This newsletter is available exclusively to SESWA Members
November 2019
Volume 14, Issue 6

President's Corner
Scott Hofer
I have always enjoyed the feeling I get on the drive back from SESWA's Annual Conference. As I think about what I have heard and discuss with my fellow passengers the amazing projects being completed throughout the Southeast, a feeling of rejuvenation comes over me. That feeling also comes from the discussions that happen right after a presentation, between sessions in the halls, at lunch, and on the way to dinner. It is these candid and thoughtful discussions that lead to new solutions and new goals that help revitalize me each year.

Thank you to all of the members that have been the driving force or "rising tide" behind the growth that SESWA has seen in the past few years. It is these members that take the time to discuss and plan educational opportunities, inform us about what is going on in all levels of stormwater, advance new initiatives to better their communities, and develop innovative new products and projects that ultimately "lifts all of our boats."

If you are looking for a new way to "plug-in" to SESWA and all that it has to offer, please visit our Community Forum. It is a great way to learn what to do (and not to do) from experienced and seasoned members around the Southeast. SESWA is here for you and can help you "lift the boats" around you.

Happy Holidays,

Scott Hofer, Jefferson County DOH
SESWA President
Association News 
Annual Conference Review

SESWA's 14th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference featured a great combination of stormwater professionals, cutting-edge exhibitors and dedicated sponsors, making last month's SOLD OUT conference in Chattanooga, TN one of the best yet! The Conference provided attendees with a wide array of training, technologies and strategies to address the many challenges in stormwater management. Thank you to Jim Seufferlein, City of Atlanta, for capturing the moment in these Conference photos! Look for top presentations from the Conference to be highlighted in the upcoming January 16th webinar and in the State Spotlight webinar in May!

Top notch education and networking is made possible by our generous Sponsors: AquaShield, Brown and Caldwell, CleanWay, Cultec, NPDES Training Institute, Vaugh & Melton, WK Dickson, and YSI, A Xylem Brand. Thank you to all that attended, presented and sponsored!

Litter Quitters - January 16, 2020 Member Webinar 

Join us on January 16th at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time to learn about an innovative public education campaign. Litter Quitters Campaign engages students in an anti-litter/stormwater protection video competition. The competition empowers students to be change agents by encouraging anti-littering behavior among classmates, family members, and the community while providing cash prizes for their school. The webinar presentation will review the campaign from concept to implementation. The webinar is FREE for SESWA members but you must register in advance. Hurry, space is limited!
In This Issue


for our Members!

Communications Sponsors

Want to see your
company in the next newsletter?  
Sign up today  and become a Communications Sponsor!
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.
2019-20 Leadership Elected

The SESWA membership elected new Officers and members of the Board of Directors during October's Annual Membership Meeting. Your new Officers are:
  • Scott Hofer (Jefferson County DOH, AL) - President
  • Cory Rayburn (City of Atlanta, GA) - Vice President
  • W. Dave Canaan (Mecklenburg County, NC) - Secretary-Treasurer 
President Scott Hofer has named the following Committee Chairs for 2019-20:
  • Kevin Kubiak (Berkeley County, SC) - Communications
  • Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn (Lexington Fayette Urban County, KY) - Conference and Education
  • Joe Mina (Applied Technology & Management) - Membership
  • Katie-Beth Jennings (Columbia County, GA) - Stormwater Policy
Last Chance to Submit Your Presentation for SESWA's 2020 Spring Seminar

The deadline for the Call for Presentations for SESWA's 2020 Spring Seminar is today, November 27, 2019. Submit your presentation today! Join us in Atlanta, GA as we explore the benefit of developing public-private partnerships in stormwater management. Local governments are building relationships with citizens, non-profit agencies and other private sector partners to finance, build, and maintain stormwater infrastructure and services that are beneficial to all. Professionals from federal, state and local government, the consulting community, product manufacturers and academia are invited to present.
Join the Online Southeastern Stormwater Community! 

Visit the Community Forum 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! Your listings are accessible by job seekers anywhere. To post your vacancy, visit the Job Board on the SESWA website!
Regulatory News 
WOTUS - Repeal Rule
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

On October 22nd, EPA published a Final Rule in the Federal Register repealing the 2015 WOTUS rule in its entirety. Publication in the Register started a 60-day clock after which time the new rule becomes effective. But some states and other groups have already asked the courts to hold the new rule unlawful: A group of New Mexico ranchers filed their lawsuit on October 22nd and another lawsuit by a coalition of environmental groups was filed on October 23rd. The litigation is causing more confusion over an unusual regulatory patchwork: The 2015 rule is currently in effect for 22 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories but has been stayed or remanded for legal and procedural flaws by various courts in the remaining states. The adoption of a replacement rule is the logical next step for EPA in 2020 but will likely be complicated by legal challenges to the repeal rule. Visit  SESWA's Advocacy Page for more information.
WOTUS Litigation
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

After the announcement by EPA of its intention to finalize the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS regulations last month, the Department of Justice, on behalf of EPA and the Corps, formally inquired as to whether SESWA and its partners would agree to put its litigation on hold for 75 days. SESWA and its partners rejected that request (in part) for the very reason that the motion to reactivate the litigation was filed: To ensure that implementation of the 2015 rule was blocked in the event that challenges in other courts are unsuccessful, that EPA's 2019 rulemaking efforts to repeal and/or replace the 2015 rule are not finalized, or (if finalized) EPA's 2019 effort(s) is challenged and invalidated in court. Nonetheless, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida requested preparation of a Joint Position Statement of the Plaintiffs and Defendants and thereafter issued an Order on September 22, 2019 holding the litigation challenging the 2015 WOTUS rule in abeyance for 75 days.
Liability for Groundwater Pollution
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

On November 6th, 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 Clean Water Act (CWA). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed with environmentalists that the CWA covers groundwater-borne pollution. Other decisions of Circuit Courts of Appeals 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 United States or whether the Act also applies to pollution that indirectly enters such jurisdictional waters. Look for a decision by the Supreme Court in 2020.
H.R. 1764 - Bill Extending NPDES Permit Terms
Anita Kuhlman, Charles Abbott Associates, GA

H.R.1764 is legislation that proposes an amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Section 402(b)(1)(B) to extend the maximum term for NPDES permits from five years to ten years for a state or municipality and five years for other NPDES permits. Current federal law only provides for 5-year NPDES permit terms, which do not reflect construction schedules for public water and wastewater treatment projects. It is hoped that this legislation will allow for better planning and budgeting of those projects needed to help improve water quality. The bill is sponsored by Representative John Garamendii of California and co-sponsored by nine other Representatives from California, Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri. The legislation was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2019 and referred to the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee and was recently unanimously approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as part of legislation (H.R.1497) reauthorizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
Around the Southeast
Triennial Review Update
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

The Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to review their surface water quality standards every three years. All surface water quality standards may be revised as part of the Triennial Review process, such as waterbody classifications, criteria, site specific criteria and anti-degradation policy. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection initiated its 2019 Triennial Review earlier this summer and recently released proposed revisions to its water quality standards and rules. The primary concern of local stormwater programs are changes to two standards: 1) Turbidity - The standard is proposed for revisions to address degradation of near-shore coral reefs but would apply to other similarly classified waters. 2) Cyanobacteria - A new standard is being proposed. Local governments are concerned that cyanobacteria are not "discharged" from stormwater systems. Nutrients are discharged and cause algae to bloom that may eventually result in growth of cyanobacteria. Adding such a standard could eventually result in confusion over goals being put in MS4 permits.
Biosolids Rulemaking
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has published a proposed rule updating permitting policies on the disposal of biosolids in Florida. The proposed rule will significantly improve the criteria used to permit and monitor biosolids disposal sites, and reflects the recommendations of the Department's Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee. Due to its economic impact, the rule must be ratified by the Florida Legislature prior to becoming effective.
A Great Day for Water
John Butler, Gwinnett County, GA

Each year, the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services holds a volunteer event called " Great Days of Service" (GDoS) that engages thousands of volunteers to address critical needs in Gwinnett County, GA. For the past five years, Gwinnett's Division of Water Resources (DWR) has partnered with Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful to host a watershed scale cleanup for our GDoS activity. The selection of the watershed changes based on observations made throughout the year to ensure the event has the greatest impact possible. This year, a unique opportunity arose to combine two events - the GDoS Watershed Cleanup and DWR's Trick or Treatment Fall Festival. 70 GDoS volunteers cleaned and marked storm drains at ten sites in the lower Yellow River basin and then returned to the Yellow River Water Reclamation Facility for the Festival. After marking 280 storm drains, educating 1,300 households, and collecting 51 bags of trash and 4 tires totaling 1,220 lbs, volunteers joined hundreds of other attendees and were treated to a free lunch, games and crafts, community exhibitors with giveaways, and a tour of the wastewater treatment plant. Everyone left the event with a better picture of the Human Water Cycle by addressing stormwater concerns while learning about wastewater treatment. It was a great day for water on Great Days of Service!

Atlanta's Stormwater Roadshow
Spencer Peck, City of Atlanta, GA/Cory Rayburn, City of Atlanta, GA

The City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWM) recently conducted a unique stormwater education program called the " Stormwater Roadshow." This was a series of nine events that engaged different communities and watersheds around the City. The series kicked-off on May 30th and ended on November 6th. Over the course of the series, DWM presented Roadshows in Atlanta's 12 major watersheds. The goal was to listen to community members about stormwater issues in their watershed. Events featured an interactive open house format where participants were guided through the "story" of stormwater management in Atlanta. At each table, participants were able to learn about a specific stormwater topic, view maps and other resources, take informational materials, and interact with members of DWM's stormwater team. Feedback was gathered via one-on-one interactions and brief online surveys focused on the topic highlighted at that table. A separate survey to gauge participants' knowledge of stormwater was also available in paper and online. If citizens could not attend, the materials presented at the event were available on the Stormwater Roadshow webpage. The Roadshow series was very successful: more than 300 citizens attended the Stormwater Roadshow series, an average of nearly 40 participants at each event.
EPA Audits Phase II in Kentucky
Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn, Lexington-Fayette Urban County, KY

EPA is coming to Kentucky in the Spring of 2020 to complete a Phase II MS4 Inspection on five communities. There will be three communities in Central Kentucky and two communities from Western Kentucky. Kentucky's MS4 Coordinator forwarded example inspection checklists used by the EPA from other states to all of the Phase II communities in the Fall of 2019. If any Kentucky Phase II communities have any questions please reach out to the Kentucky State MS4 Coordinator and/or the SESWA Community Forum as many other communities in our organization have gone through an EPA audit.
NACWA Corner
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

Maryland County Petitions SCOTUS on Expansion of Jurisdictional Scope of Clean Water Act

In 2014, the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to Carroll County, MD to authorize stormwater discharges from the County's municipal separate stormwater system (MS4). The permit requires the County to be responsible for nonpoint source runoff and other third-party stormwater discharges that do not flow into nor discharge from the MS4. The issue at hand is whether nonpoint source runoff can be permitted under the Clean Water Act (CWA) through a NPDES permit for an MS4.

More specifically, MDE is using its authority under the CWA to issue a NPDES permit with certain conditions (e.g., "Impervious Area 20% Restoration" condition) that imposes legal responsibility on Carroll County for stormwater throughout the entire geographic area of the County - most of which is not served by the MS4. Requiring the County to be responsible for stormwater sheet flows off impervious surfaces and third party stormwater discharges that do not drain into or discharge from the County's MS4 is potentially a massive expansion of the CWA's jurisdictional scope for permittees.

The U.S. Supreme Court is being petitioned to hear the case, County Commissioners of Carroll County, Maryland, v. Maryland Department of the Environment. Because stormwater permits are most often issued by state agencies and without objection by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are limited opportunities to present a federal question in federal court.

NACWA will be submitting an amici brief in support of the cert petition that raises several policy concerns with practicability, access issues, affordability, and others. For more information on the case, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA's Director of Regulatory Affairs.
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)