in the Water Quality Bureau, located in Des Moines, IA. This position serves as supervisor of 14 staff within the 319/SRF Section of the Water Quality Bureau and manages a $4 million budget. The Section is responsible for 319 Non-point source projects, State Revolving Fund (SRF) Environmental Reviews and SRF Sponsored Projects.
For more information, click here.
Environmental Specialist – Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Location: Des Moines, IA
Closing Date: July 27, 2021
The position is responsible for issuing NPDES permits for regulated industrial facilities in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act and State law. Duties include evaluating how industries use water, employing analytical skills to determine facility compliance locations and pollutants of concern, determining regulated pollutants, calculating technology based effluent limits, determining monitoring locations and frequencies, reviewing antidegradation alternatives analyses, and addressing public comments. This position regularly utilizes knowledge in mathematics, chemistry and biology.
For more information, click here.