Addressing PFAS Discharges in NPDES Permits and Through the Pretreatment Program and Monitoring Programs
This week EPA’s Office of Water issued a memorandum to the 10 Regional Water Directors to provide guidance to state and EPA permitting authorities regarding ways to “leverage the NPDES permits to reduce PFAS discharges to waterways.” The Office of Water drafted this memo in support of EPA’s broader PFAS Strategic Roadmap. While the Office of Water works to revise ELGs and develop water quality criteria to support technology-based and water quality-based effluent limits for PFAS, this memorandum “describes steps permit writers can implement under existing authorities to reduce the discharge of PFAS.” The memo discusses industrial direct dischargers, analytical methods, quarterly monitoring, use of DMRs for reporting, BMPs that reduce or eliminate PFAS, recommendations for POTWs, pretreatment activities, biosolids assessment, and public noticing draft permits with PFAS-specific conditions.
Phase II Rule Clarification Related to Census Bureau Urban Area Designation Criteria
On December 2, 2022 EPA announced in the Federal Register that it is taking action to clarify its Phase II stormwater regulations in light of recent changes made by the Census Bureau to eliminate the definition of “urbanized area” and discontinue its practice of publishing the location of “urbanized areas” in the 2020 Census. You can find more information about these regulatory clarifications at https://www.epa.gov/npdes/phase-ii-rule-clarification-related-census-bureau-urban-area-designation-criteria. Direct link to the Federal Register notice can be found here. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/12/02/2022-26228/npdes-small-ms4-urbanized-area-clarification. The changes to EPA’s regulations are limited to clarifying that the designation criteria for small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), which have been used since the promulgation of the Phase II regulations in 1999, will remain the same. These rule clarifications will allow NPDES permitting authorities to use 2020 Census and future Census data in a manner that is consistent with existing longstanding regulatory practice.
What Phase II rule text changes are being made: EPA is replacing references in the Phase II regulations to “urbanized area” with “urban areas with a population of at least 50,000,” which is the Census Bureau’s longstanding definition of the term urbanized areas.
Publication of Phase II rule text changes: Because the text changes maintain the current scope of which entities are regulated as small MS4s, EPA published them in the Federal Register as a direct final rule. As is EPA’s practice for direct final rules, EPA is also publishing a parallel proposed rulemaking with the same changes included in this direct final rule in the event that the Agency receives adverse comments.
- Direct Final Rule Federal Register Notice: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-12-02/pdf/2022-26228.pdf
- Parallel Proposed Rule Federal Register Notice: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-12-02/pdf/2022-26227.pdf
Relevant dates for these rule text changes: The direct final rule will become effective on March 2, 2023 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by January 3, 2023. Comments on the direct final rule or parallel proposed rule must be received on or before January 3, 2023. If EPA receives adverse comment, the Agency will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect and that the Agency will address public comments received in any final rule action.
ELI Releases Compilations of Climate and EJ Practices and Ideas
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has been developing concise (under 10 pages each) collections of practices and ideas for including (1) climate change and (2) environmental justice considerations in CWA 303(d) listing, TMDL development, TMDL implementation, and related activities and products. Those two documents are now finished and available in ELI’s CWA 303(d) Resource Library (https://www.eli.org/freshwater-ocean/cwa-303d-resource-library). Most of the examples and suggestions in these documents originated from registration responses and in-session discussions of past workshops as well as presentations and discussions in two small stakeholder workshops on those respective topics held earlier this year. The purpose of these documents is to help facilitate the communication of experiences and ideas among all of you and help generate new ideas with regard to these evolving areas.
These documents are the latest compendia that ELI has developed through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. EPA. The other compendia (which focus on communication, protection, evaluating TMDL effectiveness, and water quality restoration approaches) are also available through ELI’s CWA 303(d) Resource Library.
California Launches EnviroScreen 4.0 Data Dashboard to Better Display EJ Data
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has announced the release of the CalEnviroScreen 4.0 Data Dashboard. CalEnviroScreen is a mapping tool that helps identify California communities that are most affected by many sources of pollution, and where people are often especially vulnerable to pollution’s effects. This tool uses environmental, health, and socioeconomic information to produce scores for every census tract in the state. The scores are mapped so that different communities can be compared. An area with a high score is one that experiences a much higher pollution burden than areas with low scores.
A report may be found at the CalEnviroScreen 4.0 website.
2023 National NPDES Permitting Meeting
February 28 – March 2, 2023
This is a closed meeting 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.
Updated information about this meeting can be found here. A draft agenda has been posted.
Save the Date! ACWA Mid-Year Meeting on March 15th & 16th, 2023 in Alexandria, VA
Please see the Mid-Year Meeting webpage here. Lodging and registration information will be made available soon.
Association of Clean Water Administrators Leadership Education and Development System (LEADS)
What is it?
The ACWA Leadership Education and Development System (LEADS) is a new Board directed initiative intended to encourage participation in leadership activities and help future leaders in the organization improve their understanding of roles and responsibilities.
Who can participate?
All current state and interstate members and their staff interested in learning more about leadership in ACWA (Committee/Workgroup Chairs, Regional Board Members, Executive Officers) can volunteer to participate in LEADS.
How do I engage?
To learn more about the LEADS initiative, please contact Sean Rolland to get access to a short questionnaire. Upon completing the questionnaire, participants will be provided access to a new Member365 Workspace, which holds materials developed expressly for the ACWA LEADS program.
What if I have more questions?
After reviewing the materials, should a participant have more questions and/or be interested in further discussing future leadership opportunities in ACWA, a volunteer advisor with experience in that leadership role will notified and will reach out to you.
ACWA Legal Affairs Committee Schedule for 2023
The ACWA Legal Affairs Committee call schedule for 2023 is below. If you are interested in registering for any of these calls, please contact Julia Anastasio. Feel free to share the schedule with your colleagues in the Attorney General’s office or whichever department handles legal issues for your program and if you have any topics or cases that you would like the committee to consider for presentations next year, please send them to Julia Anastasio.
- Mar 23, 2023 02:00 PM ET
- June 15, 2023 02:00 PM ET
- September 21, 2023 2:00 PM ET
- December 7, 2023 2:00 PM ET
Meetings and Webinars
Water Workforce of the Future Webinar Series: Transforming the Water Workforce
Date: December 15, 2022
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Registration: Register Here
In today’s world, water sector utilities need to work with many partners to recruit and retain a motivated and sustainable 21st century workforce—they can’t do it alone! Partners can include employment and training organizations, educational institutions, contractors, and others. There is also a pressing need to help current utility leaders develop the transformative skills they will need to lead the water workforce in the 21st century. Please join us on December 15, 2022, to hear from two leading utility workforce leaders from DC Water and AWWA as they take steps to develop a truly sustainable workforce for their utility and also help leaders across the sector develop the skills to address the myriad of challenges they will face moving forward.
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 at https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-water-infrastructure/water-sector-workforce-webinars
- Jim Horne, U.S. EPA
- Korey Gray, Director, Compliance and Business Development, DC Water
- Sharon Talley, Compliance Specialist, DC Water
- Barbara Martin, Director, Engineering and Technical Services, American Water Works Association (AWWA)
Water Quality Compliance Specialist (Natural Resource Specialist 3) | Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Closing Date: 12/18/2022
Location: Eugene or Salem, Oregon (finalist may choose work location)
There are 3 regions (Northwest, Western, and Eastern); this position is in Western Region. This position will serve as a compliance specialist and permit writer, responsible for reviewing discharge monitoring reports, inspections to determine compliance, responding to complaints, providing technical assistance to permittees and others, and issuing warning letters, pre-enforcement notices, and enforcement referrals. In addition, this position will write permits and assign general permits for sources in Western Region.
Learn more and apply here.
Permit Developer (Natural Resource Specialist 3) | Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Closing Date: 1/3/2023
Location: Portland, OR
This position will develop National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for major or minor sources that originate in any part of Oregon. This position will address difficult NPDES permit-related problems, such as developing strategies for compliance with water quality standards or discharges to water quality limited water bodies.
Learn more and apply here.
Information Officer – Grants Manager | NEIWPCC
Closing Date: December 16, 2022
Location: Grand Isle, Vermont
We are seeking a full-time Information Officer to join our collaborative team as a grants manager. This position will provide administrative support to the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) Grand Isle office and will work closely with NEIWPCC staff to streamline the administration of LCBP and Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) grants.
Learn more and apply here.
Environmental Engineer 3 (In-Training) | Washington Department of Ecology
Closing Date: Continuous
Location: Thurston County – Lacey, WA
The Environmental Assessment Program (EAP) within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill an Environmental Engineer 3 (In-Training) position. The position is located in our Headquarters office in Lacey, WA. Upon hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station. As a licensed professional engineer, you will independently plan and conduct investigations of, and propose solutions to, environmental engineering problems relating to pollutant loading capacity, mathematical modeling of water quality, and effluent dilution. This position is directly related to Ecology’s mission of protecting, preserving, and restoring Washington’s environment.
Learn more and apply here.
Sand and Gravel General Permit Writer (Hydrogeologist 3) | Washington Department of Ecology
Closing Date: December 18, 2022
Location: Lavey, WA
The Water Quality program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Sand and Gravel General Permit Writer (Hydrogeologist 3) position. This position is locatedin our Headquarters Office in Lacey, WA. On hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station. If you are interested in this position or would like more information, please follow this link: Sand and Gravel General Permit Writer (Hydrogeologist 3)