This newsletter is available exclusively to SESWA Members
September 2019
Volume 14, Issue 5

President's Corner
Laurie Hawks
All I was doing was trying to get home from work.
- Rosa Parks -
 
Some days we are just trying to keep our head above water, attending to the endless details that demand our attention. Yet, innovation and improvement can come out of everyday tasks. Why can't we find a way to do this better? Does it have to take so long or be so expensive? Sharing our everyday activities and challenges with each other can lead to improvements and SESWA offers lots of opportunity to do just that.

Earlier this month we had a great Communications and Networking call with discussion on a variety of subjects including blue-green algae blooms, impact of land application of biosolids, new technology for pipe replacement, and a task force report on the recent floods in the Carolinas. Many of these topics are included in this newsletter.

The Opening Session at the Annual Conference focuses on New Initiatives in Stormwater Management with stormwater managers and USEPA helping us understand what to expect from new policy and regulations and what is being done in other communities around the Southeast. If it's getting ready for a permit condition or hearing how another state is addressing an issue, this session will be informational and fun.

In addition to the Opening Session, there are strong presentations on a variety of topics and I think you will find something for everyone. What BMPs are working? How do we pay for it? What does the new WOTUS ruling mean for my community? The Annual Conference continues to have a solid balance of presentations on practices and projects that might inform our everyday jobs and hopefully make them better.

As of this writing, the conference is sold out, demonstrating the strength of sharing ideas and learning from other stormwater managers across the region. See you in Chattanooga!

Laurie Hawks, Brown & Caldwell
SESWA President
Association News 
14th Annual Conference Has Reached Capacity!
We are looking forward to the 14th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee on October 9-11, 2019. SESWA offers the only Regional Conference focused solely on stormwater education and challenges in stormwater management. The agenda was developed by your peers throughout the Southeast with YOU in mind. Plus there are two educational tracks, so you're sure to find topics that meet your needs. This year's Pre-Conference session will focus on asset management for stormwater systems, including a discussion of program development and tools needed along with the overall benefits and uses of these programs. We have reached capacity so onsite registration will not be available.
2019-20 Committees 
All SESWA members are encouraged to serve on one of the Association's four programmatic committees - Communications, Conference & Education, Membership, or Stormwater Policy.

Volunteering to serve on a committee is a great way to become more involved in SESWA, have a say in your Association's programs and network with other stormwater professionals throughout the Southeast.

Committee re-appointments are not automatic! Whether you wish to return to a committee or be appointed for the first time, please complete a Committee Request Form. The incoming President will be making appointments by early November.
In This Issue
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

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.
Get Involved! 
SESWA's Annual Membership Meeting will be held in conjunction with next week's Annual Conference. Have you been thinking about getting more involved and you weren't sure how? Now is the time to consider running for a leadership position in YOUR Association! Elections for SESWA's 2019-20 Board of Directors will occur at the Annual Membership Meeting on the afternoon of October 10, 2019. 

The Officers, the immediate Past President and a member elected by the Board will form the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is a part of the Board that may act on behalf of the Association in between meetings of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is responsible for setting broad policy and adopting the Association's budget. The Board consists of the Officers, two immediate Past Presidents, two local government representatives from each of the eight states in the Southeast, plus four private sector representatives. At least one local government seat from each state and two private sector seats are open for election next month. View the 2018-19 Board of Directors page for a current list of Board members and terms. If you want to get more involved in the Association, now is your chance!
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 and Replacement Rules 
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

Earlier this month EPA announced that it was finalizing its rule to repeal the 2015 WOTUS regulations. The final rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register and will not become effective until 60 days thereafter, and will almost certainly be challenged by various stakeholders. EPA's original intent was to replace the 2015 regulations with versions of their own. However, the Agency has recently stated that it is grappling with major legal, scientific and policy questions, including the standard to use for defining the law's reach over sources that contribute to waters in a "typical year." Finalization of a replacement rule is the expected next step. 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

In light of EPA's announcement regarding the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule, the Department of Justice (on behalf of EPA and the Corps) has inquired as to whether SESWA and its litigation partners would agree to put our litigation on hold for 75 days. SESWA and its partners rejected that request due to the seemingly haphazard approach of the federal government towards the WOTUS litigation and rulemaking efforts, and the fact that the case has been fully briefed for months. SESWA's Motion for Summary Judgement was filed in March as a precautionary measure in anticipation of the very situation that seems to be emerging - EPA's efforts to repeal and/or replace the rule may be unsuccessful and the 2015 rule might become effective. See the Advocacy Page for more information.
Liability for Groundwater Pollution
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

On September 20th the Maui County Council voted to settle an appeal of a decision of a 9th Circuit Court in Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, et al., v. County of Maui, where the County was found liable for pollutants from a wastewater injection well that disposed of treated effluent water into groundwater which eventually flowed into the Pacific Ocean. While the Maui case will not be heard by the Court, other appellate courts have reached different conclusions, with the 4th Circuit finding in a split decision in Upstate Forever, et al v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P., et al that a CWA permit is needed if the release of pollutants to groundwater has a direct hydrologic connection to surface water. A pair of 6th Circuit decisions rejected CWA-groundwater liability for leaking coal ash disposal sites, so the issue of the CWA's reach into groundwater pollution is yet to be resolved. 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 US or whether the Act also applies to pollution that indirectly enters such jurisdictional waters.   
Around the Southeast
Green Infrastructure Workforce Development Program
Austin Robinson, Southface Institute, GA/ Kevin Middlebrooks, Hazen and Sawyer

The Atlanta-based Southface Institute recently initiated Atlanta CREW (Culture-Resilience-Environment-Workforce) to address stormwater and its associated economic and environmental challenges. Still in its first year, the innovative program expands the current reach of Southface's Green Infrastructure and Resilience Institute (GIRI) trainings to include un/underemployed residents of metro Atlanta. Atlanta CREW trains participants in Green Infrastructure (GI) installation and maintenance, job readiness and landscaping best practices. The program includes the hands-on installation of a GI project at sites in Southwest Atlanta which have been prioritized by the local community and include artwork from local artists. To date, Atlanta CREW has trained over 30 people and installed four GI projects with a total annual runoff reduction capacity of 1.9 million gallons. As part of the program, Atlanta CREW hosts job fairs for graduates, with the next one being on October 16th at the Southface Institute in Atlanta, GA. Industry organizations are invited to participate in these events for access to trained, work-ready candidates.

For more information, or to sign up through our contact form as an employer, visit Southface's GIRI website.

Atlanta CREW Southface          
Ordinance for Post-Construction Stormwater Management 
Barbara Seal, Gwinnett County, GA

The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro District) has been developing an updated Model Ordinance for Post-Construction Stormwater Management for New Development and Redevelopment (Model Ord) to align their existing Model Ord with the most recent changes to the GA MS4 NPDES Permits. The major changes in the current draft are inclusion of the Runoff Reduction (RR) requirements, changes to the Stormwater Management Plan requirements to comply with the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual (GSMM), Final Inspection requirements including performance testing of the BMP, submittal requirements for existing BMPs during redevelopment, and clarification of the maintenance responsibilities in the event there is no BMP maintenance agreement. There will be a public comment period expected to run from October 8th through November 8th, with a presentation for adoption to the Metro District Governing Board expected on December 4th. Visit the Metro District website after October 8th to review the latest draft of the Model Ordinance for Post-Construction Stormwater Management.
Fiberglass Point Pipe Repairs:  Another Tool for the Toolbox 
Katie Beth Jennings, Columbia County, GA

In Columbia County, Georgia, point pipe repairs have traditionally involved a mixture of obstacles associated with excavation on private property and rights-of-way and most importantly, the safety and financial concerns associated with digging around utilities. Two years ago, Columbia County obtained the training and materials to conduct in-house fiberglass lining point repairs. Complete pipe replacement projects with UV lining is contracted out. These new methods allow Columbia County to complete the work much faster and at a significantly reduced cost, saving thousands with each application. Furthermore, it allows Columbia County to allocate more manpower to larger jobs while maintaining steady progress on smaller projects. Under the right circumstance, this technique provides significant savings for utilities.
When it Comes to Flooding, is Everything Old New Again?
Lisa Wells, WK Dickson

In October 2018, Governor Henry McMaster created the South Carolina Floodwater Commission to develop a state-wide plan to address flooding impacts in South Carolina. The Commission, made up of a broad cross-section of elected, agency, private, and volunteer sector stakeholders, delivered its initial task force report and recommendations on August 26th. Key findings from the report include structural and programmatic actions that run the gamut from dealing with deferred maintenance of the state's drainage system to undergrounding of power utilities to minimize disruption. It includes some of the buzzwords in the field these days like Green Infrastructure and living shorelines and brings back old school ideas like consolidation of services. However, the recommendation that is likely creating the most stir is one that suggests additional lakes and reservoirs might be in order to mitigate the flooding. Some environmental advocates have already thrown up a red flag. John Tynan of Conservation Voters of South Carolina speaking to WLTX-Columbia said that while supportive of many of the recommendations, they were concerned that this report was "continuing to perpetuate the myth that we can build our way out of these challenges and out of these solutions." Public comment period on the initial task force recommendations ends October 24th.
Alabama's 2020 Section 303(d) List
Scott Hofer, Jefferson County Department of Health, AL

Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) is currently reviewing Alabama's Water Assessment and Listing Methodology and developing the 2020 Section 303(d) list. Alabama's Water Assessment and Listing Methodology assists ADEM in the development of the 303(d) list by establishing minimum data requirements and assessment/listing protocols. The period for submittal of comments and data related to the revision of the methodology and the development of the 2020 303(d) list ended September 25th. An electronic copy of the Draft Water Assessment and Listing Methodology is available on ADEM's website under the Public Notice section.
Plant by Number and Paint by Nature - A Success!
Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn, Lexington-Fayette Urban County, KY

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Stormwater Education Section rolls out another successful Plant by Number and Paint by Nature program in 2019. 

What is "Plant by Number?" It is a program for citizens who want beautiful, low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly landscaping but don't know where to start. Inspired by paint-by-numbers, the program provides templates for full sun, full shade and partial shade areas that give guidance on what to plant where. There are currently two types of plans: plans for streetside gardens designed for easements and plans for streamside gardens designed for areas with wet soil.

Paint by Nature is where local artists are invited to depict native plants in medians, easements and mailbox strips in Fayette County, KY. Then this artwork and the plant by number informational sheets are put on display at the central library for two months with a variety of activities held in this location. A few of these activities include a Gardening 101: Ask an Expert session and The Lorax story time.

                  
South Carolina Developing New Coastal Outfall Maintenance Permit
Hillary Repik, Town of Mount Pleasant, SC

In recent years, drainage systems in coastal South Carolina experienced expedited life cycle failures from multiple weather events. With no state process for permitting maintenance and repairs in the coastal area, local jurisdictions approached the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's Office of Coastal Resource Management to clarify permit requirements for general maintenance. A copy of the draft permit is available in the SESWA Community Forum.

As a result, three General Permits are in development:
  • Re-establishment of stormwater conveyances of existing stormwater conveyances or drainage ditches. For re-establishing the original dimensions or modifying to accommodate increased flows of the outfall structure within an existing drainage easement.
  • Existing Water Control Structures, Pipes and Culverts (replacements, extensions, etc). For the installation erosion protection, wing walls, head walls, outfall aprons to protect areas around structures.
  • Existing Outfall Structures and Stormwater Conveyances (Cleaning and Repairing). For the removal of accumulated sediment of currently serviceable and functional outfall structures, stormwater conveyances or ditches, the minor addition of erosion protection to protect areas around existing outfalls.

Local governments are looking for expedited and simplified permitting that will allow agencies to perform required maintenance in a timely and cost-effective manner while protecting coastal resources.

Florida Amends Regulations on Land Application of Biosolids 
Steve Peene, Applied Technology and Management

Recently the land application of biosolids has been identified in a number of Florida waterbodies as a potential cause of the nutrient impairment. Biosolids are defined as "solid organic matter recovered from a sewage treatment process and used especially as fertilizer." This has brought focus to the issue of biosolids application in areas where water quality restoration efforts are ongoing. Within the Lake Okeechobee watershed there is a ban on the application of biosolids, this is in direct response to nutrient impairment in the Lake and downstream estuaries. In 2018 Florida convened the Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to evaluate biosolids management and explore opportunities to better protect Florida's water resources. In 2019 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) published a notice of rulemaking to amend Florida administrative regulations concerning the permitting and handling of biosolids through land application. While seemingly a wastewater issue, once biosolids are applied to the land they become part of the non-point source loads that ultimately MS4 Permit holders and stormwater managers may have to deal with through load reduction and treatment. What, if any, issues are other stormwater mangers facing relative to biosolids application? Visit the Community Forum to continue the discussion. 
Harmful Algal Blooms and Future Impacts to Stormwater Management
Steve Peene, Applied Technology and Management/ Dave Canaan, Mecklenburg County, NC

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur when algae grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, marine mammals and birds. In recent years, HABs have gained national attention due to large outbreaks occurring in highly populated areas. In Florida, HAB outbreaks occurred in estuaries downstream of Lake Okeechobee in the Caloosahatchee Estuary. These outbreaks, and the media attention surrounding them, led to the formation of Florida's Blue-Green Algae Task Force. The Task Force focuses on supporting key funding and restoration initiatives, including prioritizing solutions and making recommendations to expedite nutrient reductions in Lake Okeechobee and the downstream estuaries. For stormwater managers, this increased focus on nutrient reductions will be felt through prescribed nutrient load reductions and associated treatment costs. HABs can impact stormwater managers in other ways. The toxins produced, called cyanotoxins, can cause illness in humans and pets who drink or come into contact with water affected by an active bloom. In Mecklenburg County, NC, warning signs were recently posted around eight ponds where testing confirmed the presence of active blue-green algae blooms. As temperatures warm, this issue will only get more pronounced, and stormwater managers will deal more frequently with HAB issues and the resulting costs. 
NACWA Corner 
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs 

EPA Stormwater Financing Workgroup Hits the Road for Public Input
You may recall the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plea for a suite of stormwater financing workgroup participants last year in the Federal Register. EPA responding to a core concern in the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (the most recent iteration of the Water Resources Development Act or WRDA), the workgroup is poised to help answer serious questions regarding current  funding levels, funding gaps, and funding sources for stormwater projects.

EPA selected twenty expert consultants across the country with a wealth of knowledge on stormwater financing challenges - including SESWA's fearless leader, Laurie Hawks, to help lead the EPA's Environmental Financing Advisory Board (EFAB) on this issue. In order to broaden the conversation and add value to the workgroup, EPA is hosting a series of workshops where stormwater experts can offer specifically tailored comments on financing challenges and opportunities from their local or regional experiences. I highly encourage SESWA members to attend the southeastern meeting at EPA Region 4 on October 3, 2019.

I recently attended the workshop at WEFTEC on September 22, 2019 in Chicago, where I was pleased to see a considerable amount of feedback and conversation on current funding mechanisms and not-so-unique challenges like securing enough funding for long-term operation and maintenance costs. Opportunities to partner with transportation entities and ensuring affordability and equity were also on the table for discussion. It is imperative that the record from each of these workshops reflects the very real and serious challenges associated with stormwater funding and the importance of encouraging Congress to carve out more federal dollars to assist local communities with stormwater projects.

What's the next step? The stormwater financing workgroup will meet in person in St. Louis, Missouri on October 16th to work through a draft of the public input received and report to the EFAB the following day. The workgroup needs to obtain EFAB approval on their final recommendations before submitting a final report to EPA. EPA will take the workgroup's recommendations and submit a larger report to Congress in April 2020.

Stay tuned for more updates. Please 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)