January 2019
Volume 14, Issue 1
President's Corner
Laurie Hawks
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes," according to Benjamin Franklin. But perhaps we should add CHANGE to that quote. We live in a fast-paced and constantly changing world and we need to adapt and respond. How do we do that? What change can we predict? What can we control? While we can't plan for everything, we can educate ourselves and learn to stay adaptable. In the classic management guide "Who Moved My Cheese," the characters learn how to stay alert to change in their environment and let go of their old habits, so they can adapt to change. Rather than ignoring change, we can expect and prepare for it. SESWA can help.

The recent SESWA webinar discussed the Use of Drones in Stormwater Management. The speaker said, "drones are not some future application, drone use is here today." Drones can be used for everything from site development inspection, to confirmation of contour and BMPs volumes, to rapid evaluation of flood damage. While we may not always be the first adopters of new technology, it is in our best interest to stay up to date on changes in technology that can make our lives better. Drone use is just one example.

The Spring Seminar will be held on April 26th and will feature experienced stormwater managers from across the region with a focus on Resiliency. What can we do to anticipate changes such as future growth or climate patterns, and how will those changes impact our stormwater system? Are we ready for system failures due to weather, assets not performing as expected, or other events? The Spring Seminar is a starting point to learn, share, and prepare for the change we know is coming.

See you in Atlanta!

Laurie Hawks, Brown & Caldwell
SESWA President
Association News 
2019 Survey of Stormwater Utilities
SESWA conducts a Survey of Stormwater Utility practices and trends throughout the Southeast and publishes a Final Report on the results every two years.  Information contained in the Report is widely used by local stormwater managers and state policy makers throughout Region 4.  Data collection for the 2019 Survey is now underway!  If you've received the Survey, please return it to SESWA ASAP!  All SESWA members receive a free copy of the 2019 Final Report.
Spring Seminar - Register Early & Save!
Join us in Atlanta on Friday, April 26th for the Resiliency for Stormwater Professionals - Streamline to Shoreline Seminar.  Stormwater programs across the Southeast are facing the increasing challenge of managing more resilient systems to deliver the anticipated level of service to their community.  Disruptions to normal operating practices play a significant role in occupying resources, borrowing available funding, and delaying proposed improvements.  Whether it's flooding, droughts, asset failures, or environmental impacts, this seminar will provide experiences and expertise from around the Southeast in incorporating resiliency into operations and practices for your program. Professional Engineers that attend the seminar and complete the required form onsite are eligible for up to six (6) professional development hours.  Register early online and save.  Hurry, this event sells out quickly and the early bird registration rate will end on March 8th!
Have an Idea For a Great Presentation?
You're invited to submit a presentation for the 14th Annual Conference in Chattanooga, TN! We are looking for case studies, evolving policy and regulatory information, and new practices, techniques or research.  Help us make this year's Conference the best yet by adding your insight, knowledge, and experience to the program!  The deadline to submit a presentation for consideration is the close of business on March 8, 2019.
SESWA Job Board - Post for Free! 
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!
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.
Did You Miss the Drones in Stormwater Management Webinar?
Discover how drone technology can be used as a tool for local stormwater managers in their programs.  Learn how Beaufort County, SC has been using drones for utility billing data collection, supplementing aerial imagery, and conducting inspections for construction verification and routine post-construction audits. If you were unable to attend, the webinar recording is available online.
National and Regional News 
WOTUS - Draft Replacement Rule Released
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
EPA and the Corps released a long-awaited draft WOTUS replacement rule on December 11, 2018, stating that the Agencies expected to publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register "soon." Publication in the Register starts a 60-day timeline during which interested persons and parties may submit comments or recommendations regarding the proposed rule. However, publication typically takes up to two months after release of a draft proposal under normal circumstances and the federal shutdown could easily add another month or two to that timeframe.

As promised by the Trump Administration, the draft rule is a very significant departure from the 2015 rule, taking federal policy back to that which was in place in 1988. Of note to local governments: EPA is specifically seeking comments on whether stormwater control features and wastewater recycling structures that are proposed to be excluded from federal jurisdiction must be constructed wholly in an upland in order for the exclusion to apply. Also, the Agency requests comments on whether the proposed exclusion for stormwater control features should be expanded or clarified to include permitted MS4s. General information on WOTUS may be found on EPA's WOTUS Rulemaking Page and on SESWA's Advocacy Page.
WOTUS - Litigation Update
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
Uncertainty continues to loom over the controversial WOTUS Rules.  There are multiple, pending legal cases surrounding the definition and applicability of the Rules and the EPA is facing difficulty implementing its stated goal of repealing and/or replacing the 2015 WOTUS Rule.  In an effort to proactively protect SESWA's interests and position, the SESWA Executive Committee voted in January of 2019 to join its previous partners to reactivate the case in the District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The judge in the District Court granted SESWA's Reply Brief explaining why it is important to have the case moved forward. The Reply Brief asks that the Court lift the abeyance, set a briefing schedule, and resolve the merits of the 2015 Rule. While SESWA supports the repeal of the 2015 Rule, SESWA's comments to the EPA and the Corps since 2017 have consistently urged the Agencies to retain some of the provisions embedded in the 2015 Rule that recognize the connectivity of certain waters when the replacement rules are adopted.
Integrated Planning Bill Signed Into Federal Law
Dave Mason, CDM Smith
President Trump signed the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R 7279) on January 14, 2019. The bill codifies EPA's current Integrated Planning and Permitting Policy to allow municipalities to develop a plan that integrates wastewater and stormwater management. A summary of the bill can be found here, including a link to the entire bill.
Groundwater Pollution Question Moving to the Supreme Court
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
The issue of whether the Clean Water Act extends to discharges of pollution that travel through groundwater before entering surface waters remains undecided.  Differing opinions have been entered by U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court had been asked to resolve the question, although the SCOTUS failed to act on the issue during its January 22, 2019 session.  EPA filed briefs in early January informing the Court that the Agency is preparing a new policy to be released soon that will address if and when the CWA limits groundwater discharges. The new policy itself will also likely be the target of challenges in court.
Payment of SWU Fees in Dispute
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
An amendment to the Clean Water Act enacted by Congress eight years ago clarified that federal facilities can pay "reasonable" stormwater utility fees.  But that issue remains in dispute in Wilmington, DE.  Although the validity of the fee has not yet been determined based on its merits, an order of a federal judge instructed the military to explain how it determined it was not required to pay reasonable fees used to control stormwater pollution, rejecting the Justice Department's arguments that documents sought by the City are subject to attorney-client privilege and are not relevant to the litigation.
Regulatory/Policy/Permits
Law Eliminates Stormwater Regulations for Redevelopment of Private Property
Kristen O'Reilly, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, NC
On December 27, 2018, the North Carolina Legislature overrode a veto of Session Law 2018-145, making the law effective immediately. The " technical corrections bill" requires all local governments to eliminate their stormwater redevelopment requirements for private property. See more on the NC League of Municipalities Bulletin. This has a significant impact on local governments that have used redevelopment stormwater requirements as a tool to improve impaired waters and reduce flooding issues. The loss of opportunities and capital investment will require a larger investment by stormwater fee and/or tax payers to comply with the Clean Water Act and provide flood mitigation. 
An Update on the Phase II Remand Rule Implementation
Steve Peene, Applied Technology and Management
In July 2018, SESWA published an article identifying potential issues on how the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is interpreting language in the U.S. EPA Phase II Remand Rule.  Specifically, FDEP is attempting to introduce new permit requirements related to TMDLs through the Notice of Intent (NOI) process without modifying, through appropriate rulemaking under Florida law, the Statewide Phase II Generic Permit.  In Florida, Phase II MS4 permittees must meet the requirements of the Statewide Generic Permit which outlines the six minimum measures and specific language relative to TMDL implementation.  Since the July 2018 article, a number of Phase II MS4 permittees met with FDEP to encourage the agency to go through proper rulemaking as outlined under Florida Statutes, and not to rely on authority the agency interprets as coming from the adoption of the U.S. EPA Remand Rule "by reference" - an expedited optional process in Florida law.  Through negotiation, the Phase II entities have been successful in that FDEP will now go through rulemaking.  This will assure that the TMDL implementation requirements for Phase II permittees will be consistent statewide, and reasonably reflect the contributions of the Phase II permittees in the needed reductions.
Guide to Creating Equitable Stormwater Utility Credit Policy
Laurie Hawks, Brown and Caldwell
In response to the Georgia legislature's concern about fair credit policies and fees for stormwater utilities and at the recommendation of The Joint Study Committee on Stormwater Management Fees Final Report, a Guide was developed that outlines general guidelines and best practices of good stormwater utility credit policies. The Guide establishes more consistent and equitable stormwater credit policies for local governments who have an existing stormwater utility or are considering establishing one. The Guide can be found on the GAWP website. SESWA participated on the Joint Study Committee and contributed to the Guide.
New Construction General Permit Just Around the Corner
Patrick Blandford, HDR
North Carolina's Construction General Permit has been delayed until March 1st as NCDEQ works on some online documentation processes. The permit will not change much but its administration will experience some significant changes. Most notably, permittees will need to obtain permit coverage through an online Notice of Intent application process.  Previously, permittees applying for and complying with the State's legacy Erosion and Sediment Control program received parallel coverage with an additional application. NCDEQ has prepared a summary of the changes permittees should be aware of in the new general permit.
NACWA Corner
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

DOJ Issues New Guidelines on Consent Decrees with Local Governments
On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army announced a proposed rule revising the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition. This effort is part two of a two-step process to rescind and replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule with a clarifying definition that aligns more closely with the late Justice Scalia's jurisdictional framework in Rapanos as well as a definition that adheres to the President's Executive Order to "Restore the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule."

The pre-publication version of the new WOTUS definition is narrower than the 2015 Clean Water Rule, but it keeps the stormwater control feature exclusion. Specifically, "stormwater control features excavated or constructed in upland to convey, treat, infiltrate, or store stormwater run-off" are not a WOTUS. NACWA has strongly advocated that the new definition keeps this exemption not only because it reflects longstanding Agency practice, but it also helps provide regulatory certainty to municipal permittees over green infrastructure and the operation and maintenance of these features.

The proposed rule has yet to hit the Federal Register and once it does, there will be a 60-day timeclock for public comment. It is likely an extension will be requested.

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)