First off, I’d like to send a big THANK YOU to the SESWA membership who have entrusted me with this honored role. As your President, I am most excited about transitioning back to a more typical year of in-person learning and networking experiences. SESWA has done a tremendous job providing an enjoyable and educational virtual conference experience, but in the end, this industry is made stronger with personal connections and face-to-face interactions.

This past year and a half has taken its toll on families and work-families, alike. In addition, observed rainfall patterns have been placing ever-increasing stress on our underground infrastructure. But with the passing of the federal infrastructure bill coupled with the distribution of ARPA-funds, now is the time to cement our relationships with our elected officials, state agencies, and local leaders to garner the support needed to put stormwater-related issues and projects at the top of the funding list.

Our industry has weathered not just storms, but floods, and we’ll continue to remain resilient. I am happy to be a proud member of the SESWA organization and look forward to engaging with you all in person next year in Atlanta, GA in April and at Hilton Head, SC in October. In the meantime, stay engaged in the conversation with our online Community Forum and tune in to the upcoming webinar featuring the highest ranked conference session Green Stormwater Infrastructure - What's Green Got to Do With It? on January 20, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern).

Cory Rayburn
SESWA President
16th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference in Review

SESWA is committed to providing preeminent stormwater education and SESWA’s 16th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference was one of the best yet! The Conference provided 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: ADS, AquaShield, Campbell Environmental Supply and Consulting, Concrete Pipe & Precast, DL VEWS, Ferguson Waterworks, Infrastructure Repair Systems, In-Situ, LJB, McAdams, McGill Associates, StormTrap, Trutta Environmental Solutions and YSI, A Xylem Brand. Thank you to all that attended, presented and sponsored.
SESWA’s 2021-22 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:

Cory Rayburn (Jacobs, GA) – President
W. Dave Canaan (Mecklenburg County, NC) – Vice President
Synithia Williams (Richland County, SC) – Secretary-Treasurer

Also serving on the Executive Committee are:

Scott Hofer (Jefferson County DOH, AL) – Past President
Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn (Lexington Fayette Urban County, KY) – Board Representative
SESWA’s 2021-22 Committee Members Appointed

A big thank you goes out to the 65+ 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 2021-22 include:
Communications Sponsors
SESWA Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Cory Rayburn
Jacobs, GA

Vice President
W. Dave Canaan
Mecklenburg County, NC

Synithia Williams
Richland County, SC

Immediate Past President
Scott Hofer
Jefferson County, DOH, AL

Board Representative
Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn
Lexington Fayette Urban County, KY

To access a full listing of the SESWA Board of Directors, please click here.
Kevin Kubiak (Berkeley County, SC) – Communications
John Butler (Gwinnett County, GA) – Conference and Education
Rosemary Ginn (City of Mobile, AL) – Membership
Steve Peene (ATM, a Geosyntec Company, FL) – Stormwater Policy

For a complete listing of the SESWA Committees, visit our website.
Webinar - Green Stormwater Infrastructure: What's Green Got to Do With It?

Join us on January 20th at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for an encore session from the 2021 Annual Conference! Municipalities throughout the Southeast are implementing green stormwater infrastructure design practices, but many developers are not “buying in” to these practices. The perception is green infrastructure products are too expensive or too expensive to maintain? Are they really? This free one-hour webinar will highlight ways to talk about green infrastructure in “developer” language to encourage developers to use green infrastructure design on their projects. Register Today!

This webinar is brought to SESWA members FREE thanks to the generous support of SESWA’s Communications Sponsors! 
Submit Your Presentation for SESWA’s 2022 Spring Seminar

We are now accepting presentation submissions for SESWA’s 2022 Spring Seminar! Join us in Atlanta, GA as we explore Operations and Maintenance - Best Practices for your MS4 Permit. The Seminar will attract stormwater professionals from across the Southeast and will provide a deep dive into how Operations and Maintenance (O&M) best practices can improve water quality and resiliency, and lower compliance costs for your MS4 permit. Workshop presentations are invited on topics such as:

The role of O&M in meeting MS4 permit requirements;
How O&M affects minimum control measures (Good Housekeeping and Pollution Prevention practices);
O&M and its role in Asset Management;
O&M best practices after construction;
O&M and Green Infrastructure practices; and
The use of GIS in O&M.

Interested in participating? Submit your presentation today! The deadline for the Call for Presentations for SESWA’s 2022 Spring Seminar is December 17, 2021. Presenters of accepted presentations will receive a discounted registration rate.
Why Should My Community Consider a Stormwater Utility? –
A Stormwater Utility Factsheet

SESWA members now have access to a one-page stormwater utility factsheet. This tool is intended to be used as a resource to share with local officials to illustrate the importance and benefit of stormwater utilities. Visit the SESWA website to download your free copy today!
Now Hiring? Post Your Vacancies on the SESWA Job Board!

With the increase in job opportunities, it can be hard to spotlight your vacancies. SESWA’s Job Board is the perfect place to connect with other stormwater professionals across the Southeast and let them know you are hiring. Posting job openings is easy and FREE for SESWA members.  All postings are featured for up to 30 days. Visit the SESWA Job Board and submit your job opening today!
Join the Community – SESWA’s Online Forum 

Visit the Community Forum and connect online with other stormwater professionals across the Southeast. The Forum can be found 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!

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Water and Infrastructure Funding
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

After lengthy negotiations, Congress passed H.R. 3684 - the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act - which was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. SESWA’s White Paper on Infrastructure Funding supported increased federal funding and greater flexibility in stormwater and related water quality programs. H.R. 3684 contains numerous provisions on stormwater, resiliency and water quality. See SESWA’s Summary of the legislation.
WOTUS Litigation and Rulemaking
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

There have been no new, significant developments in the WOTUS litigation since courts in New Mexico and Arizona vacated (invalidated) the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The Biden Administration is interpreting those decisions as having nationwide effect, and EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are no longer implementing policy based on the 2020 rule but are reverting to policy as existed in the late 1980s until a new set of regulations are adopted. In that regard, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are proposing interim WOTUS definitions to provide a “stable implementation” of the Clean Water Act (CWA) while the Administration seeks to develop a durable definition that will avoid policy pendulum swings with changes in administrations. The proposed rule interprets WOTUS to mean the waters defined by a collection of regulations referred to as the “1986 regulations” and including the agencies’ interpretation of the statutory and judicial limitations on the scope of WOTUS.
NPDES Permits for Groundwater Discharges Reconfirmed 
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

The US Supreme Court’s April 2020 decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund required (for the first time) that pollutants discharged into groundwater may be required to obtain a CWA permit if the pollutant eventually finds its way to a jurisdictional surface water. Maui had discharged treated wastewater into injection wells that eventually traveled to the Pacific Ocean. The decision has implications for other (similar) discharges, such as those from animal feeding operations or coal ash disposal sites. SCOTUS identified seven criteria in its Maui decision governing when groundwater discharges were the “functional equivalent” of a surface water discharge and thus required to obtain an NPDES permit. In October, a federal district court judge in Hawaii formally rejected a request from Maui County officials to reconsider the ruling requiring a CWA permit for treated wastewater that is injected underground but makes its way to a WOTUS waterbody – thus sealing the decision to require permits for such discharges.
PFAS Strategy Emerging
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

EPA is in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances or “PFAS.” PFAS are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s because of their useful properties. However, most types of PFAS break down very slowly and can build up in people, animals, and the environment over time; even small amounts can pose health risks in humans. EPA’s current strategy is to provide resources to keep the public informed as they develop regulatory policy on PFAS.
Water Quality Trading Guidance in Georgia
Laurie Hawks, Hawks Environmental

The Georgia EPD has released draft Water Quality Trading Guidance. This Guidance outlines requirements for point sources, like WRFs, to buy pollution reduction credits from other point sources or from nonpoint source projects. Some states, like North Carolina and Virginia, use this type of policy to improve water quality by establishing forested buffers and converting agricultural land to forest land. EPD has accepted comments and will be revising the Guidance over the next few months. There is an opportunity for communities to implement nonpoint source pollution reduction projects and have your local wastewater facility help defray costs. Visit the Georgia EPD website for more information or contact Laurie Hawks, if you have questions.
Mapping Future Floodplain Conditions
Don Ceccarelli, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, NC

In 2004, Mecklenburg County, NC developed and maintained a local floodplain map to represent the 100-year floodplain at full watershed build-out (future conditions) based solely upon land use plans.

During recent re-mapping, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSWS) noticed that changing development patterns resulted in a change to the extents of the mapped future floodplain so a modeling study was conducted to identify variables that more accurately predict future flood levels. The study was conducted in one urban and one rural watershed taking into consideration regulatory allowances, rainfall uncertainty, changing land use plans, stream corridor storage, and peak flow timing. The study showed that the cumulative impact of those variables increased future flood elevations by an average of 1.1 feet to 1.6 feet in rural watersheds and 0.4 feet to 1.3 feet in urban watersheds.

CMSWS then assembled a stakeholder group (made up of representatives from engineering, development, real estate, and environmental interests) to review the study data and develop recommendations for implementation. Ultimately, the stakeholder group recommended that local municipalities raise the flood protection building height by 1 foot until such time as the entire county could be mapped using the new future floodplain mapping procedures.
Watershed-Scale Planning Tool for Metro-Atlanta Communities 
Cory Rayburn, Jacobs

The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District has developed the first part of a new metric for communities to mark progress on stormwater management. The Stormwater Forecast (Forecast) is a planning-level estimate of total urban runoff volume calculated at a basin-scale (HUC 12) using individual watershed characteristics. The Forecast represents a full accounting of runoff from all developed lands that also have the potential to be managed by Stormwater Control Measures, e.g., detention ponds or bioretention basins. The Forecast estimates the volume of runoff from all developed lands in the District based on available data for 2019, as well as projected volumes for 2030, and 2040 (i.e., current and future). It also summarizes totals of water quality volume and common detention standards (channel protection and overbank flood protection volumes). This allows for communities to determine if certain sub-watersheds require additional stormwater practices or amended policies. An overview of the Forecast can be viewed here.
Assessing Needs for SW Systems in Florida
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

House Bill 53 passed during the 2021 Florida Legislative Session and requires local governments with wastewater or stormwater management systems to create a 20-year needs analysis, including a description of the system, the number of future residents served, revenues and expenditures, maintenance costs, etc. The compiled information will be filed with the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR). The first analysis is due on June 20, 2022 and every five years thereafter. EDR has released the survey instrument that will be used to gather financial information.
NACWA Corner
Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies 
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

Maryland Coalition of small MS4s file suit challenging state permit; NACWA files amicus brief

A coalition of Maryland municipalities are challenging a state-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for small MS4 operators that includes requirements beyond the maximum extent practicable (MEP) standard and requires MS4s to address nonpoint source runoff and other third-party stormwater discharges that neither flow into nor discharge from their systems.

NACWA filed an amicus brief on November 3rd supporting the MS4s and outlining the legal and technical reasons that MS4 operators can only be lawfully required to manage discharges from their systems, not third-party discharges and nonpoint source runoff over which they have no authority or control. NACWA also explains how such requirements would inappropriately divert limited public resources to attempt to address private pollution.

NACWA’s brief likewise argues that states cannot lawfully impose requirements on MS4s that are beyond the statutory MEP standard, which many of the provisions in Maryland’s general permit attempt to do. NACWA points out that such requirements would impermissibly expand the regulatory obligations on already overburdened clean water utilities and the communities they serve.

The MS4 coalition in the case, Maryland Small MS4 Coalition et. al. v. Maryland Department of the Environment, is being represented by NACWA Legal Affiliate AquaLaw.

While the Maryland Court of Appeals previously narrowly ruled against NACWA’s stormwater permitting positions in a 2019 decision involving an individual MS4 permit challenge in the case of MDE v. Carroll County, NACWA is hopeful that the court’s renewed interest in the issues in the present case may indicate a shift in judicial opinion that could allow for relief for Maryland MS4 operators and provide good legal precedent that other states could follow.

If SESWA members have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Emily Remmel NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.
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