EPA Releases Final FY 2023-2024 National Program Guidances
EPA released the final FY 2023-2024 National Program Guidances (NPGs) and Response to Comments.
The FY 2023-2024 NPGs are the first issued under the FY 2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan and support
the implementation of the EPA’s FY 2023 President’s Budget priorities. The NPGs build on work underway to
support President Biden’s Executive Orders and chart a course where tackling climate change and
advancing environmental justice (EJ) and civil rights are integral to achieving EPA’s mission. Where
applicable, NPGs also provide initial steps for implementing the American Rescue Plan and the
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
NPGs are issued by the EPA’s five major national program offices—Air and Radiation; Water; Land and
Emergency Management; Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention; and Enforcement and Compliance
Assurance—along with the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations (OCIR) and the
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA). These NPGs communicate operational planning
priorities, strategies, and key activities for advancing EPA’s Strategic Plan and guide grant work planning
with states, tribes, and territories. For the first time, an NPG is being issued by the Office of Policy’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) and the Office of General Counsel’s External Civil Rights Compliance Office (ECRCO) on EJ and civil rights.
EPA Reports to Congress on Cybersecurity in Drinking Water Sector
In May 2022 EPA submitted a Report to Congress titled Prioritization Framework for Technical Cybersecurity Support to Public Water Systems. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act required EPA, in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), to develop a Prioritization Framework and Support plan for those public water systems (and their source water) that would lead to significant impacts on the health and safety of the public if detrimentally impacted by a cybersecurity attack. The Prioritization Framework, EPA incorporated consideration of four criteria whether: (1) cybersecurity vulnerabilities for a public water system have been identified in the SDWA; (2) the capacity of a public water system to remediate a cybersecurity vulnerability without additional Federal support; (3) the public water system serves a defense installation or critical national security asset; and (4) the public water system would cause a cascading failure of other critical infrastructure.
The week EPA released the Technical Cybersecurity Support Plan for Public Water Systems which included: (1) the methodology for identifying specific PWSs for which cybersecurity support should be prioritized; (2) the timelines for making voluntary technical support for cybersecurity available; (3) the public water systems identified as needing technical support for cybersecurity; and (4) specific capabilities of EPA and CISA that may be utilized to provide support to PWSs. It should be noted that while “available data indicate that most PWSs need technical support for cybersecurity…EPA has identified the following two categories of PWSs as potentially having an elevated need for additional technical support. The first group are those PWSs serving 3,300 people or fewer and all non-community water systems not required to conduct risk and resilience assessments or develop emergency response plans under America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. The second group are those PWSs “that undergo a cybersecurity risk assessment, which could be conducted by a Federal or SLTT entity under a regulatory program or voluntarily by the PWS or an outside technical assistance provider.”
EPA Releases BIL Emerging Contaminants FAQs
EPA has provided some questions and answers to assist states in developing their application for BIL capitalization grants for the CWSRF emerging contaminants funding. EPA will add these to the current list of Frequent Questions about BIL State Revolving Funds and will provide additional information as we continue to engage with stakeholders on the current and future needs for addressing emerging contaminants and consider the flexibilities allowed under Section 603(c) of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
EPA Releases EJ Permitting FAQ
This week EPA released an interim document on Environmental Justice and Civil Rights in Permitting Frequently Asked Questions. This document is intended to “provide information to federal, state, and local environmental permitting programs to help them meet their responsibilities to integrate environmental justice (EJ) and civil rights into relevant environmental permitting processes.” EPA views this as a “living document” that will be refined and updated as we learn more about integrating EJ and civil rights into permitting efforts. Some of the topics that can be found in the FAQ include:
- EPA’s responsibilities under federal EJ policy
- Responsibilities to ensure compliance with civil rights laws by recipients of EPA financial assistance
Relationship between EJ and civil rights compliance in environmental permitting
- How could a permitting decision raise statutory civil rights compliance concerns
- How can states screen for EJ and civil rights concerns with respect to their permitting programs
- What are promising practices in conducting an EJ analysis
- What is a disparate impact analysis under Title VI
- How would EPA consider “cumulative impacts” within the Title VI disparate impact analysis
- What are some examples of measures that a permitting program may be able to take to mitigate adverse and disproportionate impacts.
EPA Requests Nominations for the Science Advisory Board Environmental Justice Screen (EJScreen) Review Panel
The EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office requests public nominations of scientific experts to form a Panel to review the updated EJScreen methodology. EJScreen is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationwide consistent approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators to identify areas with potential environmental justice (EJ) concerns. The SAB EJScreen Review Panel will consider the EJScreen methodology and updated calculations for the EJ indexes released publicly in 2022, as well as other aspects of the calculations. The Panel will also be asked to provide recommendations and expert input on other components of the tool.
Nominations should be submitted by September 20, 2022. Find more information here.
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Calling For Participation in its Water Quality Interoperability Experiment
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has released a Call for Participation (CFP) to solicit proposals for the OGC Water Quality Interoperability Experiment (WQ IE), which will advance the development of the WaterML 2.0 suite of standards in the area of water quality data.
The WQ IE will test interoperability and interconnection of existing Water Quality Data Systems. The participants will identify how to support WaterML 2.0 development in the domain of Water Quality (WQ). This includes enhancement of WQ related taxonomies/ontologies and API identification and usage, with the ultimate goal of both the OGC and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) endorsement of an international standard and/or best practice for Water Quality data exchange. The WQ IE will be framed by high-level water quality data use cases. For example, data exchange between local jurisdictions and regional or national environmental agencies is a motivating use case. Specific use cases, such as representation of sampled media or measured constituents, are critical to the success of the IE and will be defined as part of the IE.
About OGC and the WQ IE: The OGC is a collective problem-solving community of more than 550 experts representing industry, government, research and academia, collaborating to make geospatial (location) information and services FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. The founding organizations behind the WQ IE are: Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), France; Centro de Investigación Ecológica y Aplicaciones Forestales (CREAF), Spain; Center for Geospatial Solutions, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (CGS), USA; Federation University Australia, Australia; Pole INSIDE – Environmental information systems research center, France; United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Monitoring System for freshwater (GEMS/Water) Data Centre, Germany; United States Geological Survey (USGS), USA; United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), USA; University of Tartu, Estonia; and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) HydroHub.
Meetings and Webinars
2022 Water Quality Modeling Workshop – Registration Closing!
September 19 – September 23
Registration closes Friday, September 2 for ACWA’s 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.
This Water Quality Modeling Workshop is a national meeting organized by ACWA, in partnership with USEPA for state program managers and staff involved in water quality modeling, as well as for both Regional and Headquarters-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency managers and staff.
Please note that this is for state and federal staff only. You may register through Member365 here.
Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change Impacts: Virtual Training for Drinking Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Utilities in Alaska
EPA’s Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative is holding this training to provide drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater (water sector) utilities with information on climate resilience with a focus on EPA’s Climate Resilience and Awareness Tool, Resilient Strategies Guide, and Climate Data Maps. These tools allow water sector utilities to assess and address current and potential future climate change impacts in their regions. This free virtual training will help utilities in Alaska incorporate climate change considerations into their decision-making, identify adaptation projects to build long-term resilience, and learn about federal and local resources for financing utility resilience projects. In addition, participants will hear from The City of Sitka, AK, which will present their case study and experience using CRWU’s tools.
- Session 1: 09/07/2022; (2:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET)
- Session 2: 09/14/2022; (2:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET)
- Session 3: 10/19/2022; (2:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET)
For questions or more information, please contact Curt Baranowski (Baranowski.firstname.lastname@example.org), Wesley Wiggins (Wiggins.email@example.com), and Audrey Ramming (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Save the Date: Toxics Release Inventory Virtual Conference
Learn about topics including:
- Assessing and prioritizing opportunities for advancing pollution prevention opportunities
- TRI in action: innovative data uses by companies, state governments, and students
- Using the Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) modeling results to explore communities with potential environmental justice concerns
- The TRI Toxics Tracker and other resources for communities
Featuring speakers from:
- New York State Pollution Prevention Institute
- Washington State Department of Ecology
- University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics,
- Western Washington University, Department of Urban & Environmental Planning & Policy
- Commission for Environmental Cooperation
- Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
- Minnesota Technical Assistance Program
- EPA’s Safer Choice Program
Registration Open – 2022 National Stormwater Roundtable
October 19 – 21, 2022
Purpose: The 2022 National Stormwater Roundtable supports implementation of federal and state municipal, industrial, and construction stormwater programs nationwide by sharing best management practices, showcasing innovative federal and state programs and initiatives, highlighting new technologies, facilitating discussion on national program enhancements and improvements, identifying state resource needs including tools, training and guidance, and proposing solutions to challenges and barriers faced by the regulators and other stakeholders.
Attendees: The Stormwater Roundtable is national face to face meeting specifically organized by state and federal regulators for EPA and state program staff representatives. This is a closed meeting. Attendees include:
- State managers, permit writers, inspectors, and compliance staff involved in regulating stormwater
- EPA Headquarter and Regional staff involved in stormwater regulation
- Partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to the stormwater program
- Invited guests
Save the Date – 2023 National NPDES Meeting
February 28 – March 2, 2023
Purpose: This meeting is intended to help support states and EPA to build staff capacity, identify challenges & barriers to NPDES program implementation, highlight opportunities for permitting authority program improvement & enhancement, showcase NPDES program innovations, assist with analysis of training, guidance, tools, and other support material needs, improve administrative efficiencies, clarify roles and responsibilities, build stronger linkages to other programs, modernize permit terms, improve data management, discuss program performance measures, identify program areas where targeted technical assistance would be most beneficial, and attempt to solve some of the most intractable NPDES Program issues.
Attendees: The National NPDES Meeting is a national coregulator event specifically organized by state and federal regulators for EPA and state program staff representatives. Attendees include:
- State and EPA staff involved in managing and overseeing NPDES programs
- State and EPA staff involved with drafting and overseeing NPDES permits
- Partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to the NPDES programs
- Invited guests as appropriate
EPA Nonpoint Source Technical Exchange Webcast – September 27th
The EPA Nonpoint Source (NPS) Technical Exchange webcast series will be returning next month with a webcast focusing on, “Water Quality Data Management, Enhancements, and Visualization.” During this event, speakers from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and USEPA will be discussing the Internet of Water, advancements in EPA’s Water Quality Exchange (WQX), and the Lincoln Institute’s “The Hardest Working River in the West: A StoryMap Exploring the Colorado River Through Data.”
Tuesday, September 27th, 1:00-2:30pm Eastern Time
Topic: Water Quality Data Management, Enhancements, and Visualization
- Chaz Baculi, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
- Kyle Onda, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
- Jake Greif, USEPA
- Cristina Mullin, USEPA
Note: Webcasts are held on Zoom. The link to join the webcast will be in the Eventbrite registration confirmation and can also be found on the Eventbrite site by clicking “Access the Event.”
Creating the Water Workforce of the Future Webinar Series: Utility and Community Partnerships Help Build Water Careers
September 21, 2022, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time | Register Here
Across the nation, leading utilities are building relationships with community groups and implementing innovative programs to attract and retain a diverse and trained workforce. Through partnerships, many of these programs educate people from disadvantaged communities and connect them with employment opportunities. A career in water can help them realize their goals and build stronger and more resilient communities. Please join us on September 21, 2022, to hear from two utilities that have embraced community partnerships to build the Water Workforce of the Future.
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.
- Peter Coffaro, Director, Community Outreach & Business Engagement, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (WI)
- Jeff Spence, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (WI)
- Deierdre Weir, Director of Organizational Development, Training and Development, Great Lakes Water Authority (MI)
- Patricia Butler, Manager, Organizational Development, Great Lakes Water Authority (MI)
- Jim Horne, U.S. EPA
Environmental Justice Program Manager | Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Location: Richmond, VA
Closing Date: Open until filled
The Department of Environmental Quality seeks a highly qualified, professional, and experienced candidate to lead environmental justice efforts and provide leadership and oversight to the Agency’s environmental justice initiatives. This is a critical position responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all environmental justice activities, ensuring compliance with the Agency’s mission, goals and objectives, state and federal laws, regulations, policies and procedures; works with all stakeholders to constructively and collaboratively address environmental issues and concerns, and coordinates and facilitates Agency efforts to protect the environment in minority, low-income, tribal and other vulnerable communities by integrating environmental justice in all applicable programs, policies and activities.
For more information, click here.
Biologist II, Marine Vegetation Mapping Program (Position 2212) | Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Location: Augusta, ME
Closing Date: September 30, 2022
The position will develop, coordinate, and implement all aspects of the coastwide Marine Vegetation Mapping Program (MVMP), including seagrass and salt marsh vegetation, in consultation with the Maine Natural Areas Program and Maine Coastal Program. As part of this work, the position supervises an Environmental Technician, develops the MVMP including remote sensing methods, purchases equipment, conducts all fieldwork including extensive use of small boats, creates and analyzes data using GIS, produces maps and reports, manages program budgets and contracts, writes grant proposals to seek additional program funding, and communicates program information and outcomes to partners. The position is responsible for quality management documentation pertaining to the MVMP, and additionally supports the Marine Environmental Monitoring Program, Salmon Habitat Monitoring Program, and Surface Water Ambient Toxics program within the Marine Unit.
For more information, click here.
Chemical of Emerging Concern Coordinator | Washington Department of Ecology
Location: Lacey, WA
Closing Date: September 12, 2022
As a Chemical of Emerging Concern Coordinator, you will support the agency mission through coordination and consultation internal and external parties to develop plans and policies to address chemicals of emerging concern (CECs) in wastewater. This work includes engaging with workgroups and senior Ecology staff to gather existing data, complete literature reviews, conduct research, and garner stakeholder and staff input to identify and begin addressing potential pharmaceuticals and other CECs in wastewater that may threaten the health of humans, the Southern Resident Killer Whales, their prey, and other aquatic species.
For more information, click here.
Information Office – LCBP Office Manager | NEIWPCC
Location: Grand Isle, VT
Closing Date: September 19, 2022
NEIWPCC and LCBP are seeking a full-time Information Officer to join our collaborative team as an office manager to provide support to the LCBP Program Director and staff to optimize workflows and ensure smooth logistical operations of the LCBP office in Grand Isle, VT, and the LCBP Resource Room located in the ECHO Leahy Center, Burlington, VT.
For more information, click here.
Section Chief, Surface Water Quality Standards (Environmental Analyst V) | Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Location: Worcester, MA
Closing Date: Open until filled (first consideration will be given to applications received within 14 days of the August 30th posting date).
MassDEP seeks applicants for the position of Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS) Section Chief in the Watershed Planning Program (WPP), Division of Watershed Management, Bureau of Water Resources. The purpose of the Massachusetts SWQS regulation (314 CMR 4.00) is to restore, enhance, and protect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of surface waters (e.g., lakes, streams, estuaries, etc.) throughout the Commonwealth under the authority of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and Massachusetts Clean Waters Act. The Section Chief will report to the WPP Director and oversee the management of all SWQS activities in the Commonwealth, including the development of SWQS that are clear, accurate, and effective in meeting MassDEP’s environmental goals. Preferred qualifications include knowledge of the CWA and water quality standards; the ability to interpret complex chemical, physical, and biological datasets from freshwater and marine systems; experience reviewing and interpreting EPA criteria guidance documents for human health and aquatic life; strong and effective writing, editing, and oral communication skills; and experience in team and project management.
For more information, click here.