News Digest - Week of January 11, 2019

The EPA has proposed a revised definition of the “Waters of the United States”, rolling back jurisdiction over certain wetlands, and peripheral ponds and streams, that are not connected to larger bodies of water via a surface channel.

The Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Passed the House in late 2018 and Senate in early 2019, and awaits signature by the President. Also known as the Integrated Planning (IP) bill, it codifies an integrated planning approach consistent with the EPA’s Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach. It further encourages IP through the requirement that the EPA inform agencies of opportunities to develop IPs that would result in a permit relating to:

  • CSO
  • Capacity Management plans for collection systems
  • Stormwater discharges
  • Wasteload allocations related to TMDL’s.

The bill explicitly lists projects eligible for an IP as:

  • Reclaiming, recycling or reusing water
  • Green Infrastructure (defined to be projects that include plan and soil systems, permeable pavement, stormwater harvesting, reuse, or landscaping to store, infiltrate, and reduce flows to sewer systems or to surface waters)

The 86th Texas Legislature began its session with a new Speaker, Dennis Bonnen of Angleton, formally elected by the House.

“Over the next decade, it is estimated that 37 percent of all water utility workers and 31 percent of wastewater utility workers in the U.S. will retire.” A word to the wise, and workforce development experts, from the Government Accountability Office.

The Texas Water Development Board has published its Flood Assessment for the 86th Legislature, offering opportunities to put our state’s $9 billion surplus to good use.

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