Public Interest Waiver from BABA for EPA State Revolving Fund Programs (Plans and Specifications) Released for Comment
EPA is seeking comments on a proposed waiver concerning the application of BABA to Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF)-funded projects. This does not apply to SRF assistance agreements closed (or those that have submitted engineering plans and specifications) prior to May 14, 2022. The agency is pursuing this waiver because it is not in the public’s interest to apply BABA requirements to projects that already submitted engineering plans and specifications due to the critical need to repair and upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure in a timely and cost-effective manner. The waiver can be viewed here. Please submit comments to BABA-OW@epa.gov . Comments must be received by June 29, 2022.
GAO Report: Agencies Should Take More Actions to Manage Risks from Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia
This week the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report discussing harmful algal blooms (HABs). GAO was asked to review federal efforts to manage HABs and hypoxia risks with particular focus on (1) federal working group efforts to implement a national program; (2) federal agencies’ actions to monitor and forecast harmful algal bloom and hypoxia events; and (3) federal agencies’ actions to help state, local, and tribal governments respond to these events.
The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 established a federal interagency working group to help address related environmental issues. NOAA and EPA chair the workgroup which has “developed a national research plan and action strategy, as well as subsequent progress reports and other planning documents to guide its efforts, but it has not implemented a national program under the act.” Several other agencies are also members.
Based on their research, GAO is providing six recommendations for NOAA and EPA, in collaboration with other agencies on the national workgroup:
- NOAA and EPA should “document and define what a national HAB and hypoxia program would entail, including identifying the program’s resource needs.”
- NOAA and EPA should “develop performance measures to assess the working group’s efforts, including the extent to which the recommended goals from the Research Plan and Action Strategy have been achieved.”
- NOAA and EPA should “develop an interagency framework, including prioritizing water bodies and identifying resource needs, to expand monitoring of freshwater HABs and hypoxia.”
- NOAA and EPA should “develop an interagency framework, including prioritizing water bodies and identifying resource needs, to expand forecasting of freshwater HABs and hypoxia.”
- NOAA and EPA should “develop a national goal for the group focused on efforts to prevent HABs and hypoxia.”
- NOAA and EPA should “coordinate the development of a more comprehensive body of information on the costs and benefits of mitigation, control, and prevention actions for use by state, local, and tribal governments.”
A copy of the report can be found here.
EPA Publishes Drinking Water Health Advisory Levels for PFOA, PFOS, PFBS, GenX
This week, EPA released Final Health Advisories (HAs) for PFBS and GenX, as well as interim Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS. HAs are national non-enforceable, non-regulatory drinking water concentration levels of a specific contaminant at or below which exposure for a specific duration is not anticipated to lead to adverse human health effects. These guidelines are applicable to drinking water consumption over a lifetime (despite, in the case of PFOA, the critical health effect occurring after short-term exposure; this is because short-term exposure during a critical period of development may lead to adverse health effects across life stages). These benchmarks and the underlying values and science used to derive them have use-cases beyond finished drinking water, including site-specific groundwater and surface water remediation, sourcewater protection, derivation of surface water quality criteria, and state-specific development of risk assessments and HAs.
EPA published interim rather than final PFOA/PFOS values because EPA’s Science Advisory Board generally supported EPA’s draft conclusions but recommended additional analyses be performed prior to finalizing the Reference Dose (RfD) and Relative Source Contribution (RSC) underlying the HAs. EPA is working on deriving, but has not updated, cancer slope factors (CSFs). In addition to the HAs, the documents also discuss a calculation for PFAS mixtures as well as treatment options, ranging from sourcewater protection and centralized treatment adjustments to Point of Use devices incorporating GAC and RO. EPA included a Relative Source Contribution (RSC) of 20% for each calculation (i.e., non-drinking water sources of these PFAS to humans are accounted for as 80% of total regular exposure).
The HA levels, chronic RfD (expressed as daily oral exposure doses in mg/kg-day), and critical endpoints are:
- PFOA: 0.004ng/l or 4ppq; 1.5 x 10^-9; deficient antibody response/suppression of tetanus vaccine in children. Also likely to be carcinogenic (kidney and testicular cancer). Other RfDs were derived for health effects including development and growth ranging from 10^-6 to 10^-9. The HA value is below existing detection limits.
- PFOS: 0.02ng/l or 20ppq; 7.9 x 10^-9; deficient antibody response/suppression of diphtheria vaccine in children. Also likely to be carcinogenic (bladder and prostate cancer). Other RfDs were derived for health effects including development and growth ranging from 10^-6 to 10^-9. The HA value is below existing detection limits.
- GenX: 10ng/l or 10ppt; 3 x 10^-6; thyroid effects including decreased thyroxine; Also suggestive evidence of carcinogenicity.
- PFBS: 2,000 ng/l or 2,000ppt; 3 x 10^-4; constellation of liver lesions; Also suggestive evidence of carcinogenicity.
EPA also published factsheets and FAQs. You can learn more about the HA’s and associated materials here.
CWA Anniversary Proclamation Template
As part of the CWA@50th Celebration, we have drafted a template that you can use to request a proclamation from your governors. The template can be edited as your state sees fit. If you are successful, in getting a proclamation issued, we would love to receive a picture of it that we can post on our website. Copies of proclamations can be sent either to Julia Anastasio or Kara McCauley.
Seeking Case Studies to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the CWA
ACWA is preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act later this year and we are seeking case studies from our members. The goal of the campaign is to highlight the great work the states/interstates have been doing in implementing the CWA. We will kick off the campaign during the 2022 ACWA Annual Meeting (August 3-5, 2022) at Graceland in Memphis, TN.
The campaign includes several components (social media, Story Map, Etc.) with the most visible being a Story Map website that will consist of state/interstate stories highlighting how your programs are working to achieve the goals of the CWA. This is the time to celebrate the hard work of you and your staff and toot your own horns.
We would like to have stories from all ACWA members in the Story Map. We have created a simple template for you to use to enter your information. You can use an existing case study that you may have already created for another effort or you can come up with a new story. You can submit more than one story too! As the template is updated, our consultant will work to get the stories included in the map.
If you would like to submit a case study, please let Julia Anastasio or Kara McCauley know if you intend to submit a case study and we will provide you with a link to the template. This is the time to show how you have been using the CWA to protect and restore the waters in your state!
2022 ACWA Annual Meeting Registration Open
Registration is now open for the 2022 ACWA Annual Meeting, August 3-5, 2022, at The Guest House at Graceland, Memphis, TN. We are looking forward to gathering face to face for the first time in two years! Join us as we celebrate reconnecting with colleagues and kick off the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. As part of the celebration, the ACWA Board of Directors has decided that there will be no registration fee for the meeting. You can view the current agenda here.
2022 ACWA Annual Meeting Travel Scholarships Available
ACWA is also offering a limited number of travel scholarships to help states/ interstates with travel costs to the meeting. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please contact Kara McCauley.
Meetings and Webinars
Women in Water – The Leadership Journey Forward
Date: June 21, 2022
Time: 1-2:30 PM EST
The EPA, in partnership with NACWA, AMWA, AWWA, WEF, WaterReuse, and the Water Research Foundation, present the next webinar in the “Creating the Water Workforce of the Future” series.
More and more women are making a major difference to ensure our water utilities are strong and sustainable. However, women continue to be underrepresented in the water utility sector, particularly in leadership positions. Please join us for a conversation with three women at different stages of their careers at water utilities to hear their stories and insights as well as share your own.
- Jim Horne, U.S. EPA
- Deborah Vacs Renwick, U.S. EPA
- Karen Pallansch, General Manager, Alexandria Renew Enterprises (VA)
- Stacy Thompson, Deputy Director, Saco Water Resource Recovery Department (ME)
- Genevieve Ramirez, Communications Director, Moulton Niguel Water District (CA)
Webinar on EPA’s Searchable Clearinghouse of Wastewater Technologies (SCOWT) and WaterOperator.org
June 21, 2022, 1:00pm-2:00pm ET | Register Here
Join us for a 1-hour webinar on June 21st to provide an overview of how to use these two platforms so that users can access resources.
- WaterOperator.org aggregates the best resources on the web for small wastewater and drinking water system operators in a free, user-friendly location. The program is a collaboration between the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with funding from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- The EPA Searchable Clearinghouse of Wastewater Technologies (SCOWT) is an information-sharing platform that provides resources related to innovative, alternative, and reuse wastewater technologies. The Clearinghouse includes information for both centralized and decentralized treatment systems, which is separated into two searchable databases featuring resources such as reports, case studies, and webinars, in addition to a map function that allows users to search resources based on geographic location
Webinar participants will learn how to use these two platforms, including how to find helpful resources and learn about upcoming events. There will be Q+A.
- Smiti Nepal, Environmental Engineer, Office of Wastewater Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Steve Wilson, Groundwater Hydrologist Head, Principal Scientist at University of Illinois, and Program Director at WaterOperator.org
EPA to Hold Next NEJAC Public Meeting on June 22-23, 2022
EPA is holding the next National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) two-day public meeting on June 22-23, 2022 from approximately 1:00-5:00 pm (ET) each day. Individual registration is REQUIRED. This free meeting is open to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments relevant to the specific issues being considered by the NEJAC.
Please make sure you have the latest version of Zoom.
Agenda: The primary purpose of this meeting is for the NEJAC to finalize advice and recommendations on EPA’s investments to address environmental justice through the Justice40 Initiative. The meeting agenda and other meeting support materials will be posted in the public docket (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2022-0053) as they become available here.
Public Comment Period: The NEJAC is interested in receiving public comments specific to EPA investments and the public’s recommendation as to where investments are made. Registration to speak during the public comment period will close at 11:59 p.m. E.T., June 15, 2022. Every effort will be made to hear from as many registered public commenters during the time specified on the agenda on June 22, 2022.
Submitting written comments for the record are strongly encouraged. Written comments can be submitted up until July 6, 2022.
EFAB Announces Upcoming Webinar June 22
Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Time: 12–1:30 PM EST
The Pollution Prevention Finance Forum is a series of webinars that explore opportunities and challenges in financing sustainability, with an initial focus on advancing opportunities for small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses. The purpose of the second Forum webinar is to further assess the types of financial tools and models that are or could be made available for pollution prevention (P2) projects and are relevant to small and medium-sized businesses and manufacturers. The third Forum webinar will assess partnership models and explore potential partnership opportunities and distribution networks for P2 projects. P2, also known as source reduction, is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal. More information can be found here.
NASEM Climate Conversations: Water Justice
NEW DATE: June 22, 2022 | 3:00 PM–4:00 PM ET | Register Here
Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a conversation about how to ensure all people in the U.S. have access to clean and safe drinking water in a changing climate.
Millions of people in the U.S. currently lack access to clean and safe drinking water, particularly in low-income rural areas and in communities of color. Our changing climate creates additional threats, such as droughts that diminish surface water bodies, algal blooms and salt-water intrusion that contaminate water supplies, and floods that overwhelm water treatment facilities. Join us for a conversation about how policies and infrastructure could help address current disparities in access to water and build resilience to the increasing impacts from climate change. Speakers will be announced soon.
The conversation will be webcast on the Climate Conversations: Water Justice webpage on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 from 3-4 p.m. EDT. Closed captioning will be provided. The conversation will include questions from the audience and will be recorded and available to view on the page after the event.
Climate Conversations: Pathways to Action is a monthly webinar series from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that aims to convene high-level, cross-cutting, nonpartisan conversations about issues relevant to national policy action on climate change.
NNCR Training Descriptions
NNCR Basic Training: Quarterly Report– Basic Training Presentation (PPTX) (1.6 MB)
This webinar focuses on the new quarterly National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Noncompliance Report (NNCR), currently available on ECHO Lab (echolab.epa.gov) for EPA and state testing. The training covers what the quarterly NNCR is and why it was developed, background on the NNCR workgroup, violation types and violation details included in the report, information about accessing the quarterly report, and includes a demonstration of the beta-version available in ECHO Lab.
NNCR Advanced Training: DMR Reporting Violations – DMR Reporting Violations Presentation (PPTX) (1.8 MB)
This webinar focuses on the new quarterly National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Noncompliance Report (NNCR), currently available on ECHO Lab (echolab.epa.gov) for EPA and state testing. This training is an advanced training focused on DMR reporting violations. The training covers when DMR reporting violations are generated in ICIS-NPDES, criteria for detecting Category I or II noncompliance, resolution of DMR reporting violations, and a demonstration of how to identify DMR reporting violations and details related to the violations on the quarterly NNCRs.
NNCR Advanced Training: Effluent Exceedance Violations – Effluent Exceedance Violations Presentation (PPTX) (2.2 MB)
This webinar focuses on the new quarterly National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Noncompliance Report (NNCR), currently available on ECHO Lab (echolab.epa.gov) for EPA and state testing. This training is an advanced training focused on effluent exceedance violations. The training covers when effluent exceedance violations are generated in ICIS-NPDES, criteria for detecting Category I or II noncompliance, resolution of effluent exceedance violations, and a demonstration of how to identify effluent exceedance violations and details related to the violations on the quarterly NNCRs.
NNCR Advanced Training: Schedule Violations – Schedule Violations Presentation (PPTX) (1.9 MB)
This webinar focuses on the new quarterly National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Noncompliance Report (NNCR), currently available on ECHO Lab (echolab.epa.gov) for EPA and state testing. This training is an advanced training focused on schedule violations of permit and enforcement action requirements. The training covers when schedule violations are generated in ICIS-NPDES, criteria for detecting Category I or II noncompliance, resolution of schedule violations, and a demonstration of how to identify schedule violations and details related to the violations on the quarterly NNCRs.
NNCR Advanced Training: Other Violations
This webinar focuses on the new quarterly National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Noncompliance Report (NNCR), currently available on ECHO Lab (echolab.epa.gov) for EPA and state testing. This training is an advanced training focused on single event/other violations. The training covers when single event/other violations are generated in ICIS-NPDES, criteria for detecting Category I or II noncompliance, resolution of the violations, and a demonstration of how to identify these violations and details related to the violations on the quarterly NNCRs. Note: the initial version of the NNCR only includes base program and biosolids violations. Other NPDES program violations will be integrated into the NNCR before the eRule phase 2 deadline.
NNCR Basic Training: Annual Report
This webinar focuses on the new annual summary National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Noncompliance Report (NNCR), currently available on ECHO Lab (echolab.epa.gov) for EPA and state testing. The training covers what the annual NNCR is and why it was developed, permit groups and metrics included in the report, information about accessing the annual report, and includes a demonstration of the beta-version available in ECHO Lab.
NNCR Webinar Training Dates
|Open Q&A Session||Wednesday, July 13, 2022||1:00 – 2:00 pm Eastern||Teams|
|Annual||Tuesday, June 21, 2022||4:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Other (SEV) Violations||Wednesday, June 22, 2022||1:00 – 2:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Quarterly Basic||Thursday, July 14, 2022||4:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|DMR Reporting Violations||Tuesday, July 19, 2022||3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Open Q&A Session||Tuesday, August 2, 2022||12:00 – 1:00 pm Eastern||Teams|
|Quarterly Basic||Thursday, August 18, 2022||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Effluent Exceedance Violations||Tuesday, August 23, 2022||4:00 – 5:30 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Annual||Wednesday, August 24, 2022||3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Quarterly Basic||Tuesday, September 13, 2022||4:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Open Q&A Session||Tuesday, September 20, 2022||3:00 -4:00 pm Eastern||Teams|
|Schedule Violations||Wednesday, September 21, 2022||3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Annual||Tuesday, October 4, 2022||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Other (SEV) Violations||Thursday, October 13, 2022||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Open Q&A Session||Friday, October 14, 2022||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Teams|
|Quarterly Basic||Thursday, October 20, 2022||3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Quarterly Basic||Tuesday, November 8, 2022||3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|DMR Reporting Violations||Wednesday, November 9, 2022 (updated)||1:00 – 2:00 pm Eastern (updated)||Signup|
|Open Q&A||Wednesday, November 16, 2022||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Teams|
|Annual||Thursday, December 1, 2022||4:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Open Q&A||Tuesday, December, 6, 2022||12:00 – 1:00 pm Eastern||Teams|
|Quarterly Basic||Thursday, December 8, 2022||4:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Effluent Exceedance Violations||Wednesday, December 14, 2022||3:00 – 4:30 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Open Q&A||Wednesday, December 11, 2022||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Teams|
|Quarterly Basic||Wednesday, January 18, 2023||3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Schedule Violations||Thursday, January 19, 2023||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
|Other (SEV) Violations||Tuesday, January 24, 2023||2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern||Signup|
Environmental Specialist III (Position 1855) | Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Location: Augusta, ME
Closing Date: July 4, 2022
This position provides day-to-day technical assistance to Bureau of Water Quality staff in loading data to and exporting data from the Environmental and Geographic Analysis Database (EGAD) to enable users to meet business and grant/funding requirements. Other duties of the position include working with staff regarding sound principles of data management, including Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC); providing environmental/technical expertise to Division staff in the analysis and interpretation of attribute and spatial data stored in EGAD; collaborating with State of Maine Office of Information Technology programming staff to maintain/expand EGAD functionality; and providing EGAD training. Additional tasks include assisting EGAD users with data analysis using various software packages, submitting data to US Environmental Protection Agency target databases, responding to outside data requests, and assisting Division staff with field work. Following training, work is performed under limited supervision within the Division’s strong team and collaborative work environment.
For more information, click here.
Wastewater Engineering Specialist | Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Location: Salem or Eugene, OR
Closing Date: July 5, 2022
You will perform engineering reviews of preliminary engineering reports, plans and specifications, and operations and maintenance manuals for sewage pump stations and collection systems, sewage lagoon treatment systems, and stormwater treatment systems to ensure compliance with state rules and engineering standards. You will be responsible for conducting onsite inspections of wastewater projects under construction that have DEQ loans from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund; monitoring and evaluating the startup phase and one-year testing requirements for projects with CWSRF loans; determining life cycle costs and approving disbursement requests for projects with CWSRF loans; coordinating reviews of wastewater planning documents (facility plans); and conducting engineering review of simple wastewater treatment systems (ex: wastewater lagoons).
For more information, click here.
Water Quality Grants & Loans Specialist | Washington Department of Ecology
Location: Union Gap, WA
Closing Date: June 27, 2022
In this job, you would be working between the snowy crest of the Washington’s Cascade mountains and the dry floor of the Columbia River valley. With the variability of the environment in the region comes a wide variety of proposals for water quality improvement projects. This position needs someone who is detail oriented and able to track a wide variety of implementation projects. In this job, you will be part of a team tracking and managing numerous Ecology funded projects. This means that you will be working with a variety of organizations and their staff to fulfill the vision of environmental improvement.
For more information, click here.