This newsletter is available exclusively to SESWA Members
November 2020
Volume 15, Issue 6

President's Corner
Scott Hofer
I want to start by bragging about SESWA members and staff for making the 15th Annual SESWA Conference a success. While we all wish to see each other in person, the members and staff did so much to make the experience personal, interactive and fun (with gift cards). We all know that hardships can be either a stumbling block or a starting block. Thank you all for continuing to make the glass half full...and fun!

On January 21, SESWA will have a webinar featuring the most popular conference session, "Re-Wilding Streams," with Dr. Greg Jennings. Dr. Jennings is a stream guru and passionate about his work so please join us. 

Please don't forget to keep in touch with your SESWA friends on our Community Forum. As we all continue to look for ways to stay connected, the Forum is a way to learn from the collective intelligence of SESWA and ask the questions that you can't find locally. Keep safe over the holidays.

Scott Hofer
SESWA President
Association News 
Annual Conference Review 

SESWA is committed to providing preeminent stormwater education and SESWA's 15th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference was one of the best yet! The Conference provided over 200 attendees with access to a wide array of training, technologies, and strategies to address the many challenges in stormwater management. Top notch education was made possible by our generous Sponsors:  Davis & Floyd, WK Dickson, YSI - A Xylem Brand, American Excelsior Company, AQUALIS, Coastal Construction Products, Concrete Pipe & Precast, Environmental Conservation Solutions, Freese and Nichols, Infrastructure Repair Systems, Keck + Wood, Lane Enterprises, Newkirk Environmental, OTT HydroMet, Porous Technologies, RYMAR Waterworks Innovations, SEKISUI, and WaterWatchPRO. Thank you to all that attended, presented and sponsored!
Stormwater Mgmt Financing Solutions - Share your Expertise!
Join us April 23, 2021 to share your expertise as we discuss the development and implementation of stable, dedicated funding sources that will support a comprehensive stormwater management program. This seminar will explore both established and innovative financing solutions from stormwater programs throughout the Southeast. SESWA is looking for successful financing solutions from effective life cycle investments, to innovative grant options, to mutually beneficial partnerships. Professionals from federal, state and local government, the consulting community, product manufacturers and academia are invited to present. Complete all fields of the Presentation Submission Form. The submission deadline has been extended to December 4, 2020  so it's not too late to submit.  Presenters of accepted presentations will receive a complimentary  seminar registration.  
Re-wilding Streams and Floodplains to Enhance Ecosystem Services
Join us on January 21st at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for an encore session from the 2020 Annual Conference! Streams and floodplains are important components of developed landscapes that can provide many benefits and services to communities. The process of re-wilding streams and floodplains can greatly enhance ecosystem services by reintroducing natural elements to the stream corridor. This free one-hour webinar will highlight the process and outcomes of re-wilding urban streams and floodplains, including daylighting piped streams, stream channel realignment and floodplain reconnection, removal of barriers to aquatic organism passage, and more. Register Today!
In This Issue
SESWA is...
Communications Sponsors

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
Hawks Environmental

Board Representative:
Synithia Williams
Richland County, SC

To access a full listing of the SESWA Board of Directors, please click here.
This webinar is brought to SESWA members FREE thanks to the generous support of SESWA's Communications Sponsors!

SESWA's 2020-21 Leadership 

Thank you to the volunteer leaders of SESWA! Due to the pandemic and transition to online meetings, the 2020 Annual Membership Meeting and Elections were postponed until October 2021. To help ensure a continuity in leadership, your Board of Directors unanimously agreed to add a year to their term. When asked if they would be willing to serve an additional year, all members of your 21-person Board of Directors agreed to serve again! On behalf of SESWA, join me in thanking this group of professionals that works tirelessly giving their time and talent to the Association!

SESWA's Executive Committee includes: 
Scott Hofer
Jefferson County DOH, AL

Cory Rayburn
City of Atlanta, GA
Vice President
W. Dave Canaan
Mecklenburg County, NC

Synithia Williams
Richland County, SC
Board Representative

Laurie Hawks
Hawks Environmental
Past President

For a complete listing of the SESWA Board of Directors, visit our website.
SESWA's 2020-21 Committee Members Appointed

A big thank you goes out to the 50+ individuals that have volunteered to serve on one of SESWA's four programmatic Committees. We appreciate them taking the extra time to help SESWA grow and bring regional, state, industry and local information to our membership. The Committee effort includes planning future educational opportunities, monitoring regulatory and permitting updates, and sharing solutions for pollution reduction and operational challenges. Networking helps us build personal and professional relationships; the conferences and seminars help us share our efforts with a wider audience; the Community Forum helps us to stay engaged; and the committees keep it all tied together. We look forward to working with you all!

Committee Chairs for 2020-21 include:
  • Kevin Kubiak (Berkeley County, SC) - Communications
  • Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn (Lexington Fayette Urban County, KY) - Conference and Education
  • Angela Moss, (City of Birmingham, AL) - Membership
  • Katie-Beth Jennings (Columbia County, GA) - Stormwater Policy

For a complete listing of the SESWA Committees, visit our website.

SESWA Job Board - Post Jobs and Resumes!

The SESWA Job Board is an excellent resource for job seekers and employers for stormwater professionals in the Southeast. SESWA members can post job openings on the Job Board for FREE for 30 days! 

Job seekers can also post their resumes for FREE for 30 days. SESWA members will be able to view the resumes and find the best fit for their vacancies! To post your vacancy or resume, visit the SESWA Job Board!
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 across the Southeast.  The Forum is listed under the "Members Only" tab on the SESWA website.  Join this virtual gathering place to ask a question or post something that is 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.
Regulatory News 
WOTUS Regulatory Update
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

With the change in Administration at the federal level, yet another shift in defining what is or is not a water of the United States can be expected.  Although impossible to predict what approach may be taken by the new administration, it is unlikely that the current definitions as embedded in the June 2020 WOTUS "Replacement Rule" will remain unchanged.  The new administration may opt to not defend the current rule and proffer a new rule in 2021 or 2022.  The challenge to the 2015 rule brought by SESWA and other parties remains alive as an "insurance policy" if the 2015 rule is resurrected.  SESWA is monitoring this situation closely and will continue to look out for your interests.  Stay tuned!
When Do Groundwater Discharges Need a CWA Permit?
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

The US Supreme Court's April 23rd ruling that pollutants discharged to groundwater that (in certain circumstances) make their way to surface waters cannot avoid permitting requirements under the CWA, remains the subject of debate in the court system.  The new "functional equivalent" test as identified in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, found that the discharge of polluted water into the ground which reaches a nearby jurisdictional water still requires the discharger to comply with the CWA.  But what the Court meant by "functional equivalent" is the subject of debate in front of the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Illinois.  In Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) v. Dynegy Midwest Generation, the question is whether leaks from coal ash ponds that flow into an adjacent jurisdictional water via hydrologically connected groundwater require a permit.  EPA is expected to eventually craft implementation guidance documents based on the Maui decision. 
Implementation of Phase II MS4 Remand Rule in Region 4
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

In response to a ruling of the 9th Circuit Court, EPA has changed its regulations governing how small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) obtain coverage under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permits. The final MS4 General Permit Remand Rule establishes two alternative approaches that an NPDES permitting authority (state government) can use to issue and administer small MS4 permits. Option 1 (the "Traditional General Permit Approach") is when the permitting agency establishes the full set of requirements necessary to meet the MS4 permit standards. Or under Option 2 (the "Procedural Approach") the permitting authority establishes permit requirements to meet the MS4 permit standard by going through a second permitting step. Within EPA Region 4, there have only been two states that have reissued their Phase II MS4 general permit since the adoption of the Remand Rule. Kentucky chose Option 1 and North Carolina chose Option 2. Most of the other states' Phase II permits are up for renewal in 2021 and the approach that they take will be known at that time.
Around the Southeast
Litter Quitters Update
Scott Hofer, Jefferson County Dept. of Health, AL

The Litter Quitters program is an anti-litter, stormwater protection video competition for high schools in Jefferson County, Alabama. The competition started in 2018 with eight schools from the Valley Creek watershed submitting videos. In 2019, the competition grew to three watersheds with 22 schools participating and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place cash awards available in each watershed. While 2020 continued to show increased promise of participation, due to COVID-19 restrictions only three schools were able to complete videos for the competition. The 2021 competition is still in the early stages of planning.

Despite the current obstacles to conventional outreach methods, the program has continued to grow. In April 2020, a $500,000 grant over a three-year period for in-stream trash collection devices within Jefferson County was awarded, and the Litter Quitters program was selected as the educational/outreach component for the grant. Since 2018, a designated website has been established, increased advertisement, increased sponsorship, and increased city involvement have all occurred. The competition continues to show promise as an effective public message that can impact litter prevention and water quality in Jefferson County.
Infiltration Credit for Underground Detention Systems
Cory Rayburn, City of Atlanta, GA

Do any municipalities allow infiltration credit? Let us know! 

With Phase I and II communities in Georgia implementing runoff reduction standards at the end of the year, inclusion or prohibition of this type of product is important for permittees to start thinking about. Many applicants prefer these techniques over the more traditional vegetated green infrastructure practices due to the space-saving qualities of these systems. 

The Georgia Stormwater Management Manual does not allow underground detention systems to provide water quality or runoff reduction credits, "unless modified to include an infiltration component." However, no additional guidance or design criteria is provided. This puts the onus on MS4 communities to interpret designs and plans without much scientific evidence or independent testing to backup said practices. 

Please share your success stories, challenges, design criteria, maintenance issues, or policy decisions on the Community Forum as it relates to these practices. We look forward to hearing from you!
MS4s and IGPs - A Partnership in Training
John Butler, Gwinnett County, GA

In Georgia, industrial facility inspections are required for Phase I MS4s and strongly encouraged for Phase II permittees. To help MS4s in Georgia run effective inspection programs, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) shared their knowledge of industrial inspections. In 2018, CRK developed a training program to help businesses comply with the Industrial General Permit (IGP), also known as the Multi Sector General Permit, which requires facilities submit a NOI, develop a pollution prevention plan, and conduct inspections. This year, CRK adapted the program to reach MS4 inspectors. 

CRK partnered with the Georgia Association of Water Professionals and Gwinnett County to offer "IGP Basics for MS4 Inspectors." The class taught 26 inspectors how the permit works and how to get your inspection program running, and then offered an interactive example. Although local MS4s aren't responsible for enforcing the IGP, having a basic knowledge of this permit leads to more comprehensive inspections specific to the industry.

This was an excellent example of working in diverse partnerships. If you haven't reached out to your local Riverkeeper organization, consider opening a line of communication and providing ideas to partner. Their networks of volunteers and advocates can be very useful in bringing about positive change in your watersheds!
Update on North Carolina's MS4 Compliance Program Initiative
Dave Canaan, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, NC

In 2018, the EPA and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) launched the state's NPDES Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program Compliance Initiative. The objective is to protect water quality through program compliance, not regulatory enforcement. To date, five communities have received a Notice of Compliance, five communities have received a Notice of Deficiency, and 36 have received a Notice of Violation (NOV). Recent revisions to NC DEQ's MS4 audit process include issuance of a Notices for Recommendation of Enforcement (NORE) for MS4s that fail to comply with a NOV. The penalty will take into account willful noncompliance and what, if any, money was saved by the MS4 for not complying. There is a possibility that US EPA could issue a separate enforcement action with penalties against the permittee. NC DEQ also expanded the list of documentation to be provided prior to the audit which includes the IDDE Program Plan, MS4 Operation and Maintenance Plan and Municipal Stormwater Control Measure (SCM) Operation and Maintenance Plan. Failure to provide the requested documentation may result in a virtual audit and automatic issuance of a NOV. Extensive information is available on NC DEQ's website.
Florida Stormwater Design Criteria 
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has formed a Technical Advisory Committee to assist in the development of new design criteria for stormwater systems.  Legislation passed during the 2020 Session in Florida requires FDEP to update its rules governing the design criteria for stormwater systems.  Runoff from stormwater systems designed in accordance with state criteria is presumed to be in compliance with water quality standards; however, studies have shown that such a presumption is often inaccurate.  The legislation requires the Department to initiate the rulemaking by January 1, 2021. 
NACWA Corner
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies 
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

NACWA Releases Stormwater Permit Screening Program
NACWA is pleased to unveil a much-anticipated Stormwater Permit Screening Program that will help municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permittees navigate the growing complexities often found in renewed stormwater permits. The Program is designed to assist utilities - particularly MS4 Phase II permittees - better understand permit language and options available to permittees during the permit issuance process.

The Stormwater Permit Screening Program will work by offering permittees a high-level review of draft permits and provide individualized feedback using a checklist of priority issues. This analysis is intended to help guide permittees through consideration of a number of factors and flag potentially impractical requirements. While the Screening Program does not provide legal advice, it may help inform permittees of possible permit language concerns and associated regulatory obligations.

The Screening Program will review draft permits for several themes central to the Clean Water Act and MS4 permits, including compliance with the maximum extent practicable (MEP) standard, water quality standards, total maximum daily loads, impaired waters, and water quality trading.

MS4 draft permits often have a short turn-around for public comment (e.g., 30 days). If MS4s would like to participate and have NACWA review draft permit language, please let us know as soon as possible when draft language is available so that we can review and provide feedback.

NACWA's Screening Program is intended to be used in tandem with NACWA's 2018 MS4 Stormwater Permitting Guide. If SESWA members are interested in learning more or having a permit screened, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA's Director of Regulatory Affairs at 202-533-1839.
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