Forest Service Extends Groundwater Directive Public Comment Period to September 3rd

On July 31st, the U.S. Forest Service announced a 30-day extension (until September 3rd) in the amount of time the public has to comment on a proposal to clarify the agency’s direction for groundwater.  The proposed directive on groundwater resource management was  published in the May 6 Federal Register.  The proposal is intended to help the Forest Service maintain and enhance water resources on national forests and grasslands.

 

The Forest Service’s further rationale for the directive is as follows:  “Currently, the Forest Service does not have a consistent approach to evaluating the potential effects to groundwater from the multiple surface uses of National Forest System (NFS) lands, or the role that groundwater plays in ecosystem function on NFS land. Nor does it have a consistent approach to responding to proposals that require Forest Service authorization when those proposals might impact groundwater resources.  The proposed directives would create a more consistent approach for the Forest Service to evaluate and monitor the effects to groundwater from actions on national forest system lands. By improving the agency’s ability to understand groundwater resources, the proposed directive would make the agency a better and more consistent partner to States, tribes and project proponents.”

New USDA Conservation Partnership Program Receives Nearly 600 Initial Proposals

On August 4, USDA issued a press release announcing that nearly 5,000 organizations partnered together to submit nearly 600 pre-proposals for the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) by the July deadline.  The RCPP offers funding for conservation projects designed by local partners (including water utilities) to improve soil health, water quality and water use efficiency, wildlife habitat, and other related natural resources on private lands.  ASDWA was pleased to learn from one state drinking water program (Iowa) that they had participated in meetings and provided state data to one of their communities that submitted a pre-proposal for the RCPP.  To view the RCPP press release, visit the USDA web site.

Protect Your Groundwater Day is Coming Up on September 9th!

Protect Your Groundwater Day (PYGWD) is coming up on September 9, 2014. That’s still plenty of time to prepare to help raise public awareness about the importance of groundwater and water well stewardship for the health of the public and the environment.  Visit the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) web page to find useful, educational information to share through your web sites, social media, newsletters, news releases, and events.   Following are some resources from NGWA to help you promote this special day.

The Promotional Partners page  lists all the Federal, state and local organizations that have said “yes” to being a 2014 PYGWD promotional partner so far. If you confirmed that you want to be a 2014 partner and are not listed-or if you wish to become a promotional partner, please contact Cliff Treyens of NGWA at ctreyens@ngwa.org or 614-898-7791.

Plan Now to Attend ASDWA’s October Annual Conference in Albuquerque!

Plan now to attend the 2014 ASDWA Annual Conference in Albuquerque, NM.  This year’s conference will begin with the State-EPA Roundtable and ASDWA Committee meetings on Monday October 20 and finish with a special session on HACCP in building plumbing on Thursday afternoon, October 23.  In between, the conference will feature speakers on many policy and technical topics including source water protection, climate change, extreme weather events, and sustainability of water supplies; as well as displays from water industry exhibitors.  More details are available on the ASDWA Conferences webpage, where you can find a preliminary agenda, registration, and hotel information.  The preliminary agenda is also provided here for your reference.

Plan to join us in Albuquerque as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the 30th Anniversary of ASDWA!

Public Comment Period Extended for Waters of the US Proposed Rule

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) are extending the public comment period for the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule from July 21 until October 20, 2014, an additional 91 days. This extension is in response to numerous requests received by the agencies (EPA and COE). The agencies are continuing to meet with representatives of States and local governments, stakeholders, and elected officials during the comment period. The Waters of the U.S. proposed rule will clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources.

The agencies have also extended the public comment period on the interpretive rule by 30 days to July 7th . The interpretive rule ensures that 56 specific conservation practices that protect or improve water quality and are conducted in conformance with NRCS practice standards will not be subject to Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting requirements for discharges of dredged or fill material. Information about the proposed rule can be found at www.epa.gov/uswaters.

New USGS Report and Webinar on Dissolved Solids in Streams

A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report provides science-based information on where dissolved solids concentrations are elevated and the dominant sources contributing to these conditions. Using the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program SPAtially-Referenced Regression on Watershed Attributes (SPARROW) model, long-term mean annual dissolved-solids loads from 2,560 water-quality monitoring stations were statistically related to several spatial datasets that are surrogates for dissolved-solids sources and land-to-water delivery processes. Sources in the model included variables representing geologic materials, road deicers, urban lands, cultivated lands, and pasture lands.

Maps of concentrations, yields, and loads of dissolved solids in streams are available on the online, interactive decision support tool. The online tool can also be used to evaluate dissolved-solids loads to any user selected watershed outlet or to predict how changes in selected sources of dissolved solids within a selected watershed may change loadings to the watershed outlet. Visit the related USGS web sites to view the Report, Maps, and Decision support system. For questions, please contact David Anning at dwanning@usgs.gov or (928) 556-7139.

REGISTER for the USGS Webinar on July 22nd from 1:00 – 2:30pm (eastern) entitled, “Human Actions Increase Salt Content in many of the Nation’s Streams.”

US Forest Service Seeks Comment and Will Host a Webinar (on May 20th) on New Management Practices for Stewardship of Water Resources

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has published two new draft directives that are intended to strengthen and support the Agency’s ability to manage the National Forest System (NFS) to protect water resources and to establish a national system of BMPs and associated monitoring protocols for use on NFS lands.

The first document is a new draft chapter (2560) of its Forest Service Manual (FSM 2500) that is intended to strengthen and support the Agency’s ability to manage the National Forest System to protect groundwater resources on NFS lands, and clarifies roles, responsibilities, and procedures for addressing groundwater resource management. This is described as the new draft Directive on Groundwater Resource Management that amends the internal USFS directives for Watershed and Air Management on NFS land. Specifically, this proposed groundwater direction would:

  • Provide for consideration of groundwater resources in agency activities;
  • Encourage source water protection and water conservation;
  • Establish procedures for reviewing new proposals for groundwater withdrawals on NFS land,
  • Require the evaluation of potential impacts from groundwater withdrawals on NFS natural resources and
  • Provide for measurement and reporting to help build our understanding of groundwater resources on NFS land.

Comments are due for this document on August 4, 2014. For more information, please visit the USFS web site, and view the Federal Register Notice.

The second document amends the internal Manual for Water Quality Management to establish a National Best Management Practices (BMP) Program Handbook. This proposed change would enhance the Forest Service’s ability to protect water quality on NFS land by:

  • Formalizing the National BMP Program as the primary method for control of non-point sources of water pollution to achieve federal, state (i.e., Clean Water Act), tribal or local water quality requirements;
  • Requiring implementation of the National BMP Program on all NFS land;
  • Establishing monitoring for implementation and effectiveness of the national BMPs; and
  • Adding definitions and direction to clarify and improve consistency in the agency’s use of the national BMPs.

Comments are due for this document on July 7, 2014. For more information and to view the document, please visit the USFS web site, and view the Federal Register Notice.

May 20th Webinar:  The USFS will host a national webinar from 1:00 – 2:00pm (eastern) on May 20th to discuss the components of the proposed policy to manage groundwater resources on the country’s national forests and grasslands. Forest Service leaders and technical specialists will provide an overview on groundwater issues and information on the intent of the agency’s directives.

May 29 EPA Webinar on the Role of Citizen Scientists in HAB Monitoring and Response

On May 29, EPA will host a free webinar on “The Role of Citizen Scientists in Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Monitoring and Response.” This is the first webinar in a new summer series about HABs. During this webinar, Steve Morton from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Scott Kishbaugh and Karen Stainbrook from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation will discuss their involvement with volunteer monitoring initiatives, and how the American public can get involved in a project to monitor for potentially toxic algal species and collect meaningful data from their local water bodies for use in decision-making by a local, state, or Federal agency. To register for this webinar, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/webinars-about-harmful-algal-blooms.  For questions, please contact Christina Badaracco at badaracco.christina@epa.gov.

ASDWA’s 2014 Annual Conference Call for Papers and Exhibitors

Call for Papers 

Please submit your abstract for ASDWA’s 2014 Annual Conference.  This year’s conference will be held October 20-23, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Albuquerque, NM.  Approximately 250 participants are expected to attend.

Presentation themes may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Source water protection and sustainability of water supplies
  • Climate change, water and energy efficiency, and conservation
  • Clean Water Act/SDWA connections, nutrient pollution, and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
  • Emerging drinking water treatment technologies and optimization of current technology
  • SDWA implementation approaches and strategies including collaborations and partnerships
  • State revolving loan fund tools and techniques/green infrastructure strategies
  • Drinking water security strategies and tools
  • Small systems: TMF, sustainability strategies, technologies, and compliance
  • Workforce, operator certification, and/or technical assistance initiatives
  • Data management
  • Distribution system issues
  • Emerging contaminants in drinking water, both chemical (Cr+6, perchlorate, etc.) and microbial (Legionella, Naegleria fowleri, etc.)
  • Drinking water research
  • Risk assessment, risk communication and consumer outreach
  • Implementation of regulations – challenges and successes

When reviewing proposals, ASDWA will give priority to those received from state drinking water program administrators and their staff.  If you would like to make a presentation, please submit a one-page abstract with the proposed presentation title, and the name, title, affiliation, and contact information for the speaker to Deirdre Mason of ASDWA at dmason@asdwa.org by June 16, 2014!

 

Call for Exhibitors

Exhibit space applications are now being accepted for ASDWA’s 2014 Annual Conference. Exhibitors will have a unique opportunity to discuss critical legislative and regulatory issues with state drinking water administra­tors, EPA officials, and others in the drinking water com­munity.  In addition, exhibitors will be able to present their products and services to conference attendees.

Anyone interested in exhibiting at the ASDWA Annual Conference should contact Tom Maves at 703-812-4773 or tmaves@asdwa.org.  The deadline for applications is August 30, 2014!

For more information about the 2014 ASDWA Annual Conference, view our online Brochure at http://eepurl.com/STk9L, or visit us at www.asdwa.org/Conferences.

 

EPA Green Infrastructure Guide for Communities to Reduce Combined Sewer Overflows

EPA has developed a guide entitled, “Greening CSO Plans: Planning and Modeling Green Infrastructure for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control” to provide municipalities and sewer authorities with tools to help quantify green infrastructure contributions to an overall CSO control plan. The guide provides case examples and explains how to use modeling tools such as EPA’s Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) to optimize different combinations of gray and green infrastructure.  These include examples of how communities can use green infrastructure to reduce stormwater flows going into the sewer system to help reduce capital and operational costs at publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), and reduce the risk of overflows that can contaminate drinking water supplies.   To download and view the guide, visit EPA’s web site HERE.