ARCHIVE SITE - Last updated Jan. 19, 2017. Please visit www.NACWA.org for the latest NACWA information.
NACWA wrote Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation, this week requesting a response to the Association’s May 2014 petition for stay and reconsideration of the final Clean Air Act emissions standards for sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs). With less than six months remaining before the final compliance deadline, NACWA stressed the importance of providing clarity and certainty for the SSI community, which manages a fifth of the biosolids generated in the country. While NACWA expects EPA to deny its petition, the Association believes the Agency must formally respond and address all the issues raised by the Association’s SSI members in the petition. A more immediate and serious concern that NACWA raised in its letter is the significant delay in issuance of a final Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for the SSI Rule. Many of NACWA’s members across the country are being told that their permits will not be issued or final clearance to operate will not be given until the FIP is released. NACWA will provide updates on any developments regarding its petition or the release of the FIP.
State water quality managers, permit writers and EPA staff involved in regulating stormwater convened in Philadelphia, PA this week to discuss implementation of federal and state municipal, industrial and construction stormwater programs. NACWA’s Brenna Mannion, Director of Regulatory Affairs & Outreach, was invited to speak on October 8 during a session focusing on local stormwater challenges. Typically this type event is reserved for regulators only, and NACWA appreciated the opportunity to participate with staff from the NPDES programs around the country.
The conference included presentations from Maryland and Vermont regulators on litigation developments, especially challenges to TMDLs and permit appeals concerning retrofit requirements that may exceed the Clean Water Act’s “maximum extent practicable” (MEP) standard for municipal stormwater regulation. NACWA stressed that its Member Agencies that manage stormwater recognize the need to address urban runoff and are dedicated to doing so through a responsible and cost-effective process. Attendees responded well to an overview of the NACWA-convened National Stormwater Advocacy Network, the Association’s rulemaking advocacy, and the legal support that the Association has provided to utilities and states facing both permit and user fee program challenges. The Association looks forward to continued engagement with state regulators to ensure that they fully understand the manner in which municipal stormwater programs are being implemented around the country.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an order today staying implementation of EPA’s Clean Water Rule. This stay applies nationwide and means that the rule is no longer in effect anywhere in the country. The stay will last at least until the Sixth Circuit determines if it has jurisdiction over the various legal challenges that have been filed against the rule. NACWA will continue to track development and report on any updates.
The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on October 8 to discuss pending Western drought legislation in the Senate and House. Senators Feinstein and Boxer’s bill, S. 1894 , and Representative Valadao’s bill, H.R. 2898 , were the two main pieces of legislation examined by the Committee and witnesses. The Senate bill is focused on taking a watershed level approach to water management, while complying with environmental laws and investing in innovative approaches and technologies such as water reuse and recycling, and desalination, to increase the overall water supply. The House bill is more focused on reallocating water from environmental to human uses, capturing surface water for storage, and streamlining environmental regulations.
There was a strong sense of urgency as all of the Committee members and witnesses emphasized the need to move forward and take action to deal with the unprecedented drought in the West. Various concerns with both of the bills were brought up by the Members and witnesses, including that measures in the bills would instigate time-consuming and costly litigation. Concerns were also raised that some the proposals may not provide sufficient regulatory streamlining and flexibility. Despite the many differences, the panel found several points of agreement – the need to increase surface water storage, water recycling and reuse efforts, and desalination – that could be the starting points of a constructive dialogue.
NACWA has publicly supported the Senate proposal through its participation in the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), and also submitted comments for the record at the hearing emphasizing the important water reuse and recycling provisions that are included in the bill. The Association will continue to track developments in the various Western drought-related legislation in Congress and provide strong support for the water reuse and recycling language in these bills.
NACWA and other water sector associations sent a letter to the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines & Hazardous materials, urging passage of H.R. 3651, the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015. The bill would extend the deadline for full implementation of the Positive Train Control (PTC) rule. The rule is currently scheduled to take effect on December 31, and most railroads will not meet this deadline. Since railroads not in compliance with the PTC will be unable to transport chlorine gas and anhydrous ammonia, deliveries of these chemicals to water and wastewater utilities could be halted. NACWA, the American Water Works Association (AWWA), Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) signed on to the letter. NACWA will notify members if Congress finalizes an extension.
NACWA Member Agency, DC Water, formally unveiled its new, state of the art waste-to-energy project this week in a ceremony at its Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The $470 million investment in the CAMBI thermal hydrolysis process will produce enough electricity to power about one-third of the plant’s needs and result in a much cleaner, more efficient biosloids management program. The project is an excellent example of how NACWA Member Agencies are embracing Utility of the Future (UOTF) concepts to pursue innovative technologies that will provide greater environmental benefits to their communities at more efficient cost. NACWA staff attended the DC Water ceremony this week. There was also very positive press coverage of the event.
NACWA nominated four members of its Finance Workgroup for the EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB). The Association sent a nomination letter recommending Yvette Downs, Chief Financial Officer, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, MD; David Kane, Executive Administration Department Director, Treasurer of the Portland Water District, ME; Kellie Rotunno, Chief Operating Officer, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, OH; and Eric Sandler, Assistant General Manager of Business Services/CFO, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, CA, and emphasizing their depth of knowledge and the unique perspective that they bring from the public utility sector. Recent developments in clean water finance such as the establishment of the Water Infrastructure & Resiliency Finance Center within EPA – and the increasing focus on issues like public-private partnerships, integrated planning, and affordability underscore the importance of EFAB’s role in providing advice to EPA and the need for the public utility perspective on EFAB. The Association is confident that each of the nominees would play an active role and contribute greatly to EFAB as a representative of the public clean water sector.
Have you made your plans to join us for the 2015 National Clean Water Law Seminar? The Seminar is the only conference of its kind focused specifically on the legal and regulatory challenges facing the municipal clean water community – with an agenda designed to benefit both lawyers and non-lawyers alike. If not, we’ve made sure you can still join us November 4-6 in Henderson, Nevada by securing an extension of the hotel deadline. Reserve your room today by contacting the Westin Lake Las Vegas before the new deadline of October 22 at NACWA’s special $155 (plus applicable taxes) room rate. And don’t forget to register for the Seminar, as well. Additional information including registration , and CLE Credits are available on the NACWA website.
NACWA thanks its members and colleagues for participating in its recent survey to inform the redesign of the Association’s website. Respondents had the option to enter a random drawing for a free conference registration. We are pleased to announce that the winner is (drumroll please. . .) John McClellan, Operations Superintendent at Member Agency Everett Public Works in Washington State. Congratulations, John!
Water, Water Everywhere but . . .
Guest blogger and Chair of NACWA’s Communications & Public Affairs Committee, Pamela Perez, discusses the Value of Water Coalition’s “Imagine a Day without Water” campaign. While water is absolutely essential to everything we do, it too often is forgotten. How did Pam and Los Angeles celebrate this campaign? Read on to find out more!
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