November 2017
Volume 12, Issue 6 
President's Corner
Hillary C. Repik
As we approach the holiday season, I am thankful for all of you who attended the SESWA conference in Louisville and for your continued support of our mission to be the leader in Stormwater for the Southeast. I hope that you learned something new or met a new colleague. I am always energized when I go back home and can share all the experiences and information with my staff and compatriots! 

Thank you to the members who have joined a Committee and are taking the extra time to help us grow and to bring you information about what is happening at the national, state, industry and local levels. This effort includes planning future educational opportunities, monitoring regulatory and permitting updates, and sharing solutions for pollution reduction and operational challenges. Networking helps us build personal and professional relationships; the conferences and seminars help us share our efforts with a wider audience; the Community Forum helps us to stay engaged; and the committees keep it all tied together.

In between events, what inspires me is the passion for stormwater that you all have. You are SESWA's greatest asset. We come together from a wide diversity of communities, backgrounds and topography to share solutions and make a difference. You are the scientists working to identify and educate others on issues, the engineers working on developing solutions, the vendors working to create a better product, and the public servants working to deliver the best solutions to our communities. Remember - what might be routine to you may be a new solution to others.

So, I challenge each of you to remain active with SESWA even when you're back at the "daily grind." This holiday season don't forget to look across the table, across your state and across the region, and remember that by continuing to listen, teach and support each other we are making a difference!

Sincerely,
Hillary C. Repik, President
Association News



Building Green - Member Webinar January 18th

The City of Atlanta has one of the most far-reaching stormwater management ordinances in the country, laying the groundwork for a robust Green Infrastructure program for both private development and municipal capital projects and without any help from a dedicated funding source.  Building Green: An Urban Approach to Green Infrastructure will review the City's success in implementing this approach to Green Infrastructure, many parts of which are transferable to other jurisdictions.  The webinar is FREE for SESWA members but you can only attend if you register in advance.  Hurry, space is limited!
Join the SESWA Community Forum!

SESWA's Community Forum is an online tool that enables SESWA members throughout the southeast to easily connect with other stormwater professionals, post questions and participate in discussions on BMPs, approaches to new permit conditions, Green Infrastructure and LID, and more!  It's a new way to network, ask questions and share answers with other stormwater professionals.  In fact, you can see that some of the articles in this newsletter are linked to the Community Forum!  Getting started is easy - just go to the How-To Guide!
In This Issue
Communications Sponsors



StormwaterONE

Woolpert

SESWA Board of Directors

Executive Committee

President:
Hillary C. Repik
Town of Mt. Pleasant, SC

Vice President:
Laurie Hawks
Brown and Caldwell

Secretary-Treasurer:
Scott Hofer
Jefferson County DOH, AL

Immediate Past President:
Buddy Smith, EPSC II
Hamilton County, TN

Board Representative:
W. Dave Canaan
Mecklenburg County, NC

To access a full listing of the SESWA Board of Directors, please click here.
12th Annual Conference

SESWA's 12th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference featured a great combination of stormwater professionals, cutting-edge exhibitors and dedicated sponsors, making last month's conference in Louisville, KY one of the best ever!  This year's conference provided attendees with a wide array of training, technologies and strategies to address the many challenges in stormwater management. It included a great tour of Louisville stormwater facilities and a Keynote Address given by Mary Walker, Director of the Office of Water for EPA Region 4.  Thank You to Our Sponsors:  United Storm Water, Brown and Caldwell, Hopping Green and Sams, ATM, CDM Smith, Retention Pond Services, S&ME and Woolpert!

New Leadership Elected

The SESWA membership elected new Officers and members of the Board of Directors during last month's Annual Membership Meeting. Your new Officers are:
  • Hillary Repik (Town of Mt. Pleasant, SC) - President
  • Laurie Hawks (Brown and Caldwell) - Vice-President
  • Scott Hofer (Jefferson County DOH, AL) - Secretary-Treasurer
Hillary Repik has named the following Committee Chairs for 2018:
  • David Canaan (Mecklenburg County, NC) - Communications
  • Patrick Blandford (HDR) - Conference and Education
  • Joe Mina (ATM) - Membership
  • David Mason (CDM Smith) - Stormwater Policy

SESWA Job Board - FREE to Members!

SESWA members may post position vacancy announcements reaching thousands of qualified stormwater professionals and search for qualified job seekers throughout the southeast at no cost!  To post your vacancy, visit the Job Board on the SESWA website!

National and Regional News 
WOTUS - Update on Regulatory Initiatives
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

EPA and ACOE have now concluded the series of teleconferences to hear recommendations from stakeholders on what the new definitions of "Waters of the US" should include and the informal period to submit comments on the proposed 2018 rule closed on November 28, 2017.  President Trump signed an Executive Order this past June directing EPA and ACOE to start the process to withdraw or significantly revise the 2015 WOTUS rule.  In July, the Agencies published a proposed rule repealing the 2015 regulations.  SESWA submitted comments to EPA concerning the proposed regulations.  For more information, visit EPA's WOTUS webpage or contact Ms. Donna Downing. Information may also be found on SESWA's Advocacy Page

WOTUS - Court Update
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

There have been no new significant developments in the courts concerning the WOTUS litigation since January, when the US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal filed by SESWA and other regulated interests of a decision of the Sixth Circuit Court in Ohio.  The appeal concerned the procedural (although important) matter of whether the Circuit or District court was the proper venue for review of WOTUS and similar rules.  However, on November 22nd EPA and ACOE published a proposed rule to add an applicability date to the 2015 rule of two years from its original effective date.  If adopted, the rule would serve to block the effectiveness of the 2015 rule in the event that the US Supreme Court finds that the District Courts (not the Circuit Courts) are the proper venue for determining the validity of rules such as WOTUS.    
Planning
Try a "Mock" Audit
Frank Pandullo, Charleston County, SC
 
Those of you who attended the Annual Conference in Louisville may have had the opportunity to attend the "Nowhere to Hide: It's Audit Time" workshop. The three presenters provided valuable advice on how permittees must prepare for a DHEC audit. One was to have staff attend the audit to respond to their respective roles in administering and complying with the MS4 permit conditions. Another was to have the Stormwater Program Manager preside over the responses to the audit questions. But the most important advice from the presenters was to engage a consultant to convene a mock audit to prepare for the real thing. The Charleston County Stormwater Program retained its consultant to convene a mock audit. It was an intense two and a half day review of the program and response to the practices followed in the permit compliance. A mock audit is highly recommended!
BMPs
Stormwater Management and Water Quality Improvement at OUMC
Derek Harwood, StormTrap

Orange United Methodist Church (OUMC) has been in existence for over 180 years. The church has grown exponentially in the last years and needed to expand their buildings and parking lot to accommodate their growing congregation.  OUMC worked with Philip Post & Associates and StormTrap to design the stormwater management system for the project.  The system is designed to allow the stormwater runoff to enter into the sediment chamber and flow over the weir wall into the sand filter chamber. The runoff infiltrates through the sand and then exits through the underdrain pipes. The treated runoff is then conveyed to the outlet control unit and sent downstream.  The system consists of 194 pieces and the entire installation process took three days. 

Responding to Change - Working to Solve Drainage Issues
Hillary Repik, Town of Mount Pleasant, SC and Joe Fersner, Thomas and Hutton

The Town of Mount Pleasant's "Old Mount Pleasant" Neighborhood has been undergoing a renaissance of home redevelopment in the past few years. The area contains both a historic district and small developments with large lots and ranch homes constructed in the 1950s served by limited stormwater infrastructure.  In addition, older homes have been demolished and reconstructed with larger homes and amenities.   The recent changes have stressed the capacity of existing stormwater systems. Increases in property values, redevelopment and several years of heavy flooding events prompted a level of service study to identify problem areas and prioritize future improvement projects.  The study identified systems with a level of service at less than the one year event and several small basins with no outfalls.  As a result, the Town is developing and implementing new programs and projects in the study area.  Efforts include a residential property impervious area rule capping impervious area at 40 percent of the lot, development of a builder's guide to aid in lot drainage planning, the design of a drainage system in high priority areas that anticipates future build out of all lots to the new impervious area rule, and consideration of a 1.5' sea level rise impact on the system hydrology.
Regulatory/Policy/Permits
Select Committee Meets to Consider SWU Fees 
Steve Leo, Gwinnett County, GA
 
Senate Resolution 224, which was passed during the Georgia 2017 legislative session, created a Joint Study Committee on Stormwater Management Fees. The Study Committee had been offered by the main sponsor of the legislation in response to significant opposition that had been mounted against SB 116, which would have established a new concept described as a "Water Neutral site" and would have provided a 100% exemption to SWU fees for property owners who met the "Water Neutral" standard. "Water Neutral" was defined in the bill as any property that managed stormwater runoff to the standards established within Georgia's Stormwater Management Manual.  One of the main purposes of the Study Committee was to review existing data and current practices related to stormwater management fees for the purpose of striking the proper balance between water quality protection and the equitable sharing of burdens or impact to stormwater systems. The first meeting of the Committee took place in Athens, GA on October 6, 2017. Several presentations were made to the Committee by various stakeholders (including SESWA) and a time for public comment was provided. A second follow up meeting was held in Atlanta, GA on November 7, 2017, at which the Committee heard details on: The Georgia Supreme Court case that assessed the validity of SWU fees in Georgia; a presentation from a private development engineer on whether a site can be truly "Water Neutral" when it comes to stormwater runoff; and a presentation by SESWA member, Athens Clark County, on how SWU fee credits and billing works in Athens. Members of that Committee agreed to submit comments and recommendations to legislative staff for collation into a draft final report on the Committee's work. The draft will be circulated to Committee members prior to a yet to be scheduled December meeting, at which time the draft report will be considered and a possible vote taken. The Committee's next meeting is set for December 7, 2017.  More information on the Committee, along with agendas and video of the meeting, is available online.

SC Initiating E-Permitting/NOI submittal
Charlie Hansen, Town of Mount Pleasant, SC
 
Permit updates were provided for the SMS4 permit and CGP.  The SC SMS4 General Permit expires in December 2018 and, at this time there is no schedule on the permit update process.  However, SCHDEC announced the plans for the transition to E-Permitting.   DHEC will be providing training on E-Permitting, NOI completion and authorizing signatories' responsibilities in late March or early April.  The SC Construction General Permit expires in December 2017 and is expected to be extended with the update process anticipated to begin sometime in 2018.  EPA representative Mike Mitchell discussed items that the Agency will want to see included such as covered construction dumpsters, temporary stabilization/cover for inactive stockpiles, minimize exposures to building materials containing PCBs, and more stringent stabilization deadlines for projects greater than five acres.

The Common Enemy Rule and Stormwater Runoff
Eric Larson, Beaufort County, SC

The issue of South Carolina's "Common Enemy Law" related to stormwater runoff may be of interest to other states and members are encouraged to look at their state enabling laws.  The South Carolina Supreme Court established the Common Enemy Rule in 1893. Under this rule, diffused surface water (now called stormwater) was known as a common enemy, meaning every landowner could take any measure necessary to protect his property, even if doing so forced runoff upon another property causing damage.  For example, years ago an individual sued a railroad company for installing an elevated track that backed up water and flooded the property but the courts upheld the railroad.  This unfortunate decision lasted for years but finally the courts established exceptions that one could not "concentrate and cast" water or discharge such that it caused a "nuisance" for another property.   South Carolina law with accompanying regulations now require that post construction peak runoff rate not exceed pre-construction peak runoff rate and that discharge velocity be reduced to nonerosive velocity. This provides a landowner with some reassurance.  Some county ordinances now contain provisions that require the developer to correct problems and restore the property, even on offsite properties.  Without such local codes, local MS4s are often left with no options or means to intervene into what would otherwise be a "civil matter" between two property owners.

Prohibiting the Use of Coal Tar Sealants
W. Dave Canaan, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, NC
 
Coal tar sealant is a product applied to asphalt surfaces for protection and beautification. The chemicals the sealant contains are abraded and carried by stormwater runoff to lakes and streams. Coal tar sealants contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are known human carcinogens and are harmful to aquatic organisms. Research conducted by USGS, EPA and other academics have identified coal tar sealants as the primary source of PAHs in the urban environment. Data collected by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSWS) from local streams shows concentrations of PAHs above the toxic thresholds for aquatic life. As a result, CMSWS has initiated action to discontinue the use of coal tar sealants at all County municipal facilities and is developing a proposal to discontinue its use at all City facilities.  CMSWS is also working collaboratively with the Town of Matthews, NC to incorporate language into their Surface Water Pollution Control Ordinance to ban the use and sale of coal tar sealants within that jurisdiction. CMSWS believes this initiative is an important first step towards mitigating this pollution source within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.  

Watering Down Water Quality Standards in Chattanooga
Peter E. Yakimowich, PE, Vaughn & Melton
 
Chattanooga City Council voted on November 21st, on two alternate proposed stormwater ordinance changes shaped by the Homebuilders Association of Greater Chattanooga. This is a first reading of the proposed changes relax retention standards originally developed through a rigorous stakeholder process by City engineering and planning staff. Both alternatives reduce the retention standard of the 1.6 inch rainfall event for the South Chickamauga Creek watershed to 1.0 inch. (The 1.6 inch (95th percentile rainfall event) requirement is a permit compliance measure to address habitat impairments in the flood prone watershed.) They also reduce the site area requiring retention from the disturbed area to only the impervious area. An alternate version would also set infeasibility for infiltration rates at 0.5 inches per hour or less. Local environmental groups have opposed the proposed changes demanding "No Pollution for Profit."  

NPDES Phase II MS4 Permit Appeal Update
David Mason, CDM Smith

On November 15th, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) issued a letter to all MS4s notifying them that the MS4 Permit appeal previously scheduled for November has been moved to January 2018. In response to the rescheduling, TDEC issued an additional delay of the implementation of the permit's permanent stormwater management requirements. TDEC has also deferred the implementation of any construction-related permit elements that require an ordinance revision to allow MS4s to make all ordinance changes at the same time once the appeal is heard and resolved. A copy of the TDEC letter is posted on the SESWA Community Forum.

NACWA Corner
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies

GAO Report Examines Benefits to Green Infrastructure with Collaborative Agreements
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

In late October, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study examining the use of green infrastructure (GI) to control urban stormwater, particularly in the context of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). The report, which was requested by Congress, describes how municipalities are incorporating and funding GI efforts and what challenges exist, if any. The report also examines the steps EPA is taking to help municipalities use GI.

Of the 31 municipalities surveyed, 26 communities reported that using GI was more challenging than using gray infrastructure, especially when developing operation and maintenance cost estimates. Nevertheless, 25 communities also reported continued use of GI even if it was more challenging. These communities found that GI performs better or that it provided additional environmental and community benefits.

The report also recommends that EPA document agreements (e.g. memorandum of understanding) when working with municipal departments and other stakeholders. By documenting these collaborative agreements, the GAO report concludes that EPA could have better assurance that groups will successfully develop and implement long-term stormwater plans. EPA indicated that it generally agreed with the GAO recommendation and plans to begin developing collaborative agreements with municipalities over the next year.
Don't see news from your state? Please contact us with your news or share your comments on our newsletter by emailing us at SESWA@ksanet.net.

Southeast Stormwater Association
(866) FOR-SESWA (367-7379)