New DOJ Enforcement Strategy
This week the DOJ announced a comprehensive enforcement strategy for environmental justice. The DOJ has developed a strategy that “positions the Biden-Harris Administration to leverage all available legal tools to secure protections for communities that have been overburdened by pollution and environmental injustices.” DOJ is making EJ a priority and launched its first-ever Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ). This new office will be a critical resource as the DOJ implements the new comprehensive enforcement strategy.
Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim named Cynthia Ferguson, an experienced DOJ attorney with more than a decade working on environmental justice issues, as Acting Director. DOJ is also restoring use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs). A SEP is an enforcement tool that EPA uses to develop local projects that defendants can agree to undertake as part of an enforcement case settlement to help rectify environmental violations. SEPs were used for more than 30 years until the previous administration eliminated them as an option.
For a copy of the press release, please click here.
For more information on SEPs please see EPA’s webpage here.
For more information on DOJ’s environmental justice strategy, please see DOJ’s webpage here.
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) Webinar
The Office of Community Services (OCS), Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) will host a special session for public and private water utilities on May 19. This event will provide information on LIHWAP implementation, review possible challenges and success stories, and provide an opportunity for water service provider to share feedback on LIHWAP participation. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to review the LIHWAP Data Dashboard, an interactive data platform that provides information and updates on LIHWAP implementation. Please join us for a LIHWAP National Water Service Providers Meeting held on Thursday, May 19, from 3:00- 4:30 pm ET.
The national meeting will be followed by two office hour sessions held on Tuesday, May 24th at 3:00 pm ET and Thursday, May 26th at 12:00 pm ET. These sessions will provide water service providers the opportunity to meet with OCS staff to discuss questions or barriers to LIHWAP participation. OCS encourages water service providers to coordinate with the LIHWAP grant recipients in their area to attend office hours together.
The link and additional information for office hour registration will be sent to participants in a follow up correspondence at the conclusion of the meeting. To maximize assistance, each session will be limited to fifteen participants at a time, on a first come, first served basis.
Meetings and Webinars
2022 Water Quality Modeling Workshop
ACWA and the EPA Water Modeling Workgroup (WMW) will be holding an in-person workshop on Water Quality Modeling in Chicago, IL. This workshop will take place September 20 – September 23, 2021. This year’s workshop will feature two hand-on training opportunities on Qual2K and SWAT+, as well as a track designed for managers and other staff who work closely with modelers and contractors.
On September 19, there will be a pre-conference “Modeling 101” training for new staff and anyone who wants a refresher. Please note that there will be limited space in the hands-on training tracks and you will need to register ahead of time to attend.
The 2022 ACWA and EPA Water Quality Modeling Workshop supports implementation of state programs by continuing to build a community of practice among state agency staff who use or want to use water quality modeling in implementation of state 303(d) programs.
We anticipate registration opening in early June.
More information can be found on ACWA’s Events Page.
ACWA Monitoring Standards and Assessment Committee Meeting May 10th, 2:30 EST
To register for MSA’s call on May 10th, please contact Jake Adler.
NASEM Webinar: The Future of Managed Aquifer Recharge in the U.S.
Date: May 10 & 11
Time: 11AM – 2PM EDT
Join the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the Water Science and Technology Board for the public session of their joint meeting, taking place Tuesday May 11th and Wednesday May 12th from 11:00AM to 2:00PM EDT on both days. The public session will feature speakers and panelists discussing the future of managed aquifer recharge in the United States, a topic with implications for a wide range of audiences, including geology, hydrology, climate science, ecology, and agriculture.
Nutrient Effects in Alabama Streams – Alabama’s N-STEPS Project and Beyond
Date: May 12, 2022
Time: 2 PM EST
This webinar is open to invitees only. To ensure all invitees can attend, please do not share your access information. To attend the webinar, please use this link to sign up. Registration is required for you to attend the webinar. Once you have registered for the webinar, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining.
In 2016, the N-STEPS program analyzed Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) stream macroinvertebrate and nutrient datasets to: (1) construct an O/E site-specific biological condition assessment model, (2) use O/E output along with weighted-average optima and generalized additive models to identify nutrient sensitive and opportunistic taxa, and (3) use the output above to construct a biological predictive model to identify nutrient risk. This project supports current efforts to develop nutrient criteria for reservoir embayments by providing data to evaluate if criteria developed for these systems would be protective of upstream uses and for streams that do not flow into reservoirs. These tools have also been used to develop nutrient-specific macroinvertebrate attributes and metrics, assess the effectiveness of restoration efforts, prioritize waters for diatom surveys, and develop a monitoring strategy for headwater streams. In combination with Alabama’s BCG, the O/E site-specific biological condition assessment model provides an estimate of overall water quality for wadable rivers and streams.
Presenter: Lisa Huff is Chief of the Environmental Indicators Section at the ADEM in Montgomery, Alabama. She holds a BS in biology from Oberlin College and an MS in aquatic entomology from the University of Georgia. Lisa has led development and implementation of the agency’s watershed-based Rivers and Streams Monitoring Program (RSMP), designed in part to provide stressor-response data to develop criteria and indicators. Working with dedicated biologists and engineers within ADEM, EPA, and other local, state, and federal agencies throughout EPA Region 4, the RSMP has developed macroinvertebrate and fish community indices. The RSMP has benefited greatly from collaborative efforts supported by EPA Headquarters and Region 4 to calibrate the Biological Condition Gradient (BCG) model to macroinvertebrate and fish communities in Alabama’s wadable rivers and streams. A technical review of the RSMP in 2019 reflects these accomplishments.
Integrating Water Quality Management and Natural Hazard Resilience through Nature Based Solutions – Watershed Academy Webinar
Date: May 24
Time: 1-3PM EST
Registration is now open for EPA’s Watershed Academy webinar on Integrating Water Quality Management and Natural Hazard Resilience through Nature Based Solutions, which will take place on May 24th, 2022. This webcast will feature professionals from across the country that are conducting projects that promote both water quality and hazard resilience. Speakers will discuss a variety of work, research on how communities can integrate nature-based practices into their planning and resource management, building partnerships across agencies and organizations, and creative funding strategies.
NASEM Workshop: Communities, Climate Change, and Health Equity — State-Level Implementation
Date: May 24-26, 2022
In October 2021, the Environmental Health Matters Initiative (EHMI) organized the workshop Communities, Climate Change, and Health Equity—A New Vision, which provided an overview of how changing climate conditions exacerbate existing health inequities experienced by communities across the United States. The workshop identified a broad set of potential actions and actors that could lead efforts to address the intersection of climate change, health inequity and environmental injustice.
Given that much of the authority for addressing these issues rests at the individual state level, EHMI is organizing an additional workshop – the next in a series – from 12:00 – 3:00 PM ET on May 24 and 26, 2022.
This workshop will delve deeper into specific state-level actions and actors that could help improve climate-related health outcomes in disproportionately impacted communities, particularly through the deeper integration of health equity into climate programs and consideration of climate justice in public health programs.
Save the Date! 2022 State Summit Webinar Series on Water Reuse – Session 1, ASR
Please join us on May 25, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. for a free webinar intended for state staff on ASR-MAR. The Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC) is hosting this webinar as part of the 2022 State Summit Webinar Series on Water Reuse. The event will be 1.5 hours long and held virtually with Zoom. ACWA Members and their staff should contact Jake Adler for registration information.
The ASR-MAR webinar will feature a lively panel comprised of leaders across the water sector, including Mary Musick (GWPC), Lorrie Council (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), Karen Feret (U.S. EPA), and Chi Ho Sham (Eastern Research Group, Inc.). Panelists will share insights from GWPC’s ASR-MAR Workgroup and prior webinars, highlight future focus areas, and encourage participants to share experiences with ASR-MAR in their states. A member of EPA’s water reuse team will also provide a brief update on the National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP).
This webinar is hosted by GWPC in collaboration with ACWA, ASDWA, ASTHO, ECOS, and EPA. It is the first in a series of water reuse webinars for states under WRAP Action 2.2, Enhancing State Collaboration on Water Reuse. The WRAP collaborative was launched in 2020 and helps drive progress on reuse by leveraging the expertise of partners across the country to create a more resilient water future for communities of all sizes.
Municipal Facility Management Engineer (Environmental Engineer 2) | Washington Department of Ecology
Location: Shoreline, WA
Closing Date: May 9, 2022
This is an exciting opportunity to become part of a team of engineers and scientists dedicated to responsible development and thoughtful management of critical wastewater and reclaimed water infrastructure. Working under the guidance and supervision of a professional engineer, you will make vital contributions to the regulation, planning, design, and construction of wastewater treatment and water reclamation facilities in northwest Washington.
For more information, click here.
Environmental Analyst – Source Water Protection | NEIWPCC
Location: Albany, NY
Closing Date: May 16, 2022
The primary goal of Source Water Protection in New York State is to develop and implement source water protection measures for public water systems throughout the state. The incumbent will be expected to provide guidance, leadership, and input on use of the program’s framework and work towards its improvement. The successful candidate will assist with managing the consultant contract, developing and updating source water program guidance, program outreach and communication, and assisting communities with developing and implementing their source water protection plans. The incumbent will also assist with internal DWSP2 coordination to ensure the Department’s permitting and other processes include source water protection components.
For more information, click here.