SESWA ForeCast

March 2017                                                                                        Volume 12, Issue 2   
Thanks to Our Communications Sponsors!
   
In This Issue

SESWA Board of Directors

Executive Committee
 
President:
Buddy Smith, EPSC II
Hamilton County, TN


Vice President:
Hillary Repik
Town of Mount Pleasant, SC


Secretary-Treasurer:
Laurie Hawks
Brown and Caldwell


Immediate Past President:
Jeff Corley, PE, CSM
City of Concord, NC


Board Representative:
Thomas Miller
City of Birmingham, AL


Board Members


Sam Amerson, PE
City of Stuart, FL

Tracey Barrow
Sumner County, TN

Gary Bennett, PE, CPESC, CPSWQ
Columbia County, GA

Patrick Blandford, PE
HDR


Hal Clarkson, PE, CFM
Woolpert

Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi
Mecklenburg County, NC

Scott Hofer
Jefferson County DOH, AL

David Mason, PE, DWRE
CDM Smith

Thomas Miller
City of Birmingham, AL


Joseph Mina
Applied Technology & Management

Jennifer Norton
City of Chattanooga, TN


Kevin Osbey
Clayton County Water Authority

Chris Wannamaker, PE
Charleston County, SC

Judy Wortkoetter, PE
Greenville County, SC

Jack Wright, PE
Warren County, KY

Executive Director
Kurt Spitzer
KSA/AMP 
President's Corner
Buddy Smith   
Spring is in the air - the fun, exciting and busy time of year for everyone!  March madness; spring breaks; and, vacations!  For SESWA that also means our Annual Spring Seminar in Atlanta!  By the time you receive this edition of the ForeCast, the Seminar is on its way to be one of the best-attended ever, with new EPA Region 4 Director of Water Mary Walker giving the Opening Remarks to our members.

SESWA remains the Southeast's leader on stormwater management and finance, and surface water quality programs in Region 4.  In this issue we are reporting on the status of SESWA's involvement with the Waters of the United States litigation, as well as several state initiatives that we are monitoring.  We submitted comments on Senate Bill 116 (Georgia Legislative Session) and our members are reporting a state-by-state trend on proposed exemptions from stormwater utility fees.  Ironically, our 2017 Report Stormwater Utilities' practices and trends in the southeast will be distributed next week.

Be sure to make plans to attend the 12th Annual Southeast Regional Stormwater Conference in Louisville Kentucky this October 11-13. Registration will open in May. SESWA received a record number of abstracts, which are now being reviewed by your Conference Committee.  I guarantee that this will be another solid conference with plenty of networking opportunities.  Mark your calendars now!

All of this is possible only through a strong membership.  THANK YOU to all of you for your continued involvement and support in SESWA.....YOUR stormwater association. 
Association News
Southeast Regional Stormwater Conference  
MARK YOUR CALENDARS for October 11-13, 2017 and make plans to attend the best-of-the-best in regional stormwater education in Kentucky's largest city - Louisville!  The 12th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference will focus on Stormwater Solutions in Region 4.  With an agenda developed by your peers, you can take advantage of the best networking opportunities with other stormwater professionals throughout the southeast, hear great keynote speakers and workshop sessions, and learn about the latest technologies in an outstanding Exhibit Hall.  Registration opens in May.

2017 SWU Report
SESWA surveys stormwater utility practices and trends throughout the southeast and publishes a Report on its results every two years.  Information contained in the Report is widely used by local stormwater managers and state policy makers throughout Region 4.  The 2017 Southeast Stormwater Utility Report is now complete.  One CD Report has been provided to the primary contact within each SESWA member organization and to those non-members who returned a survey.  Additional copies will be available soon on the SESWA website.  Questions?  Contact Erica Laza at 866-367-7379!

Join the SESWA Community!
The Community Discussion Board is an online tool for SESWA members throughout the southeast to easily connect with other stormwater professionals, 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 ask questions and share answers with other stormwater professionals, without having to go outside of your inbox and without having to create yet another account.

Get started now!  It's easy - just go to the How-To Guide!

Job Board - FREE to Members!
SESWA members may post position vacancy announcements reaching thousands of qualified stormwater professionals and search for qualified job seekers throughout the southeast at no cost!  To post your vacancy, visit the Job Board on the SESWA website!

National/Regional News
WOTUS Update
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA   
In January the US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal filed by several regulated interests (including SESWA) of a decision of the Sixth Circuit (Ohio) on the issue of whether the Circuit or District court was the proper venue for review of WOTUS and similar rules.  In addition to helping to determine which court rules like WOTUS should be heard, the decision by the Supreme Court set the stage for other motions seeking delays in further actions by the Sixth Circuit Court (which were subsequently granted) until SCOTUS ruled on the jurisdictional matter.
 
In late February President Trump signed an Executive Order directing EPA and ACOE to start the process to withdraw or significantly revise the WOTUS rule.  On March 6, 2017 EPA filed a Notice of Intent to initiate rulemaking to review and withdraw or substantially revise the WOTUS rules.  The process to withdraw/revise an adopted rule is essentially the same as proposing a rule for adoption, requiring notice, publication of a draft proposal and opportunity for comments, before the new rule may be finalized.  Until a final decision is rendered by a court, the rule is withdrawn or a revised rule is adopted, implementation of the current WOTUS rule remains stayed nationwide.
EPA Seeks Feedback - Community Solutions for SW Management
Mark Wyzalek, Macon Water Authority, GA  
US EPA in October 2016 published a Draft Community Solutions for Stormwater Management. It is termed a guide to "to assist EPA, states and local governments in developing new or improving existing long-term stormwater plans that inform stormwater management implemented by communities on the ground."  Questions were raised in March as to whether the document should be considered to be a regulatory tool, based on statements that it should be considered for "incorporating long-term stormwater plans into permits."  Another issue that has been mentioned is that there appeared to be no importance given to infrastructure planning/asset management/capital needs, even though heavy emphasis is made on using green infrastructure. EPA is seeking more feedback by March 31, 2017.
BMPs
Additional Sections for NCDEQ Stormwater Design Manual Released
Patrick Blandford, HDR Engineering 
NCDEQ has released additional sections of their new Stormwater Design Manual.  New sections are included in Part A Common Site and SCM Elements and include topics such as Soils and Vegetation, Common Structures and Materials, Construction, Operation and Maintenance, and Guidance on SCM Selection. The entire manual has not been completely released so be sure to check the site frequently to catch updates.
Practice What You Preach - Pond Rehabilitation Takes Shape!
Hillary Repik, Town of Mount Pleasant, SC
Chuck Jarman, Clemson University, SC 
South Carolina MS4s have been working hard to provide education for pond owners on how to properly maintain their BMPs through Pond Conferences, Master Pond Manager Training Courses provided by Clemson and partner agencies, including videos. Following the practice what you preach principle, Mount Pleasant had a pond that had major bank failures due to use, poor soils, and impacts from two major storm events.  The site was targeted for restoration.  Instead of just reshaping the pond banks it was decided to create a demonstration site for different rehabilitation techniques that other pond owners could implement at their facilities. The site is demonstrating (4) different shoreline stabilization methods and will utilize aquatic and shoreline plantings to further help stabilize the banks and to aid in protecting water quality.  Educational signage will be installed to provide additional guidance on techniques used.  Training will be held for facility maintenance crews to ensure the proper care of the improvements. The Town has several other ponds with floating wetlands, aerators, and shoreline plantings that are used to aid in the pond's health and function, which are accessible to the public and pond owners who may be interested in different management options.
SC Launches Adopt-a-Stream
Katie Buckley, Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence, SC
With thanks to the years of stewardship and dedication of volunteers across the state, and with great assistance from Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, South Carolina is launching the South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream (SC AAS) program! The program is led in a partnership between the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and Clemson's Center for Watershed Excellence. SC AAS is working with the Georgia AAS program to certify volunteers in the collection of four types of stream data: visual, chemical, bacterial, and macroinvertebrate. At work is a state of the art, mobile-friendly database that will allow volunteers to easily and intuitively enter water quality data and share their findings with other volunteers and program administrators. These data often also overlap assessments needed and collected by the MS4 community. Actions will be created in the database that quickly alert public works and stormwater departments of high bacteria results, potential spills, and illicit connections. Initial work is being conducted on a QAPP (Quality Assurance Project Plan) to ensure the continued collection of surface water and ecosystem data through validated training procedures. We are poised to fully launch our effort in May 2017! For now, please check out our website and sign-up for our newsletter to stay informed.
Green Infrastructure
Green Infrastructure in Alabama
Scott Hofer, Jefferson County Department of Health, AL
Since 2013, The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has been administering new MS4 permits after a long period of administratively extended permits.  The new permits have post-construction standards but do not require low impact development (LID) to achieve the standards.  However, the permits do encourage landowners and developers to consider LID. The City of Tuscaloosa has begun to conduct their own pilot LID projects to test their effectiveness and possible cost savings.  In one project, Tuscaloosa eliminated about 16 parking spaces along a busy roadway and installed one of the LID practices described in the Low Impact Development Handbook for the State of Alabama authored by ADEM, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and Auburn University. The estimated construction cost for the traditional grey infrastructure solution involving new pipe and inlets was $30,000.  The installation of the green infrastructure solution of bioswales with a perforated underdrain was roughly $13,000.  With the support of their city leaders Tuscaloosa will continue to consider LID solutions as a viable alternative to traditional solutions.
Regulatory, Policy, Permits
A Flood of New Legislation Predicted in Tallahassee
Sam Amerson, City of Stuart, FL
Once again it's the legislative rainy season when elected officials at the state level feel compelled to file new bills of every sort that inundate local government with new regulations while pre-empting our ability to generate revenue or impose stricter regulations locally to meet water quality mandates. As many of us have experienced, a number of proposed house and senate bills don't get full traction and are not enacted into law. But that doesn't mean we don't spend the time and resources to navigate the sea of legislative policy!  A few bills we are watching most closely include:
 
Pre-emption of Local Government Powers (CSHB 17) - This is a far-reaching, very broadly worded bill that would remove local discretionary authority on most environmental and water quality regulations unless the Legislature has "expressly" granted authority by general law to local government in a specific subject area.

Pre-emption of Stormwater Regulations (HB 751/SB 1378) - Prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing any new ordinance or regulation requiring more stringent water quality standards or regulations for stormwater discharges to surface waters, wetlands or groundwater than standards established by FDEP.
TN Legislation Eroding SWU Fee Revenue Dies
Peter Yakimowich, Vaughn and Melton
As introduced, SB 383 would have exempted local education agencies (LEAs) from storm water user fees.  The legal basis for stormwater utility fees has long been established with a record of successful legal and public challenges.  The legislation, no doubt prompted by the financial needs of LEAs, would have if successful will further burden local government stormwater utilities (SWUs) and the other rate payers. It runs counter to current State law (TCA 68-221-1107): "To ensure a proportionate distribution of all costs to each user or user class, the user's contribution shall be based on factors such as the amount of impervious area utilized by the user, the water quality of the user's storm water runoff, or the volume or rate of storm water runoff".  SB 383 was defeated in the Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on March 27, 2017, most likely meaning its demise for the current Session.
Georgia EPD Issues New MS4 Permits for Medium Phase I Communities
Mark Wyzalek, Macon Water Authority, GA
On March 22, 2017 Georgia EPD issued Phase 1 Medium permits for 12 communities effective April 11, 2017. Extensive requirements were added from the previous permit including:
  • Notifying an adjacent MS4 if an illicit discharge is identified as coming from that MS4
  • Bacterial samples must be collected instream - previously these samples could be collected at the outfall
  • Allowing for stream walks in conjunction, or as a substitute for, dry weather screening of outfalls
  • GI/LID and runoff/TSS reduction for post construction stormwater management with implementation within 3 years 
  • Inspections on 100% of the privately owned non-residential and permittee-owned GI/LID structures within the 5-year permit term and ensure that they are maintained  
The permits and public comments can be found at EPD's Watershed Protection Branch Permit and Public Comments Clearinghouse website.
Legislation Exempting Charlotte Douglas Airport from SWU Fees
Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi, Mecklenburg County, NC
HB 275 would exempt the Charlotte Douglasville Airport from SWU Fees.   The Airport paid (net of credits) $1,444,391 for local stormwater services in FY 2016.  If the legislation passed, stormwater services would still need to be provided for activities associated with the Airport in order to prevent onsite and offsite impacts to roads, homes, businesses, and waterways.  Any lost revenues from properties exempted from the fee would have to be recouped from all of the other ratepayers, both public and private, in the form of higher stormwater fees.
NACWA Corner 
provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies 

Stormwater Network Discusses Long-Term Planning with EPA
The National Association for Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) hosted the first quarterly National Stormwater Advocacy Network (NSAN) conference call on earlier this month to discuss EPA's draft Community Solutions for Stormwater Management: A Guide for Voluntary Long-Term Planning. EPA staff outlined the goals of the planning initiative and how it can benefit communities. Participants offered productive feedback on the draft guidance and asked the EPA thoughtful questions on how the draft guidance could impact their existing stormwater management initiatives.  The call also featured a discussion about implementation issues surrounding EPA's Phase II Remand Rule that was finalized in early December 2016.  NSAN is convened by NACWA and is a coalition of state and regional stormwater groups from around the country, including SESWA. The goal of NSAN is to provides a forum on coordinating advocacy actions and exchanging information on federal policy activities. 


Don't see news from your state?  Please contact us with your news or share your comments on our newsletter by emailing us at SESWA@ksanet.net.

 

 

Southeast Stormwater Association

www.SESWA.org

(866) FOR-SESWA (367-7379)