November 2018
Volume 13, Issue 6 
President's Corner
Laurie Hawks
The National Weather Service reports a higher than average hurricane season in 2018 with five named storms and two major hurricanes impacting the Southeast United States. In August of this year, the US EPA named the Region 4 Administrator. And new MS4 stormwater permits were issued across the region with additional reporting and implementation requirements.

What do all of these events have in common? The SESWA Annual Conference addressed all of these issues and many more! SESWA was fortunate to have EPA and local government leaders speak on New Initiatives in Stormwater Management in the Southeast. We had sessions on emergency management and resiliency planning even as Hurricane Florence just missed our conference location. Attendees had the opportunity to network with peers and experts about new regulatory requirements and strategies to address them. The Annual Conference is the highlight of our year but there is much more happening throughout the year and many opportunities to stay engaged.

Don't miss the bi-monthly networking and communications call - they are open to all members and the schedule can be found on the Event Calendar on SESWA's website. Want to ask a question or post an interesting article? Look no further than the SESWA Community Forum. Keep an eye out for the upcoming webinars in January and July of 2019. And don't forget that the Spring Seminar, titled "Resiliency for Stormwater Professionals: Streamline to Shoreline," will be held in Atlanta in April 2019!

Stormwater managers and practitioners are more relevant than ever, often on the front lines for responding to storm events, protecting water quality and public health, addressing changing regulations - all with limited resources. As my grandmother used to say, "you are going to get through this, it's just a matter of how gracefully." SESWA is your partner to help you gracefully achieve all that you do. Thanks to all who work to make SESWA a successful association for stormwater professionals.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Laurie Hawks, Brown & Caldwell
SESWA President
Association News 
Record Breaking Annual Conference
SESWA's 13th 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 Hilton Head Island, SC one of the best ever with a record number of attendees and sponsors. The conference provided attendees with a wide array of training, technologies and strategies to address the many challenges in stormwater management. Look for the top presentation from the conference to be highlighted in the upcoming January 17th webinar!

Thank You to Our Sponsors: Suntree Technologies, Brown and Caldwell, Woolpert, ECS, YSI, McGill Associates, Best Management Products, NPDES, WaterWatch Pro and Weston & Sampson!
Drones in Stormwater Management - Member Webinar Jan. 17th
The drones are coming! Join us on January 17, 2019 to see 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. The webinar is FREE for SESWA members but you must register in advance.  Hurry, space is limited!
New Leadership Elected
The SESWA membership elected new Officers and members of the Board of Directors during last month's Annual Membership Meeting. Your new Officers are:
  • Laurie Hawks (Brown and Caldwell) - President
  • Scott Hofer (Jefferson County DOH, AL) - Vice-President
  • Cory Rayburn (City of Atlanta, GA) - Secretary-Treasurer 
Laurie Hawks has named the following Committee Chairs for 2019:
  • W. Dave Canaan (Mecklenburg County, NC) - Communications
  • Patrick Blandford (HDR) - Conference and Education
  • Joe Mina (Applied Technology & Management) - Membership
  • Katie-Beth Jennings (Columbia County, GA) - Stormwater Policy
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.
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. Once you login you can 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 
Update on WOTUS Challenge
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
There have been no new developments in SESWA's challenge to the 2015 WOTUS rules in Florida federal court.  A court in South Carolina blocked implementation of the Trump Administration's Applicability Rule this past August.  Due to the uncertainty of the courts and EPA's difficulty in implementing its stated goal of repealing the 2015 WOTUS rules, the SESWA Executive Committee decided 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.  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 Revisited
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
In contrast to other appellate court decisions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (Ohio) 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.  However, on November 6th the court ordered Tennessee Valley Authority to respond to environmentalists' request for a rehearing of the decision - a sign that at least some judges might be considering granting the petition for a rehearing.  
SWU Challenges Upheld
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA
Several jurisdictions in Michigan have either lost or settled lawsuits challenging the validity of charges for stormwater services.  The basis for most challenges was that the charge should have either been placed on the property tax bill or been based on the amount of stormwater runoff generated by a property.  While all of the challenges and outcomes are based on Michigan-specific state law, it is important to remember the significance of maintaining a defensible relationship between costs and charges for stormwater services.
Restoration/Retrofits
Certified Backyard Stream Steward
Demetria Kimball Mehlhorn, Lexington-Environmental Service, KY
The University of Kentucky Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering created an online Backyard Stream Stewardship Certification, funded by the City of Lexington Stormwater Incentive Fund Grants.

Many urban homeowners are not sure what to do about the stream in their backyard. Who owns it? How can I take care of it? What plants are good for my streambanks? These common questions often lead to confusing answers. This website is designed to help homeowners with backyard streams appreciate this resource, protect personal property, and improve water quality and habitat.

The online course is comprised of 12 modules designed to help homeowners understand how to protect and manage their backyard streams. Learn how fundamental stream processes are related to channel shape, how stormwater impacts stream ecosystems, why stream beds and banks erode, what methods can protect and restore stream ecosystems, what permits are required to restore streams, how karst landscapes influence streams, and how to begin a watershed assessment.
Regulatory/Policy/Permits
North Carolina - Initial Recovery Funding for Hurricane Florence
Michael Hanson, McGill Associates
On September 14, 2018 Hurricane Florence made landfall over Wrightsville Beach, NC as a Category 1 storm. However, for days prior to landfall coastal North Carolina was impacted by winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence as a Category 4 storm. Following landfall, a downgraded Tropical Storm Florence brought record rainfall that devastated inland areas of the state. Florence is now considered the wettest tropical system to hit North Carolina, with some areas seeing nearly 3 feet of rainfall.

In response to the ever-mounting recovery needs across North Carolina the General Assembly passed the 2018 Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Act in early October. The Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Act reserves $849,430,477 for disaster related activities and appropriates $398,430,477 in the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund. Under this legislation, Golden LEAF was appropriated $20M for grants to local governments to repair and replace equipment and infrastructure. To expedite distribution of federal recovery funds the Act also created the Office of Recovery and Resiliency in the Department of Public Safety. The Office is charged with execution of multi-year recovery and resiliency projects and administering funds provided by the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program currently funded at $1.14B under H.R. 302.
Settlement on the TN MS4 General Permit Appeal
Re: Post Construction Stormwater Requirements
David Mason, CDM Smith
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Homebuilders Association of Tennessee, the Obed Watershed Community Association, the Tennessee Environmental Council, and the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club reached a settlement to the appeal of the 2016 Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System NPDES Permit. The appeal focused on the post construction stormwater requirements included in the permit. The resolution will allow for four alternative control approaches to address post construction stormwater runoff and also simplifies the requirements for riparian buffers. Per legislation passed last year, these revised requirements must now go through formal rulemaking procedures before they can be included in any future NPDES MS4 permits.
City of Birmingham Stormwater Management Plan Draft
Angela Moss, City of Birmingham, AL
The City of Birmingham is required to develop, revise, implement, maintain and enforce a stormwater management program, which shall include controls necessary to reduce the discharge of pollutants from its MS4 consistent with Section 402 (p)(3)(B) of the Clean Water Act and 40CFR Part 122.26. These requirements shall be met by the development and implementation of a stormwater management plan (SWMP), which addresses the best management practices (BMPs), control techniques and systems, design and engineering methods, public participation and education, monitoring, and other appropriate provisions designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the MS4 to the maximum extent practicable (MEP).

The SWMP document has been developed by the City of Birmingham Stormwater Management Division to describe the activities and measures that will be implemented in urbanized areas to reduce pollutants from entering the City's MS4. As of November 9, 2018, this document has been released for public review. Contact Joshua Yates if you have questions or comments. Continue the conversation in the SESWA Community Forum.
Draft Phase I Large MS4 NPDES Permit
Barbara Seal, Gwinnett County, GA
The Draft Georgia Phase I Large MS4 NPDES Permit is applicable to 45 local governments and is expected to be issued in June of 2019. Much like the Medium Phase I Permit, the Draft Large Phase I Permit includes:
  • A runoff reduction requirement to hold on-site the first 1.0 inch of runoff,
  • A requirement to protect trout streams from temperature elevations, 
  • An option for local DOTs to determine the feasibility of implementing the runoff reduction requirement on linear projects, 
  • A requirement to collect stormwater samples during inspections of Industrial businesses, 
  • An option to perform streamwalks instead of conventional dry weather screening. 
Some of these changes could be substantial to the affected local governments. SESWA members should also note that this is the final MS4 Permit in GA to include the runoff reduction requirement. The stakeholder comment period closed November 2nd, but there will be a public comment period closer to the issuance date. Visit the GA EPD website for a copy of the Draft Phase I Large MS4 NPDES Permit and up to date information.
SC 2018 303(d) List Out for Public Notice
Synithia Williams, Richland County, SC
The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) is seeking public comments on the Draft 2018 303(d) list of impaired waters. The list includes priority ranking of impaired locations for TMDL development or alternative restoration plans along with several Waters of Concern that do not meet the state standard for Lead (Pb). At a recent SC Association of Stormwater Managers meeting representatives from SCDHEC informed MS4s that there are no new requirements associated with the Waters of Concern, but SCDHEC will continue to watch and study lead levels. The public comment period ends December 5, 2018.
Planning
South Carolina Trends and Climate Variability
Stephen Sands, Hazen Sawyer and Hope Mizzell, South Carolina State Climatology Office
Growing questions and concerns over climate change, climate variability, and climate extremes have increased the need for research and monitoring activities to better understand the nature of climate fluctuations. The South Carolina State Climatology Office is leading an effort to assess climate trends using data from 1901 to present. Data assessed includes temperature, precipitation, and severe weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.).

A key result of the analyses is a presentation of maximum and minimal temperature trends at over seventy-five data stations in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Maps of the data station locations throughout the region are used as the background so that spatial variations are understood. Seasonal and annual precipitation trends are included. Results are presented so that increases or decreases in the annual or seasonal temperature are understood.

Similar precipitation trend analyses are presented so that data stations where annual or seasonal precipitation is increasing or decreasing is understood. Communities that have experienced numerous severe storm events (e.g., two 500-year storm events) are also presented. The extreme precipitation associated with Hurricane Florence is currently being incorporated into the datasets.
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
Earlier this month, in likely one of Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' last official actions, he signed a memorandum providing specific direction on the principles that should be followed when there is a federal action against state or local governments. The intent behind the memo is controversial because its primary purpose is to limit the Department of Justice's (DOJ) ability to enter consent decrees with police departments to remedy systemic civil rights violations. 

Regardless of the motive, however, the memo does not explicitly exempt environmental enforcement actions under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Therefore, the memo could impact the stormwater world and how federal enforcement plays out between municipal clean water utilities that have consent decrees for combined sewer overflows or sanitary sewer overflows. It is an important new document that utilities should be aware of when discussing enforcement issues with the federal government.

The DOJ identified these policy considerations that led to the new directive (the 3rd and 4th are most relevant for wet weather consent decrees):
  1. State and local governments are sovereigns with special and protected roles.
  2. Federal court decrees that impose wide-ranging and long-term obligations on, or require ongoing judicial supervision of, state or local governments are extraordinary remedies.
  3. A consent decree can reduce long-term flexibility in how the defendant remedies the legal violation, especially if the passage of time has resulted in changed circumstances.
  4. A consent decree can significantly increase litigation costs for all parties. 
The memo is further evidence that, at the very highest levels, DOJ is open to a philosophy of compliance assistance for new instances of noncompliance and for communities already under enforcement decrees. NACWA has played an important role to helping push the importance of a "compliance assistance first" policy as it related to potential CWA issues. NACWA continues its advocacy efforts and engagement with EPA and DOJ to promote a regulatory framework that provides clean water utilities and stormwater utilities with more flexibility in meeting their public health and environmental protection obligations in more innovative, cost-effective, and efficient means.

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)