Work Continues on Federal Appropriations
The House on Wednesday passed a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown when current funding expires on December 16th. The Senate passed the measure late on Thursday and the President signed the measure on the afternoon of Friday, December 16th. The new deadline allows lawmakers more time to pass an omnibus spending package for the remainder of fiscal 2023. Majority leaders on the appropriations committees in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives announced a bipartisan, bicameral framework for an omnibus bill to fund the federal government for the Fiscal Year 2023. However, no details have been released. It is expected that both Houses of Congress will vote on an omnibus bill package next week before Congress recesses for the Christmas holidays.
EPA Announces $25.7 Million in Grants to Support Water Systems in Rural and Small Communities
EPA announced the availability of $25.7 million in grant funding for organizations to provide technical assistance and training to support small drinking water and wastewater systems that are often located in rural communities.
Eligible applicants for this competitive agreement are nonprofit organizations, nonprofit private universities and colleges, and public institutions of higher education. The application period for these competitive grants is now open. Questions about applying for EPA funding for training and technical assistance must be received by Wednesday, January 11, 2023, and applications must be received by 11:59 pm EST on Thursday, January 26, 2023. EPA expects to award these cooperative agreements by Fall 2023 and encourages all eligible organizations who have an interest in these projects to apply. This grant will be competed through a Request for the Application process. The funding opportunity will remain open for 45 days on www.grants.gov.
NEIWPCC Call for Nutrients Success Stories
NEIWPCC is excited to announce the opportunity to share success stories from state 303(d) programs!
What we’re looking for – We’re looking to highlight stories from your programs related to nutrients. The goal is to highlight stories that showcase success in state 303(d) programs. Success could mean anything from identifying a new nutrient source to successfully working with community stakeholders, and anything in between.
Why should you submit? – If your story is chosen for this project, it will be turned it into at least one communication product that can be shared with stakeholders. Potential communication products include StoryMaps, watershed report cards, videos and more.
How do I submit my story? – To submit a nutrient-related success story, please contact Courtney Botelho ( email@example.com ) with a brief summary of the following information:
- Overview of the problem
- Who were the key players and what role did they play?
- What were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome to reach success
- What was the outcome and what message do you want to share with your stakeholders?
American Society of Civil Engineers Looks for State Feedback on TMDL Modeling
The Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is looking for state feedback on the status of water quality modeling for regulatory compliance. The outcome of this survey will help assess the current status, barriers, and advancements needed for water quality modeling. You may take the quick (15 minutes) survey here.
Video Series – Process Control Technical Assistance for Small Mechanical WWTPs
Four videos have been developed to demonstrate the use of process control tools to help small wastewater treatment systems either return to compliance or maintain compliance. In these videos, Jon van Dommelen from Ohio EPA walks through each treatment unit, identifies tools and equipment that can help operators diagnose operational problems, and demonstrates how to use the tools in a troubleshooting exercise. These technical assistance videos were developed to support small mechanical WWTP operators across the country and are part of EPA’s Significant-Noncompliance (SNC) National Compliance Initiative (NCI), which strives to improve surface water quality by assuring that all NPDES permittees are complying with their permits.
• Part 1: Introduction – provides an introduction and overview of the training material.
• Part 2: Wastewater Treatment Plant Walkthrough – provides background and an overview of WWTP process units such as the equalization basin, aeration tank, clarifier, and more.
• Part 3: Tools and Equipment – focuses on the tools and equipment used to diagnose and troubleshoot WWTP operation issues.
• Part 4: Troubleshooting – focuses on sampling, measurement, and analysis techniques that can be used to trouble-shoot WWTP issues.
This video series is geared toward plant owners and operators of smaller systems with flow of less than 1 mil-lion gallons per day (<1MGD). Others include: WWTP owners and operators, design engineers, municipal leaders, NPDES technical assistance providers, permit writers, compliance staff from state, local, tribal, and federal governments.
About the Presenter: Jon VanDommelen has worked for the Ohio EPA for over 25 years. He works in the Compliance Assistance Unit troubleshooting noncompliance at wastewater treatment plants ranging from 1,500 gallon per day package plants up to 15 million gallon per day municipal systems. In addition, Jon has trained operators of WWTPs in process control of activated sludge, microbiology, biological nutrient removal, among other topics related to wastewater treatment.
Funding Announcement for States: USGS Water Use Data and Research Program, FY 2023
The Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP) of USGS is offering a two-year cooperative agreement opportunity to State water resource agencies that collect water-use data to participate in the Water Use Data and Research (WUDR) program. This funding opportunity is to support State Water Resource agencies in the collection and reporting of water-use data for the WUDR program, and to address the Department of Interior’s Secretarial Priorities. Applicants must be State Water Resource Agencies which collect or manage water-use data. The total amount of funding available for this Program Announcement is expected to be up to a total of $1,500,000 for Federal FY2023. Applications are restricted to a minimum federal funding level of $24,000 and a maximum federal funding level of $125,000 for work to improve the availability, quality, compatibility, and transfer of water use data that is collected and/or estimated by States. Additionally, federal funding per State is also restricted by the SECURE Water Act: total cumulative funds from the WUDR program to each State cannot exceed $250,000.
The USGS WUDR program will provide financial assistance, through cooperative agreements with State Water Resource agencies, to improve the availability, quality, compatibility, and delivery of water-use data that is collected and/or estimated by States. Priority objectives of the Announcement include:
- Improve the collection process or quality assurance of water use data, or improve the transfer of water use data to USGS;
- Improve site-specific water use data for irrigation, or industrial use categories;
- Improve site specific water use data for public supply;
- Conduct studies that that develop methods or coefficients, particularly on topics where the USGS is not currently conducting research to improve water-use estimates for categories of use where measured or reported data are not available.
Learn more and apply here no later than April 13th, 2023.
To facilitate the financial assistance application process, three conference calls will be conducted to accommodate inquiries from Applicants about the WUDR program and the proposal review, evaluation, and selection process. These calls will be held at the following dates and times (click the link for the Microsoft Teams meeting):
- Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2022 from 2:00-3:00 pm ET
- Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023 from 2:00-3:00 pm ET
- Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023 from 2:00-3:00 pm ET
NASEM Call for Experts: Swine Nutrient Requirements and Retention
Deadline: December 22, 2022
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources is currently seeking new committee members to prepare a report that reviews the scientific literature on the energy and nutrient requirements of swine and make recommendations on the requirements based on their review and analyses.
The report will include a review of the nutrient composition and nutrient bioavailability of a wide range of feed ingredients and their utilization by swine, incorporate information about the greenhouse gas footprint of feedstuffs, and describe strategies to increase nutrient retention by the animals to reduce environmental pollution through excretion. An update of the current computer model may be developed. The report will also identify future areas of needed research.
Learn more and submit a nomination here no later than December 22, 2022.
2023 National NPDES Permitting Meeting
February 28 – March 2, 2023
This is a closed meeting intended to support state and EPA 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.
Lodging Available: ACWA Mid-Year Meeting on March 15th & 16th, 2023 in Alexandria, VA
Please see the Mid-Year Meeting webpage here. Lodging information is now available and rooms can be reserved.
ACWA 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.
- March 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
Now Available: Webinar Recording on EPA’s Pollution Prevention Works: A Storytelling Challenge for Students
A recording of the Nov. 2, 2022, webinar to educate potential applicants on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pollution Prevention Works: A Storytelling Challenge for Students is now available. The Challenge invites high school and college students to tell stories that communicate pollution prevention solutions and their positive impact to communities through the use of story maps, written stories, infographics or videos.
EPA is currently accepting entries for the challenge from high school students (grades 9-12) and college students who live in the United States or its territories. Participants may be individuals or teams. All entries must be submitted by February 17, 2023.
EPA anticipates selecting final winners and awarding up to $50,000 total in prize money in May 2023.
U.S. Lessons from Israel’s Water Reuse Approach
Wednesday, January 18, 2023, from 2:00 PM EDT | Register Here
More than 40 representatives from the U.S. water sector, including utilities, industry, states, and the federal government, traveled to Israel in Fall 2022 as part of a science, technology, and policy informational exchange focused on water reuse practices. In recent decades, Israel transformed from one of the world’s most water-stressed countries into a water-secure country when they became a global leader in water reuse. Today, nearly 90 percent of Israel’s treated wastewater is reused for agricultural irrigation purposes.
In this free webinar, which features Israeli hosts and members from the U.S. delegation, attendees will learn about the innovative approaches Israel is taking to ensure adequate and resilient water supplies in their country and how others may apply these lessons in their own communities. U.S. water sector leaders from California, Oklahoma, and Washington, DC, who were part of the delegation, will discuss their own experiences with water reuse and share key takeaways on Israel’s approach and how it potentially fits within a U.S. context.
- Sharon Nappier, PhD, National Program Leader for Water Reuse, U.S. EPA
- Patricia Sinicropi, JD, Executive Director, WateReuse Association
- Omer Bab, Director of Trade and Regulatory Policy, Embassy of Israel
- Danny Greenwald, Senior Deputy Director General – Regulation, Israeli Water Authority
- David Pederson, President, WateReuse California; General Manager, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District
- Shellie Chard, Water Quality Division Director, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality
- Marc Battle, Esq., Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President, DC Water
Captioning in English 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 January 6, 2023.
NASEM Recording: Building Community Resilience through Residential Risk Disclosure
View the recording here.
Improved residential risk disclosure is a key component for building resilient communities, yet many residents remain unaware that the building codes and zoning regulations they expect to protect them become outdated as environmental stressors, local development patterns, materials science, and construction practices change.
This Gulf Research Program webinar explored the use of a data-sharing tool, HazardAware, that helps residents and city planners make their homes and communities more resilient to natural hazards presented by the project director, Dr. Christopher Emrich, University of Central Florida.
NPDES Permit Writer / Natural Resource Specialist 3 — Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Location: Portland, Oregon
Apply by: 1/5/2023
This position is in the Department’s Northwest Region, which provides the following services: compliance inspection of regulated entities; enforcement of permit requirements and administrative rules; issuance of air, water, and solid waste permits; investigation of complaints; issuance of subsurface permits in counties; response to spills or other incidents with environmental impacts; direct contact and liaison with other governmental entities, industries, and the public; and technical assistance to regulated entities and the public. This position will develop National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permits for major or minor sources that originate in any part of Oregon. The position will develop strategies for compliance with water quality standards or discharges to water-quality limited water bodies.
Learn more and apply here.
Permit Data and Compliance Professional / Environment Specialist 3 — Washington Department of Ecology
Location: Headquarters Office in Lacey, WA.Upon hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station. This position will be eligible for up to a 90% tele-work schedule.
Apply by: December 26th. This position will remain open until filled, with an initial screening date of December 27, 2022. In order to be considered for initial screening, please submit an application on or before December 26, 2022. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.
The Water Quality program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Permit Data and Compliance Professional (Environmental Specialist 3) position.
This position is an outstanding opportunity to use your project management skills to make tangible improvements to water quality in Washington. Our Permit Data and Compliance Professional works alongside of our team of water quality engineers and scientists to help issue and manage individual permits for municipal wastewater treatment and reclaimed water facilities throughout our southwestern region. You’ll provide administrative support for individual municipal permit issuance, compliance and quality assurance reviews of municipal permit data, technical assistance to permit holders, and enforcement administration. This position also provides specialized expertise and technical assistance to staff, permittees, and the public on our Permit and Reporting Information System (PARIS) database, Public PARIS database, and WebPortal reporting sites. You’ll also handle regulatory oversight of facilities covered under the Water Treatment Plant general permit, including permit data quality assurance reviews, periodic compliance inspections, and permit administration.
Learn more and apply here.