This newsletter is available exclusively to SESWA Members
March 2020
Volume 15, Issue 2

President's Corner
Scott Hofer
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. While we are all separated, we are all going through a similar experience. An experience that has made us acutely aware of our surroundings, our loved ones, our friends and all the things we took for granted during our daily routine. 

I'm not a big fan of digital media. Every year when my birthday rolls around my wife helps me post a thank you on Facebook to friends that wished me well. That is the extent of my posts. My generation has embraced digital media, but I have not. I like to see my friends and family face to face. In the current situation that is just not possible, and it has become painfully apparent during the last week. I need to adapt.

I'm so happy that we live in a digital world that can make our current situation more bearable. A time that there are alternative ways to communicate and meet one of those basic human needs. All of us are learning to adapt and thrive. SESWA has also successfully met this challenge. After careful consideration, SESWA's Spring Seminar has moved to an online event. While we will miss the face to face connections, we are excited to offer education and connection in a way that might just be the new norm. Our management company, AMP, has worked hard to make the transition and I am confident that it will be another successful educational event. For those of you that aren't registered for the Seminar, please consider participating online on April 24th. 

For updates on SESWA's response to COVID-19, check our update page. On behalf of SESWA, thank you for supporting our regional stormwater community!

Scott Hofer, SESWA President
Association News 
State Spotlight Webinar - An hour of online CE for as low as $35!
Register today for the May 6th Streamling Outreach Programs through Collaboration Webinar to guarantee your seat.  Hurry, space is limited!

The webinar hosted by SESWA and South Carolina will highlight a collaborative outreach program partnership. The City of Columbia and Richland County work together on outreach programs to reduce E. Coli and nutrient loads and expand their reach. Their collaboration allows them to share resources, meet permit requirements, and develop effective outreach programs.  At the end of this presentation attendees will be able to identify ways to pool staff and budget resources with other municipalities, create professional networks to broaden the scope of outreach projects, and develop collaborations that will ensure residents hear a consistent message. 
Spring Seminar - It's Online! 
Join us on Friday April 24th for Using Partnerships to Meet Growing Stormwater Demands." The Seminar will explore the "How, When and Why" of utilizing public and private partnerships as an innovative approach to comply with emerging stormwater permit conditions and new approaches that local governments are taking to develop beneficial relationships to finance, build, and maintain stormwater infrastructure and services. Professional Engineers that attend the Seminar and complete the required form(s) online are eligible for up to five (5) professional development hours.  To accommodate social distancing concerns, the Seminar will be conducted online.   Register Today!
In This Issue
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SESWA Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Scott Hofer
Jefferson County DOH, AL

Vice President:
Cory Rayburn
City of Atlanta, GA

W. Dave Canaan
Mecklenburg County, NC

Immediate Past President:
Laurie Hawks
Brown and Caldwell

Board Representative:
Synithia Williams
Richland County, SC

To access a full listing of the SESWA Board of Directors, please click here.
Give Us Your Best Shot - SESWA Photo Contest

Spring is upon us and we're kicking it off with the 2020 SESWA Member Photo Contest!  Help us share all the great work you are doing by sharing photos of your favorite stormwater projects.  Some examples of what we'd like to feature include innovative BMPs, Green Infrastructure, LID, treatment ponds, storm drain art or stream restoration projects.  Winning photos will be featured on the SESWA Homepage for one year referencing the organizations who submitted them.  Submit your photos by May 29, 2020!
15th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference - Save the Date!

Make plans to attend the best-of-the-best in regional stormwater education this year!  The 15th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference will be held October 7-9, 2020 in Hilton Head, SC!  The conference will feature an agenda developed by your peers, the best networking opportunities with other stormwater professionals, great keynote and breakout speakers, and the latest technologies displayed in an outstanding Exhibit Hall.  Mark your calendar - registration opens in May.
Join the Online Community - SESWA's Online Forum 
During this time when many are working from home, take this opportunity to visit the Community Forum and connect with other stormwater professionals.  The Forum is listed under the "Members Only" tab on the SESWA website.  Ask a question or post something happening in your area that might be helpful to others. Don't forget to subscribe to get updates!

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, a $200 savings! Your listings are accessible by job seekers anywhere. To post your vacancy, visit the Job Board on the SESWA website!
New Stormwater MS4 Database Tool Released!

SESWA is pleased to offer its Southeast MS4 Permit Database in cooperation with Clemson Cooperative Extension staff! It's an easily accessible source of comparative information on stormwater permitting practices in the eight states that comprise EPA Region 4.

The Database incorporates representative NPDES MS4 permits for each of the states in Region 4. The collection of this information has come from multiple sources. The Database identifies the state agency that administers the NPDES stormwater program within each state; a sampling of Phase I and Phase II permits; web links where available for the identified permits; and, the section within the various permits where information related to control measures are found. 

By broadening the capacity of stormwater professionals, SESWA's core purpose is to improve surface water quality through the effective operation of stormwater management systems. SESWA accomplishes this by supporting stormwater professionals with focused education; research; information; and, regulatory agency monitoring. This project combines all of those approaches to provide a useful tool to communities in the Southeast. 

We hope you find the Southeast MS4 Permit Database to be a useful source of information! Your feedback is welcome; please send any comments or questions to
Regulatory News 
WOTUS Replacement Rule
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

In January EPA and the Army Corps finalized rules providing for new definitions of "Waters of the United States" under the CWA.  The new rule includes four basic categories of jurisdictional waters and provides for specific exclusions from federal jurisdiction.  Categories of waters subject to federal regulation include territorial seas and traditional navigable waters; perennial and intermittent tributaries to those waters; certain lakes, ponds and impoundments; and, wetlands that directly abut jurisdictional waters or have a regular interaction with such waters.  Although "finalized" the rule has never been published in the Federal Register and is not yet effective.  However, based on experience with the Repeal Rule (see below), there is little doubt that the Replacement Rule will be the subject of numerous lawsuits.  Even EPA's Science Advisory Board has criticized the Replacement Rule for its failing to incorporate current, best available science.  For more information, see EPA's announcement and a pre-publication version of the Replacement Rule. 
WOTUS Repeal Rule 
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

In October 2019 EPA published a Final Rule in the Federal Register repealing the 2015 WOTUS Rule in its entirety.  A group of New Mexico ranchers and a coalition of environmental groups immediately filed lawsuits challenging the validity of the Repeal Rule, followed by two landowners in New York state and a coalition of 15 states and cities who filed additional complaints in December 2019.  The adoption of a Replacement Rule (see above) is a logical next step for EPA but is being complicated by challenges to the Repeal Rule, and policy and scientific questions about the Replacement Rule itself.
WOTUS Litigation
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

In light of EPA's actions seeking to repeal and replace the 2015 WOTUS rule, the Department of Justice (on behalf of EPA and the Corps) has sought to dismiss the challenge brought by SESWA and its litigation partners to the 2015 regulations in Tallahassee Federal Court.  SESWA rejected that request but did agree to put our litigation on hold for a period or until litigation challenging the Repeal Rule is resolved.  Considering the haphazard approach of the federal government toward the WOTUS litigation and rulemaking efforts, SESWA's lawsuit was reactivated in September 2018 as an "insurance" policy if current efforts to repeal or replace the 2015 rule are unsuccessful.  See the Advocacy Page for more information.  
Liability for Groundwater Pollution
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

In November 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in County of Maui v. Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, et al, the first of several lawsuits over whether discharges of pollution to groundwater and then eventually to jurisdictional surface waters (like a river or lake) violates the CWA.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that the CWA covers groundwater-borne pollution. But other Courts (see Conservation Law Foundation v. Longwood Venues & Destinations, et al) have held that there is no such liability for sub-surface releases.  Arguments center on whether the CWA's requirements to obtain a permit to discharge pollution apply only to instances where pollution directly enters a water of the U.S. or whether the Act also applies to pollution that indirectly enters such jurisdictional waters.  The Supreme Court's decision should be issued this summer. 
Around the Southeast
Distant Education Learning and Communication 
Charles Jarman, Clemson Cooperative Extension, SC

During these unique times, we are having to explore and implement new tools to perform our everyday tasks. As with many organizations, Clemson has been utilizing various means to deliver our programs and communicate among ourselves. Many of the programs and tools have involved enormous time and effort in development. Now the IT, distant education, and internet departments are being asked to roll these out in a short period of time. We've quickly learned how important it is to develop a clear understanding of your needs upfront. Here is a quick list of a few questions to ask if you find yourself in the same situation:

  • How many people do you want to attend?
  • Do you need audio, video, both?
  • Does everyone have internet or a phone?


  • Is it live or recorded?
  • What are your attendance confirmation needs?
  • Do you want it to be interactive?
  • Is testing required?
  • Does your audience have the ability to access the tools?

There are many tools out there. Planning is essential, to select the one that will best fit your needs!

Chattanooga SCM IM Certification
Crystal Bishop, City of Chattanooga, TN

Stormwater certifications can be a great way for someone to be quickly recognized as a vetted/tested professional, but they are not always a requirement of local jurisdictions especially when it comes to the inspection and maintenance of post-construction stormwater control measures (SCMs). The City of Chattanooga passed an ordinance in 2019 requiring all post-construction SCM inspectors to be certified by January 1, 2021. "Certification" is a two-class process. Inspectors must attend the City's stormwater introduction course which addresses why the certification is now required, how to properly complete a quarterly inspection, and what is expected in the submission of a site's annual report. This City course is free and is only two hours long. The technical side of the certification is earned by successful completion of the State of Tennessee's post-construction SCM course. This course is one and a half days of in-class learning and field visits. Attendees must pass a test at the end of the course before a certification number is given. Both the City and the State certifications are good for three years before recertification is required. Visit the City's Water Quality homepage to get more information.
Stakeholder Input for Regulatory Manual Changes
Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn, Lexington-Fayette Urban County, KY

Getting stakeholder input is key to a smooth and successful manual update (or creation). Stakeholders can be anyone including, but not limited to, other internal departments, the construction industry, environmental groups, and concerned citizens. This is not a quick and easy process and usually takes six months for an update and over a year for new manuals.

When changes are proposed the stakeholder process should start with review from internal staff and departments that will be the most affected by the changes. Then from there I suggest sending these changes to a few external stakeholders for a preliminary review and "buy-in" before holding full stakeholder meetings (internal and external). Multiple stakeholder meetings will be required and shouldn't last more than one to two hours. Anything longer makes it difficult to gather all interested parties and you also lose focus.

Here in Lexington we have had the opportunity to use the same consultant over the past several years for our updates and public meetings. Using a consultant helps because they can more easily be a mediator between all stakeholders, gather all the information, and put it together in a concise package.
New Phase I Permit in Alabama 
Scott Hofer and Jeff Swinney, Jefferson County Department of Health, AL

The first Phase I MS4 Permit issued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) for the latest permit cycle became effective February 1, 2020.  The expectation is that any permits that follow will be very similar in content.  In general, changes from the previous permit are minor compared to those of the prior permit cycle.  There are sections throughout the permit that incrementally changed language from "development of" to "implementation of."  Training requirements for different elements are more specific and detailed as are other requirements of the permit.  More specific changes include implementing a minimum of two BMPs that emphasize public education and two BMPs that emphasize public involvement on an annual basis.  Spill Prevention and Response requests that any existing City Hazardous Material Contingency Plan be reviewed and supplemented as needed during the permit term.  Good Housekeeping requirements for direct removal of trash now include public areas and right of ways while Industrial Storm Water Runoff requirements for inspections are more specific based on the type of facility. Incorporation of LID and Green Infrastructure is encouraged for new development and redevelopment as in the last permit cycle.  Per ADEM some requirements may be more specific to the Permittee. 
New Water Quality Legislation in Florida
Steve Peene, Applied Technology and Management, FL

The Florida Legislature recently passed water quality legislation creating the "Clean Waterways Act."  Senate Bill 712 includes implementation of recommendations from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, appointed by Governor DeSantis to address the occurrence of significant Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) events in Florida, and from the Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee.  Sources of nutrient loading considered in the legislation include land application of biosolids, septic systems, agriculture, wastewater/reuse, and stormwater. Of significance to the regulated stormwater community is mandated rulemaking to update stormwater facility design standards and operation regulations.  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) must initiate rulemaking by January 1, 2021, and, as part of rulemaking, consider low impact development BMPs, design criteria to increase nutrient removal, and other measures to ensure "significant reductions of any pollutant loadings to a waterbody." Additionally, the legislation improves the inspection and performance evaluation process for stormwater BMPs.  While not directly tied to stormwater, other key aspects include: the transfer of septic system oversight from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) to FDEP; enhanced inspection of agriculture BMPs targeted at reducing nutrient loading; and new rules on septic systems to reduce nutrient loads to groundwater and surface water.  Visit the Florida Senate's website for more information. 
South Carolina's Review of Lead in Surface Waters
Brian Bates, Woolpert

On January 27, 2020 SCDHEC released an addendum to the previous draft 2018 303(d) list, a list of Impaired waters and TMDLs (released on November 5, 2018). This addendum includes the listing of three (3) freshwater stream sites impaired for lead and eleven (11) sites impaired for cadmium. 

Technical Background
In effluent discharges and receiving waters, metals can exist in either of two basic phases: adsorbed to particulates (primarily clay) or dissolved in water. SCDHEC analyzes samples for total recoverable metals; however, the dissolved metal concentration is used for the water quality standards for the protection of aquatic life. The preamble to the September 1984 NPDESP Regulations states that the total recoverable method could be used to measure dissolved metals plus that portion of solid metals that can easily dissolve under ambient conditions. This method was intended to measure metals in the effluent that are or may easily become environmentally active, while not measuring metals that are expected to settle out and remain inert. 

In order to compare the total recoverable metals concentration with the water quality standard of dissolved metal concentration, SCDHEC uses a partitioning coefficient along with a translator equation. The partitioning coefficient was adjusted by SCDHEC from the November 2018 Draft 2018 303(d) list to the January 2020 Draft 2018 303(d) list. The updated calculations for instream metals criteria resulted in additional impaired sites being listed for lead and cadmium. 

Implications for affected MS4 permittees
If this 2018 draft 303(d) list is approved and subsequent TMDLs are developed, MS4s operating within these impaired watersheds will likely be required to:
  • Update their Stormwater Management Plan
  • Update facilities' Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans
  • Monitor for TSS, Hardness and Total Recoverable Metals (depending on the pollutant of concern)
  • Develop a TMDL Implementation Plan for the pollutant of concern
  • Show a reduction to meet the WLA to the MEP

Concerns with the 2018 303(d) Methodology
Given the potential implications for affected MS4 permittees and the methodological adjustments implemented by SCDHEC between the November and January 303(d) drafts, numerous MS4s submitted comments before the February 26th deadline and are awaiting responses back from SCDHEC.

Georgia Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant Solicitation - UPDATE
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD) Nonpoint Source Management Program is pleased to announce the solicitation for the FY2020 Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant.

The grant cost-share policy requires a maximum of 60% Federal dollars and a minimum of 40% Match toward the total project cost. Currently, the maximum Federal award to any individual project is $400,000. The maximum duration of any project is limited to three years.

All applicants are required to attend a teleconference/webinar with GAEPD Grants Unit Staff on Thursday, March 19, 2020 to discuss the current application process. Project partners, consultants, or other affiliated parties are welcome to attend, but the lead organization must be in attendance on-line.

NEW DATE Pre-application Webinar: Thursday, April 2, 2020 | 9:30am-10:30am (EST) 
Dial-in number: 515-604-9811 Access code: 654429

In addition, Grants Unit Staff are available to review and comment in writing upon DRAFT applications if the documents are received in electronic format via email by Tuesday, April 14, 2020 (NEW DATE). The deadline to email the applications to GAEPD remains April 30, 2020.

To inquire about proposals or to schedule a conference call, please contact Joyce McClain at or 404-651-8525.
NACWA Corner
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies 
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

EPA Municipal Ombudsman Selected, Stormwater Financing Task Force Wraps Up Recommendations and Other Stormwater Happenings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially named Ms. Jamie Piziali as the Agency's first Municipal Ombudsman. This announcement comes a little after two years when Congress approved the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 7279), codifying EPA's Integrated Planning approach - marking one of the most significant substantive changes to the Clean Water Act (CWA) in decades. As part of the legislation, Congress created a Municipal Ombudsman at EPA to act as a liaison between EPA and the municipal regulated community to help address regulatory concerns, including the implementation of Integrated Planning. 
EPA's stormwater funding taskforce finalized and briefed the Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) in February on a variety of stormwater financing issues (e.g., public and private sources of funding, affordability and infrastructure financing initiatives, and costs of long-term O&M). These recommendations will help leverage existing funding mechanisms and assist with identifying additional funding opportunities.

On the permitting front, EPA is proposing to update the industrial stormwater multi-purpose general permit (MSGP) and is accepting public comment through May 1, 2020. Although this general permit applies to stormwater discharges from industrial activity, it is not uncommon for state regulatory authorities to apply similar approaches or language for non-industrial stormwater discharges (e.g., MS4 and construction discharges). NACWA is reviewing and may submit comments as necessary.

On the litigation front, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2nd denied Carroll County's petition for writ of certiorari appealing a Maryland Court of Appeal's decision that can require MS4s to remediate nonpoint source pollution that does not originate from-or even enter-their systems, is outside their geographic boundaries, and over which they have no authority or control. NACWA along with several other coalitions submitted an amicus brief urging the court to review the Maryland decision. 

Last but not least, NACWA welcomes Michael Hunt with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County as the new co-chair for NACWA's Stormwater Management Committee and moving the Association's stormwater advocacy efforts forward.

If there are questions on any of the above, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA's Director of Regulatory Affairs. 
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(866) FOR-SESWA (367-7379)