November 2022, Volume 17, Issue 6

SESWA Forecast Newsletter


Advanced Drainage Systems
Best Management Products
NPDEA Training Institute

President's Corner

Dave Canaan

As your 2023 SESWA President, I want to thank management staff, the Conference & Education Committee, exhibitors, sponsors, presenters, and the other members and guests who attended SESWA’s 17th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference. The Conference was a huge success!! While the Conference & Education Committee and management staff have done a great job of conducting educational events remotely for the past couple of years, it can’t replace the in-person experience. The Annual Conference had over 300 stormwater professionals participate in the event. The Conference sold out quickly and, due to COVID restrictions, over 50 people were placed on the waiting list. I am already looking forward to next year!!

Each year the President creates an Action Plan, that is just that – it documents a series of actions to be carried out by the membership consistent with SESWA’s Strategic Plan. I would like to highlight two of the eight Action Plan Initiatives that are planned for 2023:

  • Continue Service Projects at the Seminar and Conference - I believe service is a combination of a person’s passion and devotion. That was especially evident from the bonds, smiles, and connections among the volunteers, not to mention improving the environment, when you look at the past two service projects. SESWA hosted two services projects in 2022 and based on this extremely successful initiative, we will continue to offer these service projects in 2023 – with an eye on always improving the experience for our members while helping to protect the local environment.

  • Update and Maintain Resources to Promote Local, Comprehensive Stormwater Programs That Provide for Resilient Communities - As a professional organization committed to educating stormwater professionals and the industry, as well as advocating for policies that can make our communities safer and cleaner, “resilience” will be another Action Plan Initiative for 2023. Specifically, we will discuss how local stormwater programs can assist their communities with preparing, responding, recovering, and mitigating from significant disruptions such as environmental disasters, flooding, etc. Keep an eye out for the 2023 Seminar Call for Presentations in early December.

As we embark on this journey as outlined in the SESWA Action Plan, please look for ways to become informed and engaged. SESWA is very much like other opportunities – at a minimum, you will get out of it what you put in.

Thank you for entrusting me with leading SESWA in 2023. More importantly, thank you for your dedication to keeping the world’s most precious, natural resource clean and safe.

Dave Canaan
SESWA President

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17th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference in Review

SESWA is committed to providing preeminent stormwater education and SESWA’s 17th 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. Both the presentations and recordings of the sessions are now available to registered attendees on the Conference Materials webpage. Top notch education was made possible by our generous Sponsors and Exhibitors. Thank you to all that attended, presented, exhibited and sponsored.

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SESWA Service Project - Bagging Oysters in South Carolina
John Butler, Conference & Education Committee Chair

In addition to the successes of the SESWA Annual Conference in October 2022, there was one special addition worth mentioning - the Service Project! For those of us in upland areas, this one was a new concept, but for the coastal stormwater folks it made complete sense. Fifteen SESWA volunteers bagged oyster shells! Actually, we bagged a lot of oyster shells  - 150 bags in all. That's enough substrate for 15,000 oysters to colonize. When placed in salt marshes this summer, these bags will help reduce erosion, capture sediment, and filter thousands of gallons of water every hour, acting as a natural stormwater BMP and enhancing the local environment. This event was made possible through a partnership with the Town of Hilton Head Island, The Outside Foundation, and the Coastal Discovery Museum. Be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities at future SESWA conferences and seminars to put your stamp on a local stormwater project!

Oyster Shells Before

Oyster Shells After

Cory Rayburn, City of Johns Creek, GA

James Riddle, Woolpert

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SESWA’s 2022-23 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: 

W. Dave Canaan


Kevin Kubiak
(Berkeley County, SC)

Vice President

Demetria Kimball-Mehlhorn
(Lexington Fayette Urban County, KY)

Also serving on the Executive Committee are:


Cory Rayburn,
(City of Johns Creek, GA)
Past President

John Butler,
(Gwinnett County, GA)
Board Representative

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2022-23 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 2022-23 include:

Lisa Wells
(W.K. Dickson)

John Butler
(Gwinnett County, GA)
Conference & Education

Rosemary Ginn
(City of Mobile, AL)

Steve Peene
(Geosyntec Consultants)
Stormwater Policy

View a complete listing of all SESWA volunteers visit the SESWA Committee page.

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Welcome New Director of Regulatory Affairs Joey McKinnon

Join us in welcoming Joey McKinnon! McKinnon joined the SESWA management team on October 1, 2022 as the Director of Regulatory Affairs. He brings experience as a political non-profit state director and leader of coalitions, budgets and campaigns. Prior to joining SESWA’s management team, McKinnon has served as a lobbyist at the Florida Legislature to advance policy for the environment and small business. McKinnon is also a licensed Professional Geologist and has worked in the environmental engineering and agricultural sectors. McKinnon can be reached at [email protected]. Reach out today to say hello as we welcome him to the team!

As McKinnon joins us, we say our final goodbye to Kurt Spitzer. After retiring as Executive Director three years ago, Spitzer has worked part-time assisting SESWA with its regulatory efforts. October 31, 2022 was Spitzer’s last official day. In the coming months Kurt looks forward to some much-deserved rest and relaxation with his wife Vicki and close companion Jake, his yellow lab.

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January Webinar – Registration is Open!

Join us on January 19, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for an encore session of Spread the Love - Early Action Can Prevent Unmanageable Workloads Later from the 2022 SESWA Annual Conference! Gwinnett County, Georgia Field Operations has adapted to large workloads by spreading the work between in-house crews and contractors while rearranging the timing of certain tasks. Crews focus on emergencies and complaints while contractors are assigned targeted work. A database and GIS are used to prioritize and assign projects while progress is tracked and reports are produced for the MS4 permit. This free one-hour webinar will review the County’s approach, sharing the database and GIS used to help other local governments manage the unmanageable! Register Today!

This webinar is brought to SESWA members FREE thanks to the generous support of SESWA’s Communications Sponsors!

Advanced Drainage Systems Best Management Products Cranston Engineering Group Cultec NPDES Stormwater Training Institute StormTrap

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Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding for Stormwater

SESWA is pleased to offer a new member resource!  View SESWA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) fact sheet for an overview of BIL with helpful links and state-specific guidance on how your stormwater projects can qualify. Many of these funds will be used to supercharge existing avenues such as the State Revolving Fund program; however, BIL also creates new initiatives to increase the resiliency of our stormwater infrastructure and roadways in some of our underserved communities. BIL funds will be released over the next five years, so there's still time!  A big thank you to SESWA’s Stormwater Policy Committee for leading the effort to develop this valuable resource!

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Gwinnett County Umbrella Mitigation Bank
Rachel Jones, Gwinnett County, GA

Between 2005 and 2018, Gwinnett County's Watershed Improvement Program restored degraded wetlands and streams at four sites to produce compensatory mitigation credits for County projects. These four sites make up the overall Umbrella Mitigation Bank, from which credits can be used to mitigate County projects in any watershed. Once constructed, Gwinnett County is required to monitor the performance of the restoration, report to the Corps of Engineers and perform adaptive management for a seven-year period of establishment. Credits are released each year based on meeting the performance criteria outlined in the mitigation banking instrument. The sites are protected in perpetuity through conservation easements and restrictive covenants. For more information about mitigation banking, visit Mitigation Banks under CWA Section 404 | US EPA. To find mitigation banks with available stream and/or wetland credits for sale in your area, visit Banks & Sites.

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Bromolow Mitigation Bank Adaptive Management
John Butler, Gwinnett County, GA

In 2018, Gwinnett Water Resources completed a stream restoration on a tributary to Bromolow Creek near Norcross, Georgia. The 7+ acre project site drains a 2.05 square mile watershed and was significant because it also qualified as a Stream Mitigation Bank. Since completion, certain actions are needed to maintain compliance with US Army Corps of Engineer requirements. On November 16, 2022, eighteen employees from Gwinnett Water Resources met at the site and spent three hours pulling invasive privet and collecting trash as an adaptive management effort to ensure the success of the mitigation bank. Privet was removed at the time of construction but had remained along the borders of the property and spread back onsite after completion. An estimated 0.4 acres was successfully cleared, and four bags of trash were picked up. This event was a huge success as both a team building opportunity and to keep a special environment natural and productive.


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Proactive Work and Planning Led to Successful MS4 Program Audit in Charlotte
Craig Miller, City of Charlotte, NC

The City of Charlotte's MS4 Permit Program was audited by the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in September 2022. The audit was a success, with a Notice of Compliance issued by DEQ, largely based on the fact that we have a comprehensive program with dedicated and knowledgeable staff, but also because of two years of proactive work that went into preparing for the audit. While two years is a long time, the early preparation was one of the keys to success and allowed plenty of time to work through the entire program without being over-stressed. Preparation included a self-audit using DEQ's audit template as a guide, a third-party audit by a consultant, and follow-up work to address findings from the pre-audits. For the follow-up items, a spreadsheet was created listing the action items, priority ranking, responsible staff, expected outcome, and deadline. A decent portion of the preparatory work involved organizing files to ensure that documents were in the right place and easy to access. Staff also identified key documents and good examples to provide to auditors for each permit requirement, so we weren't left fumbling around for items during the actual audit. City of Charlotte Storm Water Services staff have resources available to help others including copies of our third-party audit RFP, audit reports, corrective actions tracking spreadsheet, and others. If you are interested, please contact Craig Miller at [email protected] for more information.

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Flood Early Warning System Implementation
Ariel Bushel, City of Raleigh, NC

The Flood Early Warning System Program (FEWS) is established to help with response efforts for flooding and major storms. With the recent storm events in September and October 2022, Raleigh, North Carolina  Stormwater had great success predicting and preparing for potential flooding in the city. The FEWS program was initiated as a pilot in 2019 and since then, flood and traffic cameras have been used to view street and stream flooding, confirm gauge readings, and validate flood sign alerts; the Gauge-Adjusted Radar Rainfall (GARR) has been implemented, along with stream and rain gauges, to provide real-time data on rainfall amounts in 5-minute intervals; and Vflo hydrolic modeling has been added to predict flood elevations in Raleigh’s most flood prone creeks. Additionally, flood early warning signs were installed across the City with the goal to make Raleigh residents aware of rising water levels and flooded roads. Raleigh Stormwater also launched the Lake Johnson Pilot Project in 2019, which supplements flood preparation efforts by allowing staff to control the automated valve remotely to lower water levels in the lake which helps reduce flooding downstream during large rain events.

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Bringing Stormwater Awareness Week to the Southeast!
Rachael Osborne, Columbia County, GA

Across the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), stormwater professionals came together to conduct the first annual CSRA Stormwater Awareness Week (SWAW), which is celebrated during the last week in September.

First, several of the municipalities gained support from their local jurisdictions by having the week proclaimed as SWAW. Second, we advertised SWAW on a local news station. Third, participating municipalities created outreach event(s) based on a stormwater issue in their jurisdiction:

  • Aiken County and City of Aiken, SC hosted virtual workshops improving homeowner education on increasing infiltration, minimizing runoff, and reducing pollutants. They also did a cleanup in their area to kick off the week.
  • Columbia County, GA focused on the bacteria impaired waterways and testing that was performed to determine the sources. We also conducted outreach on social media with posts focusing on stormwater quality, stormwater projects, and stream buffers.
  • Harlem, GA focused on stormwater management by presenting to their city council.
  • North Augusta, SC educated community members on stormwater drainage features, particularly ownership and maintenance.

Some initial takeaways from this inaugural week are to offer hybrid options for all outreach, use local news to improve participation, and consider offering hands-on opportunities to diversify public engagement.

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Networking at SESWA Seminar Leads to Cost Savings for Department
Beth Parmer, Clayton County Water Authority, GA

At Clayton County Water Authority, we're the responsible party for inspecting 20% of 7 Phase I MS4s. Since 2007, we've been using equipment from well-known companies to conduct these inspections. As such, whenever we have maintenance needs, we send our equipment off to a sole source provider for repairs. Recently, our inspection equipment has been out for repairs for extended periods, and we have dealt with additional costs related to parts, labor, and diagnostics. Needless to say, we experienced losses, both in productivity and for the costs associated with repairs.

Then came the opportunity to network with others at SESWA’s 2022 Spring Seminar. While attending the Seminar, one of our Inspection Technicians attended a session on inspections of storm sewer systems, using similar equipment. He spoke up during the session and explained the issues that we were currently experiencing with our equipment. A fellow SESWA member reached out to me via email after the SESWA Seminar to share their experiences and offer solutions they thought might help my team with future inspections.

After some due diligence, the CCWA Stormwater Inspection Team has a new inspection process in place that costs less, allows assembly and maintenance of the inspection product in-house, and gets inspections up and running quickly. Ultimately, we now have the flexibility to provide inspections faster and better serve the public.

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New Climate Tool Available for the Carolinas
Stephanie MacDurmon, Brown and Caldwell

A new climate data tool co-produced by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Carolinas, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Programs (CISA, GLISA, and MARISA) was released online to the public at the beginning of November. The Climate and Hazard Mitigation Planning (CHaMP) tool includes a variety of climate and hazard datasets to characterize community vulnerabilities to climate-related hazards and inform hazard mitigation efforts and planning. It visualizes a range of county-level datasets related to coastal hazards, extreme rainfall/flooding, fog, severe weather, tropical storms/hurricanes, extreme heat, wildlife, and winter weather. Of particular interest for stormwater professionals, the tool also includes historical data and low-emission and high-emission projections of extreme rainfall conditions, such as total annual rainfall, total seasonal rainfall, and days with greater than one and two inches of rainfall through 2098 . The projections are based on the results of 32 climate models; the tool provides both the range of the climate model estimates and the average to represent the array of potential future conditions. This new tool represents another useful resource in our ongoing efforts to understand the possible impacts of climate change and to prepare our communities for the future.

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Updated Florida Regulations Target Maintenance of Stormwater Facilities
Steve Peene, Geosyntec Company

In 2020, the Florida Legislature passed the Clean Waterways Act (SB 712). The Bill directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to update its stormwater design and operation regulations. Through the rulemaking process FDEP has identified changes to the ERP Applicant’s Handbook, Florida’s primary guide for stormwater facility permitting. To date FDEP has proposed revisions to four chapters within the Handbook. One chapter titled Operation and Maintenance – Specific Requirements, targets maintenance of stormwater facilities. Some of the most significant changes include Annual inspections of all stormwater systems, signed and sealed by a “qualified registered professional;” Written operations and maintenance (O&M) plans for every stormwater facility, prepared and certified by a qualified registered professional; and Cost estimates for all future O&M needs for every stormwater facility, and demonstration of financial capability to operate and maintain the system as designed and permitted. While the permittee can request an alternate inspection schedule after the first five years, these requirements are not consistent with inspection frequencies under the present MS4 permits. While the changes were primarily directed toward improving O&M by HOAs, the changes will have significant impacts on all stormwater facility owners.

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ASCE Infrastructure Report Card Rates Tennessee Stormwater as C+
Maria Price, City of Chattanooga, TN

In the newly released ASCE infrastructure 2022 Report Card, Tennessee’s Infrastructure received an overall GPA of C.  Among the state's lowest grades were transit, dams and wastewater.  Drinking water received a C+.  99% of water systems are compliant with public safety rules, however 33% of treated water is lost due to aging and leaking pipelines.  Stormwater received a C+ with 22 cities throughout state implementing stormwater utility fees over the last two decades.  Over half the assessed waterways are impaired with at least one pollutant and 38% of the state’s reservoir acreage is listed as impaired.  New rules, finalized in May 2022, will help regulate site development and encourage the use of green infrastructure.  Grades are based on capacity, condition, public safety, innovation, and other data gathered by engineers.

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 NACWA Corner

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

Emily Remmel

EPA to Issue New MS4 Rule on U.S. Census’ Elimination of ‘Urbanized Areas’

Earlier this year the U.S. Census Bureau finalized new criteria for how it defines urban areas based off the collection of data from the 2020 Census. The new criteria eliminates the distinction between different types of urban areas and will no longer use the term “urbanized areas.” While this is a nuanced change, NACWA flagged for EPA that removing the definition will impact the municipal stormwater community and create regulatory uncertainty moving forward.

Municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) Phase II permits are written to cover “urbanized area[s] determined by the latest Decennial Census.” Because the Census no longer recognizes “urbanized areas,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be updating its regulations for small MS4s.

As an initial step, EPA provided interim guidance earlier this year in an effort to provide clarity on the issue as the Agency evaluated whether an update to the Phase II stormwater regulations was necessary.

EPA clarified that MS4s that are currently regulated will continue to be regulated as a result of a previous census. A key provision in the preamble of the 1999 Phase II MS4 regulations state: “Based on historical trends, EPA expects that any area determined by the Bureau of the Census to be included within an urbanized area as of the 1990 Census will not later be excluded from the urbanized area as of the 2000 Census. However, it is important to note that even if this situation were to occur, for example, due to a possible change in the Bureau of the Census’ urbanized area definition, a small MS4 that is automatically designated into the NPDES program for storm water under an urbanized area calculation for any given Census year will remain regulated regardless of the results of subsequent urbanized area calculations.”

Further, the interim guidance recommends state permitting authorities reissue currently designated small MS4 permits that are set to expire based on the 2010 Census. However, the guidance also states that EPA does not expect permitting authorities to make formal designations of new or expanded small MS4s until the Census Bureau publishes updated mapping data from the 2020 Census. This new data is expected in December 2022.

In an additional development, NACWA recently heard from EPA that a rulemaking to address the discrepancies between the Census criteria and how the EPA regulates municipal stormwater is on the way and will likely hit the Federal Register before the end of the year.

The rule will outline exactly how the Agency plans to address the elimination of urbanized areas within the current framework for determining small MS4 jurisdictions. NACWA will keep SESWA members updated on what this might mean for their MS4 communities.

If SESWA members have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs at [email protected] or 202-533-1839.

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