EPA Releases the CWA Section 303(d) Vision (2022-2023) Memo
EPA has released the next iteration of the CWA Section 303(d) Vision. The 2022 – 2032 Vision for the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program (“2022 Vision”) identifies opportunities to manage effectively Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) program activities to achieve water quality goals for the Nation’s aquatic resources such as streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and wetlands. The 2022 Vision articulates a renewal of the initial 2013 long-term Vision and associated Goals, as well as to introduce new Focus Areas for the CWA Section 303(d) program. The Goals outline aspirations and highlight opportunities to implement CWA Section 303(d) program activities in the following categories – Planning and Prioritization, Restoration, Protection, Data and Analysis, and Partnerships. Focus Areas provide four cross-cutting themes of national, regional and local importance, consistent with broad Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) priorities, to consider in CWA Section 303(d) program implementation – Environmental Justice, Climate Change, Tribal Water Quality and Program Development, and Program Capacity Building. This Vision outlines a framework to organize program activities; it does not constitute regulation, policy or new mandates.
You may find the full vision document and the accompanying memo here.
CISA: Taking Comments on New Cyber Incident and Ransom Payment Reporting Requirements
The Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (CIRCIA) mandates that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) develop and implement regulations requiring covered entities to report to CISA on covered cyber incidents and ransom payments. To meet this obligation, CISA is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) (comment period ends 11/14/2022) and notice of public listening sessions. There are two ways for individuals/organizations to comment on potential aspects of future the proposed regulations implementing CIRCIA prior to the release of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: 1) submit written feedback in response to the RFI and/or; 2) participate in one of the public listening sessions that CISA is hosting across the country. Also note, the Department of Homeland Security is also leading a newly established Cyber Incident Reporting Council, which was created by CIRCIA to identify ways to harmonize the various existing federal cyber incident reporting structures. To learn more about CIRCIA and for additional details on both the RFI and the upcoming listening sessions, including dates and locations and how to register, visit cisa.gov/CIRCIA.
EPA Issues BABA Waiver for SRF Projects
As EPA works to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the agency has issued final waivers for Build America, Buy America Act requirements. EPA provides a temporary public interest waiver covering all BABA provisions for selected EPA water infrastructure and water resources protection programs for a period expiring six months after the issuance of this waiver. EPA provides this transitional “adjustment period waiver” to prepare for compliance with the new Made in America standards.
This waiver will apply to all funds obligated by these programs for a period expiring six months after the issuance of this waiver. Projects covered by this waiver include those obligated under the following programs:
• National Estuaries Program (CWA Section 320)
• Geographic Programs1
• Clean Water and Drinking Water Grants to U.S. Territories and District of Columbia
• Clean Water Indian Set-aside (and any associated Interagency Agreements with the Indian
• Drinking Water Infrastructure Grant – Tribal Set-Aside (and any associated Interagency
Agreements with the Indian Health Service)
• Congressionally Directed Spending/Community Project Funding (aka Community Grants)
• Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants (OSG)
• 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program Implementation
• Gulf Hypoxia Program
• U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program
• Small and Disadvantaged Community Grants Program, including Emerging Contaminants and
Drinking Water Infrastructure Resilience & Sustainability (SDWA §1459A)
• Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Grant Program (SDWA §1459B)
• Voluntary School and Child Care Program Lead Testing and Remediation Grant Program
• USMCA Implementing Legislation (Section 821 and Title IX, USMCA Supplemental
• Alaska Native Villages and Rural Communities Water Grant Program (ANV) (and any
associated Interagency Agreements with the Indian Health Service)
• Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act, (CWPPRA) Programs
EPA also issued an adjustment period waiver for SRF projects that have already initiated design planning.
EPA in this waiver is granting an adjustment period waiver of the requirements of Section 70914(a) of the BIL,
pursuant to Section 70914(b)(1) (public interest waiver), for eligible projects to be financed by SRF
projects that have initiated project design planning prior to May 14, 2022, the statutory effective date of
the BABA requirements. This action permits the use of non-domestic manufactured products and
construction materials in such projects funded by a Clean Water or Drinking Water SRF that may
otherwise be prohibited under the BABA requirements of Section 70914. Sections 70917(a) and (b) of
BIL provide a savings provision for existing statutory requirements that meet or exceed BABA
requirements. The statutory American Iron and Steel (AIS) requirements of Clean Water Act (CWA)
Section 608 and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Section 1452(a)(4) has previously applied to SRF
projects and will continue to do so as part of BABA requirements.
NOAA, DOI Launch Local-level Planning Tool, “Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation Portal”
On September 8th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) jointly launched a new website to help communities across the nation understand the real-time climate-related hazards in their area, analyze projected long-term exposure to those hazards, and identify federal funds to support climate resilience projects for their communities. The Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) portal, an easily accessible and interactive geospatial website, will help federal, state, local and tribal governments as well as non-profit organizations learn about climate hazards impacting their communities. The integrated CMRA Assessment Tool allows users to run assessments of a locality’s past, present, and future climate conditions and exposure, and provides relevant examples of local resilience plans to support local planning for drought, extreme heat, coastal and inland flooding, and wildfire.
CMRA integrates decision-relevant information from across the U.S. government, including climate maps and data; non-climate data such as building code standards, economic justice, and social vulnerability information; and federal grant funding opportunities. The site helps users create their own custom climate exposure assessment for specific locations and customize statistics and visual representations of the hazards in their particular area.
The portal also serves as a key tool to aid in the planning and implementation of federal investments, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act. CMRA supports users in evaluating future climate threats to federally-funded projects. It also provides information on various federal grant programs that can fund climate resilience efforts.
The interagency group developing CMRA includes the White House Domestic Climate Policy Office, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Council on Environmental Quality; Office of Management and Budget; and members of the White House Climate-Smart Infrastructure Interagency Working Group.
CMRA was developed by Esri through a contract with NOAA. Development of CMRA was co-funded by NOAA and DOI using 2022 BIL funds. Learn more about climate resilience and adaptation efforts, and explore the CMRA web portal at resilience.climate.gov.
USGS Releases The Quality of Our Groundwater—Progress on a National Survey
The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) project has been assessing the quality of groundwater since 1991. Recently, two new factsheets were released that assess water quality in the surficial aquifer system and stream valley aquifers. With the addition of the two most recent factsheets, groundwater quality across 20 principal aquifers in the continental USA can be compared to human-health benchmarks.
What is already known on this topic? Knowledge of water quality in principal aquifers that supply the nation’s drinking water is important for water quality and quantity management.
What is added by this report? The two new fact sheets augment and complete the assessment to characterize water quality in principal aquifers that are important sources of drinking water across the nation.
What are the implications for water availability? Water quality results summarized and detailed in these two products are a crucial component of the new Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs) priority to evaluate water availability in terms of the distribution of water quality in groundwater, as related to human needs and as affected by human and natural influences. You can find the link to these and previous factsheets here. For more information, contact James Kingsbury.
ACWA Releases CWA 50th Anniversary Story Map
The Clean Water Act is about to turn 50! In celebration of this milestone, ACWA, the states, and EPA have been gathering stories from members across the United States about how they have used the CWA to protect and restore their water resources. Click here to explore the story map! We will continue updating the map, so check back to see new examples of the Clean Water Act at work! If you have a story from your state that you would like to be included in the map, please reach out to Kara McCauley.
Voting Open for Your Favorite Water Photo
The CWA50: Celebrating Clean Water photo contest received more than 200 submissions! We have selected a top 10 and you can now vote for your favorite here. You can vote once a day, so check back often to see how your favorite is doing! Voting is open until 11:58 PM EST on September 30.
The winning photo will receive a $500 Amazon gift card, and second and third place will receive a $250 Amazon gift card. The winners will be announced on ACWA’s website and Twitter on October 18th.
Meetings and Webinars
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 Training: Reuse Regulations & End-Use Specifications Explorer (REUSExplorer)
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 | 1:00pm – 2:00pm eastern
Register: Register REUSExplorer | Eventbrite
Cost: Free Training!
The REUSExplorer is a web-based tool that examines state water reuse regulations and guidelines and highlights the underlying technical basis of water quality metrics and treatment requirements. It is intended to be a resource for stakeholders interested in developing laws or policies for reuse, understanding the technical aspects of a regulation or guideline, and/or identifying whether reuse applications are regulated within a particular state. EPA and members of ACWA/ASDWA, as well as other stakeholders, collaborated to design and populate the tool, which is searchable by state, source of water, and end-use application.
Dr. Rabia Chaudhry, a member of EPA’s Water Reuse Program, will guide participants on how to use the tool and explore the different guidelines and regulations for water reuse developed across states for a variety of alternative water sources and end-use applications.
New Reuse Applications Included in Tool: End uses including Agricultural-related applications, livestock watering, and landscape-related applications were recently added to the tool, adding to existing information on potable water reuse, onsite non-potable reuse, and other centralized non-potable reuse applications.
Please forward this invitation to others who may be interested. The webinar will be recorded for future use. Captioning will be provided for this event. If you require special accommodations, including live translation into a language other than English, please contact Ashley Harper at Harper.Ashley@epa.gov by September 12, 2022 to make arrangements.
EPA Webinar: Making the Right Choices for Your Utility: Using Augmented Alternatives Analysis Planning for Water Infrastructure
EPA’s water infrastructure capital project decision-making tool, referred to as Augmented Alternatives Analysis (AAA), can help water utilities embed principles of sustainability and community driven planning into their investment decisions to address the challenges and expectations of modern-day project decision-making. Join us for an overview of the AAA planning process, and receive first-hand experience from a former utility leader who participated in the process.
EPA’s Industrial Stormwater Sector-Specific Fact Sheet Stakeholder Meetings
While EPA does plan to hold several calls with states, ACWA also wanted to make you aware of these industry calls. Feel free to share this information with industry groups in your state. Also see a personal invitation from EPA’s industrial stormwater permit writers.
- Air Transportation (Sector S) Stakeholder Meeting
- October 5, 2022, 1pm-2:30pm EDT
- Timber Products (Sector A) Stakeholder Meeting
- October 26, 2022, 1pm-2:30pm EDT
- Water Transportation and Ship and Boat Building and Repair Yards (Sectors Q & R) Stakeholder Meeting
- November 2, 2022, 1pm-2:30pm EDT
- Rubber, Miscellaneous Plastics, and Miscellaneous Manufacturing (Sector Y) Stakeholder Meeting
- November 9, 2022, 1pm-2:30pm EST
Surface Water Discharge Permit Program Lead | New Mexico Environment Department (NMED)
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Closing Date: October 29, 2022, but first review of applications will be September 21.
Job ID # 127007
A new team is being created in NMED’s Surface Water Quality Bureau – the Permit Program Implementation Team. The Program Lead is responsible for providing effective outreach to the regulated community and other stakeholders to stimulate support for a state-implemented discharge permitting program in New Mexico. In addition, this position will plan, scope, develop, and implement a surface water discharge permitting program and build program capacity.
NMED offers a flexible/hybrid schedule and five (5) days of personal leave as a hiring incentive.
For more information, please click here.
IPDES Individual Permit Supervisor
Location: Boise, ID
Closing Date: September 23, 2022
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is hiring an Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) General Permit Supervisor for our Surface and Wastewater Division in the State Office located in Boise, Idaho. The position supervises the coordination, development, and issuance of Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) individual permits.
For more information, click here.
Wetland Program Project Officer | New Mexico Environment Department
Location: Santa Fe
Closing Date: September 27, 2022
Job ID # 127282
NMED’s Surface Water Quality Bureau has two openings on the Wetlands Program Team. Wetlands Program Project Officers manage existing fully funded wetlands program projects and develop new wetlands restoration, mapping, monitoring, and planning projects through inter-agency and local coordination. Wetlands Program Project Officers also provide oversight to produce new wetlands action plans (watershed plans) for future wetlands program projects, prepare grant proposals and project work plans, conduct procurements for contractors, and implement projects through contractors and SWQB resources.
NMED offers a flexible/hybrid schedule and five (5) days of personal leave as a hiring incentive.
For more information, click here.