EPA Proposed CWA Sec. 404(g) Assumption Rule
EPA released a pre-publication version of a long-anticipated rule revising and clarifying section 404(g) of the CWA. The proposed regulatory revision will streamline and clarify the requirements and steps necessary for states and Tribes to administer programs protecting waterways from discharges of dredged or fill material without a permit. EPA’s proposal would address key barriers identified by states and Tribes to administering CWA section 404 while expanding opportunities for Tribes to meaningfully engage in permitting actions. Comments on the proposal will be due 60 days after publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. States are also invited to participate in State Input.
Session: Thursday, August 24, from 1:30 pm-4:40 pm Eastern Time
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information.
David Uhlman Confirmed as OECA Assistant Administrator
On July 20, 2023, David Uhlman was finally confirmed as EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance after being nominated by President Biden over two years ago. The Senate confirmed with a vote of 53-46, with most voting along party lines. Republican Senators Cassiday, Collins, and Murkowski voted in favor, while Democrat Manchin voted against. Just after confirmation the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) tweeted, “Mr. Uhlmann’s leadership at @EPAjustice will be critical to enforcing our nation’s environmental laws and holding polluters accountable.” Since being nominated, Uhlmann has been serving as OECA’s principal deputy administrator.
EPA Seeks Nominations for the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee
EPA is accepting nominations for membership on the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC). Established in 1995, the PPDC is a diverse group of stakeholders who provide feedback to EPA on various regulatory, policy, and program implementation initiatives related to pesticides. A number of stakeholder types, including staff from state and Tribal governments, are invited to apply. Nominations must be emailed or postmarked no later than August 10, 2023, and can be submitted by email to Jeffrey Chang (email@example.com) with the subject line “PPDC Membership 2023”.
To learn more, go here.
Follow-up from Webinar Q&A January 18, 2023, Clean Water State Revolving Fund Emerging Contaminants Supplemental Appropriation
As States are wrapping up their FY 2022 and preparing for FY 2023 BIL CWSRF emerging contaminants capitalization grant funding applications, EPA would like to provide updated Q&A information. The responses to questions received during the CWSRF Emerging Contaminants webinar for water industry professionals and utility staff held earlier this year are now available on EPA’s website along with recordings from prior webinars and other pertinent BIL SRF information: https://www.epa.gov/dwsrf/bipartisan-infrastructure-law-srf-memorandum.
If you have additional questions on specific projects or funding eligibilities, please feel free to contact the CWSRF Emerging Contaminants Team at cwsrfEC@epa.gov.
Reminder: No-cost Climate Risk Assessment Technical Assistance for Water and Wastewater Facilities
EPA’s Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative provides the water sector and its stakeholders with practical tools, training, and technical assistance needed to increase their resilience to climate change. CRWU is currently offering a round of direct technical assistance that entails working with CRWU and its contractors to conduct a guided water utility climate change risk assessment. If you are a water utility, you can reach out to Aliza Furneaux on the CRWU team (Furneaux.firstname.lastname@example.org) to request technical assistance for your system. If your state knows of any individual utilities, or multiple utilities in a geographic region, that could benefit from this assistance, let CRWU know to help connect them with the CRWU technical assistance leads. Please reach out by August 15th, 2023 to inquire about this round of technical assistance.
CDC Releases Summary Report, One Health Harmful Algal Bloom System for 2021
The Centers for Disease Control released a summary of its volunteer-driven HABs reporting in the US for 2021. CDC considers HABs a One Health topic, as they affect the health of people, animals, and the shared environment (One Health is a collaborative and multi-sectoral approach that involves engagement across disciplines including public health, animal health, and environmental health). The report includes both observed HABs and the presence of algal toxins without a visual bloom. The report reflects observations in 16 states. 10% of observations occurred in clear, “HAB-free” waters, and across observations, microcystin was the most common toxin observed by far. 10% of observations occurred in flowing rivers and 65% of observations came from local, state, federal, or citizen monitoring of water quality.
Highlights from the report include:
- Sixteen states voluntarily reported 368 HABs that resulted in a total of 117 human illnesses and at least 2,715 animal illnesses, mainly in freshwater lakes but also in brackish or saltwater (8% of observations).
- HAB events predominantly occurred in summer months, peaking in August (92; 25%), and most (90%) of the 368 HAB events occurred in freshwater bodies such as lakes and reservoirs.
- Human illnesses occurred primarily in June (38; 33%), and the most commonly reported signs and symptoms were gastrointestinal, generalized (e.g., headache, fever), and dermatologic. 7% of human illnesses were attributed to air exposure rather than water.
- Animal illnesses occurred primarily in August (2,328; 86%) and mostly involved wildlife, including a mortality event that killed at least 2,000 bats.
- The most commonly reported signs in animals were genitourinary (e.g., dark urine) in wildlife, followed by gastrointestinal (e.g., vomiting) and generalized (e.g., lethargy) in domestic pets.
- Most HAB events were classified as confirmed (85%), human illnesses as probable (89%), and animal illnesses as confirmed (74%).
You can review the entire report here.
Call for Presentations at the 2024 WateReuse Symposium
WateReuse Association is hosting its annual 2024 WateReuse Symposium in Denver from March 10 – 13, and is now inviting thought leaders, practitioners, researchers, and early career professionals to submit presentation proposals intended to share their expertise and advice. Presentations that integrate the role of water recycling into future water resources management and community resiliency are especially sought. You can submit your proposal here. The deadline to submit presentation proposals is September 14, 2023.
Annual Meeting 2023 – Reserve Your Lodging Now!
The limited room block will be closing soon. Reserve your lodging at the Grove Hotel HERE.
Voting is currently open for ACWA’s Executive Leadership and Board of Directors.
Along with the Executive Officers, this year it is the even Regions that are up for election. Please cast your vote no later than Noon ET on August 7, 2023.
All “members in good standing” may participate in these elections. The “member in good standing” is the formal or primary ACWA representative for the state/interstate agency that paid dues for the previous fiscal year (FY2023). If you are unsure whether your FY2023 dues are paid, feel free to reach out to Julia Anastasio or Annette Ivey, and we can let you know. Only one vote per state/interstate.
Thank you for your continued support of ACWA! If you cannot find the email message with the link to the ballot, please contact Julia Anastasio.
Meetings and Webinars
EPA Webinar: Improving CWA-NPDES Permit Compliance at Small Wastewater Treatment Systems
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm eastern
Registration: Webinar Registration – Zoom (zoomgov.com)
EPA’s Office of Compliance invites you to a free webinar on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, as part of EPA’s ongoing Technical Assistance Webinar Series: Improving CWA-NPDES Permit Compliance at Small Wastewater Treatment Systems. This webinar will feature Larry Moore, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Environmental Engineering at the University of Memphis. This presentation will focus on preliminary treatment of municipal wastewater. The topics to be covered include screening, comminutors, grit removal, and flow equalization. Description of the unit operations will be provided along with potential operating problems. Pictures of actual treatment units will be shown. In addition, troubleshooting will be covered at the end of the presentation.
Helping Communities Solve Water Challenges through EPA’s Water Technical Assistance
July 31, 2023, 1:00-2:00pm ET
EPA’s Water Technical Assistance (WaterTA) efforts provide free hands-on support for communities to assess their water needs, identify potential solutions, and apply for federal funding to address their water challenges.
Join us on July 31st, 1:00-2:00pm ET, for an informational webinar about WaterTA and available resources to help ensure every community has essential water and wastewater services. RSVP here today!
For more information on WaterTA, please visit www.epa.gov/WaterTA.
Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Webinar Series: CWA and Biosolids
Tuesday, August 15, 2023, 1:30-2:30 PM Eastern Time
Join U.S. EPA for its next Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) webinar on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, 1:30-2:30 PM Eastern Time. This webinar will explore wastewater tools and reports available on ECHO, such as:
- Wastewater/Stormwater/Biosolids Facility Search
- Biosolids Facility Report
- Effluent Charts
- Water Pollutant Loading Tool
- Data Downloads
These ECHO tools allow users to access and analyze EPA data for water pollutant discharges and facility compliance related to the Clean Water Act including biosolids-specific program data. The case studies demonstrate how to conduct advanced analyses of permitted water features and interpret information.
EPA Virtual Training: NPDES Basic Permit Writer’s Course
(This should not be confused with the face-to-face meeting in Chicago, IL in August 2023.)
Date: Thursday August 24, 2023 (5 weeks)
Time: 8-10 hours per week
The objective of this course is to provide the basic regulatory framework and technical considerations that support the development of wastewater discharge permits required under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The course was designed for permit writers with six months to one year of experience in the NPDES program, but experienced permit writers wanting a refresher course and other water program staff wanting to learn more about the NPDES program also are welcome.
Each week, participants will have assigned “homework” consisting of NPDES online modules and permit writing exercises. These modules and exercises will then be discussed in a live virtual classroom setting on Tuesday and Thursday of each week. Participants will have the opportunity to join live office hour discussions with instructors and other participants each Tuesday as well. Microsoft Teams will be utilized for the virtual classroom and can be accessed through the desktop application or a web browser. Course materials will be provided electronically on the Microsoft Teams classroom site for download by the participants prior to the start date. If you have questions regarding the course, please contact Sean Ramach at: email@example.com or call him directly at (202) 564-2865.
CWA National Targeting Center EPA/State Joint Community of Practice Meeting
Date: Thursday, September 7, 2023
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm eastern
Meeting Info: Please use the meeting information below to attend this meeting. No registration required; however, this meeting is only for EPA Regional and state NPDES permitting, enforcement, and information technology staff.
This will be the second meeting between EPA Regional and state staff to share best practices and ideas for inspection and enforcement targeting. At the first meeting, which was held on 2 November 2022, Kentucky Division of Water and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality gave presentations on “DMR Compliance Automation Efforts and Trend Analysis” and “GIS Targeting Platform, DMR Evaluation, Low SNC Rates,” respectively.
We invite states to share their insights on inspection and enforcement targeting for the upcoming September 7th meeting. Please send an email to Carey Johnston (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in participating or giving a presentation. Please use this link to add your email to our EPA-state NTC CWA CoP distribution list. We will use this distribution list to share updates to the agenda and for future meetings.
We hope to schedule these 1-hour meetings on a more regular basis and suggest a quarterly frequency. This will allow EPA Regional and state staff to exchange insights and updates on inspection and enforcement targeting. We will use the September 7th meeting to solicit your input on this proposal.
Delaware Division of Water Stewardship Director
Location: Dover, DE
Closing Date: Open until filled
Responsible for developing, implementing, and initiating Divisional programmatic and budgetary policies, priorities, and functional plans in order to achieve DNREC’s mission. Represents the Department at national, regional, state-wide, and local meetings and special events, and may serve on both national and statewide councils/committees. Directs and manages professional and administrative staff as well as consultants in the development and implementation of complex Watershed Stewardship programs and Departmental goals and objectives. This position provides administrative leadership and technical direction in planning, organizing and implementation of programs and activities under the Division of Watershed Stewardship. Directs the preparation and administers responsibility for an annual operating budget of more than $20M. There are three primary Sections within the Division: 1. Conservation Programs; 2. Shoreline & Waterway Management; and 3. Watershed Assessment & Management.
For more information and to apply, visit Delaware Employment Link.
Environmental Protection Specialist – Stormwater Program Support
Location: Washington, DC
Closing Date: July 27, 2023
As an Environmental Protection Specialist, you will develop and implement regional policies and procedures as well as Federal, State, and local regulatory compliance requirements governing the Regional Stormwater Program.
For more information, visit USAJobs.
Environmental Analyst III, Total Maximum Daily Load Section
Location: Worcester, MA
Closing Date: Open until filled (first consideration will be given to applications received within 14 days of the July 19th posting date).
MassDEP Watershed Planning Program (WPP) is seeking applicants for the position of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Analyst (EAIII) within the Bureau of Water Resources. The TMDL Analyst will assist in supporting water quality modeling efforts, interpreting results, and developing and reviewing TMDL reports. Data analysis and other functions will be performed as needed to estimate required pollutant load reductions in accordance with the Massachusetts Surface Water Quality Standards (314 CMR 4.00), Massachusetts Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology Guidance Manual, and CWA Sections 305(b), 314, and 303(d). With supervision from the TMDL Section Chief or designee, the TMDL Analyst will be a member of a 3–4-person team within the broader Watershed Planning Program (WPP). The position will be based in Worcester at the Watershed Planning Program’s office, 8 New Bond Street, but will operate within the Commonwealth’s current hybrid work model.
For more information and to apply, see MassCareers Job Opportunities.
Environmental Engineer Specialist 3
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Closing Date: Open until filled
The Watershed Improvement Unit in the Water Quality Division is looking for an Environmental Engineer 3 to remediate abandoned mines that are polluting rivers and streams. The Environmental Engineer will be responsible for reviewing and evaluating remedial designs, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, and providing technical expertise to address the environmental and public health risks associated with abandoned mines. The Environmental Engineer will work with a multidisciplinary team, including geologists, hydrogeologists, and environmental scientists to assess, plan, and execute remediation projects. This role plays a key part in protecting and enhancing Arizona’s waterbodies for the enjoyment of people and wildlife.
For more information and to apply, visit Arizona State Jobs.