This newsletter is available exclusively to SESWA Members
May 2019
Volume 14, Issue 3

President's Corner
Laurie Hawks
"Water is the Driving Force of All Nature"
- Leonardo da Vinci

SESWA helps you manage and protect our water resources, and we are off to a great start this year.

Thanks to all the attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers we had a successful, sold-out Spring Seminar! We had folks from every state in Region 4 attend and speakers from local governments who generously shared their experiences. As this Seminar continues to grow in participation and content, continue to expect great things!

SESWA has the highest number of member organizations in its history - 178 organizations representing over 1,300 stormwater professionals throughout the Southeast! We work hard to provide value to our members through education, networking, and advocacy. It's time for membership renewal, so I ask that you please continue to support SESWA and renew before July 1st.

The 2019 Stormwater Utility Report is available to SESWA members providing valuable information about rates, services, billing, and other information from utilities across the Southeast. Members can login to the website to download the Report. Also, look for the upcoming July 18th Trends in Stormwater Utilities webinar, it's free for SESWA members.

And finally, don't forget to check out recent Community Forum discussions online - recent posts include pool salt water discharges to an MS4, free water quality model training from EPA, storm drain stenciling, and more. Check it out on the website under the Members Only tab.

Have a safe and happy summer,

Laurie Hawks, Brown & Caldwell
SESWA President
Association News 
SESWA President Selected for USEPA Stormwater Advisory Board
SESWA President Laurie Hawks has been selected to serve on EPA's Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB). One of SESWA's core purposes is to study, compile and disseminate information about stormwater practices including the creation and operation of stormwater utilities and financing mechanisms, so we are pleased that Laurie was selected and is willing to serve on SESWA's behalf! The EFAB is seeking advice in response to the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. The EFAB Stormwater Finance Workgroup will address the following questions: 1) how funding for stormwater infrastructure has been made and utilized, by each state; 2) identify how the source of funding affects the affordability of the infrastructure, including financing; and, 3) evaluate if the sources of funding are sufficient to support capital expenditures and long-term operations and maintenance costs. This term expires on May 31, 2020. Congratulations Laurie!
Join Us in Chattanooga, Tennessee!
The 14th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference will be held at the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown in Chattanooga, Tennessee on October 9-11, 2019. SESWA offers the only Regional Conference focused solely on stormwater education and challenges in stormwater management. The agenda was developed by your peers throughout the Southeast with YOU in mind. Plus there are two educational tracks, so you're sure to find topics that meet your needs. This year's Pre-Conference session will focus on asset management for stormwater systems, including a discussion of program development and tools needed along with the overall benefits and uses of these programs. Take advantage of discounted rates and Register Now!
FREE SESWA Webinar - Registration Opening Soon!
Coming in July! Save the date to attend SESWA's T rends in Stormwater Utilities in the Southeast - Findings from SESWA's 2019 Survey of Stormwater Utilities webinar on July 18, 2019 from 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern. The webinar will examine the results of the 2019 survey and Final Report, how those results compare with those from previous years and how practices in the Southeast compare from state to state. Trends in rates, credits, revenues and billing mechanisms will be discussed. This webinar will be free to members, thanks to our communication sponsors.
In This Issue
Communications Sponsors






SESWA Board of Directors

Executive Committee

President:
Laurie Hawks
Brown and Caldwell

Vice President:
Scott Hofer
Jefferson County DOH, AL

Secretary-Treasurer:
Cory Rayburn
City of Atlanta, GA

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

Board Representative:
Milton Leggett
City of Stuart, FL

To access a full listing of the SESWA Board of Directors, please click here.
Membership Renewals!
If you haven't renewed for SESWA FY 2019-20 (July 1 - June 30), your membership will expire on July 1st. Renewing has never been easier! The primary contact for your organization is receiving invoices by email with an online invoice. Simply click the invoice link to pay or download a copy to pay by check. Paper invoices were also mailed in late April. If you didn't receive a notice or aren't sure who your organization's primary contact is, contact SESWA, we're happy to help. Renew today so you don't miss out on SESWA's member benefits, including this newsletter!
SESWA's MS4 Practices Project
We're excited to announce that SESWA is collaborating with Clemson University to complete a summary of MS4 Permit information throughout the Southeast. The purpose of the project is to develop an easily-accessible source of comparative information on stormwater permitting practices in the eight states that comprise EPA Region 4. The information could be used by the Association or its members in researching best practices when implementing permit conditions or other regulatory issues. The project is expected to be completed by October of 2019.
2019 Survey of Stormwater Utility Report
SESWA conducts a Survey of Stormwater Utilties practices and trends throughout the Southeast and publishes a Final Report on the results every two years. The 2019 Southeast Stormwater Utility Report is now complete. The Report provides easy access to questions concerning rates, structure, billing methods, and many other policies and practices in stormwater utilities throughout the Southeast. Information contained in the Report is widely used by local stormwater managers and state policy makers throughout EPA Region 4. One USB Report has been provided to the primary contact within each SESWA member organization and to those non-members who returned a survey. Additional copies of the 2019 Southeast Stormwater Utility Report are available on the SESWA website, this resource is free to members.
SESWA Spotlight Webinar
SESWA's 2019 State Spotlight webinar was held on May 15th and highlighted Public Education and Outreach Programs in Tennessee. The webinar offered continuing education and focused on the primary approaches to public education, practices and tools to help attendees gain insight on improving practices in their own communities. Thank you to our attendees, speakers, and sponsors for another successful webinar.
Join the Southeastern Stormwater Community!
Visit the all new Community Forum under the "Members Only" tab on the website. Ask a question or post something happening in your area that might be helpful to others.

Quick Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Forum

Subscribe - Subscribe to as many topics as you like. When you subscribe to a topic you will receive email alerts for any activity on that topic.

Favorites - Click "Favorite" to add a topic to your "My Favorites" list.

Search - Search for topics of interest by entering key words in the website search box at the top of the web page. You must be logged in to use the Search feature.

Post - Click on the "Discussion Threads" link. Go to the "New Topic" button. Be sure to subscribe to this topic to receive automatic updates.

Reply - Click the topic link and then click "Post Reply." Remember, to receive automatic updates you must subscribe to this topic.
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 - Litigation Update
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
Since the initial filing of a Motion for Summary Judgement by SESWA and its partner associations on March 15, 2019 in the District Court for the Northern District of Florida, several actions have occurred. First, reply briefs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Intervenor environmental groups were filed in mid-April. SESWA's response to those briefs was filed on April 19, 2019. The judge could request oral arguments by the parties or could render a decision. SESWA's motion asks the Court to invalidate the 2015 WOTUS rule and was filed in an effort to proactively protect the interests of SESWA members and local stormwater programs in the event that a replacement rule is not adopted and finalized. A decision or a request for oral arguments by the judge could occur before the end of June.
WOTUS - Comments on Proposed Replacement Rule
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
EPA and the Corps published a proposed WOTUS replacement rule in the Federal Register on February 14, 2019. SESWA's comments  on the proposed rule were submitted on April 12, 2019 and supported most of the provisions of the proposed rule. SESWA specifically urged EPA to consider four revisions to the proposal:
  • Adjacent Wetlands: The term "adjacent wetlands" should be revised to include wetlands that are within a 100-year floodplain of jurisdictional water, including those that are separated by a man-made or natural barrier from a jurisdictional water or lack a direct hydrologic connection thereto.
  • Stormwater Control Feature Exclusions: The requirement that stormwater control features be constructed only in uplands to be excluded from being considered a jurisdictional water should be revised so that condition only applies to newly constructed features and not existing features. Thus, existing features not constructed in uplands would be "grandfathered-in" as exceptions to WOTUS.
  • Municipal Stormwater Systems: SESWA recommended that municipal stormwater systems be added to the list of waters specifically excluded from being a water of the United States and provided a definition for such systems.
  • Waste Treatment Systems: SESWA recommended that the definition of waste treatment systems that are excluded from being jurisdictional waters be revised to include stormwater.
General information on WOTUS may be found on EPA's WOTUS Rulemaking page and on  SESWA's Advocacy Page.
SCOTUS Case May Not Resolve Liability for Groundwater Pollution
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
The US Supreme Court has granted a request to review a case where municipal and other interests are hoping to reverse a pair of circuit court decisions imposing CWA liability for pollution that flows through groundwater into surface waters. The Court granted a request from the County of Maui (HI) this past February to review a decision rendered by the 9th Circuit Court in Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, et al., v. County of Maui, where the County was found liable for pollutants from a wastewater injection well that disposed of treated effluent into groundwater which eventually flowed into the Pacific Ocean. A similar decision by the 4th Circuit in a case over a pipeline spill, and a pair of 6th Circuit decisions that rejected CWA-groundwater liability for leaking coal ash disposal sites, so the Maui case seemed to be the vehicle for the high court to consider the water law's reach into groundwater pollution and resolve the split in the decisions of Circuit Courts. But despite its position thus far, the County Council is now seeking to settle the case out of court in order to avoid a scenario where a decision in the County's favor might end up limiting the CWA nationwide. The Court goes back into session in October.
Around the Southeast
TDEC Places New Rule for NPDES MS4 Post Construction Stormwater on Public Notice
Dave Mason, CDM Smith
On May 2, 2019, TDEC posted for public comment a new rule codifying the NPDES MS4 Post Construction Stormwater requirements resulting from the MS4 Permit Appeal settlement last fall. The rulemaking step is now required in Tennessee for any changes to the NPDES MS4 permit post construction requirements based on a law passed in 2017. Once the rule is approved, TDEC will begin the process of issuing new MS4 Phase 1 permits and a revised Phase 2 general permit. A hearing on the rule is scheduled for July 15th and the comment period closes July 25th.
Water Environment Federation MS4 Needs Assessment Survey Results
Kevin Middlebrooks, Hazen and Sawyer
In May 2019, the Water Environment Federation's (WEF) Stormwater Institute (SWI) published the National Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Needs Assessment Survey Results report. The primary objectives of this survey were to identify the needs of these permittees and to better understand the MS4 stormwater program challenges. In total, the survey received 622 responses from 48 states, including the District of Columbia. Respondents were generally representative of the geographic distribution of MS4s across the United States. Results in many areas confirm expectations, such as the strong need for investments in stormwater infrastructure associated with regulatory compliance, localized flooding impacts, and the restoration of water quality and habitat, as these are fundamental aspects of many stormwater programs. A major milestone of this inaugural needs survey is the development of the first funding gap estimate for the MS4 sector. This analysis estimates an annual need of an additional $7.5 billion in funds to fully implement stormwater programs and meet community goals. An unexpected finding is the lack of priority noted by respondents regarding climate change, which points to the need to highlight how changing precipitation patterns will impact MS4s in the future.
Spill Cleanup Reimbursement Available to Communities Through U.S. Coast Guard
Craig Miller, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, NC
Communities are faced with a dilemma when hazardous materials are dumped into the MS4 or surface waters and the responsible party can't be identified. They may not have the money to pay the hefty cost of containment and cleanup, but they also don't want to just let it flow downstream and threaten public health and wildlife. For communities faced with this dilemma, there is a reimbursement program offered by the U.S. Coast Guard called the National Pollution Funds Center. Claims must meet certain requirements to qualify for reimbursement, such as the discharged material must be petroleum and it must have reached or threatened to reach navigable waters of the U.S. If a significant discharge from an unknown source is encountered, it is strongly suggested that a Federal On-Scene Coordinator be requested when reporting to the National Response Center. They will coordinate with local authorities to respond to and clean up the discharge. To apply for reimbursement once a cleanup is completed, forms must be submitted along with detailed documentation including daily logs of actions taken and by whom, photos, witness statements, expense receipts, proof and justification of expenses, lab analysis reports, disposal records, and similar details. So, if your MS4 plans to utilize this federal reimbursement program, keep very good, detailed incident records.
Recap of NCDEQ MS4 Permitting Workshops
Patrick Blandford, HDR
North Carolina Division of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) hosted five workshops across the state in early spring to educate permittees about the NPDES MS4 program and new changes coming to the program. It was an opportunity for NCDEQ to introduce new staff, review the six minimum measures of an MS4 permit, provide updates on industrial and construction NPDES permits, and cover topics and questions on TMDLs compliance/enforcement, and audits. NCDEQ has archived the presentations from the workshop on their website.
Triennial Review of Florida's Water Quality Standards
Steve Peene, Applied Technology & Management
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is undertaking its triennial review of state surface water quality standards as required by the Clean Water Act. The review will evaluate potential changes to Chapter 62-302 (Surface Water Quality Standards), Chapter 62-303 (Impaired Waters) and Chapter 62-304 (Total Maximum Daily Loads), Florida Administrative Code. FDEP recently completed its first public meeting to discuss potential changes and solicit comments from the regulated community. For Florida's stormwater community, the identified changes that could have impacts include the following: introduction of a narrative turbidity standard within both fresh and marine waters that does not set turbidity levels, but identifies that those levels cannot impact floral and faunal communities; alterations to how FDEP implements Numeric Nutrient Criteria with a focus on more definitive application of the numeric values; and alterations to how FDEP implements the TMDL program with clarification of how the TMDLs become site-specific standards for waterbodies. At present FDEP is looking to complete their updates by the end of 2019.
2019 Draft South Carolina NPDES Construction General Permit
Joe Fersner and Michele Richbourg, Thomas & Hutton
On May 20, 2019, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) held a Public Hearing to provide an overview, answer questions and accept comments on the 2019 Draft NPDES Construction General Permit. Proposed permitting changes include:
  • Late notification allowance for permit coverage during public emergency (after-the-fact disaster response permit coverage).
  • Expanded automatic coverage for small sites (<1 acre) within 0.5 mile of a coastal receiving water.
  • Automatic coverage of certain individual lots within a larger common plan of development.
  • Approved plans must be on-site during active construction or available within 30 minutes when construction is non-active.
  • Rain gauges required at all active construction sites.
  • Minimum 9 days between inspections.
  • Additional inspection reporting and documentation requirements, e.g., status of corrective actions.
  • Stabilized sites must be inspected monthly until NOT is submitted.
  • DHEC evaluation required prior to discharge of potentially contaminated groundwater.
  • Evaluate locations of portable toilets and waste receptacles when construction site discharges to shellfish waters impaired for bacteria.
  • E-permitting for NOIs, NOTs, etc., once available from DHEC.
SCDHEC is accepting written comments through June 3, 2019 on its E-permitting portal.
DHEC-OCRM Stormwater Infrastructure General Permit
Joe Fersner, Thomas & Hutton
SCDHEC-OCRM recently public noticed a general permit (GP) designed to streamline the authorization process for public stormwater infrastructure improvement projects in the saltwater "Critical Area." While many Coastal MS4s support the concept of this process intended to assist in alleviating flooding by restoring existing stormwater infrastructure functionality, there are some concerns about the language and conditions of the proposed GP. Concerns expressed by Coastal MS4s are:
  • Restriction of only one GP to be utilized for "each single and complete project" and suggest allowing projects of similar scope and close proximity (particularly maintenance) to be combined on one application.
  • Uncertainty on the definitions of "maintenance" versus "improvement" versus "re-establishment."
  • Notification requirements in the referenced sample application requiring that "all adjacent property owners within 100 feet of the subject property be notified by certified mail." This would be very onerous since most drainage improvement/maintenance projects include significant linear rights-of-way throughout the municipal or county jurisdictions.
  • The potential requirements for compensatory mitigation.
  • The limited acreage of qualifying projects ranging from 0.1 acre to .35 acres dependent on the type of activity.
  • Whether maintenance on existing flap gates or in-line tide gates would be authorized under this GP.
  • Permit expiration timeframes.
NACWA Corner 
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs 

EPA Environmental Financial Advisory Board
In early April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a request for nomination to serve on a stormwater funding and financing workgroup that will help advise the existing Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB). This request was a direct response to a Congressional mandate under the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) for EPA to establish a Stormwater Task Force. Specifically, EPA is tasked with gaining expert input on:
  • Identifying how funding for stormwater infrastructure has been made available and used in each state to address stormwater infrastructure needs;
  • Identifying how the source of funding affects the affordability of the infrastructure, including costs associated with financing the infrastructure; and
  • Evaluating whether sources of funding are sufficient to support capital expenditures and long-term operation and maintenance costs.
Once this stormwater workgroup is formed, experts will meet with EFAB over the coming months and submit a funding report to EPA by December 2019. It was expected that EPA would make their nominations in mid-May.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) hosted its inaugural Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Symposium last week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the Symposium, EPA held an initial, informal roundtable meeting for stormwater professionals present to weigh in on the core overarching questions posed in WRDA. EPA inquired generally about the current funding for stormwater at all levels of government and the private sector, and how to leverage sufficient dollars for financing meaningful stormwater projects that also include ensuring long-term operation and maintenance costs.

Concerns were raised as to how EPA seeks to define "stormwater," whether EPA is looking to narrow this effort to include water quality issues (e.g., municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), combined sewers, and separate sewer systems), or if this effort also includes water quantity matters with increased precipitation events, extreme flooding, and climate resiliency. It is clear, that this expert stormwater workgroup and EPA have its work cut out for themselves.

There will be additional opportunities for stormwater experts, even those not serving on the workgroup, to contribute to EPA's report to Congress on stormwater funding and financing initiatives. EPA plans on hosting a round robin of public meetings throughout the country over the next few months.

Stay tuned for more updates. Please 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)