Proposed Changes for Legacy Coal Combustion Residuals Surface Impoundments and CCR Management Units | US EPA
This week EPA released a prepublication proposed updates to the CCR, proposing owners and operators of legacy CCR surface impoundments comply with all existing requirements applicable to inactive CCR surface impoundments at active facilities. This action is in response to a 2018 legal decision (Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, et al v. EPA) that vacated and remanded a provisions that exempted inactive impoundments at inactive facilities from 2015 CCR rule. As part of this action, EPA is also proposing to establish groundwater monitoring, corrective action, closure, and post closure care requirements for all CCR management units. EPA noted that legacy CCR surface impoundments are more likely to be unlined and unmonitored, making them more prone to leaks and structural problems than units at utilities that are currently in service. This rule is expected to have a 60 day comment period.
SRF Training Workshop Support Request for Applications
- Deadline: June 23, 2023, by 11:59PM EDT
- Submit Through: Grants.gov
- Grant Opportunity: EPA-OW-OWM-23-03 Training Workshop Support Activities for the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Programs
EPA is soliciting applications from eligible applicants to provide training workshop support activities for states and other practitioners implementing the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, the Clean Water SRF program and the Drinking Water SRF programs.
See the Request for Applications here. For full details, visit the SRF Training Workshop website.
EPA Proposes Reforms to TSCA New Chemical Review Process Consistent with 2016 Amendments Requiring Safety Reviews Prior to Commercial Use
This week, EPA proposed amendments to the regulations that govern federal review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to align with the 2016 TSCA amendments under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The proposal eliminates eligibility for exemptions from the full safety review process for new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals.
Under TSCA, manufacturers (including importers) and processors must submit premanufacture notices (PMNs) for new chemical substances, significant new use notices (SNUNs) for significant new uses, and microbial commercial activity notices (MCANs) for microorganisms with commercial applications. Prior to the 2016 amendments, EPA only made formal safety determinations on approximately 20% of new chemical submissions. Now, the law requires EPA to make one of five possible safety determinations on 100% of new chemical submissions before they can enter the market. This week’s proposed rule would amend the regulations by specifying that EPA must make one of the five specified statutory determinations on each PMN, SNUN, and MCAN received before the submitter may commence manufacturing or processing the new chemical substance. It would also update the regulations to list the actions required in association with each of those determinations. These amendments would align the regulations with TSCA section 5 requirements to reflect the full extent of new chemical reviews, providing consistency and transparency in new chemical review processes.
Existing regulations allow EPA to grant exemptions from a complete PMN safety review for the manufacturing of chemicals with low production quantities, environmental releases or human exposures. Under this process, persons who wish to manufacture new chemicals can submit a low volume exemption (LVE) or low release and exposure exemption (LoREX) prior to the commencement of manufacture, allowing the chemicals to undergo a less robust 30-day review instead of the typical 90-day reviews for PMNs. This week’s proposed rule would make new PFAS categorically ineligible for LVE or LoREX exemptions, ensuring new PFAS would go through the full robust safety review process before they can enter commerce, and would also ensure that all PBT chemicals are also ineligible for these exemptions, codifying EPA policy.
The proposed rule also would make several other changes to add efficiencies to the new chemicals review process, including clarifying the level of detail needed in new chemical notices and amending the procedures for EPA’s review of notices that have errors or are incomplete. Under the proposed rule, EPA would change its longstanding practice of accepting amended notices that contain information that was known or reasonably ascertainable at the time of the original submission. Instead, EPA would exercise its authority under TSCA to declare submissions incomplete and restart the review period, saving time and resources that could instead be spent reviewing complete submissions more quickly. It would also assist industry’s efforts to provide complete submissions for review through a new set of information “pick-lists” incorporated into the application form located in EPA’s Central Data Exchange. When submitters provide all the necessary information, EPA can assess risk more quickly and accurately. The proposals supplement EPA’s TSCA New Chemical Engineering Initiative, an outreach effort launched in 2022 that helps stakeholders understand how to avoid providing incomplete data in their new chemicals submissions. The amendments also include a streamlined process for submitters to request suspension of the review process for 30 days via oral or written request if more time is needed by the submitter.
Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept public comments on the proposal for 60 days via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0902 at www.regulations.gov.
Read a prepublication version of the rule here.
2023 National Pretreatment Coordinators Workshop
ACWA facilitated the 2023 National Pretreatment Coordinators Workshop, which was held in Boise, Idaho on May 15 and 16, 2023. This year’s workshop had 102 participants, 53 which participated in person. Participants represented 32 states, 8 EPA Regions, EPA HQs, and ACWA. Topics discussed included NPDES pretreatment language, electronic reporting, data management and use, inspection targeting, new ELGs, compliance assistance, approval authority, 10(e) states, enforcement response plans, enforcement case studies, inspection training, succession planning, mini pretreatment programs, tools and training, the nexus between audits and inspections, state and federal PFAS updates, and local limits approval authority vs control authority. Presentations for the meeting can be accessed by filling out the survey (even if you were unable to participate) found here.
2023 Nutrients Permitting Workshop Presentations Available
ACWA held a Nutrients Permitting Workshop May 1-3 in Denver, CO. This workshop focused on state successes and lessons learned based on a variety of topics covered throughout the previous seven workshops in this series. A portion of the agenda looked ahead what States feel is the future of nutrients permitting.
Presentations may be viewed here.
Meetings and Webinars
EPA’s Integrated Planning Webinar
May 23, 2023 2pm-3pm ET
Join U.S. EPA on May 23rd for their launch of a new Integrated Planning Toolkit for Permitting Authorities and technical assistance opportunities. Robyn DeYoung, U.S. EPA’s Integrated Planning and Green Infrastructure Program Lead and Heather Huddle, U.S. EPA’s Stormwater Expert, P.E. will dive into how this toolkit can help the permitting authority promote and support integrated planning for NPDES permittees. Find out what type of technical assistance EPA is providing alongside the toolkit to increase the promotion and use of integrated planning to meet clean water goals. Technical assistance will be on a first come first serve basis.
EPA Tools & Resources Training Webinar – PFAS Analytic Tools
June 1, 2023 3-4 pm ET
To support EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, EPA is compiling and integrating a collection of data that can be used to evaluate what is known about PFAS manufacture, release, and occurrence in communities. As part of this effort, EPA is integrating data available nationally with other information from states, Tribes, and localities that are testing for PFAS pursuant to their own regulatory or voluntary data collection initiatives. The data included in the PFAS Analytic Tools have a wide range of location-specific data and, in general, are based on national scope and readily accessible, public information repositories. The PFAS Analytic Tools make it easier to evaluate the collective PFAS information from 11 different databases – the application integrates these datasets into an interactive, web-based software. Consolidating all these data sources in one searchable platform will help the public, researchers, and other stakeholders better understand potential PFAS sources in their communities, including potential exposure pathways in communities with environmental justice concerns. This training webinar will provide an overview of the PFAS Analytic Tools and a tutorial on how to use them.
Register and join the PFAS Analytic Tools training webinar!
Microplastics: The Current State of the Regulations and Science
Thursday, June 8, 2023 | 2:00–3:00 pm ET | Register Here
Presented by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)
Microplastics have been found in air, soil, wildlife, and human blood and lung tissue, yet studies are just beginning to uncover potential human health effects such as internal inflammation and reproductive effects. One international study found that 80% of drinking water samples from 14 countries across 5 continents had microplastics in them. Based upon these and other findings, and little information on the extent of the problem within the state, California became the first government in the world to require monitoring for microplastics in drinking water. This policy motivated rapid scientific work to define microplastics and to develop standard methods to measure them in source water.
Join this webinar to learn about the current state of microplastics science from California and the US Environmental Protection Agency to help prepare your laboratory for potential future testing of this contaminant of emerging concern.
- Scott Coffin, PhD, Research Scientist III, California State Water Resources Control Board
- Kay Ho, PhD, Environmental Research Scientist, US Environmental Protection Agency
- Jeff Wagner, PhD, Chief, Environmental Health Laboratory Branch California Department of Public Health
Scaling Up Conservation Agriculture: An Exploration of Challenges and Opportunities in Michigan
June 9th, 2023 | 1pm EST | Register Here
Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) invites you to attend”Scaling Up Conservation Agriculture: An Exploration of Challenges and Opportunities in Michigan.”
This 75-minute interactive webinar will cover the stakeholder driven work assessing the barriers and opportunities to advancing conservation agriculture across Michigan, along with program and policy recommendations. The speakers represent a diverse project team in Michigan that has been working since 2017 to address policy, economic, and structural barriers that are inhibiting broader adoption of conservation agriculture in the state.
Water Quality Standards Coordinator (Water Resources Manager I, NMED #38200)
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Closing Date: 6/13/23 (first consideration may be given to applications received within 14 days of the 5/15/23 posting date)
The NMED Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) Water Quality Standards Coordinator supervises the Standards, Planning and Reporting Team; and oversees surface water quality standards development, maintenance, and revision efforts to meet state and federal requirements under the Water Quality Act and Clean Water Act, respectively.
For more information and to apply, click here.
Water Resources Professional 2
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Closing Date: June 9, 2023
The Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) preserves, protects, and improves New Mexico’s surface water quality for present and future generations. To support the SWQB Mission, the new Surface Water Permitting Team is planning, scoping, developing, and will implement a surface water discharge permitting program over a phased, multi-year approach. This position will provide outreach to evaluate stakeholder support; participate in project planning and program development efforts; assist with development of regulations and a data management system; manage and oversee contracts and projects; and develop guidance documents, policies, and templates related to the permitting program.
For more information and to apply, click here.