September 2018
Volume 13, Issue 5 
President's Corner
Hillary C. Repik
Tropical Cyclone systems are usually projected to include flooding from surge and large rainfall totals. The top rainfall from past events include: 
  • 11.25" (Unnamed - KY),
  • 13.60" (Chris - TN),
  • 27.85" (Alberto - GA),
  • 32.21" (Georges - MS),
  • 33.89"/ 18.13" (Florence - NC/ SC)
  • 37.50" (Danny - AL), and
  • 45.20" (Easy - FL)
These large events are beyond the limits of most MS4 flow capacities. The effects often extend beyond our jurisdictions and borders. Emergency response requires us to deal with flooding and water quality issues beyond our local systems. With recent rainfall events the role of Stormwater professionals in protecting life, property, and water quality continues to become more evident and important.

Planning and training for emergency response operations is an important part of managing stormwater so how do we prepare to address large events in the long term? What tools do we need to recover quickly and appropriately? We tend to think that our most valuable tools are our own resources and we forget about networking and outside connections. Building relationships with other agencies allows all of us to work and respond more effectively. Hurricane Florence is an example of why a regional association, such as SESWA, provides the platform and opportunity to reach across state borders to build relationships that are needed to address larger, regulatory issues and large-scale events. For those attending the conference, I challenge you to reach across the room and find a colleague from another state, share your challenges and experiences and build a long-term relationship. To all of those who will be in response and recovery mode for a significant time, we hope that you, your family, and community recover quickly. 

Hillary Repik, Town of Mount Pleasant, SC
SESWA President
Association News 
Annual Conference 
We are looking forward to the 13th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference in Hilton Head Island, SC on October 3-5, 2018! This year's SOLD OUT conference is on track to be our best yet and will deliver preeminent education with a Technical and a Stormwater Programs track, so you're sure to find topics that meet your needs! You can view the full Conference agenda that was developed by your peers throughout the Southeast with YOU in mind.
GET INVOLVED - 2018-19 Elections Next Week!
Join us in Hilton Head for SESWA's Annual Member Meeting, held in conjunction with next week's Annual Conference. Have you been thinking about getting more involved and you weren't sure how? Now is the time to consider running for a leadership position in YOUR Association! Elections for SESWA's 2018-19 Board of Directors will occur on the afternoon of October 4, 2018.

The Officers, the immediate Past President and a member elected by the Board will form the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is a part of the Board that may act on behalf of the Association in between meetings of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is responsible for setting broad policy and adopting the Association's budget. The Board consists of the Officers, two immediate past Presidents, two local government representatives from each of the eight states in the Southeast, plus four private sector representatives. At least one local government seat from each state and two private sector seats are open for election next week. View the 2017-18 Board of Directors page for a current list of Board members and terms. If you want to get more involved in the Association, now is your chance!
2018-19 Committees Appointed Soon

All SESWA members are encouraged to serve on one of the Association's four committees - Communications, Conference & Education, Membership, or Stormwater Policy.

 

Volunteering to serve on a committee is a great way to become more involved in SESWA, have a say in your Association's programs and network with other stormwater professionals throughout the Southeast.

Committee re-appointments are not automatic! Whether you wish to return to a committee or be appointed for the first time, please complete a Committee Request Form. The incoming President will be making appointments by early November.
In This Issue
Communications Sponsors







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.
Join the Community!
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 great way to network across state lines, ask questions and share answers with other stormwater professionals. In fact, you can see that some of the articles in this edition of the ForeCast are linked to the Community Forum! Getting started is easy - check out the Help Guide!
SESWA Job Board - FREE to Members! 
Membership has its privileges! SESWA members may post position vacancy announcements reaching thousands of qualified stormwater professionals throughout the Southeast at no cost for 30 days! Your listings are accessible by job seekers anywhere. To post your vacancy, visit the Job Board on the SESWA website!
National and Regional News 
WOTUS Update
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
On August 16, 2018 a federal district court in South Carolina stayed (blocked) the Trump Administration's Applicability Rule. The Applicability Rule would have delayed the effective date of the 2015 WOTUS Rule until 2020. The August 16th decision was based on procedural grounds and negates the Applicability Rule in 26 states; barring other action, the 2015 WOTUS rule is effective in those states.

WOTUS policy in the other 24 states was already subject to orders from two other courts blocking implementation of the rule. However, all decisions of all trial courts (supporting or opposing the WOTUS regulations) are now being appealed.

Due to the uncertainty of the courts and EPA's apparent difficulty in implementing its stated goal of repealing the 2015 WOTUS Rule, the SESWA Executive Committee voted earlier this month to reactivate its challenge of the rules in District Court for the Northern District of Florida to ensure that the rules will not become effective.

SESWA and numerous other parties challenged the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the federal courts. While the Association supports the repeal of the Rule, SESWA's comments to EPA and the Corps have consistently urged the agencies to recognize and retain some of the provisions embedded in the rule that recognize the connectivity of certain waters when replacement rules are proposed in the future.
Liability for Groundwater Pollution Rejected
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
On September 24th the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (Ohio) split with decisions of other appellate courts in a decision that found that there is no liability for pollution that travels through groundwater before entering surface waters. In Tennessee Clean Water Network v. Tennessee Valley Authority the Court ruled 2-1 that the Clean Water Act anticipated limitations of pollutants from "point source" like discharges that directly enter surface waters, not via groundwater. The decision is at odds with those of two other circuit courts and establishes the basis for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Green Infrastructure/LID
Are We Gaining More From LIDs Given Their Costs? 
Marzieh Motallebi, Clemson University, SC and Joan Ureta, Clemson University, SC
Researchers from Clemson University (CU) led by Dr. Marzieh Motallebi are currently studying the acceptability and importance of stormwater control measures (SCMs) and the economic value people associate with them. Through the SC Sea Grant-funded project entitled "A Socioeconomic Evaluation of Stormwater Control Measures to Guide Decision-Making in Coastal South Carolina," CU will value the ecosystem services (ES) provided by low impact developments (LIDs) in eight coastal counties of South Carolina using several biophysical models (e.g. InVEST) and economic tools (e.g. Choice Experiment, Hedonic Pricing, and Benefit Transfer Method). This two-year project is in the sixth month of implementation and was able to produce participatory tools to collate and map the LIDs in SC and to gather information on the residents' perception on LIDs.

A Survey 123 and Story Map were designed by the research team to gather information on location, costs, and ES of LIDs. (These online participatory tools were launched during a recent SC Association of Stormwater Managers (SCASM) Meeting.)
Regulatory/Policy/Permits
MS4 Annual Reports and Auditing
Patrick Blandford, HDR
NC Department of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources posts important MS4 news on their website as the program evolves. Look for frequent updates from the new DEMLR MS4 Program Coordinator. Most recently announced, all NC Phase II MS4s are required to submit an online Stormwater Management Plan Assessment (SWMPA) by October 31, 2018. SWMPAs have been completed intermittently by some communities in the past. The SWMPA may serve as the 2018 Annual Report, but MS4s are encouraged to also submit their usual narrative report. Also of note, EPA has begun a statewide compliance and enforcement initiative and will be performing five Phase II MS4 audits in NC this year. DEMLR will be expected to inspect 20% of all MS4 permittees per year going forward. EPA is also developing some NC-based compliance tools, which DEMLR will share on the website as they become available.
Impacts of the Phase II Remand Rule in Florida
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
EPA revised the regulations governing small municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permits in response to a remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In January of 2018 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) adopted the EPA rule by reference. Since the adoption of the rule, FDEP has interpreted language in the rule as authorizing the Department to impose additional requirements onto permit holders relating to compliance with TMDLs. After meeting with stakeholders, the Department has agreed that such authority was not part of the Remand Rule and requests for additional requirements have been withdrawn from the pending Notices of Intent.
Implementation Strategies
Poultry Litter Export - Nutrient Trading Study
Laurie Hawks, Brown and Caldwell
The North Georgia Water Resources Partnership recently completed a two-year study that compared runoff from fields receiving poultry litter (manure) as natural fertilizer versus nitrogen-only commercial fertilizer. The Coosa River Basin has a total phosphorus (TP) TMDL which requires TP reductions at the GA/AL state line. Poultry litter is a commonly used natural fertilizer because it contains both nitrogen and phosphorus. However, nitrogen is the limiting factor needed for pastures and fields in North Georgia. To apply the correct amount of nitrogen, phosphorus is over applied when using poultry litter.

Nutrients are only regulated within wastewater NPDES permits in Georgia, so alternative methods have been explored to address nutrient reduction from nonpoint sources. The study was completed as a potential nutrient trading best management practice, where wastewater treatment plants can purchase nutrient reduction credits from nonpoint sources. This can be a win-win situation where wastewater facilities can partially meet their permit requirements more cost effectively and the non-regulated agriculture community can contribute to nutrient reduction. Total phosphorus and other parameters were evaluated over two years using simulated rainfall in three sets of paired plots in an agricultural pasture. After the second year of study, a significant reduction in TP was observed in plots receiving only commercial fertilizer. Continue the conversation in the SESWA Community Forum.
Planning
Hurricane Florence - Rainfall and Flooding
Dave Canaan, Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services, NC
Several days before making landfall near Wilmington, NC, the top wind speed from Hurricane Florence was 138 MPH reaching Category 4 status. However when the eye made landfall the maximum sustained winds dropped to 90 MPH. The Wilmington, NC Airport recorded a wind gust of 105 MPH. For three days strong relentless easterly winds blew across the Pamlico Sound and up the Neuse River toward New Bern, NC. The storm surge along the Trent River at New Bern maxed out at 10.41 feet, resulting in hundreds of water rescues. Along the southern beaches the storm surge was recorded between 6 and 8 feet.

The second threat from Florence was heavy rain and flooding. The previous North Carolina rainfall record from a tropical system was 24.06 inches. That amount was exceeded by at least 13 observation stations with the highest reported near Elizabethtown in Bladen County at 35.93 inches. Deadly flooding occurred on the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville, NC when the water level topped at 61.58 feet. The m ajor flood stage near Fayetteville is 58 feet, and the flood stage rose to 35 feet. In North Carolina 27 storm related deaths have been reported and swift water rescues have climbed to 2,600, plus 500 animal rescues as of September 19, 2018. Continue the conversation in the SESWA Community Forum.
Being Prepared
Hillary Repik, Town of Mount Pleasant, SC
The current flooding in North Carolina and South Carolina is occurring in the 3rd largest river basin in the county. The Yankin-Pee Dee Basin starts in southern Virginia and collects water from 7,221 square miles. In South Carolina, only 6.3% of the area is urban land with 33.4% being agricultural, and the rest generally undeveloped. How do MS4s prepare for an event of this scale?

In 2003, the federal government recognized that having a public works response to emergencies and natural disasters was an absolute necessity. So how does your stormwater team integrate with other departments for planning, mitigation, response, and recovery operations?  The easiest way to prepare is to invest in training and planning. The Town of Mount Pleasant utilizes NPDES and Flood Mitigation Program requirements for many daily operations but there are many other ways to be prepared. For training, have your staff certified in National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) and other flood and environmental response programs . This training will help integrate stormwater staff into your community's Municipal Emergency Operations Center. For planning, staff should contribute information to Hazard Mitigation Plans. Engage with Emergency Managers to share historical and professional knowledge. Look to local schools and colleges to assist with efforts to improve flood predictions and resiliency strategies, models, and response plans. Consider working side by side with police and fire operations and other agencies when they respond to both small and large events - even non-flood events. These efforts help to build teamwork, communications, and foster working relationships. So, if events are unavoidable they may be more manageable and the best defense is to be prepared!         
Cities Battle Flooding, Search for Fixes
Sarita Chourey, Municipal Association of South Carolina
When Hurricane Florence brought devastating floods to the Carolinas in September, it was another reminder to South Carolinians that the threat of too much water with nowhere to go isn't so unexpected anymore. In many South Carolina cities and towns, navigating floodwaters has become a dangerous way of life. The thing about flooding in the City of Hanahan is that it doesn't take a major weather event anymore - Any old heavy rain will do it.

"In a matter of minutes, there's nowhere for the water to go, so the streets are flooded. We've had houses flooded," said Hanahan Councilmember Christie Rainwater, adding that local officials have become well-versed in Federal Emergency Management Agency processes.

"We've become best friends with FEMA because the problem has happened over and over," she said. "Just when we get something settled with FEMA, we've got more to work on."

Rainwater commonly hears something like this from residents: "I've lived here 30 years and maybe had one or two flooding problems, but now it's every year. When there's a very bad storm, I'm holding my breath."

In short, flooding is getting worse in Hanahan and beyond. Read More...
NACWA Corner
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

Last month, environmental advocacy groups scored their first victory in their push for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to broaden the universe of facilities subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. They were successful in using the residual designation authority (RDA) - a rarely applied piece of the CWA (Section 402(p)(2)(e)).

EPA can use its RDA to require NPDES permits for other stormwater discharges or categories of discharges on a case-by-case basis when it determines that the discharges contribute to a violation of water quality standards or when discharges are a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United States.

This issue arose in Los Angeles County where two watersheds are impaired by a variety of pollutants. In 2015, EPA Region 9 received an RDA petition seeking designation of unregulated stormwater discharges from privately-owned commercial, industrial, and institutional sites (CII sources). EPA analyzed the RDA petition using three factors, but the Agency ultimately denied the petition in 2017. EPA concluded the discharges from the CII sources were "contributing to water quality impairments" in the watersheds.

Although EPA argued that "existing programs are underway to adequately address the impairments" through MS4 permits among other statewide permits, the Court stated that these remedies were not enough and ultimately left the stormwater discharges unregulated. The Court relied on Massachusetts v. EPA - if EPA declines to regulate a pollutant, its decision must be grounded in statute. Here, the Court concluded that "EPA does not point the Court to a provision of the [CWA] that indicates that EPA may consider whether other federal, state, or local programs adequately address the known stormwater discharge contribution to a violation of water quality standards," and "EPA acted arbitrary and capricious in denying Plaintiffs' petition by considering a factor 'divorced from the statutory text' in its denial."

The case, Los Angeles Waterkeeper et al. v. Pruitt et al., prevailed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The finding requires EPA to either 1) engage in the NPDES permitting process for the CII sources that are contributing to water quality violations, or 2) prohibit the discharges entirely.

NACWA is watching this case progress - as it will likely be appealed. There is also a similar case pending in Maryland that relates to stormwater permitting and RDA. We will keep the stormwater community informed of any significant developments in both - as these cases may have national implications.

Contact Emily Remmel, NACWA's Director of Regulatory Affairs, for more information or with any questions.
Don't see news from your state? Please contact us with your news or share your comments on our newsletter by emailing us at info@seswa.org.

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