EPW Holds Confirmation Hearing on EPA Administrator Nominee
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a confirmation hearing this week on President Biden’s nominee to lead the EPA. Michael Regan pledged to collaborate with stakeholders, including states, as the administration confronts the nation’s environmental challenges. Regan pledged, if confirmed, to bring the lessons he has learned as head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to his role as Administrator. Regan also committed to restoring a commitment to science and transparency at the agency and supporting its career officials.
ELI Announces the completion of its Compendium: Approaches to Clean Water Communication
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has announced the completion of the latest addition to its CWA 303(d) Resource Library: Approaches to Clean Water Communication. The website contains an organized collection of ways that states, territories, and tribes have communicated with the public and other less-technical audiences about water quality. It is intended to help facilitate the sharing of ideas among water quality programs, especially CWA 303(d) programs. For context, ELI gathered most of these examples through a fall 2019 questionnaire completed by staff from 44 states, 9 tribes, 4 territories, and the District of Columbia.
The collection is divided into 12 categories: websites, maps, Story Maps & dashboards, videos, report cards & newsletters, signs & handouts, presentations, social media, scholastic programs, partnerships, communicating in multiple languages, and metrics & tools for measuring success.
FY2021 Exchange Network Grant Solicitation Notice
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Exchange Network (EN) Grant Program Solicitation Notice (SN) has been published to Grants.gov and is available here. Applications are due to EPA by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The purpose of Exchange Network (EN) grants are to foster better environmental management and decision-making through increased access to timely, high quality, environmental information. EPA expects to award 25-35 grants of up to $400,000 each, with most awards likely to be $50,000 to $200,000 range. The exact number of grants will depend on the number of applications submitted to EPA by the application deadline, the amounts of proposed project budgets, and the quality of proposals. Funding total will be approximately $8,000,000 for FY2021. For more information, please contact Erika Beasley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Science Transparency Rule Vacated
The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, per EPA’s request, vacated and remanded the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science Rule. The Court’s prior finding delayed its January rollout on procedural grounds, and the rule was due to take effect today, February 5, 2021.
EPA Offering Free Integrated Planning Technical Assistance to State Permitting Authorities
EPA has partnered with the Environmental Finance Centers at the University of Maryland and University of North Carolina to provide state permitting authorities free technical assistance to review integrated plans submitted to them in accordance with EPA’s 2012 Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Framework.
Free technical assistance for states is available now until August 31, 2021. You or another colleague at a state agency may benefit from this no-cost opportunity. The Environmental Finance Centers can evaluate components of an integrated plan such as affordability analyses, and review implementation schedules (Element 4 of EPA’s Integrated Planning Framework).
To view current integrated plans EPA is aware of, past webcast recordings, and other EPA policy documents, click here.
TSCA Inventory Updated
The TSCA Inventory is a list of all existing chemical substances manufactured, processed, or imported in the U.S. The Inventory contains 86,557 chemicals of which 41,864 are active in U.S commerce. Other updates to the TSCA Inventory include new chemical substance additions, commercial activity data and regulatory flags, such as polymer exemptions, TSCA section 4 test orders and TSCA section 5 significant new use rules (SNURs).
This biannual update to the public TSCA Inventory is part of EPA’s regular posting of non-confidential TSCA Inventory data. The next regular update of the Inventory is planned for summer 2021. For more information on the TSCA Inventory, please click here.
EPA Relaunches National Environmental Justice Public Engagement Calls
Date of First Call: February 17, 2021 | 2:00-4:00 PM EST
Registration: Click here
EPA invites Environmental Justice (EJ) advocates to participate in the relaunched National Environmental Justice Public Engagement Calls, with the first taking place on February 17, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time). These calls are free and open to the public.
The purpose of these calls is to inform the public about EPA’s EJ work and enhance opportunities to maintain an open dialogue with EJ advocates. The calls first began in 2010 and were a valuable tool for EPA to learn about EJ needs in communities around the country. As EJ continues to be integrated into EPA programs and policies, the Agency hopes that relaunching these calls will help reaffirm EPA’s continued commitment to work with community groups and the public to strengthen local environmental and human health outcomes.
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 short survey is only 9 questions long and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. This survey is being directed to the primary/main ACWA member representative from each state/interstate and all of their staff that participate on ACWA committees and workgroups. A one week extension has been provided – please complete this survey by Friday, February 12, 2021 – thank you!
2021 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting Update
ACWA’s Mid-Year Meeting is just over a month away! An updated agenda can be viewed here, and registration links will be circulated next week.
FY21 Funding Chart
ACWA’s yearly funding chart for key water appropriations has been posted. It is available here.
EPA Published Draft Pesticide General Permit
Reminder: ACWA would very much like to hear from those states/interstates that plan to comment or would like to see ACWA develop a comment letter. A copy of the draft permit can be found here.
Meetings and Webinars
EPA’s Integrated Planning Virtual Roundtable March 2, 2021
Rescheduled Date: March 2, 2021 | 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM Eastern Time
Registration: Click here (only if you have not registered previously)
If you registered for the event (using Zoom) originally scheduled on January 13, 2021 EPA already has your registration information. You do NOT need to register again. If you are already registered, you should have received a new MS Teams meeting invitation. Your calendar will include a new invitation for March 2, 2020. The agenda for the roundtable includes the following:
- Update from EPA
- State experiences with incorporating a municipality’s integrated stormwater and wastewater plan in NPDES permits:
- Shelly Shores-Miller from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment
- Michael Abbott from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
- Adam Eller from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
- Small-group breakout sessions to answer questions and discuss ideas for making it easier to review and incorporate integrated plan elements in NPDES permits or other Clean Water Act obligations
If you have not received an updated invitation, please contact Robyn DeYoung (Deyoung.Robyn@nullepa.gov).
EPA Webinar: Do’s and Don’ts in Operating an NPDES Laboratory: Common Mistakes and Ways to Improve Results
Date: February 24, 2021 | 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time
Registration: Click here
Presenter: Magdeleine Dallemagne, EPA Region 6 (Dallas, TX) Laboratory Auditor, Enforcement Officer for the Clean Water Act, NPDES, and Safe Drinking Water Act programs
Audience: Wastewater Treatment Plant Owners and Operators, Municipal leaders (Mayors, Council Members, Directors of Public Works, etc). While all plant owners and operators may find this useful, it is geared more toward smaller systems with flow of less than 1 million gallons per day. Others who will find this informative include: Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) technical assistance providers, permit writers and compliance staff from states, tribes, and US EPA.
Description: This webinar will cover common misconceptions and misunderstandings found in NPDES laboratories, how to identify and rectify them in your laboratory, and how to improve your analytical testing and results. Supporting documentation from both 40 CFR and Standard Methods provided. This webinar will also cover some Good Laboratory Practices and additional compliance assistance for application in your laboratory.
References: To get the most benefit from this fast-paced Webinar, attendees are encouraged to review these background materials: 40 CFR 136 (found at https://www.ecfr.gov); Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 23rd Edition (or any other approved method edition per 40 CFR 136).
Certificate of Attendance: Attendees receive a follow-up email 24 hours after the conclusion of the webinar including a link to download a certificate of attendance. Check your inbox or spam folder for this email. Discuss eligibility of continuing education credits with your specific certification authority.
EPA Introduction to ECHO Webinar
Date: February 9, 2021 | 1:30-2:30 PM Eastern Time
Registration: Click here
Join U.S. EPA for its next Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) webinar, which will provide an overview about the data in ECHO and guide users through how to use ECHO to answer environmental enforcement and compliance questions. The focus of this webinar will be a collection of short, step-by-step demonstrations geared toward new and infrequent users. We will demonstrate the capabilities of the ECHO Facility Search and other features to answer questions such as:
- How do I search for a specific facility?
- How do I search for facilities in my community?
- How do I search for facilities releasing a pollutant?
- How do I find visual depictions of data that track both facility and regulatory agency performance?
Examples are drawn from user questions. If you are interested in a specific topic or would like to suggest a question to answer during the webinar, please send feedback to ECHO Support.
Environmental Engineer Licensed Specialist 13 | Michigan Department of Environment, Nonpoint Source Program
Location: Lansing, MI
Closing Date: February 14, 2021
The Michigan Nonpoint Source (NPS) Program is looking for an Environmental Engineer Licensed Specialist 13. Applicants should have experience implementing best management practices to reduce or eliminate nonpoint source pollution. The Program is especially interested in applicants with experience implementing storm water best management practices as well as stream restoration projects that employ natural channel designs.
To find more information on the position and how to apply, please click here.