SESWA ForeCast

May 2017                                                                                        Volume 12, Issue 3   
Thanks to Our Communications Sponsors!
In This Issue

SESWA Board of Directors

Executive Committee
Buddy Smith, EPSC II
Hamilton County, TN

Vice President:
Hillary Repik
Town of Mount Pleasant, SC

Laurie Hawks
Brown and Caldwell

Immediate Past President:
Jeff Corley, PE, CSM
City of Concord, NC

Board Representative:
Thomas Miller
City of Birmingham, AL

Board Members

Sam Amerson, PE
City of Stuart, FL

Tracey Barrow
Sumner County, TN

Patrick Blandford, PE

Hal Clarkson, PE, CFM

George Eastman, EIT, CFM
Columbia County, GA

Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi
Mecklenburg County, NC

Scott Hofer
Jefferson County DOH, AL

David Mason, PE, DWRE
CDM Smith

Thomas Miller
City of Birmingham, AL

Joseph Mina
Applied Technology & Management
Kevin Osbey
Clayton County Water Authority

Chris Wannamaker, PE
Charleston County, SC

Judy Wortkoetter, PE
Greenville County, SC

Jack Wright, PE
Warren County, KY

Executive Director
Kurt Spitzer
President's Corner
Buddy Smith   
I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for their participation at SESWA's 12th Annual Spring Seminar!  There were great presentations, attendance was high and there were numerous vendors on site who displayed the latest in technologies and solutions. Everyone had plenty of time to network, visit the exhibits and learn from expert presenters.

In a similar fashion, learning and networking will be the focus of SESWA's Regional Stormwater Conference this October.  The Conference features two tracks of workshop sessions, a great Exhibit Hall and Keynote Speakers, and the best networking opportunities in Region 4!  See the below article on the Conference and visit the Conference webpage for all the details!

As always, I want to thank you for your on-going support of our Association!
Association News
12th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference 
Registration is open now for the 12th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference!  This year's Conference will be held at the Galt House on October 11-13, 2017 in Kentucky's largest city - Louisville!  The Conference is the ONLY regional conference focused SOLEY on stormwater.  The theme of this year's Conference is Stormwater Solutions in Region 4.  With an agenda developed for you by your peers, you can take advantage of the best networking opportunities with other stormwater professionals throughout the Southeast, hear from EPA, NACWA, great keynote speakers and workshop presenters, and learn about the latest technologies in an outstanding Exhibit Hall.  Register early to SAVE BIG!
Good Housekeeping Webinar
Registration is open now for SESWA's July 20th webinar on Good Housekeeping Measures.  Good Housekeeping is a key element of the MS4 operator's stormwater management program, primarily focusing on city/county or facility operations.  It requires the jurisdiction to examine and potentially alter their operating protocols to help reduce the pollution that can result from maintenance activities performed on roads, buildings, equipment, or storm sewer systems.  Areas where materials are received, stored, and handled or disposed of need to have appropriate controls in place; of particular concern are fueling areas.  The webinar will discuss the requirements of the Good Housekeeping provisions of typical MS4 permits and how they may vary from state to state, and will give examples of best practices in implementing this provision of your MS4 permit.  The webinar is set for July 20th at 10:30 a.m.   It's FREE for SESWA members but space is limited, so be sure to register early!
Join the SESWA Community!
The  SESWA Community is an online discussion board for SESWA members throughout the Southeast to easily connect with other stormwater professionals to get solutions by posting questions and participating in discussions on BMPs, approaches to new permit conditions, Green Infrastructure and LID, and more!  It's a great way to ask questions and share answers with other stormwater professionals, without having to go outside of your inbox.  Get started now!  It's easy - just go to the How-To Guide!
2017 SWU Report
SESWA surveys stormwater utility practices and trends throughout the Southeast every two years and publishes a Final Report of the results of the Survey.  Reports contain a wide range of information relating to stormwater utilities, including SWU characteristics, fees and rates, information on expenditures and stormwater programs, public information efforts, ERUs, billing and collection mechanisms, revenues, expenditure patterns, etc.  Information contained in the Report is widely used by local stormwater managers and state policy makers throughout Region 4.  SESWA members may download the 2017 Southeast Stormwater Utility Final Report on SESWA's website.  Questions?  Email SESWA or call 8 66-367-7379.
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/Regional News
Legislation Preempting Locals Spreads 
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA; Dave Canaan, Mecklenburg County, NC; Bill Mason, CDM Smith; Steve Peene,  ATM; and, Steve Sands, Hazen and Sawyer

Not half-way into 2017 and it's already been a banner year for legislation filed to remove or severely limit the ability of local governments to exercise discretionary authority to protect water quality, finance projects to improve water quality or comply with permit conditions!  While most legislation has not passed, look for similar legislation to come back the next time a state Legislature meets or for what was filed in one state this year to be filed in another in 2018.  A short summary appears below; see other articles in the Regulatory/Policy section of this newsletter.

Preemption of Local Government Powers -
Local governments in Florida enjoy very broad powers of "Home Rule" - cities/counties may take action unless the Legislature has specifically preempted a subject matter to the State.  HB 17 was a far-reaching, very broadly worded bill that implemented a completely opposite policy:  Local discretionary authority on most environmental and water quality regulations were removed unless the Legislature has "expressly" granted authority by general law to local government in a specific subject area.  HB 17 was killed by a coalition of local interests.

Preemption of Stormwater Regulatory Authority
Less broad in its approach than HB 17, HB 751 prohibited local governments from adopting or enforcing any new ordinances or regulations implementing more stringent water quality standards or regulations for stormwater discharges to surface waters, wetlands or groundwater than those adopted by the state environmental department.  HB 751 was killed by a coalition of local interests.
North Carolina

Stormwater Fees at Airports - HB 275 would exempt airports from paying the stormwater utility fee for the impervious surface from runways and taxis.

Environmental Regulations
SB 434 addresses yard waste, shell fish, marine fisheries, dredging, and water quality buffers.  It repeals the plastic bag ban in the Outer Banks and limits the ability for cities and counties to adopt local water quality buffer regulations.


The Tennessee and National Homebuilders Associations have continued to aggressively pursue legislation to restrict NPDES Post Construction Stormwater requirements at the state and local level.  In 2016, the Associations were successful in passing SB 1830 which restricted the state and local governments from including post construction requirements in the NPDES permit that exceeded federal minimum standards.   This past session, HB 362 was filed (but did not pass) to require all NPDES permit requirements to be subject to statewide rulemaking procedures.
WOTUS Court Update  
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
In January the US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal filed by several regulated interests (including SESWA) of a decision of the Sixth Circuit (Ohio) on the issue of whether the Circuit or District court was the proper venue for review of WOTUS and similar rules.  In addition to helping to determine which court rules like WOTUS should be heard, the decision by the Supreme Court set the stage for other motions seeking delays in further actions by the Sixth Circuit Court (which were subsequently granted) until SCOTUS ruled on the jurisdictional matter.   
WOTUS Update on EPA Inititatives  
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
After President Trump signed an Executive Order directing EPA and ACOE to start the process to withdraw or significantly revise the WOTUS rule, EPA filed a Notice of Intent to initiate rulemaking to review and revise the WOTUS rules.  The proposed rule is now being reviewed by he Office of Management and Budget, and is actually a complete repeal of the WOTUS regulations.  The process to repeal an adopted rule is essentially the same as proposing a rule for adoption, requiring notice, publication of a draft proposal and opportunity for comments, before the new rule may be finalized.  EPA has stated its intention to propose new regulations defining jurisdictional waters in 2018.  Until a final decision is rendered by a court, the rule repealing WOTUS and/or a new definition is adopted, implementation of the current WOTUS rule remains stayed nationwide.   
BMP Inspections Critical to Meet Permit Requirements 
Joseph Mina, ATM
The industry is becoming more comfortable with the requirements for Post Construction Stormwater Management BMPs that are part of the NPDES Permitting process. Such BMPs are crucial to maintaining the flow characteristics and quality of the runoff from developed sites. What is often missed is adequate ongoing maintenance of these facilities after the construction is complete and when the ultimate owner takes over the property and operations of the BMPs.

Owners rely on their landscapers to perform mowing and upkeep of these devices but most are not specifically trained in keeping the SWM BMPs operating in accordance with the permit. They usually concentrate on mowing and edging, and these procedures frequently are at odds with the engineered vegetation and outlet structures. Most landscapers see these devices as a convenient place to discharge their grass clippings, frequently causing failure of the vegetation, erosion of the banks, excess sediment in the basins and clogging of the outlets.

One solution is to require that yearly inspection records are maintained to create a record of maintenance needs. This can encourage training of landscapers, inform owners about how the devices should work and how ongoing maintenance should be performed.
Student Ambassadors Protect Garner Creek 
John Butler, Gwinnett County, GA
Gwinnett County's Department of Water Resources (DWR) Watershed Improvement Group works to improve water quality by protecting stream riparian areas and buffers to improve aquatic habitat and reducing stream temperatures.   In addition to the structural BMPs that are important to the success of a project, non-structural BMPs like education can also improve water quality. One watershed improvement project recently provided a unique opportunity to partner with a very important stakeholder - students.  The Garner Creek Watershed Improvement project will improve water quality through stream restoration and stormwater treatment, and is partially located on the campus of Parkview High School.  Through a partnership between DWR and Parkview, students have been engaged with a unique ambassador program in the concept, design, research, and construction phases of the project. The vision is for the Student Ambassadors to continue their commitment through regular maintenance and stream monitoring, including conducting awareness campaigns, monitoring water quality, and holding stream cleanup events. The ambassador program is an essential project element that will allow the restored section of Garner Creek to remain beneficial to both water quality and the school campus. 
Regulatory, Policy, Permits
Legislation Prohibiting SW Fees on Tax Bills Fails
Steve Leo, Gwinnett County, GA
HB 204 was introduced into the Georgia Legislature earlier this year, seeking to prohibit the inclusion of all fees and assessments (other than property taxes) on property tax bills. Had the legislation passed, Stormwater Utilities that utilized the property tax bill would have had to change to another billing mechanism. The bill was passed by the House, but was not voted on by the Senate. It is anticipated that a similar version of this bill will be introduced in the 2018 session of the Georgia Legislature.
Legislative Threat to SW Utilities
Laurie Hawks, Brown and Caldwell
SB 116 (Georgia Legislature) sought to prohibit stormwater utility fees from being applied to properties that met design standards in the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in local user-fee revenues earmarked to protect property, public safety and water quality.  SESWA and other interests opposed SB 116 because of its detrimental impact to SWUs in Georgia and the potential precedent it could set in other Southeastern states.  The bill will automatically re-introduced in the 2018 Session.
Stormwater Fee Exemption Defeated
David Mason, CDM Smith
SB 383/HB 700 provided for an exemption for local education agencies from paying stormwater utility fees in Tennessee.  In some large Phase 1 communities, this exemption would have resulted in $300,000 to $400,000 in annual losses of stormwater fee revenue. Numerous organizations opposed the bill, including SESWA Policy Committee members. The bill was defeated in committee but could reappear next session, and SESWA members should be aware that these efforts tend to travel from state to state.
Post Construction Requirements via Statewide Rulemaking
David Mason, CDM Smith
As originally drafted, HB 362/SB 295 required that all NPDES permits in Tennessee be reviewed by the legislature prior to approval, as well as mandating a detailed cost evaluation of the impact of any changes in post construction permitting language on local governments, homebuilders and property owners. Through negotiations with local agencies, the scope of the bill was reduced to only state that Post Construction Stormwater requirements in NPDES permits must go through the standard rulemaking process in the state.  The current form of the bill passed through the House but was not considered by the Senate before the Session ended.  The bill will begin in the Senate in 2018 as last drafted. 
NACWA Corner 
provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies

New MS4 General Permits Creating Legal Stir
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

In April 2016, EPA issued a NPDES general permit for small MS4s in Massachusetts with an effective date of July 2017.  Several parties representing the municipal sector filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. At the same time, an appeal was also filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The appeals have now been consolidated in the D.C. Circuit and are in abeyance until July.

The permit requires strict compliance with water quality standards (WQS), and imposes specific obligations on MS4s to meet this requirement. These provisions represent a significant shift from the Clean Water Act mandate that MS4s reduce the discharge of pollutants to the "the maximum extent practicable" (MEP), through the implementation of best management practices.  Instead, the permit includes compliance with WQS as an additional obligation, and prescribes measures that MS4s must follow to comply with the permit. 

The permit also imposes a requirement on regulated MS4s to impose a numeric flow related retention standard on new development and redevelopment within their communities. In Virginia DOT & Fairfax County v. EPA, a federal district court held that EPA does not have authority to regulate flow in a TMDL, because it is not a pollutant.  This new case represents the first time that a federal court of appeals will address this issue on flow.

Don't see news from your state?  Please contact us with your news or share your comments on our newsletter by emailing us at



Southeast Stormwater Association

(866) FOR-SESWA (367-7379)