November 2023, Volume 18, Issue 6

SESWA Forecast Newsletter


American Concrete Pipe Association
Advanced Drainage Systems
Best Management Products
NPDEA Training Institute

President's Corner

Dave Canaan

SESWA Members,

As your continuing SESWA President, I want to thank management staff, the Conference & Education Committee, exhibitors, presenters, and the other members and guests who attended SESWA’s 18th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference. The Conference was another huge success with over 300 stormwater professionals in attendance. I am already looking forward to next year in Chattanooga, TN!!

Each year the President creates an Action Plan that documents the associations initiatives for the year. I would like to highlight two of the six Action Plan Initiatives that I am proposing for 2024:

  • Continuing Service Projects at the Seminar and Conference - I believe that service is a combination of a person’s passion and devotion. That was especially evident from the bonds, smiles, and connections among the volunteers, when you look at our past service projects. At the 2022 Annual Conference 15 stormwater professional filled 150 bags of oysters, this year over 40 stormwater professionals filled 425 bags of oysters – what an improvement and illustration of commitment!! SESWA will continue to offer service projects in 2024 – while keeping an eye on ways to improve the experience for our members while helping to protect the local environment.

  • Update and Maintain Resources and Promote How Local, Comprehensive Stormwater Programs Can Provide for a More Resilient Community - We as a professional association are committed to educating stormwater professionals and the industry, as well as advocating for policies that can make our communities safer and cleaner. Therefore, “resilience” will also continue to be an Action Plan initiative for 2024. Specifically, we will discuss how local stormwater programs can assist their communities with preparing, responding, recovering, and mitigating significant disruptions such as environmental disasters, flooding, etc. The 19th Annual Regional Stormwater Seminar Call for Presentations is already out. The deadline for presentation submissions is December 15, 2023.

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 again with leading SESWA in 2024. 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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As a follow up to the SESWA Spring Seminar on resiliency, the Association’s Stormwater Policy Committee is preparing a series of articles focused on different issues related to climate change and stormwater. A total of six articles will be prepared throughout the year, each on different topics. The approach will be to interact with stormwater program managers and other stormwater professionals to get their input on each topic area. The articles will be accompanied by poll questions, Community Forum posts, and LinkedIn notices to gain additional input from the SESWA community. The information gathered will be combined into reference materials that will be shared with SESWA’s membership.

Resiliency: BMPs & Resiliency
Reported by Dave Mason, CDM Smith and Cory Rayburn, City of Johns Creek, GA
SESWA Stormwater Policy Committee Members

In the face of escalating climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the imperative to fortify urban environments against the impacts of stormwater runoff has never been more critical. Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) emerge as indispensable tools in fostering urban resilience, serving as a frontline defense mechanism to mitigate the adverse effects of intense precipitation, flooding, and water pollution. Both the implementation of new BMPs and the strategic retrofitting of existing infrastructure are crucial components in this battle for environmental sustainability. This article highlights the pivotal role of both new and retrofitted stormwater BMPs in bolstering urban resilience, shedding light on their multifaceted contributions to the protection of communities in the face of a changing climate.

Many opportunities exist to apply BMPs to enhance stormwater capture and treatment, including areas that may not currently receive treatment. Common examples of retrofit opportunities include: 1) near existing stormwater outfalls, 2) within the existing conveyance system, 3) adjacent to large parking lots, 4) green street retrofits, and 5) on-site LID retrofits. While it may be difficult to get private development to retrofit their property, many local governments have performed studies to identify improvements on a regional scale within public property or the right-of-way. States in the southeast such as Tennessee include an optional fee-in-lieu program in the MS4 permit to incentivize local governments to build regional BMPs that serve private development.

The pursuit of resiliency within existing stormwater systems can also involve the conversion and/or enhancement of existing BMPs. Numerous communities grapple with aging, legacy BMPs like dry ponds and wet ponds, originally designed under outdated standards or requirements, providing limited flood and water quality benefits. In response, the strategic upgrading of these facilities emerges as a popular and cost-effective alternative to constructing entirely new infrastructure. Such enhancements have the potential to increase treatment volume, prevent short circuiting, extend flow path or hydraulic residence time, and incorporate internal design features to elevate overall efficacy in flood and/or pollutant reduction. This approach not only addresses the challenges posed by outdated stormwater infrastructure but also exemplifies a practical means of fortifying resilience within existing systems.

Another area where local governments can better take advantage of resiliency building is within our planned roadway projects. These transportation infrastructure improvements are historically well funded and tend to be exempt from the same stormwater standards imposed on private development. With the overall success of underground detention systems over the past twenty years, there is an opportunity to strategically place these linear BMPs along the roadway to build resilience, volume, and attenuation into these more traditional conveyance-focused projects. There have also been some great LID successes in the right-of-way, but it has yet to become the mainstream approach for transportation engineers.

This article underscores the pivotal role of both new and retrofitted stormwater BMPs in bolstering urban resilience, emphasizing their multifaceted contributions to community protection amidst a changing climate. Opportunities abound for implementing BMPs, from strategic retrofits near stormwater outfalls to green street retrofits, showcasing their adaptability across diverse urban landscapes. By strategically upgrading aging infrastructure and integrating BMPs into planned projects, we can systematically build resilience, block by block, creating a more sustainable future for our communities.

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18th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference in Review

SESWA is committed to providing preeminent stormwater education and SESWA’s 18th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference was one of the best yet! This year’s Conference in Hilton Head, SC had record attendance and 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 and Exhibitors. Thank you to all that attended, presented and sponsored.

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SESWA Service Project – Bagging Oysters in South Carolina

On October 4th, the Southeast Stormwater Association (SESWA) sent forty volunteers from throughout the Southeast to the Coastal Discovery Museum to bag recycled oyster shells and help build new oyster reefs in the salt marshes around Hilton Head Island. Jocelyn Kern, who works with The Outside Foundation, oversaw the project onsite. In total, SESWA volunteers bagged 425 bags of oyster shells in a little over an hour. That is enough solid material for 42,500 oysters to colonize! According to The Outside Foundation, a single oyster can filter 2.5 gallons of water in an hour. Imagine how much 42,500 oysters can filter. The bags will be used this summer to help rebuild reefs through the Oyster Recycling and Reef Building initiative.

"I was humbled to see how our service projects have grown in participation and scale since our first event, pulling invasive species in a wetland area. Our team today was phenomenal," said Conference and Education Committee member and project organizer Carl Thomas.

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Seminar Call for Presentations Now Open!

SESWA is excited to announce that its 19th Annual Regional Stormwater Seminar will be held April 19, 2024 in Atlanta, GA. With the recent influx of grant funding through the American Rescue Plan Act and other sources, there have been unprecedented opportunities for implementation of critical infrastructure improvement projects. Communities across the Southeast have received considerable funding for many long overdue stormwater system enhancements. This single-day seminar will offer the opportunity to learn from experts presenting a comprehensive overview of stormwater design projects designed to reduce flooding, improve water quality, enhance resiliency, improve habitat, and minimize impacts from future development. The seminar will provide stormwater managers and engineers with ideas/concepts for managing and implementing needed stormwater design improvements in your community. We are now accepting presentation submissions! Complete all fields of the Presentation Submission Form by December 15, 2023. Presenters of accepted presentations will receive a discounted registration rate.

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SESWA’s 2023-24 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

Demetria Kimball- Mehlhorn
Lexington Fayette Urban County, KY
Vice President

John Butler
Gwinnett County, GA

Also serving on the Executive Committee as the Board of Directors Representative is:

  • Kimberly Washok-Jones (Town of Bluffton, SC) – Board Representative

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SESWA’s 2023-24 Committee Members Appointed

A big thank you to the 60+ individuals that have volunteered to serve on one of SESWA’s four programmatic Committees. We appreciate our committee members 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 2023-24 include:

Lisa Wells
W.K. Dickson, SC

James Riddle
Woolpert, SC
Conference & Education

Beth Parmer
Clayton County Water Authority, GA

Steve Peene
Geosyntec Consultants, FL
Stormwater Policy

 For a complete listing of the SESWA Committees, visit our website.

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January Webinar – Registration is Open!

Join us on January 19, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for an encore session from SESWA’s 2023 Annual Conference, Intersection of Green and Gray Stormwater Infrastructure: Hybrid Solutions Improve Water Quality and Reduce Flooding.  This was the highest rated workshop from the Annual Conference so if you weren’t able to join us, be sure to register today! Nuisance flooding in the wrong areas can impose serious threats to vital transportation corridors and human health. Recently completed projects in Raleigh and Beaufort, North Carolina highlight ways that green infrastructure can be used to mitigate flooding and increase the lifespan and effectiveness of existing gray stormwater infrastructure. This free one-hour webinar will share the functional and aesthetic benefits of combining traditional gray stormwater infrastructure with nature-based green stormwater infrastructure to eliminate nuisance flooding while providing water quality benefits and aesthetic improvements. 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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SESWA Members – You Can Search SESWA’s Resources Online!

Are you looking for resources on stormwater topics? Visit SESWA’s website and search resources including conference/seminar presentations, recordings, SESWA Community Forum articles, and more. Here’s how in three easy steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Look for the “Search our site...” box at the top of the page.
  3. Type in your search topic and press “enter.” See sample search results below.

Members Can Maximize Results by logging into their profile first. Be sure to check the “Pages” and Community “Forum” boxes as shown below to access all member-only resources.

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Updates of Georgia's NPDES Phase I Large Permit Reissuance and Timeline
Beth Parmer, Clayton County Water Authority, GA

Georgia’s Phase I Large NPDES Permit has recently gone out for review to MS4 permittees, with the first comment period closing November 10, 2023. The permit renewal application is due back to the GA Environmental Protection Division (EPD) by December 13, 2023 and the new permit effective date is scheduled for July 11, 2024. The updated Storm Water Management Programs will be due to the EPD 180 days following the permit effective date.

Some notable changes of the permit draft include clarifying that flood management projects are not required to have a full assessment each reporting period, water quality vaults were added as one of the MS4 structures to be included in the public inventories, and language was added clarifying that GI/LID structures that are publicly owned (but not owned by the permittee) are also required to be inspected. In addition, all GI/LID structures must have some procedures in place to ensure they are maintained.

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Florida Developing a Rule for Water Quality Credit Banking
Steve Peene, Geosyntec Consultants

The Florida Legislature passed House Bill 965 authorizing the creation of Water Quality Enhancement Areas (WQEAs). The bill was approved by the Governor in the spring of 2022. WQEAs are natural systems constructed to provide water quality treatment credits that would then be available for sale to governmental entities (GEs). In March of 2023, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a notice of rulemaking to establish the WQEA program. The WQEAs would be permitted by private groups through the State’s Environmental Resource Permit process. GEs may develop WQEAs for their own use but may not sell credits to third parties. The credits are meant to compensate for lack of treatment available onsite and cannot be used to meet onsite stormwater management requirements. Groups looking to permit WQEAs must show the pollutant reductions achieved and the applicable Service Area, i.e., region over which credits will apply, through modeling or other analytical tools completed at the time of the permit. Entities must also develop a Performance and Success Criteria Monitoring and Verification Plan that outlines the treatment types and monitoring to demonstrate the pollutant load reductions achieved. The rulemaking has just begun with comments due to the first draft by December 6, 2023.   

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Ordinance Refinements in a Growing City
Daryl Hammock, City of Charlotte, NC

As Charlotte, North Carolina's development patterns have shifted, new types of drainage problems associated with dense in-fill development have emerged. The City of Charlotte initiated the creation of a Unified Development Ordinance that encouraged even more infill development. Recognizing the potential for conflict and long-term increased costs, staff developed companion regulatory processes with a goal to combat the creation of new drainage problems associated with infill development.

One of many changes was a new drainage review of building projects based on their location in relation to the drainage system. Since becoming effective in June 2023, more than 2,200 small infill building projects have been reviewed. The new drainage reviews have been successful in preventing drainage problems, including a home intended to be built over a 30-inch metal drainage pipe. The new process makes use of a tiered review approach that limits staff time and owner effort. Communities experiencing dense urban growth should anticipate the possibility that costly drainage problems could emerge, and early regulatory actions will limit these costs.

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Upcoming Grant Opportunities in North Carolina 
Hunter Freeman, McAdams

There are numerous grant and funding opportunities for stormwater planning and implementation projects in North Carolina. While some have deadlines fast approaching, many of these grants should be on your radar as they have multiple funding cycles annually. Some of these opportunities are listed below. Most communities are eligible, and some grants also fund efforts by NGO’s and non-profits. Check with the grant programs for additional detailed information.

Water Resource Development Grant – North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Application Deadline January 2, 2024

The Water Resource Development Grant program is open to municipalities for stream restoration, water management, preliminary feasibility or engineering studies, coastal infrastructure and other water-based projects. These 50% cost-share grants offer technical assistance to local governments throughout the state. Projects must not be required for permit compliance, and the 50% match cannot be from federal funds. For more information visit the Water Resources Development Grant Program page.

Land and Water Fund – North Carolina Land & Water Fund
Application Deadline February 15, 2024

The North Carolina Land and Water Fund is intended to support projects that protect surface waters through conservation, restoration, planning, and innovation. State agencies, local governments, and environmentally focused non-profits are encouraged to apply. More information, including specific eligibility requirements and applications can be found on the North Carolina Land & Water Fund site.

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program – US Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Application Deadline January 31, 2024

This program, with funding led by the NFWF, seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by focusing on improving water quality, watersheds, and the species and habitats they support. Projects should increase access to the benefits of nature, reduce environmental impacts, and engage local communities. The $30,000 to $60,000 grants require a 25% non-federal match. For more information visit the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program page.

Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) – USDOT
Application Deadline February 2024

RAISE grants awards funding to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives and have a significant local or regional impact. The eligibility requirements of RAISE ask applicants to meet environmental sustainability merit criteria, opening up the opportunity to use the funds for stormwater and resiliency projects. Eligible projects include capital projects (highway, intermodal, surface transportation, infrastructure, culvert replacement or stormwater runoff) and planning (preparation for eligible surface transportation capital projects). For more information visit the USDOT RAISE Discretionary Grants page.

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NACWA Corner

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

Emily Remmel

Proposed Cuts to CWSRF Could Have Lasting Consequences and Funding Impacts

Since the establishment of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) under the 1987 Clean Water Act (CWA) amendments, Congress has appropriated over $50 billion in federal investment collectively to the state CWSRFs, who in turn have provided over $160 billion to local communities. But, with proposed CWSRF program cuts possibly on the table, stormwater agencies need to let Congress know that current funding levels must be maintained.

These low-interest loans, and in some cases grants through additional subsidization provisions, provided under the CWSRFs annual appropriations have remained the primary federal clean water financing tool that public clean water utilities and stormwater agencies have used to help their local communities meet their CWA compliance obligations and upgrade and improve aging infrastructure.

While the CWSRF has largely been funded at consistent levels in recent years, there are serious concerns that drastic cuts are looming. A recent U.S. House of Representatives proposal will fund the CWSRF program at $535 million—far less than the U.S. Senate’s package to fund the CWSRF at $1.6 billion and what has been the average appropriation to date. Compounding the concern is the fact that $470 million of the $535 million has been earmarked for certain districts, essentially shrinking the available funding to a mere $65 million.

The proposed cuts to the CWSRF do not reflect criticisms of the program itself—rather, they are part of broader calls from Congressional Republicans to reduce federal spending. As “big ticket” items, the SRFs can be victims of their own successes, targeted by policy makers who want to cut U.S. EPA’s spending. And the historic water infrastructure investments under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) that injected, over 5 years, $11.7 billion into the CWSRF provide a sense of cover to Congress, muting the impacts of annual funding cuts over the next few years. But in 2027 this historic funding ends and public utilities and stormwater agencies will again rely on the annual Congressional appropriations process to secure critical funding for their communities.

These BIL investments were intended to be a one-time infusion into the CWSRF in addition to the ongoing annual appropriations. NACWA is urging its members and the broader clean water and stormwater community to call their members of Congress and stress the need to fully appropriate the clean water programs authorized and reauthorized under the IIJA to ensure that local communities have the comprehensive resources required to provide essential public wastewater and stormwater services. There is growing concern that the House’s proposed funding levels could set the precedent after BIL dollars are exhausted.

If SESWA members have questions on the CWSRF, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs.

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