May 2022, Volume 17, Issue 3

SESWA Forecast Newsletter


President's Corner

Advanced Drainage Systems
NPDEA Training Institute

SESWA’s Spring Seminar in Atlanta was a big hit! Thanks to the support of our members, speakers, sponsors, staff, and volunteers, SESWA’s first in-person event in over two years was a huge success! The Seminar topic of Operations and Maintenance Best Practices for Your MS4 Permit was developed by popular demand and the content presented was on point. It was great to see old friends and make new connections in real life. Also, SESWA’s leadership made history by participating in our first-ever service project the day before the seminar. We removed two landscape trucks full of invasive privet and wisteria from a beautiful riparian corridor inside the Dunwoody Nature Preserve. We plan to have similar projects in the future so be on the lookout for upcoming notices.

Service Project Group Photo

Service Project Photo

Service Project Photo

Service Project Photo

I’m happy to report that SESWA’s membership numbers are at their highest in the Association’s history! Membership renewals are underway and we foresee the growing trend to continue. If you haven’t yet renewed, be sure to do so before June 30th. As an association, we’re committed to providing relevant resources, networking opportunities, and a friendly space to learn from others’ successes (and challenges). If there’s a burning topic or trending technology that hasn’t caught our eye, let us know! Start a forum post or reach out directly. Thank you so much for your ongoing participation and for making SESWA a true value to our industry.

Cory Rayburn
SESWA President

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Renew Your Membership Early!

You can renew your SESWA membership for the 2022-23 fiscal year (July 2022-June 2023) today! Renewing your organization’s membership has never been easier. Each primary contact received an email on May 2nd with a quick link to renew. Simply click the invoice link to pay online or download a copy to pay by check. Paper invoices were also mailed the first week of May. If you didn’t receive a notice or aren’t sure who your organization’s primary contact is, contact SESWA, we’re happy to help. Renew today so you don’t miss out on SESWA’s member benefits, including this newsletter!

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Annual Conference – Registration Open! 

Make plans to participate in the best-of-the-best in regional stormwater education this year! The 17th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference will be held October 5-7, 2022 at the Hilton Head Marriott in South Carolina. The Conference will feature an agenda developed by your peers, access to continuing education, networking opportunities with other stormwater professionals, great keynote and breakout speakers, and much more. Visit the Conference webpage for complete information or to register!

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July Webinar – Leveraging American Rescue Plan Act Funding Opportunities to Support Your Stormwater Program

Register today for SESWA’s next FREE Webinar! The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for communities around the country to identify and address critical community needs that arose from or have been brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic. With local governments receiving ARPA funding, many opportunities exist to leverage that funding to help develop a new stormwater utility or support an existing stormwater program. This webinar will highlight these opportunities and include a case study of how one North Carolina community utilized these funds to help support a new stormwater utility. The webinar will be free to members, thanks to our 2022-2023 Communications Sponsors.

Advanced Drainage Systems Best Management Products Cranston Cultec NPDEA Training Institute

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Give Us Your Best Shot – SESWA Photo Contest

Help us share all the great work you are doing for your community! The 2022 SESWA Stormwater Photo Contest is underway. Show us your innovative BMPs, Green Infrastructure, LID, treatment ponds, storm drain art, stream restoration projects, and more. Winning photos will be featured on the SESWA Homepage for one year referencing the members who submitted them. The deadline to submit your photo is June 17, 2022.

Previous Winners:

Greenville County WK Dickson
Gwinnett County City of Union City

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SESWA Seminar – Thank you!

For many years, SESWA's Annual Regional Stormwater Seminar has served as an important forum for stormwater professionals to learn about innovative stormwater practices from experts, build partnerships and share best practices. This year’s Seminar was a great success thanks to resounding support from our sponsors, speakers, and attendees. We wanted to thank all of our participants for coming together to make this possible. A special thank you to this year’s sponsors!

SESWA’s Kentucky Spotlight Webinar – It’s Not Too Late

Did you miss SESWA’s Spotlight Webinar From Bus Station to Water Reclamation: A Stormwater Improvement and Rainwater Harvesting Project? On May 19th webinar attendees learned how an abandoned, flood prone, 100-year-old bus station was transformed into a stormwater retention system offering 21st century ecological benefits. SESWA members can view the webinar recording online at no cost!

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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!

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WOTUS Updates
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

There have been no new developments in either the judicial or regulatory arenas concerning EPA’s proposed new set of WOTUS definitionsSESWA’s comments on the draft rules were submitted in February of this year.  But just prior to the deadline to submit comments, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the tests used to determine whether wetlands are subject to federal jurisdiction under the CWA, which may complicate EPA’s latest rulemaking effort. The issue of whether jurisdiction over wetlands is narrowly or broadly interpreted was the basis of the 2006 SCOTUS decision in the Rapanos decision and one of the primary reasons for the initiatives to revise WOTUS definitions beginning in 2014. 

Meanwhile, EPA announced the scheduling of 10 regional roundtables to discuss implementation of WOTUS regulations.  The roundtables are intended to help highlight both geographic differences and a range of stakeholder perspectives, such as environmental, local government, agriculture, development, WWT, etc.  The schedule for upcoming roundtables and recordings of those that have already occurred may be found on EPA’s Public Outreach webpage.  Stay tuned for updates from SESWA as details unfold. 

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FSA Asks for Veto of SB 620
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

Senate Bill 620 was passed during Florida’s 2022 Legislative Session and created a new cause of action that businesses may bring against local governments if a city or county ordinance or charter provision caused a 15 percent drop in the business’s profits. While there are several types of ordinances that are exempt from the provisions of the legislation (e.g., ordinances are “required” by state or federal programs) many of the exemptions are ill-defined, set a bad precedent for pollution control programs and will be litigated in court for years to come.  The Florida Stormwater Association has asked that the Governor veto the legislation.

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Florida Setting Bacteria TMDLs Statewide
Kurt Spitzer, SESWA

Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recently published draft updates to fecal indicator bacteria TMDLs for certain impaired surface waters in Southwest Florida not meeting applicable criteria for Escherichia coli, enterococci, or fecal coliform bacteria.  Although currently limited to waters in Southwest Florida, the intent is that the proposed TMDLs serve as a pilot for a new, uniform approach that FDEP will use to address fecal indicator bacteria impairments on a statewide basis.  More information on the proposed TMDLs and draft Reports may be found on the Department’s website.  The concern of most local stormwater interests is that the proposed rules tend to place most of the burden to prove or disprove the actual source of bacterial pollution on the MS4 permit holder. 

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Georgia Phase II MS4 Permit Reading Session
Katie-Beth Jennings, Columbia County, GA

The Georgia Phase II MS4 Permit is currently being re-issued and the proposed draft has been released by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). Prior to the stakeholder public meeting and comment deadline, the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) hosted a virtual "reading session" for all interested parties. There was a great turnout, with many consultants and Phase I and Phase II communities present. During the session the draft permit was read aloud with stopping points for discussion. As the session progressed, entities shared their concerns, lessons learned, and engaged in constructive peer-to-peer discussion. From the session arose which changes needed further clarification from EPD and which changes posed the most impact to stormwater programs. As a result of the session attendees were more prepared for the stakeholder meeting with EPD having pinpointed worthwhile concerns, and there was some impromptu collaboration of the regulated community during discussions with the state. This event was the first of its kind for Georgia MS4s giving the regulated community a unique opportunity to learn from and support one another while strengthening the permit review process ahead of regulations taking effect. The EPD is currently working on reviewing comments received.

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2022 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey
Cory Rayburn, Jacobs

The EPA is heading up the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey to assess the capital funding demands of publicly-owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities which includes municipal stormwater programs. This survey will assist the federal government with allocating funds authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). In the last survey (2012), Georgia and other southern states reported $0 needed for stormwater management over the next twenty years. This was likely the result of stormwater programs either not being aware of the survey or a disconnect in what was required to document said needs. In order to be represented accurately in this year's survey, organizers are requiring planning documents such as stormwater master plans or projects identified for capital or watershed improvement. Unfortunately, many smaller MS4s may not have implemented these types of plans; however, it's not too late to formalize your unfunded needs in order to meet these requirements. The survey ends February 28, 2023, so reach out to your State Coordinators who can provide you with their approach to collecting the pertinent information.

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NACWA Corner

Provided by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Emily Remmel, Director of Regulatory Affairs

Emily Remmel

NACWA Sends Congressional Letter Seeking PFAS Exemption Under CERCLA

NACWA led an effort with nine other water sector associations on a joint letter asking Congress to explicitly exempt public wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, and water reuse utilities from PFAS liability under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

As organizations dedicated to the protection of public health and the environment, the water sector partners call on Congress to maintain CERCLA’s bedrock principle of polluter pays and to reject any policy that seeks to shift the burden for PFAS cleanups onto the public.

The associations, in addition to this joint letter, have spent months uniting behind proposed legislative exemption language in the event EPA moves forward with a hazardous substance designation for PFOA and PFOS under CERCLA. A hazardous substance designation under CERCLA will have far reaching implications and severe unintended consequences on water systems that have played no role in producing, using, or profiting from PFAS being placed into commerce.

Water, wastewater, stormwater, and water reuse systems passively receive PFAS from a vast array of domestic, commercial, and industrial sources and have limited control over their contributions to the environment given the overwhelming presence of this family of chemicals in the chain of commerce and in our homes.

Without a clear, narrowly tailored PFAS exemption under CERCLA, public utilities and their ratepayers will be facing a “community pays” outcome that unfairly shifts the clean-up and liability costs onto municipalities and the ratepayers they serve—many of whom are already facing affordability challenges.

When acting in accordance with all applicable laws, the water sector should be provided with an exemption to avoid this outcome. If SESWA members have questions on communicating the urgency and need for a narrow exemption for PFAS or where these conversations are on the Hill, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.

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