Recent Stormwater Events:

FREE Stormwater Webinar:
Phase II MS4 Requirements: An Update for Those in the Know and Where to Start for the Newly Regulated

Program Information and Agenda

Webinar

Previous Stormwater Watch Issues:

April 2014

December 2013 - January 2014

November, 2013

October, 2013

August, 2013

July, 2013

June, 2013

May, 2013

April, 2013

 

 

WEAT actively tracks stormwater related news and events here in Texas and nationally. WEAT Stormwater Watch is intended to provide relevant information in a timely manner to those of us in Texas dedicated to addressing stormwater management. Please contact Heather Harris at heather.harris@ch2m.com with comments as to how we can make this better, more relevant, or more valuable to you!

Hello, all! Apologies for the silence – I didn’t realize how much time I’d let elapse since the last!
The following is the most recent WEAT Stormwater Watch email. As always, please feel free to respond with comments as to how I can make it more valuable to you. Also note that previous issues are posted at https://www.weat.org/stormwater.shtml.

Stormwater Watch - Summer 2014

Additional Items:

1. Catching up on WOTUS

For the past 3+ years, EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) have been collaborating on redefining the term “Waters of the US”. A draft of the definition revision to WUS was recently released for public comment; comments are due October 20th. There is a good overview of the definition issue at the EPA website: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm.
On April 28, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a field hearing in Altoona, PA, to receive testimony from individuals and organizations about the impacts the draft Waters of the U.S. rule may have on energy resource recovery and local economic development. Also that week the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report that analyzes the potential impacts of the WOTUS rule. The CRS report titled "EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define
Waters of the United States,"
states that the proposed rule includes a "newly and broadly defined" definition of tributary for purposes of establishing default jurisdiction over waterbodies previously outside the jurisdiction under the CWA. According to the report, the rule proposes to define "tributary" as "water physically characterized by the presence of a bed and banks and ordinary high water mark," and waters that "contribute flow, either directly or through another water" to a jurisdictional waterbody. The EPA has stated that the rule will expand the CWA’s jurisdiction to only approximately an additional 3 percent of U.S. waters, and the report supports the EPA’s and the Corps’ claims that the proposal would not "enlarge jurisdiction beyond what is consistent with the Supreme Court's narrow reading of jurisdiction."
The House Water Resources & Environment Subcommittee has held a hearing to analyze the scope and impacts of the proposed Waters of the United States rule. The hearing titled
"Potential Impacts of Proposed Changes to the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Rule” occurred June 11th. A number of Republican Congressmen sent a letter to EPA urging it rescind the proposed rule and prepare a detailed evaluation of the impact of the rule on small businesses.
On Thursday, June 26, WEF hosted a webcast to provide detailed information on the proposed
rule
. One of the key insights from EPA came in the Q&A, where they acknowledged that there is a lot of ambiguity and EPA is willing to make changes in a final rule. The webcast addressed specific questions about the water treatment exception, the impact on green infrastructure activities, definition issues related to “other waters”, “tributaries” and “floodplains”, as well as the potential impact to MS4s and other stormwater related activities. This webcast was recorded and you may listen to it by clicking here
On August 20, during a teleconference on the scientific and technical basis of the proposed waters of the U.S. rule, the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced that it had scheduled the review of the recommendations from the panel of experts on the scientific and technical aspects of the draft connectivity study and the related proposed waters of the U.S. rule that would clarify jurisdictional issues of the Clean Water Act over the nation's waters and wetlands. The review will take place September 26th and, according to Bloomberg BNA, the SAB has been given the final consensus position of the panel on the draft connectivity study, entitled “Connectivity of Streams and
Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence.

For those of us in Texas, I believe the main impact of EPA’s changing the WOTUS definition will be in 404 permitting and other federal environmental rules.

2. EPA Administrator Admiring Houston’s own Buffalo Bayou Project

In early March, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy toured Houston’s $58 million Buffalo Bayou Project, a restoration and conservation project on which construction started in 2012. The tour also focused on the city’s Bayou Greenways 2020 program.
The Buffalo Bayou Project includes restoration of natural landscapes as well as new and upgraded trails and pedestrian bridges. With $5 million, the Harris County Flood Control District is restoring the bayou’s channel conveyance capacity and banks. The district is removing silt and regrading the bayou’s slopes to reduce erosion. Creating wetland gardens and reintroducing native plants also will help control erosion.
In light of climate change, Houston is working to mitigate the impacts of flooding and protect water quality from stormwater pollutants. The Buffalo Bayou and Bayou Greenways projects are helping the city build resilience and expand recreational opportunities by using green infrastructure in public parks. Bayou Greenways is an approximately $480 million project that will add 4000 ac of new green space in Houston. The greenways also will support 300 mi of continuous hike and bike trails.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker serves on the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which is working on actions to increase resiliency in cities.

3. Efforts to Include Green Infrastructure in SRF Programs

Last year, President Obama established the Task Force on Climate Preparedness
and Resilience
, which includes state, local, and tribal leaders. The task force is determining how the federal government can mitigate and prepare for climate change through grant and loan programs. One option identified by the federal government is the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF). Every state has such a fund, and in total these state funds have enabled about $109 billion in grants and low-interest loans for critical water infrastructure, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
This year, the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal also includes a $1 billion Climate Resilience Fund to help local communities adapt to and recover from extreme weather events, including droughts, hurricanes, and floods. The budget also calls for a $56 billion infrastructure package developing a “resilient infrastructure that would help our communities prepare for the effects of climate change.” Related initiatives seek to make the electricity grid more resilient, not only to disasters but to attacks as well.
Currently, there are no specific federal requirements encouraging states to use SRF financing to prepare communities and water infrastructure for climate change. However, the
Green Project Reserve
in the Clean Water SRF program currently sets aside 20% of all funds for green infrastructure projects.
The NRDC is working to provide recommendations on how SRFs can better support flood risk reduction, green infrastructure, and water efficiency and expects to release a report in the coming months. Such a plan also could encourage long-range commitments to stormwater infrastructure, from asset management to planning for innovative solutions. Read more.

4. Campus Rainworks Challenge – Recent Winners and Next Competition

On April 22, the U.S. EPA announced the four winners of its second annual Campus RainWorks Challenge: the University of Florida, Kansas State, Michigan State, and Mississippi State. The competition is a design challenge that engages university students in reinventing water infrastructure and developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change. The challenge fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among university students and faculty with the goal of increasing the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation.
Registration for the third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge begins Sept. 2 and ends Oct. 3. Registrants must submit their entries by Dec. 19. Winning teams will earn a student prize of $1,000-$2,000 to be divided evenly among student team members, and a faculty prize of $2,000-$3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training. More information:
www.epa.gov/campusrainworks
.

5. Thoughts on the Lack of Stormwater Rule

From EPA’s Stormwater Rulemaking Website: EPA is updating its stormwater strategy to focus now on pursuing a suite of immediate actions to help support communities in addressing their stormwater challenges and deferring action on rulemaking to reduce stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites or other regulatory changes to its stormwater program. EPA will provide incentives, technical assistance, and tools to communities to encourage them to implement strong stormwater programs; leverage existing requirements to strengthen municipal stormwater permits; and continue to promote green infrastructure as an integral part of stormwater management. EPA believes this approach will achieve significant, measurable, and timely results in reducing stormwater pollution and provide significant climate resiliency benefits to communities.

Activities that were related to the Rulemaking:

·         Summary of State Stormwater Standards
·         Information Collection Request (ICR) for Proposed Rulemaking
·         December 28, 2009 FRN: Stakeholder Input on Proposed Rulemaking and
National Listening Sessions

·         Stakeholder Input on Stormwater Rulemaking Related to the Chesapeake Bay
WEF’s take: So what does this mean for stormwater practitioners? MS4 permits may continue to become more stringent. Further, EPA may make a greater effort to integrate MS4 discharges into wasteload allocations (WLA) associated with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) impacted by stormwater runoff.
This viewpoint is based on recently presented EPA data on the state of the MS4 program. For instance, nearly half of all Phase II and a quarter of Phase I permits are currently expired. Similarly, more than 80% of large Phase I communities and half of all Phase II communities discharge to impaired waters. An increase of WLAs in MS4 permits may mean more monitoring of practices and systems. Monitoring efforts likely will be bolstered by decreasing costs for powering monitoring devices as well as collecting and analyzing data through cloud-based technology.

6. National Climate Assessment Report Released

The Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), released on May 6th, concludes that the impacts of climate change are already being felt throughout the U.S. Historical climate trends around the U.S., the climate’s current state, and how the climate might change in the future were also reviewed in the NCA.
The NCA verified that climate change is negatively impacting regions all around the U.S. Communities are seeing rising sea levels, changing patterns in rainfall, earlier snow melt, receding summer sea ice, storm surges and coastal inundations. The report states “water quality and water supply reliability are jeopardized by climate change in a variety of ways that affect ecosystems and livelihoods”.
With high certainty, the report also explains that global climate change is being caused by emissions from human activities. Climate impacts to human health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, forests, ecosystems, coastal areas, oceans, and marine resources were all examined.

7. EPA Releases EnviroAtlas Ecosystem Mapping Tool

The U.S. EPA released EnviroAtlas, a web-based interactive tool that integrates over 300 separate data layers, helps decision makers understand the implications of planning and policy decisions on our fragile ecosystems and the communities who depend on goods and services from these ecosystems. EnviroAtlas is designed for people from all levels of government, professionals, researchers, educators, non-governmental organizations, and anyone interested in considering the benefits or impacts of a decision, such as siting a new road or city park.
EnviroAtlas combines hundreds of data layers developed through collaboration between EPA; US Geological Survey; US Forest Service; other federal, state, and non-profit organizations; and several universities. Using powerful web application tools, it lets users generate customized maps and images that show the condition of their local community’s air, water, and landscape; as well as population density and other demographic data. Users can investigate land cover patterns, see how ecosystem services reduce pollution, and view closer to true scale data to compare them across selected communities.
http://enviroatlas.epa.gov/enviroatlas/

8. Review Paper on Bioretention is Published

A comprehensive literature review on the research needs of bioretention used for the treatment of urban stormwater has been published at Water 2014, 6(4), 1069-1099; doi:10.3390/w6041069. It can be downloaded for free from the link: http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/6/4/1069.
The review covers the topics of urban stormwater problems, bioretention and its applications, current research and future work. The paper is a detailed summary on this green infrastructure with its progressing research and promising technology. Please feel free to read and use it.

9. Technology Innovation for Clean and Safe Water

EPA has released a report that expands on its 2013 "Blueprint for Integrating Technology Innovation into the National Water Program," which highlighted EPA's initial ideas and plans for advancing technology innovation across various water programs:
http://www2.epa.gov/innovation/water-technology-innovation

Within the “Market Opportunities for Innovation”, the third is “Improving and Greening of the Water Infrastructure”: “There is a critical need to rehabilitate the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure, the costs of which are estimated at $682 billion ($384 billion for drinking water infrastructure and $298 billion for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure). There is an expanding array of technologies and techniques available for assessing, rehabilitating and retrofitting wastewater, drinking water and stormwater infrastructure.”

10. EPA Resource on Green Infrastructure

A fact sheet on “Improving Community Resiliency with Green Infrastructure” is now available on the EPA green infrastructure website and here: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/upload/gi_resiliency.pdf.

11. If you haven’t seen this, you should

An Emmy-nominated video on pet waste for a youth/young adult audience, “Dog Doogity”, produced by the Puget Sound Starts Here campaign. The companion website has lyrics, out-takes, dance moves and other resources. There is also a country version, a cheerleader version and other creative copies. 

12. TWDB has new State Water Plan Website


The Texas Water Development Board has launched a new interactive website based on the
2012 State Water Plan
. This online application provides details about water shortages. Only projects that appear in the state water plan are eligible for funding from the State Water Implementation
Fund for Texas (SWIFT)
which was approved by Texas voters last November. 

13. U.S. Senate Holds Hearing on Highway Stormwater, Introduces New Legislation

The Senate Subcommittee on Water & Wildlife, chaired by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), held a hearing on Tuesday, May 13 entitled “Solving the Problem of Polluted Transportation Infrastructure
Stormwater Runoff.”
The hearing examined the impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality of receiving streams as well as opportunities for protecting downstream infrastructure from the effects of uncontrolled stormwater runoff. Witnesses at the hearing testified that effective stormwater management will prolong the life of the highway infrastructure, improve driver safety, and reduce flood risks.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the merits of a proposal to integrate minimum requirements for stormwater management associated with qualifying Federal aid roadway and highway projects.
As a result of the hearing, on June 10, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Highway
Runoff Management Act, S. 2457
. Senator Cardin’s legislation will require states to analyze the hydrological impact federal aid highways are having on water resources and develop approaches to reducing the destructive impact of heavy stormwater runoff volumes and flows.
S. 2457 seeks to improve the management of stormwater flows and volumes to reduce the erosive force of high runoffs. The Highway Runoff Management Act is a bottom up approach that puts states in control of developing the hydrological impact analysis of federal aid highways in their state. Once states have completed the relevant hydrological analysis, states then decide what appropriate measures would be required to control flow and volume of stormwater from projects covered under this act. The Highway Runoff Management Act does not prescribe retrofitting every highway within a state. The analysis and best management practices implementation only applies to new federal-aid highway construction and major highway rehabilitation projects that increase the amount of post-construction impervious surface by either 10% of the project site or by one or more acres.

14. Insurance Company Sues City of Chicago over Lack of Preparation for Climate Change, Drops Suit

Farmers Insurance sued the city of Chicago and nearly 200 Chicago area communities for allegedly failing to adequately prepare for the impacts of climate change and an increase in extreme weather. However, within less than 60 days, Farmers dropped its lawsuits my source presumed the entities’ sovereign immunity defense led to the reversal.
On June 3, as reported by Bloomberg BNA, Illinois Farmers Insurance Co. voluntarily dismissed six class action lawsuits against 200 Northern Illinois municipalities in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Will and Lake counties. The lawsuits claimed that entities, such as the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, were responsible for more than 600 flood insurance claims filed after record floods in April 2013. According to Farmers, the municipalities were liable due to a lack of reasonable stormwater control measures.
These lawsuits were novel, and according to the Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency, Farmers did not have grounds for litigation. However, Farmers said that it wanted to bring attention to stormwater and flood issues and that it hopes to engage with municipalities in cooperative discussions.

15. LA County Held Accountable for Pollutants that were Created Upstream

The Supreme Court has decided not to review a lower court ruling that Los Angeles County is responsible for cleaning up pollution in stormwater runoff, which leaves Los Angeles County responsible for cleaning up stormwater pollution that flows down the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers. The action lets stand a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that found that county authorities had violated the Clean Water Act by allowing polluted runoff to foul waterways.
County lawyers had argued the county was not responsible for the polluted runoff because it comes from multiple sources and various property owners and cities upstream.
This is not the end of the legal battle. A federal district judge will now hear evidence on the best way to clean up pollution in the county's storm system. The trial is expected to pit experts against experts on technical subjects like pollution monitoring technology, stormwater captures and how water percolates though and is filtered by topsoil.

16. Catalog of Federal Funding

EPA’s online Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection was recently updated in April 2014 to include the latest information about FY2014 federal funding allocations for programs focusing on watershed protection and restoration. The site houses a searchable database of 85 programs in which financial assistance sources, including grants, loans and cost-sharing, are available to fund a variety of watershed activities. Information about each funding source includes a program description, details on program contacts, funding history, typical past award amounts, eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and matching funds/criteria requirements. Users can search by keyword, type of assistance, match-requirement, and more. Visit the Catalog website at www.epa.gov/watershedfunding.

17. Congress Clears WRRDA Bill 

The week of May 22nd, the House and Senate passed the conference report for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), H.R. 3080, which includes authorization for the creation of a new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). The program will provide loans or loan guarantees through the EPA and Corps of Engineers for eligible water infrastructure projects, such as flood damage reduction, restoration of aquatic ecosystems, improvements to inland and intracoastal waterway navigation systems, wastewater treatment works, and desalination plants. Projects must be larger than $20 million (or $5 million for small communities of less than 25,000 residents), a WIFIA loan cannot finance more than 49% of the project (small communities can receive 100% financing), total federally backed financing cannot exceed 80%, and non-federal financing for a project cannot be tax exempt. Loans must be repaid within 35 years (although another source said 30). The bill authorizes the EPA and the Corps each to receive $175 million over 5 years for loans and loan guarantees.

18. “National Climate Change Viewer” Enables Focus on Future Climate-Driven Changes for U.S. Watersheds at Local Levels, Provides local and watershed-level maps and summaries of climate projections

From the USGS Newsroom & U.S. Department of Interior Press Release - 5/8/2014:
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today unveiled the National Climate Change Viewer, a climate-visualization website tool from the Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey. The new tool gives citizens and resource managers the opportunity to look at climate-driven impacts on watersheds and map projected changes at the local, regional, state and watershed levels. Read Full article.

19. New BMP Resource for Watershed Stakeholders

I love it when you learn stuff at conferences! At the Southwest Stream Restoration Conference in San Antonio, Lauren Oertel, TCEQ presented “New BMP Resource for Watershed Stakeholders – One Year Follow Up.” Presentation: http://southweststream.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/5_
E_Oertel.pdf
. Resource: http://watershedbmps.com/. The website includes a list of BMPs available by driver (conservation, sediment, etc.). Within a particular driver, BMPs are listed by category – structural, non-structural, etc. Each BMP link has pictures, resources, description, benefits – all kinds of helpful information.

20. New Facebook Game Teaches Public about Managing Runoff

In celebration of Earth Day 2014, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Timmons Group, and SRRN Games launched the Facebook game “Stormwater Sentries.” In a simulated municipality, players control sustainable activities around town, taking on challenges, completing missions, and earning money to reduce stormwater runoff. Players learn to properly dispose of litter and pet waste, install rain gardens and rain barrels, create pervious walkways, and participate in other water friendly activities.
Stormwater Sentries was designed to demonstrate how decisions made on private property can affect local stream health, and it promotes awareness of the environmental effects of stormwater runoff, particularly those on the Chesapeake Bay. Play the game on Facebook.

21. Paper Explores Green Infrastructure Health Benefits

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) has released a research paper on the connections between green infrastructure, health, and community resiliency. The GRHC paper, “Exploring Connections between Green Infrastructure & Healthy & Resilient Communities,” reviews a growing body of literature illustrating how building and community design has profound consequences for human health and happiness.

22. EPA Publishes MS4 Permit Compendium - Shows Examples of MS4 Permit Post-Construction and WQBEL Approaches

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) Permits – Post-Construction Performance Standards
& Water Quality-Based Effluent Requirements: A Compendium of Permitting Approaches
(June 2014). The compendium is a compilation of EPA and state permits that exhibit noteworthy approaches to regulating post-construction discharges and to implementing applicable TMDLs. The organizers plan to update the Compendium as new permits are issued.

23. Survey of MS4 Operators You May Find Interesting

The Center for Watershed Protection recently conducted a survey of MS4 operators in the U.S. to collect information on their program status, needs and future trends to better tailor our guidance and tools.
The 249 respondents represented MS4s in 26 states, with the highest response rates from California (18%), Colorado (10%), Georgia (9%) and Missouri (8%). More than half the respondents (55%) were Phase II permittees, followed by Phase I (16%) and unregulated MS4s (2%). The majority of respondents represented city governments (42%), followed by county governments (16%), towns (6%), special districts (4%), public complexes (4%) or other permittees (3%). The majority of respondents (37%) had a population of less than 50,000, followed by 50,000-99,000 (18%), 100,000-249,999 (12%), 250,000-999,999 (4%) and 1 million or greater (1%). Highlights from the
National MS4 Needs Survey


24. Proposed draft SWIFT rules approved for publication

On June 26, 2014, TWDB approved the publication of the proposed draft rules for the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT) in the Texas Register.
 Last November, Texas voters approved legislation that created the SWIFT and SWIRFT. Both funds will be used to finance water projects in the current state water plan. Before the funds become available in 2015, the TWDB Board has to approve administrative rules that define standards for rural, conservation and reuse projects, as well as prioritize projects that are seeking financial assistance.
With the publication of the draft rules in the Texas Register, the formal comment period is officially open and will continue until September 1, 2014. Interested parties can view the draft rules and submit public comments on the TWDB website or email comments to rulescomments@twdb.texas.gov. Additionally, the public will have the opportunity to provide comments on the draft rules at TWDB work sessions and Board meetings to be held in San Antonio, San Angelo, Fort Worth and Austin.
 
25. New Literature Search for Innovative Financing

With funding from the US EPA, the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is investigating innovative financing approaches for stormwater and green
infrastructure
. A first step has been to catalog some of the existing publications in this area that have information on project financing.

26. TWDB's New Environmental Process for State-Funded Projects 

TWDB has changed the environmental review process for state-funded projects. In lieu of an Environmental Assessment, applicants will simply complete the new shorter, simplified Environmental Data Form to ensure projects comply with regulations and program requirements. The new format, which has been vetted by regulatory agencies, should decrease review time and reduce the amount of time customers spend on document preparation. In addition, it affords regulatory agencies and the TWDB the opportunity to comment and require additional analysis, protection or mitigation if the project's potential impacts so warrant. Please visit the website for information. 

27. New TCEQ Publication on Rain Barrels

In May, TCEQ release Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels, A Take Care of Texas Guide, GI-383 (revised), intended to help the public learn how to construct a rain barrel and harvest rainwater in their own yard. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/gi/gi-383.html

28. Study: 100-Foot Buffers Keep Streams Healthy

From: http://www.stormh2o.com/SW/Articles/Study_100Foot_Buffers_Keep_Streams_Healthy_
26051.aspx

Streamside forest buffers, long considered a best management practice, should be at least 100 feet wide on each side to adequately protect freshwater ecosystems from human activities according to an extensive scientific literature review published in the June issue of Journal of American Water Resources Association.
While the environmental benefits of streamside forest buffers have been known for decades, there was no consensus about how wide an effective forest buffer should be, until now. Current standards for a minimum forest buffer width vary from state to state and even from program to program, ranging from 35 feet to 100 feet.
The ecosystem benefits of wider forest buffers for streams include nitrogen pollution removal, soil sediment trapping, bank erosion prevention, improved temperature control, increased quantity of large woody debris, stream channel widening, improved channel meandering, and healthier habitat for macroinvertebrates and fish. Meadows and grass buffers do not provide as many benefits.

29. If You Need Help With Your Public Outreach

Rain Ready. Website by Center for Neighborhood Technology. Videos, fact sheets, and other resources for community stormwater management.

30. EPA Launches Green Infrastructure Collaborative

EPA has joined with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Energy to release a Federal Letter of Support for green infrastructure and a Green Infrastructure Collaborative. EPA will engage with public and private organizations to expand this collaborative and provide a platform for sharing best practices, provide on-the-ground community support, develop actionable planning tools for decision-makers, conduct research on increasing affordability and effectiveness, and align public and private knowledge and resources to promote green infrastructure. For more information on the federal support letter for the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/upload
/Federal-Support-for-Green-Infrastructure-Collaborative_508.pdf
.

31. EPA Develops Tool to Help Communities Become More Flood Resilient

EPA has released a tool to help communities prepare for, deal with, and recover from floods. The Flood Resilience Checklist offers strategies that communities can consider, such as conserving land in flood-prone areas, directing new development to safer areas, and using green infrastructure approaches, such as installing rain gardens, to manage stormwater. The checklist is part of a new report, "Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities". To view the tool and the report visit: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia_communities.htm#rec1.

32. The Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Holds Integrated Planning Hearing

Received July 26th: The Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), held a hearing this week on the EPA integrated planning and permitting regulatory prioritization effort for stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, and legislative efforts being made to supplement the program. Integrating stormwater and wastewater requirements has the potential to help address municipalities’ cost concerns because EPA can better weigh municipalities’ financial capabilities and prioritize and support activities that provide the highest environmental return per dollar spent.
EPA released its integrated planning framework in 2012. Some in the stakeholder community have been concerned with the implementation of the program and how EPA will address key matters such as affordability. EPA has been working with organizations such as WEF and the US Conference of Mayors.

33. Topographic Profiles Anywhere on Earth, at Your Fingertips

Program Geocontext-Profiler allows you to make topographic profiles anywhere on Earth in the seabed and ocean floor. Within the program, you can find advanced options that allow you to create a profile along a road or bicycle and pedestrian paths, or measuring a slope angle. The program can import KML, KMZ and GPX from GPS devices. For educational purposes, several pre-programmed profiles of interesting geographic features exist, such as: the highest mountain or the largest ocean depths of Earth. Find it here: http://www.geocontext.org/publ/2010/04/profiler/en/?import=k…

34. City of Austin case study featured in WEF’s Stormwater Report

Monitoring and Modeling: Two Sides of a Coin

Stormwater runoff can cause varying and complex issues across a watershed, from stream bank erosion to deteriorating benthic community health. Monitoring can help identify problems and set a baseline for background pollution, while modeling can be used to assess potential solutions, both structural and nonstructural. Once those solutions are put into place, monitoring can help determine if they are working and further refine the models. The City of Austin, for example, is using monitoring as a way to develop and direct watershed regulations with science and to enhance stormwater control design criteria.

“Monitoring is one side of a coin, modeling is the other,” said Roger Glick, supervising engineer with the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department. “Monitoring shows you what is, and modeling can show you what will be.” Read more.

35. TCEQ accepting applications for 2015 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards, the state's highest environmental honor. These annual awards recognize achievements across Texas that significantly reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and prevent pollution. Winners are honored at an awards banquet, held at the culmination of the agency’s Environmental Trade Fair and Conference, May 5-6, 2015. 
The Texas Environmental Excellence Awards are presented annually by the governor's office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. A governor's blue ribbon committee identifies outstanding contributions in nine diverse categories. Each year, applicants consist of individuals, communities, companies, or organizations whose bold efforts within the state contribute to the protection of Texas natural resources. Award categories include: Agriculture, Civic/Community, Education, Individual, Innovative Operations/Management, Pollution Prevention, Technical/Technology, Water Conservation, and Youth.
Deadline for applications is October 3. To nominate an exemplary environmental effort for the 2015 awards, apply online.

36. Atlas of LID Projects

National low impact development atlas: http://lidmap.uconn.edu/index_original.php
Something you need to add?

37. New WEF Books Available

-        Green Infrastructure Implementation Special Publication is now available for sale
Green Infrastructure Implementation provides actionable information that promotes the implementation of green infrastructure. Unlike most publications that focus on technical design of individual green elements, this peer-reviewed book tackles topics that relate directly to the ability to implement green infrastructure. The collection of programmatic and planning topics is unique in current literature, and covers a range of issues from stormwater to public education. Green Infrastructure Implementation identifies obstacles and provides guidance in possible approaches to overcoming them at the programmatic level. It also provides clear and actionable suggestions as to the selection and planning of green infrastructure at different scales and identifies considerations for implementation based on type of practice and specific geographic considerations. Each topic details an assessment of barriers and potential challenges and includes case studies that show how they can be addressed. Published by WEF. Soft Cover. 491 Pages. 2014.
Available for purchase at https://www.e-wef.org/Store/ProductDetails.aspx?productId=
38340815

-        Wet Weather Design and Operation in Water Resource Recovery Facilities Special Publication
Wet Weather Design and Operation in Water Resource Recovery Facilities provides professionals involved in the field with a comprehensive reference of current design and operational practices for dealing with the unique challenges associated with the proper management of wet weather flows. Wet Weather Design and Operation in Water Resource Recovery Facilities is intended as a companion to
Design of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants
, 5th Edition, MOP 8
andfocuses on providing a wet weather flow management perspective to the subject matter previously covered by the widely relied upon design practitioner resource. Going beyond MOP 8 by including operational-oriented considerations related to wet weather events, the text is composed of 16 chapters, grouped around planning and configuration for wet weather events in water resource recovery facilities and facility processes. Published by WEF. Soft cover, 306 pages. 2014.
Available for purchase at https://www.e-wef.org/Store/ProductDetails.aspx?productId=
38340653


38. EPA Updates Rainfall Erosivity Calculator

EPA has published an updated calculator to help construction sites calculate their rainfall erosivity factor (“R” in the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, or RUSLE) at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Welcome-to-the-Rainfall-Erosivity-Factor-Calculator.cfm. The updated calculator uses data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 (RUSLE2) database. Many NPDES permitting authorities waive stormwater permitting requirements for small construction sites with a low erosivity potential (including Texas). If allowed by the NPDES permitting authority, this calculator can be used by small construction sites to determine their eligibility for a low erosivity waiver (LEW). Operators of small construction sites in areas where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority qualify for the waiver if the “R” factor is less than 5 during the period of construction activity. For more information about the construction rainfall erosivity waiver, see http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/upload/fact3-1.pdf.

39. Conferences/Workshops/Webinars/Training Sessions:

-        TCEQ annual Water Quality and Stormwater Seminar, September 16-17 in Austin. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/p2/events/stormwater.html
-        WEF’s Innovative Approaches to Financing and Funding Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Investments. 08/27/2014 - 1:00 - 3:00 pm Eastern. For more information and to register for this no-charge event, please go to:
http://www.wef.org/InnovativeStormwaterFinancing/

-        EWRI Congress 2015: The EWRI Governing Board and 2015 Congress Organizing Committee invite you to submit an abstract to the EWRI Congress 2015 to be held in Austin, Texas, May 17-21, 2015. For detailed instructions on how to upload an abstract, as well as Congress submissions/review process deadlines, please visit the Congress website. Abstracts are due 9/10/2014. See attached call for papers.
-        Registration for WEF’s Stormwater Congress is open. The conference will be held in conjunction with WEFTEC® 2014, which will take place at the New Orleans Memorial Convention Center September 27 through October 1. The latest information is in the attached email.
-       The 2015 International Low Impact Development (LID) Conference will be held January 17 - 21, at the Omni Galleria Hotel, in Houston, Texas. Visit the LID Conference Webpage for more information.
-         Applied Environmental Statistics, Aug. 25-29, 2014. College Station, TX 77843.
Registration Form
. This workshop is being offered at a greatly reduced registration fee of $400, thanks to assistance from a Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant through the TSSWCB.This 4.5-day course covers applied statistical methods tailored to the environmental sciences. Exercises using R statistical software at the end of each lesson insure that students can confidently perform each procedure when they return to their office. The course doubles as an introduction to using the free R software. A full course outline is found at practicalstats.com.
-        TFMA Fall Conference. Sept 2-5, 2014, San Antonio. See attached flier.
-        EPA's Green Infrastructure Program’s next Webcast will be: Green Infrastructure and Smart Growth. September 3, 2014. 1:00pm – 2:30pm EDT. REGISTER!
The following webcasts will be (Registration coming soon):
Innovative Financing for Green Infrastructure. November 4, 2014. 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST.
Green Infrastructure for Localized Flood Management. December 2, 2014. 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST.
-        Earn a certificate in Green Stormwater Infrastructure Design and Management: http://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/green-stormwater-infrastructure.html. Take the program completely ONLINE from anywhere or in-person in Downtown Seattle.  Program begins October 2014. The certificate is comprised of 3 courses: Planning for Green Stormwater Infrastructure, Green Stormwater Infrastructure Design Principles, and Implementing & Evaluating Green Stormwater Infrastructure Projects.
-        From the Center for Watershed Protection:
Stream Restoration as a Pollutant Strategy. September 10, 2014, 1pm to 3pm EST.
Implementing TMDLs. October 8, November 12, 2014. Time : 1-3pm EST
If you have to miss one of these dates, you can buy the webcast within 60 days of the original air date!
-        Content, Conversations, and Discoverability: Quality Social Media Outreach for Natural Resource Professionals. Presented by Texas AgriLife. September 10-11, Austin Texas. Half-day September 10 and full day September 11. Register online.
-        Getting in Step: Ten Outreach Tips that Won't Break the Bank. September 29, 2014, Austin, Texas. Agenda and registration online. From Texas Watershed Planning at the Texas Water Resources Institute.
-        Working with Stakeholders to Move the Process Forward. September 30, 2014, Austin, Texas. Agenda and registration online. From Texas Watershed Planning at the Texas Water Resources Institute.
-        Advanced Culvert Hydraulics with HEC-RAS -- A Live ASCE Webinar. Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014. Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET. Reminder: Registration ends on September 8th. Pay a single site registration fee and an unlimited number of people in your organization can attend at that site. Register Early as Space is Limited! Questions? Call 1-800-548-2723.
-        Stream Restoration - In-Channel Structure Design and Placement - A Live ASCE Webinar. Date: Monday, September 8, 2014. Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET. Reminder: Registration ends on September 3rd. Pay a single site registration fee and an unlimited number of people in your organization can attend at that site. Register Early as Space is Limited! Questions?
Call 1-800-548-2723.
-        Hydraulics 101(For Those Who Skipped it in College) with David Williams, Ph.D., P.E., PH, CFM, CPESC, D.WRE. 2 Sessions: August 26th & 28th. 3 PDHs / 0.3 CEUs Credits.
-        Calculation and Use of Time of Concentration - A Live ASCE Webinar. Date: Monday, September 22, 2014. Time: 12:00p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET. Individual Members receive the special reduced rate of $99 for any live webinars taking place through December 31, 2014.  Register by September 30 to lock in the special rate. Reminder: Registration ends on September 17th. Pay a single site registration fee and an unlimited number of people in your organization can attend at that site.
Register Early as Space is Limited!
Questions? Call 1-800-548-2723.
-        Getting In Step – Top 10 Outreach Tips that Won’t Break the Bank. September 29, 2014. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Building A, Room 172A, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, TX 78753 (map). Agenda. Registration Form.
-        Stakeholder Facilitation – Working with Stakeholders to Move the Process Forward. September 30, 2014. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Building A, Room 172A, 12100 Park 35 Circle
Austin, TX 78753 (map). Agenda. Registration Form.
-        Roadway Surface Drainage and Drainage Crossing Structures.
Presenter:
Gordon R. Keller, PE, GE.
Wed., Sept. 10th @ 11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EDT,
http://www.foresteruniversity.net/webinar-roadway-surface-drainage.html.
-        Stream Restoration - Proper Channel Sizing and the Significance for Future Channel Stability - A Live ASCE Webinar. Date: Monday, September 29, 2014. Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET. Individual Members may receive the special reduced rate of $99 for any live webinars taking place through December 31, 2014.  Register by September 30 to lock in the special rate. Reminder: Registration ends on September 25th. Pay a single site registration fee and an unlimited number of people in your organization can attend at that site. Register Early as Space is Limited!
Questions? Call 1-800-548-2723.
-        Spurred by water quality trading questions received, this group is hosting a free webinar in December entitled 'Is a Water Quality Trading Program Right for Your Facility'? It will be general so as to cover multiple geographies, but key in on some of the critical pieces to make these types of compliance solutions viable. http://www.thefreshwatertrust.org/webinar-is-a-
water-quality-trading-program-right-for-your-facility/

-        Sustainable, Low Cost Shallow Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control Solutions - A Live ASCE Webinar. Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014. Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET. Live Webinar Summer Special for ASCE Members. Individual Members receive the special reduced rate of $99 for any live webinars taking place through December 31, 2014.  Register by September 30 to lock in the special rate. Reminder: Registration for this webinar ends on October 2nd. Pay a single site registration fee and an unlimited number of people in your organization can attend at that site. Register Early as Space is Limited! Questions? Call 1-800-548-2723.
-        ASFPM OCTOBER WEBINAR:Finding that Base Flood Elevation (BFE)! Tools and Techniques for Determining BFEs.Friday, October 10, 2014. 1:00PM - 2:30PM Central Time. 1 Core CEC for CFMs. Click here for event flyer. $70 Non-Members ($40 ASFPM Individual Members Join Now)
-        Ethics in Floodplain Management, Understanding and Avoiding Ethical Dilemmas in Your Role as a Floodplain Manager. Wednesday, October 15, 2014. 1:00PM - 2:30PM Central Time.
Click here for event flyer. $70 Non-Members ($40 ASFPM Individual Members Join Now).
-        CISEC Training Modules and Certification Examination, October 7 & 8, 2014 at New Braunfels City Hall. See attached flyer.
-       On-Demand Webinars. ASCE provides on demand webinars available for continuing education and technical value. A couple you might be interested in: Introduction to Detention Pond Design
(Read more and register.) and Storm Water Management (Read more and register.)
-       CPESC training and exam. If you would be interested in setting up future training events please contact Andy at ajohnston@halff.com. Andy can proctor individual CPESC exams or retests. (512-777-4562)
-        CESSWI training and exam. For more information contact Jimmy Eanes, CPESC, CESSWI, EnviroTrain, 972-922-2400, jeanes22@verizon.net.
-        CISEC training and exam. For more information contact Zac Martin, 830-221-4647, zmartin@nbtexas.org if you would like more info. See attached flier.
40. Other stuff
-          http://stormwater.wef.org/ is a great resource for all things stormwater.
-          If you are a member of WEF and are not receiving the WEF Stormwater Report, be sure to email ktwigg@wef.org to ask to be on it.
-          Please feel free to forward this information. If you were forwarded this email and would like to join the list, email heather.harris@ch2m.com.
-          If you would like to be removed from this list, email heather.harris@ch2m.com.
-          If you would like to join the WEAT and/or WEF Stormwater Committees, email heather.harris@ch2m.com.

 

Stormwater Watch - April 2014

Additional Items:

1. Rumor has it that the new rule is no more.

Rumor has it – no new EPA rule at all. I’m sure we’ll hear more about it soon. Officially, as of 3/22: This week EPA staff confirmed to WEF that the agency intends to refocus resources in light of delays in proposing a new national stormwater rule. In fact, last week, the President released his FY15 Budget Request which includes $5 million and added 30 staff to green infrastructure programs focused on sustainability goals. This is a significant development because it signals a quiet change in direction from EPA’s previous commitment to develop a new national rule, a commitment made as part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation litigation (Fowler v. EPA, D.D.C., No. 1:09-cv-5, 5/11/10).
The impact of EPA’s intended change of direction in the stormwater rulemaking will be broad. They may range from changes in enforcement approaches by EPA, increased efforts to better implement the existing MS4 permit program, to an increase in resources being invested by EPA in green infrastructure, stormwater best practices and other approaches. Additionally, NRDC and other environmental groups may rethink their legal strategy in light of EPA’s shift in focus and may shy away from settlements to keep pressure on the Agency. An increase in EPA resources devoted to stormwater and green infrastructure would allow EPA to invest in strengthening its current programs or begin new ones, and may create opportunities for financially stressed communities to receive additional resources, technical support and even direct funding for communities working to improve their urban stormwater management.

2. Interestingly enough…states move to limit EPA’s clean water authority

02/27/14 By Ned Resnikoff: Florida, Texas and Alaska are nowhere near the Chesapeake Bay. But that hasn’t stopped those states from trying to intervene in the EPA’s cleanup of the mid-Atlantic estuary. Earlier this month, the attorneys general from those states and 18 others filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which is suing to limit the extent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort. The Farm Bureau argues that the EPA exceeded its authority in regulating the amount of pollutants flowing into the bay, which the federal agency says is severely contaminated.
At question is how far the EPA can go in setting limits to ”the maximum amount of pollution a body of water can receive and still meet state water quality standards.” According to the Farm Bureau, the EPA exceeded its legal authority by trying to determine how much individual polluters would have to cut back, instead of just setting an overall so-called “Total Maximum Daily Load” and allowing the states to determine how it would be parceled out.
Full Article at: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/states-rights-or-consequence-free-pollution

3. At least someone is updating rules?

TCEQ is pleased to announce that on February 12, 2014, the TCEQ Commissioners adopted revisions to the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. The commission adopted the following changes as part of this triennial revision:

  • addition of a definition for industrial cooling water areas;
  • addition of a second category of primary contact recreation, primary contact recreation 2;
  • revisions to statewide toxic criteria for the protection of human health;
  • clarification of the allowance of different mixing zone sizes for specific numeric criteria;
  • numerous revisions and additions to the uses, criteria, and descriptions of individual water bodies;
  • additions and revisions to site-specific toxic criteria; and
  • addition of site-specific recreational uses for selected water bodies.

The revised rule was published in the Texas Register on February 28, 2014, and became effective as a state rule on March 06, 2014.

4. Another free tool available to you

The Source Water Collaborative recently announced a new online toolkit to facilitate partnerships to protect drinking water sources through agriculture conservation practices, stormwater and forest management. The toolkit offers effective steps source water protection professionals working at the local or state level can take to build partnerships with conservation district staff. The toolkit is designed for a variety of audiences – from those who have never worked with their conservation district, to those who have attempted but without success, to those who would like to enhance their current efforts. Click here to link to the online toolkit. Email us if you'd like to receive promotional materials (2-page handout and PowerPoint) to help disseminate the toolkit.

5. EPA Announces Nearly $5 Million in Grants to Support Research to Protect America’s Urban Watersheds with Green Infrastructure

The U.S. EPA announced nearly $5 million dollars in grants to five universities to evaluate innovative green infrastructure practices in urban areas, using Philadelphia, Pa. as the pilot area. These grants stem from a cooperative partnership between EPA and Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program that represents a broad, long-term investment in implementing green infrastructure stormwater management practices.
The EPA is awarding grants to the following universities: 

  • Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.
  • Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.
  • Temple University, Ambler, Pa.
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.

These grants are part of EPA’s safe and sustainable water resources research program that supports efforts to protect the quantity and quality of our water.

6. Statement on Introduction of Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) commends Senator Tom Udall (NM) and Representative Donna Edwards (MD) for introducing S. 1677, and H.R. 3449, the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act. The intent of the legislation is to provide critical support to advanced stormwater strategies that improve our nation’s ability to effectively manage polluted runoff and sewage overflows while relieving pressure on aging infrastructure.
The legislation would establish up to five regional centers of excellence that would conduct research, develop recommendations, and provide training and technical assistance for implementing practices for stormwater control and management. It would also promote the use of innovative stormwater solutions within the EPA Office of Water and related programs and provide technical assistance to states, local governments and the private sector.
More information about this bill is here. Visit here to learn more about ASLA’s stormwater management resources, including more than 475 green infrastructure case studies and a report on the economic benefits of green infrastructure. FYI, WEF strongly supports the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act, as well.

7. EPA Releases Climate Assessment Update to National Stormwater Calculator

EPA has released Phase II of the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package. The updated calculator includes future climate vulnerability scenarios. The calculator is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific location. The calculator now includes changes in seasonal precipitation levels, the effects of more frequent high-intensity storms, and changes in evaporation rates based on validated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate change scenarios. The updated calculator includes climate models that can be incorporated into the calculation of stormwater runoff. Users can enter any U.S. location and select different scenarios to learn how specific green infrastructure changes, including inexpensive changes such as rain barrels and rain gardens, can reduce stormwater runoff. This information shows users how adding green infrastructure, which mimics natural processes, can be one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce stormwater runoff. For more information on the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package visit: http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/wswrd/wq/models/swc/. To learn about EPA's Green Infrastructure research, visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/index.cfm.

8. So it’s not just about basketball

Some of you might be interested in the new website developed by the NEMO Program at UConn, which is intended to help communities work their way through a process that could comprise a response to an "IC-TMDL," and would also be useful to MS4 and other communities struggling to deal with stormwater management. For more information: http://nemo.uconn.edu/ic-guide/index.htm

9. STORMWATER VIDEOS FOR MS4s

Excal Visual LLP produces proprietary training and public outreach video programs on stormwater compliance for MS4s. Rain Check is a video kit designed to train employees on Best Management Practices (BMPs) including good housekeeping, spill prevention and response, vehicle washing/fueling/maintenance, groundskeeping, storm drain cleaning and more. IDDE: A Grate Concern trains MS4 employees on illicit discharge detection & elimination (IDDE) while IDDE: Public Outreach (five video series)is designed to reach out to and educate members of the general public.
To watch any of these videos online, please go to: http://mk.excalvisual.com. Click on the PRODUCTS tab then scroll down to the Stormwater section and click on the MS4 titles. All these programs are also available on free 15-day trial preview. Please contact them at training@excalvisual.com or 888-925-6554.

10. Couple of recent TCEQ publications of interest

Basics of Industrial Stormwater Regulations, RG-514 (new publication)
Permitting and authorization for discharge of stormwater from industrial facilities. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/rg/rg-514.html
Conditional No-Exposure Exclusion for Stormwater Runoff: A Guide for Industries Operating Under the TPDES Multi-Sector General Permit, TXR050000, RG-467 (revised)
Explains the no-exposure exclusion for industries operating under the TPDES Multi-Sector General Permit.
http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/rg/rg-467.html
Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels, A Take Care of Texas Guide, GI-383 (revised)
Brief how-to guide to collecting rainwater to water your plants and save money. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/gi/gi-383.html
Primary and Secondary Operators Under the Construction General Permit for Stormwater Discharges (TXR150000), RG-468 (revised)
Helps individuals, businesses, and governments determine if they are a primary or a secondary operator under the construction stormwater general permit.
http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/rg/rg-468.html
Managing Nonpoint Source Pollution in Texas: 2013 Annual Report, SFR-066/13 (new publication)
Annual report of Texas' progress towards reducing nonpoint source pollution. Highlights the state's efforts to collect data and assess water quality, implement projects that reduce or prevent nonpoint source pollution, and educate and involve the public.
http://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/comm_exec/pubs/sfr/066-13.pdf
Rainwater Harvesting, GI-404 (revised)
Homeowners and landowners can build simple or complex systems to capture, store and use rainwater to water their landscape plants.
http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/gi/gi-404.html

11. Job Opportunities

Not sure if filled yet, so I thought I’d include this job posting for a Natural Resource Specialist (Project Manager) position in Temple: https://www.tsswcb.texas.gov/files/docs/nps-319/NRS%20Temple%2002032014.pdf
New Braunfels is looking for a watershed coordinator: http://www.nbtexas.org/Jobs.aspx?UniqueId=84&From=All&CommunityJobs=False&JobID=Watershed-Coordinator-549
TWRI is looking for a new director. See attached notice of vacancy, and go here for more information: https://greatjobs.tamu.edu/hr.

12. WEF Releases White Paper on Stormwater Product Evaluation Program

On Feb 6, WEF’s Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices (STEPP) Task Force released a white paper recommending a national testing and evaluation program for stormwater products and practices. The goal of a national program would be to meet the growing need for affordable and effective stormwater management infrastructure and to overcome sector hurdles that restrain innovation in stormwater product and practice technology development. Read more and vote.

13. Clean Water Affordability Act Would Codify Integrated Planning

The Clean Water Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3862) was introduced on Jan. 14 by Representatives Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and would create a law around the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) integrated planning framework.
Integrated planning allows communities to modify consent agreements and prioritize NPDES projects and spending. For communities with approved integrated plans, H.R. 3862 also would extend current five-year NPDES permit terms to no more than 25 years. Further, it would require EPA to update its financial affordability guidance within a year. According to the currently used 1997 guidance, it is reasonable for taxpayers to spend as much as 2% of median household income on clean water projects. H.R. 3862 would require that financial assessments include other factors, such as poverty rates, site-specific financial conditions, and local and state tax rates. Under the proposed law, implementation schedules also would be structured reduce impacts on “distressed populations,” and permittees could be given up to 30 years to implement water quality improvements. The bill also proposes a 30-year repayment period for State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans as well as 30% additional subsidies in the form of principal forgiveness for communities that meet the affordability criteria. Further, it would ensure that small communities receive up to 15% of available SRF funding.

14. Interested in Envision™?

WEF’s Sustainability Community of Practice has created an Envision Task Force to help educate water professionals on how the Envision sustainability rating system can be applied to:

  • Collection Systems
  • Biosolids
  • Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery
  • Stormwater and Watershed Management

If you are interested in helping getting involved in this effort, please reply to this email and I’ll get you in touch with the right people.

15. Just because I think trading is really interesting

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) traded phosphorus from their largest treatment plant with the City of Princeton, MN. This trade enabled Princeton to expand their wastewater treatment facility. In return, MCES required the city to remove twice the traded phosphorus from the nonpoint system to the river. For instance, if they traded 5 tons, the city would be required to remove 10 tons of phosphorus from the nonpoint discharges to their receiving stream. The basis for determining the phosphorus removed from the nonpoint system is a published, applicable reference document.

16. Just a reminder to you Phase II communities

The new TPDES general permit for Phase II (Small) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems - TXR040000 was issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with an effective date of December 13, 2013. Operators of small MS4s must apply to the TCEQ for authorization under the new permit by June 11, 2014.
To obtain permit coverage, submit a new Notice of Intent, a $100 application fee, and a Stormwater Management Program before June 11, 2014. Existing authorizations will remain active until the new applications are approved.
MS4s serving a population of less than 1,000 within a UA may qualify for a waiver. Those applications must also be submitted before June 11, 2014. Provisional coverage begins 30 days after submittal. All authorizations continue until the expiration date of the general permit or until the authorization is terminated by the MS4 operator.
The reissued general permit, factsheet, Response to Comments, and a Frequently Asked Questions document are now available on the TCEQ website at: http://www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting/stormwater/WQ_ms4_small_TXRO4.html.
The revised NOI Form No. 20368 and Waiver Form No. 20369 can be found on the TCEQ website at: http://www.tceq.texas.gov/comm_exec/forms_pubs/search_forms.html. Forms from the previous permit period are no longer valid and will not be processed.
Model ordinances and additional compliance resources are also available on the TCEQ website at Assistance Tools for Stormwater Permitting: http://www.tceq.texas.gov/assistance/water/sw.html.
For help determining whether the new Phase II MS4 general permit is applicable to your organization, contact the TCEQ’s Stormwater & Pretreatment Team at 512-239-4671 or by e-mail at SWGP@tceq.texas.gov.
For help understanding the application process or the requirements of any stormwater general permit, contact the TCEQ’s Small Business & Local Government Assistance Section’s compliance Hotline at 1-800-447-2827 or a Compliance Assistance Specialist in one of the TCEQ regional offices: http://www.tceq.texas.gov/about/directory/region/reglist.html.

17. NOAA to Collaborate with Utilities, WEF and other Organizations to Improve Climate Information

WEF is collaborating with NOAA and other organizations to help improve utilities’ access to better climate information which would be actionable and helpful in making decisions related to long term planning, asset investments, capital improvements, and climate adaptation activities. On February 10th, WEF participated in a day long workshop with NOAA focused on increasing partnerships with water utilities, urban planning and NOAA communities. Its focus was on expanding access to and utilization of NOAA climate information, forecasts, tools, and education in decision-making. The group, led by the NOAA’s Climate Program Office (CPO) looked at current successful federally-hosted websites such Climate.gov, Drought.gov, and Digital Coasts and discussed opportunities to leverage one or more of these sites and improve the usability of the data as they relate to utilities’ needs. WEF is also working with NOAA’s Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP), the US National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in hosting and/or supporting webinars as part of a series called “Climate Information for Managing Risks In Water Resources.”

18. New USGS Portal Provides Access to More Than a Century of Sediment Data

An online, interactive, sediment data portal has been developed to improve the utility and accessibility of USGS suspended-sediment data to watershed managers, policy-makers, researchers, and the public. This database represents the best available compendium of suspended-sediment data for streams in the Nation. Ancillary information on streamflow condition, sediment grain size, sampling method, and landscape condition are also available within the portal.
Read More

19. Have a paper worth of JWR?

The ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management (JWRPM) is soliciting papers for a Special Issue on Sustainability, intended to provide in-depth discussion of sustainability concepts, measures, theory, policy and practice related to water and environmental systems. The Special Issue will constitute in some respects a sequel to the 1997 ASCE Task Committee report on Sustainability Criteria for Water Resource Systems. Click here for suggested topics. Please submit manuscripts electronically by May 2, 2014, with a cover letter designating the paper for the Special Issue on Sustainability.

20. WEF Files Comments on EPA Draft of NPDES for Stormwater Discharges

On Dec. 26, WEF filed comments on the U.S. EPA draft of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Multi-sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Industrial Activities. WEF’s comments noted a concern that in areas where EPA looks to streamline procedures, WEF members could end up having to follow more complex procedures. WEF also commented on the electronic reporting aspects of the draft and potential challenges with electronically reporting a general permit designed to cover many different industrial sectors.

21. It’s for the kids

All the Way to the Ocean, a children’s book about stormwater pollution and its effects on marine life, is making it cool for kids to pick up trash. “I wrote this book from the perspective of think globally, act locally,” said Joel Harper, the book’s author and publisher <and Ben Harper’s brother>. “Picking up trash can have a big impact, and anyone can do it.”
All the Way to the Ocean tells the story of two boys who learn that runoff carries litter and other pollutants through storm drains to the ocean. Inspired by this lesson, the kids teach fellow students and organize a cleanup day at their school. Like the two children in the story, Harper’s book has inspired similar actions across the United States and the world. Spurred by his passion for the subject and inspired by feedback on the book, Harper has completed a short animated movie with well-known musicians and film industry professionals. He is pairing the release of the film with educational online games and a new book. Read more.

22. National Network on Water Quality Trading Launches

The National Network on water quality trading, a coalition of government officials and environmental and industry organizations, launched Jan. 14. The goal of the network is to establish a national dialogue and to “provide options and recommendations to improve consistency, innovation and integrity in water quality trading.” Currently, state and local trading programs exist across the country, but they all vary in nature and scope.
Just two days before the network launched, the Electric Power Research Institute, a network participant, released “Case Studies of Water Quality Trading Being Used for Compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Limits.” The report shows how water quality trading is used in 18 NPDES permits. Read more about the network’s goal and partners.

23. DOT Launches New Grants Program – Stormwater Projects May Be Eligible

The DOT has recently made available funding for the Department of Transportation's National Infrastructure Investments. The notice is addressed to organizations that are interested in applying and provides guidance on selection criteria and application requirements for the National Infrastructure Investments. The legislation includes substantial language including funding for “addressing stormwater through natural means” , “groundwater recharge in areas of water scarcity” and “stormwater mitigation” and requests applications in these and other areas.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Pub. L. 113-76 January 17, 2014) (“FY 2014 Appropriations Act”) appropriated $600 million to be awarded by the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) for National Infrastructure Investments . Because this program is similar to a previous program the Department funded, it will continue to refer to the program as “TIGER Discretionary Grants” or “Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.” This is a competitive program “for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region”. The deadline for applications through Grants.gov is April 28, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Additional details: www.dot.gov/tiger

25. Texas Water Development Board swears in new Board member

AUSTIN - (March, 18, 2014) - Today, Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) Chairman Carlos Rubinstein swore in Kathleen Jackson as the newest member of the Board at the agency's offices in Austin.

26. Federal Entities Acting Right?

EPA staff is trying to determine whether municipal stormwater utilities are still facing any resistance from federal facilities to paying local stormwater fees. Congress passed an amendment to the Clean Water Act in 2011 that clarified federal government responsibility to pay local stormwater fees.
If you are aware of stormwater utilities or municipalities that are still having trouble collecting stormwater fees from federal government agencies, please respond contact Debora Clovis at Clovis.Debora@epa.gov or (202) 564-0739.

27. EPA MS4 Conference Adding Poster Option

[They] are pleased to announce the first GI/LID competition that will be held during our 16th Annual EPA R6 Stormwater Conference. See the attachment for addition information on this event. Please share this information with other stormwater practitioners. I look forward to seeing you there.
[POSTER CONTEST] ELIGIBILITY
• All poster abstracts must be submitted in partnership with the MS4s in which the project is located.
• MS4s, Governments, Non-Profit Organizations, Students/Academia, private practitioners are encouraged to participate.
• Specific GI/LID projects within Region 6 that are implemented or in the process of implementation are eligible.
• Poster presenters or a designated project representative are expected to pay a conference registration fee to attend and participate in the conference.
TYPES OF PROJECTS
• New Designs
• Retrofits
• Redevelopment Projects
• Residential
• Commercial
• Industrial
• Transportation
• Institutional

27. Always nice to have proof it’s better and less expensive

The U.S. EPA released a report today that found green infrastructure can be a cost effective solution to controlling stormwater while providing numerous economic benefits. Using the City of Lancaster as a case study, EPA sought to quantify the economic benefits associated with utilizing green infrastructure for controlling wet weather pollution.
“Cities like Lancaster are leading the way in creating cost-effective and innovative solutions to the stormwater challenges we face today,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “By keeping rain water from coming into contact with pollution in the first place, green infrastructure improves water quality while making communities more livable.” Read More

29. WOTUS Rule Making

On March 25th, EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands, also known as "Waters of the United States" rulemaking. WEF will be working with the Government Affairs and other Committees to provide comments on the proposed rule.
The proposed rule is intends to clarify protection for streams and wetlands. The proposed definitions of waters will apply to all Clean Water Act programs. According to EPA, the rule is not designed to protect any new types of waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act and is consistent with the Supreme Court's more narrow reading of Clean Water Act jurisdiction. The proposed rule intends to clarify that under the Clean Water Act and based on the draft scientific assessment by EPA (which has been peer-reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Board, but the final report is not yet finalized) :

  • Most seasonal and rain dependent streams are protected
  • Wetlands near rivers and streams are protected
  • Other types of waters may have more uncertain connections with downstream water and protection will be evaluated through a case specific analysis of whether the connection is or is not protecting similarly situated waters in certain geographic areas or adding to the categories of waters protected without case specific analysis.

Click here for more information. http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters

29. Better (and free) mapping tools

There is a new Google Earth KMZ file developed by EPA (February 2014) that shows NHD streams, watersheds, 303d listed streams, TMDLs, and more. To get the file, go to the website below and download / open the KMZ file. When you open the file, it should automatically load the data layers into your “Places” bar on the left side of the Google Earth window. When you close Google Earth, save the data if you’d like the information to be available in future sessions.
http://water.epa.gov/scitech/datait/tools/waters/tools/waters_kmz.cfm
http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/construction/index.cfm

30. Remember the ELG drama?

Follow this link or open the attached pdf files on the latest chapter in EPA’s saga to issue rules to control pollution from construction sites under its Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) program. ELG’s are issued by EPA, and modified as needed, for certain types of pollution sources. About 8 years ago, a court ruled that construction was in fact a type of pollution that EPA must regulate under its ELG program, so EPA produced a second round of draft ELG’s in 2008 (after pulling their initial 2002 draft in 2004). The 2008 draft contained a new type of “numerical limit” – that turbidity from a rainfall event could not exceed a daily average from all outfalls of 13 NTU. The EPA received over a thousand comments on the 2008 draft, and the final rule in 2009 had a turbidity limit of 280 NTU (daily average). This too was challenged, and under a court oversight the parties agreed in 2010 that EPA’s data was flawed, so EPA “stayed” the numerical turbidity limit pending further study and negotiations. EPA’s ELG’s are enforceable through EPA’s and states’ CGPs.

31. FYI, EPA has Nonpoint Source News Notes

EPA’s Nonpoint Source News-Notes, Issue #95 (April 2014) is now online at www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/95issue.pdf. EPA’s NPS News-Notes newsletter explores new and innovative programs, tools, and resources that are available to help you manage polluted runoff. An example topic and associated subjects:
** NOTES ON GREEN STORMWATER INFRASTRUCTURE
(9) Infrastructure is Going Green in Communities Across America
(10) Parking Forest: A Natural, Sustainable Development Approach
(11) New Strategy Focuses on Making Green Infrastructure Business as Usual
(12) Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure Benefit Jurisdictions Nationwide
       

32.  TWDB launches interactive 2012 State Water Plan website


As part of ongoing efforts to promote awareness about water shortages and create transparency, TWDB announced an interactive website based on the 2012 State Water Plan. This first-of-its-kind online application makes it easy to get details about water shortages:

  • In multiple planning decades over the next 50 years, with changes over time
  • At the community, state, region, county and entity level
  • Within several map layer options

Only projects that appear in the state water plan are eligible for funding from the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) that was approved by Texas voters last November. These data will arm communities with important information as they plan for projects to submit for SWIFT funding.
For details, contact Matt Nelson at matt.nelson@twdb.texas.gov or 512-936-3550.

32. New HEC-HMS Version

HEC-HMS Version 4.0 is now available from the website: http://www.hec.usace.army.mil/software/hec-hms/
This new release represents nearly three years of intense development to introduce new features for surface erosion, channel sediment transport, reservoir sediment settling, and nutrient water quality. They have added computation points in the basin model to provide a new approach to manual calibration and have also introduced zones in the basin model that are used in the new forecast alternative simulation to provide increased efficiency when producing real-time flow forecasts. You can find more information about these and other new features in the Release Notes:
http://www.hec.usace.army.mil/software/hec-hms/documentation/HEC-HMS_Release_Notes_4.0.pdf

33.
International LID Conference to be in Houston!

The 2015 International Low Impact Development (LID) Conference will be held January 17 - 21, at the Omni Galleria Hotel, in Houston, Texas. This conference will highlight new and ongoing work including research, development, and community adoption of LID throughout the United States and across the globe. Additionally, this conference will focus on the application of LID technology in the Southwest region of the U.S. and also include a mini-symposium on arid regions LID.
You are invited to submit abstracts that address the design, performance, and policy aspects of LID and Green Infrastructure use in Texas, and in low relief coastal areas. The committee also encourages the submission of “synthesis” type papers that pull together the results of a variety of studies to present what would be considered the state of the practice today. Visit the LID Conference Webpage for a complete list of topics.

34. Conferences/Workshops/Webinars/Training Sessions:

Register for the full 6-week session (and save 20%), or for the webinars you want to attend.

All live sessions are recorded and available on-demand so you can learn when you want, where you want.

  • Design of Erosion Control Measures for Small Channels - A Live ASCE Webinar. Monday, May 5, 2014, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET. Register Early as Space is Limited! Questions? Call 1-800-548-2723.
  • Applied Environmental Statistics, Aug. 25-29, 2014. College Station, TX 77843. Registration Form. This workshop is being offered at a greatly reduced registration fee of $400, thanks to assistance from a Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant through the TSSWCB.

This 4.5-day course covers applied statistical methods tailored to the environmental sciences. Exercises using R statistical software at the end of each lesson insure that students can confidently perform each procedure when they return to their office. The course doubles as an introduction to using the free R software. A full course outline is found at practicalstats.com.

  • TFMA Fall Conference. Sept 2-5, 2014, San Antonio. See attached flier, ABSTRACT deadline is May 9.
  • Permeable Pavement Master Class Series. May 22 – Aug 14. 11 a.m. PDT. 4 sessions. Read more...
  • Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA) of 2014 (AKA Grimm-Waters 2014) Meets Biggert-Waters 2012:
    Impacts and Implications.
    Learn how the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act modifies and expands on BW-12 implications. Friday, May 2, 2014, 1:00PM - 2:00PM Central Time, 1 Core CEC for CFMs, Click here for event flyer. $60 Non-Members ($30 ASFPM Individual Members Join Now)
  • Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA) of 2014 (AKA Grimm-Waters 2014) Meets Biggert-Waters 2012:
    Impacts and Implications.
    Learn how the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act modifies and expands on BW-12 implications. Thursday, June 26, 2014, 1:00PM - 2:00PM Central Time, 1 Core CEC for CFMs, Click here for event flyer. $60 Non-Members ($30 ASFPM Individual Members Join Now)
  • An Overview of Stream Restoration and Bioengineered Bank Stabilization - A Live ASCE Webinar Monday, May 12, 2014, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET. Register Early as Space is Limited! Questions? Call 1-800-548-2723.
  • Low Impact Development, North Texas Workshop. 8:30am - 5:00pm: Friday, May 2, 2014. Please click here to register for the Workshop.
    $50 of Registration Fee (Up to 7 CEUs Provided)
  • On-Demand Webinars. ASCE provides on demand webinars available for continuing education and technical value. A couple you might be interested in: Introduction to Detention Pond Design (Read more and register.) and Storm Water Management (Read more and register.)
  • CPESC training and exam. If you would be interested in setting up future training events please contact Andy at ajohnston@halff.com. Andy can proctor individual CPESC exams or retests. (512-777-4562)
  • CESSWI training and exam. For more information contact Jimmy Eanes, CPESC, CESSWI, EnviroTrain, 972-922-2400, jeanes22@verizon.net.
  • CISEC training and exam. For more information contact Zac Martin, 830-221-4647, zmartin@nbtexas.org if you would like more info. See attached flier.

    35. Other stuff

  • http://stormwater.wef.org/ is a great resource for all things stormwater.
  • If you are a member of WEF and are not receiving the WEF Stormwater Report, be sure to email ktwigg@wef.org to ask to be on it.
  • Please feel free to forward this information. If you were forwarded this email and would like to join the list, email heather.harris@ch2m.com.
  • If you would like to be removed from this list, email heather.harris@ch2m.com.
  • If you would like to join the WEAT and/or WEF Stormwater Committees, email heather.harris@ch2m.com.

Until next time!
Heather