2017 January - March
Oregon Has the 2nd-Worst Water Quality Permit Backlog In The Country
Read the details in this article at OPB.org, http://www.opb.org/news/article/oregon-has-the-second-worst-water-quality-permit-backlog-in-the-country/
- Oregon Haled Waste Disposal Options
This list from Oregon DEQ shows the facilities that accept wastes and the facilities' contact information.
Damage to Seattle wastewater treatment plant in Seattle’s Discovery Park is catastrophic, officials say.
Read the full article here
New Legal Action to Force Oregon DEQ to Act on Expired NPDES Permits
The Northwest Environmental Advocates and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center filed a petition March 8, 2017 against Oregon DEQ in the Oregon Circuit Court for Multnomah County. The petition seeks a court order directing DEQ to act on the applications on a schedule to be determined by the court. Attached to the petition is a list of the pending permit applications
ACWA Annual Conference 2017
Mark your calendars! The 2017 Conference will be July 26 - 28, 2017 at Mt. Bachelor Village Resort in Bend.
- Oregon DEQ Director Appointed
In a special meeting held February 14th, the Environmental Quality Commission unanimously voted to appoint Interim Director Richard Whitman as the next Director for the Department of Environmental Quality. For the full news release, http://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=1549
DEQ proposes to issue a new 1200-Z Water Quality General Permit
The 1200-Z permit will be available to new applicants that discharge industrial stormwater in Oregon. The permit will be available July 1, 2017. The reissued 1200-Z permit will be a combined permit that addresses statewide issues, with a watershed-specific section that addresses Columbia Slough issues. Therefore, current registrants under the 1200-COLS, 1200-COLSB, and 1200-Z will receive renewed coverage under the new 1200-Z.
The public comment period begins on Feb. 10, 2017. Public comments on the 1200-Z permit are due to DEQ by Mar. 25, 2017 at 5 p.m. DEQ will also hold a public hearing for the 1200-Z permit at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2017, in Conference Room 1B at:
Oregon State Office Building
800 NE Oregon St
Portland, OR 97232
For additional information, please review the:
DEQ Website: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/wq/wqpermits/Pages/Stormwater-Industrial.aspx
For the first time in 40 Years, EPA to put in place a process to evaluate chemicals that may pose risk. New chemical law requires the agency to look at chemicals that were grandfathered in under old law
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving swiftly to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017.
“After 40 years we can finally address chemicals currently in the marketplace,” said Jim Jones, EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today’s action will set into motion a process to quickly evaluate chemicals and meet deadlines required under, and essential to, implementing the new law.”
When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it grandfathered in thousands of unevaluated chemicals that were in commerce at the time. The old law failed to provide EPA with the tools to evaluate chemicals and to require companies to generate and provide data on chemicals they produced.
EPA is proposing three rules to help administer the new process. They are:
Inventory rule.There are currently over 85,000 chemicals on EPA’s Inventory, many of these are no longer actively produced. The rule will require manufacturers, including importers, to notify EPA and the public on the number of chemicals still being produced.
Prioritization rule.This will establish how EPA will prioritize chemicals for evaluation. EPA will use a risk-based screening process and criteria to identify whether a particular chemical is either high or low priority. A chemical designated as high-priority must undergo evaluation. Chemicals designated as low-priority are not required to undergo evaluation.
Risk Evaluation rule.This will establish how EPA will evaluate the risk of existing chemicals. The agency will identify steps for the risk evaluation process, including publishing the scope of the assessment. Chemical hazards and exposures will be assessed along with characterizing and determining risks. This rule also outlines how the agency intends to seek public comment on chemical evaluations.
These three rules incorporate comments received from a series of public meetings held in August 2016.
If EPA identifies unreasonable risk in the evaluation, it is required to eliminate that risk through regulations. Under TSCA the agency must have at least 20 ongoing risk evaluations by the end of 2019.
Comments on the proposed rules must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register. At that time, go to the dockets at: https://www.regulations.gov/ and search for: HQ-OPPT-2016-0426 for the inventory rule; HQ-OPPT-2016-0636 for the prioritization rule; and HQ-OPPT-2016-0654 for the risk evaluation rule.
Learn more about today’s proposals: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act-5
Learn more about the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act.
- From NACWA, January 9, 2017—“In a unanimous decision issued Wednesday, January 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that narrative water quality standards incorporated by reference into a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit are substantive permit terms, and that permittees must comply with these terms to receive the benefit of the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit shield under section 402(k). The decision, which affirmed a ruling by the district court in Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Fola Coal Co., threatens to severely erode the protection afforded by the permit shield and provides a clear path for environmental groups and courts to translate narrative water quality standards into enforceable permit terms.” Read more…
2016 October - December
EPA Publishes Draft Field-Based Methods for Developing Aquatic Life Criteria for Specific Conductivity
EPA's draft document, Field-Based Methods for Developing Aquatic Life Criteria for Specific Conductivity, provides flexible approaches for developing science-based conductivity criteria for flowing waters that reflect ecoregional- or state-specific factors. Elevated water salinity, as measured by conductivity, has been shown to negatively affect aquatic life in freshwaters. Elevated conductivity is associated with multiple sources, including discharge from wastewater treatment facilities, surface mining, oil and gas exploration, runoff from urban areas, and discharge of agricultural irrigation return waters. Once final, states and authorized tribes located in any region of the country may use the methods to develop field-based conductivity criteria for flowing waters. This draft document provides a scientific assessment of ecological effects and is not a regulation. EPA is accepting public comments for 60 days on the draft document.
The draft document and supporting materials are available online at https://www.epa.gov/wqc/draft-field-based-methods-developing-aquatic-life-criteria-specific-conductivity
EPA launches new website to assist tribes developing CWA water quality standards
EPA has launched a new website to provide tools to tribes that want to participate in the water quality standards (WQS) program. Currently, fewer than 50 of over 300 tribes with reservation lands have WQS effective under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The newly developed tools are another step toward EPA's ongoing goal of closing this longstanding gap in CWA protection.
These tools are designed to (1) simplify tribal TAS applications to administer CWA section 303(c) WQS and section 401 water quality certification programs; and (2) streamline the development of tribal WQS for tribal adoption and EPA approval under CWA 303(c).
The tools include the following:
- The TAS application template is a downloadable and customizable document that addresses all of the eligibility requirements listed in EPA's implementing regulations at 40 CFR 131, including the 2016 reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act TAS requirements.
- The Model WQS template is a downloadable and customizable document that provides model WQS text that tribes can use as a starting point to develop their own water quality standards submissions. Throughout the template there are opportunities for tribes to tailor their WQS to reflect tribe-specific circumstances, including a provision to protect cultural and traditional uses.
- The Human Health Criteria Calculator is a tool that can help develop a numeric human health criteria (HHC) table for inclusion in the WQS. This tool allows the applicant to adjust HHC values to reflect the tribe's fish consumption rate and selected cancer risk level.
Use of these tools is not required in order to submit completed TAS applications or WQS to EPA. Tribes are encouraged to work with EPA Regional Offices throughout the application and submission processes.
The tools can be accessed at https://epa.gov/wqs-tech/water-quality-standards-tools-tribes.
For more information on water quality standards for tribes, please visit https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/tribes-and-water-quality-standards
DEQ commits to EPA NetDMR System for Electronic Reporting
Oregon DEQ is moving to the EPA NetDMR system for electronic reporting for all NPDES permit holders. Although DEQ had initially indicated that mandatory electronic reporting for major NPDES permit holders would start the end of December, EPA system revisions may push that deadline back.
EPA online training is available any time. Visit EPA’sNetDMR Supportwebsite for more information.
Water, Wastewater & Stormwater System Characteristics and Rates
How do the rates in your community for wastewater or stormwater services compare to other similar sized Oregon communities? Do most communities take credit/debit cards or just checks and cash? How do most communities handle utility services for vacant property? What are the regulatory drivers for upgrades? See the League of Oregon Cities' Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Rate Survey (March, 2015) for tons of useful information on Oregon utility systems including rates, billing practices, connections, and other useful information.
Permit Holders – Info to Update DEQ Contact Info
DEQ maintains a database of the correct contacts for DEQ permit holders including:
- NPDES permits (major and minor)
- Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permits
- NPDES industrial and construction stormwater permits
- Underground Injection Control (UIC) permits for stormwater discharges
- Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) permits for water treatment systems that do not discharge to the waters of the State.
For each permit, the DEQ Source Information System (SIS) database includes a contact for:
- Legal Authority – generally the Public Works Director or General Manager
- Facility Contact – generally the on-site superintendent or wastewater plant manager
- Invoice Contact – generally the business manager
It is important for permittees to have accurate and current contact information included in the database to ensure that regulatory information from DEQ is directed to the correct person in your organization.
Updates Needed to DEQ Database
Only DEQ staff can update the information. The information should go to the permit coordinators in each region. DEQ regions are organized by county, and a map of the offices is available at http://www.oregon.gov/DEQ/Pages/Offices.aspx
The updated information should be sent to DEQ in writing by e-mail or US Mail. Please send a separate e-mail for each permit you are updating with re: ‘Updated SIS Information (insert name of facility/type of permit)
For facility contact updates in DEQ’s Northwest Region, send the updated information by e-mail or US mail:
Kate Strohecker, NWR Permit Coordinator
DEQ Northwest Region
700 NE Multnomah St
Portland, OR 97232
For facility contact updates in DEQ’s Western Region, send the updated information by e-mail or US mail:
WQ Permit Coordinator
DEQ Western Region
4026 Fairview Industrial Way SE
Salem, OR 97302-1142
For facility contact updates in DEQ’s Eastern Region, send the updated informationby e-mail or US mail:
Jackie Ray, ER WQ Permit Coordinator
DEQ Eastern Region
800 SE Emigrant Ave, Suite 330
Pendleton, OR 97801
- DEQ announces new initiative to help Oregonians afford repairs to failing septic systems
DEQ has created a new program to help Oregon homeowners and businesses tackle failing septic systems. The new ‘Clean Water Loans’ program will allow homeowners to pay for all costs associated with each project, including:
- Septic system design
- Relevant permits
- Installation of the new septic system
- Ongoing maintenance
- Essential safety measures, such as those to prevent children from falling into septic tanks
Special rates and deferred payment options may be available for homeowners with lower incomes. Homeowners, small businesses and onsite service providers can learn more about the Clean Water Loan program and apply for loans at https://www.craft3.org/Borrow/clean-water-loans
- DEQ Issues FAQs for Tier II Toxic Monitoring
As NPDES permits are renewed, DEQ will be requiring additional, more detailed sampling for a number of toxic pollutants related to the human-health criteria. The results from the initial monitoring will be reviewed, and if there is a potential for a Reasonable Potential to exceed water quality standards, DEQ will then require additional monitoring, referred to as ‘Tier II” monitoring.
- Clean Water Act ‘Anti-backsliding’ Regulatory Information
NPDES permit holders are routinely concerned about the ‘anti-backsliding’ provisions of the Clean Water Act. Regulatory information from DEQ and EPA can be useful.
- Oregon to Propose use of Biotic Ligand Model (BLM)
Oregon DEQ is moving forward with plans to use the Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) to set applicable copper water quality criteria in Oregon. The model is available at http://www.windwardenv.com/biotic-ligand-model/
- Federal Food and Drug Administration Restricts Triclosan In Over-the-Counter Products
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final rule that restricts t the over-the-counter use of antiseptic wash products (including liquid, foam, gel hand soaps, bar soaps, and body washes) containing the majority of the antibacterial active ingredients—including triclosan and triclocarban.
Why? Because the manufacturers haven’t proven that those ingredients are safe for daily use over a long period of time. Also, manufacturers haven’t shown that these ingredients are any more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illnesses and the spread of certain infections. Some manufacturers have already started removing these ingredients from their products, ahead of the FDA’s final rule.
The FDA’s final rule covers only consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes that are used with water. It does not apply to hand sanitizers or hand wipes. It also does not apply to antibacterial soaps that are used in health care settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes.
More details at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm
2016 July - September
Climate Resiliency Guidebook for Water and Wastewater Utilities
The West Coast Infrastructure Exchange has produced a guidebook to assist water and wastewater utilities in assessing climate resiliency threats.The guidebook is at http://bit.ly/2detLIh.
Have a Craft Brewery that Discharges to Your Treatment Plant?
This summary of pollution prevention techniques for craft breweries, including how to reduce and manage wastewater discharges, might be useful to share with the brewery in your service territory. This publication is from Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center.
- FEMA Biological Opinion Regarding ESA and Flood Insurance
For several years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service (NOAA-Fisheries) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been working together to identify measures that will reduce negative impacts from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on salmon, steelhead, and other species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood insurance for homeowners and property owners, generally. In Oregon, 260 cities and counties and three Indian tribes participate in the NFIP.
The NFIP is administered by FEMA. The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) is designated as Oregon’s NFIP coordinating agency. FEMA sets standards for local governments participating in the NFIP, including requirements for local floodplain development ordinances. DLCD assists local governments with implementation of those standards. Track this issue at http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/Pages/NFIP_BiOp.aspx
Bacteria Water Quality Standards Revised for Coastal Waters
On August 17, 2016, the Environmental Quality Commission approved revisions to Oregon’s water quality standards for bacteria to protect people who recreate in coastal waters. Exposure to high levels of bacteria from swimming and other full immersion water contact recreation is associated with increased gastrointestinal illness.
In addition to revising the bacteria criteria for coastal recreation waters, the rules clarify where freshwater and coastal recreation and shellfish harvesting uses occur in coastal estuaries and, therefore, where the different bacteria criteria (E. coli, enterococcus, or fecal coliform) apply.
The proposed rules will not become effective until EPA approves them. DEQ anticipates EPA action will take 2 – 3 months and DEQ will update this website once EPA takes action.
Wastewater treatment plants that discharge to coastal waters will want to check the DEQ maps included with the revised standard to know what bacteria water quality standards apply to your discharge and coordinate with your DEQ permit writer on the transition to the revised standards in the next permit renewal.
More is posted on the DEQ web site at https://www.oregon.gov/deq/wq/Pages/WQ-Standards-Bacteria.aspx
- EPA Outlines Copper and Aluminum Actions
In a 6/14/16 letter to DEQ, EPA has outlined its planned actions for the disapproved copper and aluminum water quality criteria, and gave DEQ permit writers a number of tasks. DEQ is planning to update the copper water quality criteria by 12/31/16 and EPA indicates that it will issue a draft Oregon aluminum standard by mid-December, 2017.
- Contractor Review of DEQ Water Quality Permitting Program
As required by a budget note, DEQ has hired MHW to conduct a review of its water quality permitting program and prepare recommendations for improvement. ACWA members are involved in the project, along with other stakeholders. Go to http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/wqpermit/review.htm to track the project.
2016 April - June
- Clean Water Services Watershed Based NPDES Permit
Clean Water Services' permit was issued on April 22, 2016.. The cover letter,
permit, and evaulation report can be found by searching for "Clean Water Services" at the DEQ Wastewater Permit Document search, on the DEQ website.
- DEQ Makes Materials Management Film
Earlier this year, DEQ received funds from the Envionmental Council of the States (ECOS) via an EPA grant for solid waste activities. DEQ has created a short film highlighting the shift from waste-focused programs to a materials management approach. The film can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/159406711
- Keep Salmon Off Drugs
Print and post this great poster, "Keep Salmon off Drugs", to promote proper disposal of unwanted drugs in Oregon. This poster is a result of the collaborative efforts of EPA, NOAA Fisheries, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
- RCAC Compiles Funding Resource Guide
The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) has compiled an updated 2016 Oregon Water and Wastewater Funding and Resource Guide. The guide details funding and technical resources for drinking water and wastewater utilities in Oregon.
- DEQ Updates Water Quality Trading IMD
DEQ has updated its Water Quality Trading Internal Management Directive (IMD) in light of adopting water quality trading rules. The purpose of the IMD is to provide DEQ staff and permit writers with direction on: evaluating and approving proposed water quality trading plans, incorporating trading into National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, and regulating implementation of trading through annual reporting. DEQ expects the majority of trading activity to be driven by the need to comply with NPDES permit requirements developed to implement a total maximum daily load (TMDL).This IMD is, therefore, primarily focused on water quality trades between nonpoint sources and NPDES permittees to comply with the latter's water quality-based effluent limitations.
2016 January - March
- DEQ publishes State Revolving Fund Annual Solitation and Newsletter
Find the information at
- Increased Safe Unwanted Drug Disposal Ahead
Good news from Walgreens! Walgreens announced that it will move to install collection boxes for unwanted and unused drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including controlled substances, at its pharmacies in Oregon. Walgreens announced that it intends to install safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drugstores in 39 States, including Oregon. The installation is starting in California and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016
2015 October - December
EPA Proposes Revisions to MS4 Phase II regulations
In response to a federal court case, EPA has proposed revisions to portions of the MS4 Phase II regulations. Public comments are being accepted. More information is available at http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater-rules-and-notices#proposed
Report Card Grades Willamette River
The Meyer Memorial Trust, working with researchers from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and a variety of stakeholders including ACWA members, has created the first-ever Willamette River Report Card, giving the river an overall B-. Based on measurable data for 15 indicators — regarding water quality, fish and wildlife, habitat, flow and people and the river — the report card gives a current view of the Willamette to compare against in the future.
Fifty years ago, the river was lethal for fish and avoided by the public. Cleanup efforts have made a big difference, and today it’s healthier than many people think. Data from the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Environmental Quality show that the Willamette is clean enough for swimming. Bald eagle populations are doing well and native fish species far outnumber non-natives throughout the river, but there are still problem areas and significant room for improvement.
DEQ re-issues 1200-C and 1200-CN Construction Stormwater General Permits
The revised permits are effective Dec. 15, 2015 through Dec. 14, 2020. More information is at www.deq.state.or.us/wq/stormwater/construction.htm
- DEQ Temperature Reasonable Potential Analysis
Use this DEQ temperature Excel spreadsheet to determine if there is Reasonable Potential for exceeding applicable temperature standards. If you have problems with the spreadsheet, Spencer Bohaboy at DEQ may be able to help – contact him at (503) 229-5415 or by e-mail at email@example.com
EPA Finalizes Electronic Reporting Rule
EPA has finalized its electronic reporting rule. The effective date of the rule will be 12/15/15. This rule will require State and NDPES permit holders to move to an electronic reporting system nationwide. A link to the final rule is at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/10/22/2015-24954/national-pollutant-discharge-elimination-system-npdes-electronic-reporting-rule.
ACWA is coordinating with DEQ on the pathway towards electronic reporting for Oregon NPDES permit holders.
- ACWA & DEQ Complete Guidance on Hauled Waste Plans
DEQ requires written hauled waste plans for wastewater utilities accepting additional wastes. ACWA and DEQ worked collaboratively to develop a manual for preparing hauled wastes – the complexity of the plan is dependent on the types of materials to be accepted. The Hauled Waste Plan Manual can be found at http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/wqpermit/docs/HauledWasteDEQACWA2015.pdf
- DEQ Publishes 2016 Federal Fiscal Year Permit Isssuance Plan
DEQ has identified the facilities listed for water quality permit renewal in federal fiscal year 2016 (starting 10/1/15). The inventory is at http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/wqpermit/docs/PIP2016.pdf. A number of municipal facilities, including ACWA members, are indentified for renewal, along with a number of general permits of interest to ACWA members, including those that are 1200C and 1200CN
- EPA Sets Electronic Reporting Rule
EPA’s final rule requires that NPDES regulated entities electronically submit the following permit and compliance monitoring information instead of using paper reports:
- Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs)
- Notices of Intent to discharge in compliance with a general permit
- Program reports
Authorized NPDES programs will also electronically submit NPDES program data to EPA to ensure that there is consistent and complete reporting nationwide and to expedite the collection and processing of the data, thereby making it more accurate and timely. Importantly, while the rule changes the method by which information is provided (i.e., electronic rather than paper-based), it does not increase the amount of information required from NPDES regulated entities facilities under existing regulations. More about the EPA rule is posted at http://www2.epa.gov/compliance/final-national-pollutant-discharge-elimination-system-npdes-electronic-reporting-rule
2015 July - September
DEQ Completes Revised Ammonia RPA Spreadsheet
DEQ has completed a revised ammonia Reasonable Potential Analysis (RPA) spreadsheet that allows water quality permit holders to determine if they might have reasonable potential for exceeding the revised Oregon ammonia standard. The Oregon water qulatiy standard for ammonia was revised in January of 2015. A link to the spreadsheet is on the DEQ web site at http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/pubs/pubs.htm#imds. Scroll down to Reasonable Potential Analysis links…
- Direct Potable Water Reuse Guidelines set
A new guidance document, titled Framework for Direct Potable Reuse, has been released jointly by a number of prominent water reuse organizations. Prepared by an NWRI Independent Advisory Panel, the Framework document was developed to help state regulatory agencies and utilities establish guidelines for safely converting wastewater into municipal drinking water through the emerging practice of direct potable reuse (DPR). The Framework document is the result of a collaborative effort between WateReuse, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation, and NWRI.
DPR involves the use of state-of-the art advanced water treatment technologies to remove contaminants in wastewater; however, current state and federal regulations were not developed with today’s technologies in mind.
The Framework was written by a panel of seven experts with backgrounds in water and wastewater treatment, water quality policy and regulations, water resource planning, and public health risk assessment. These experts have extensive experience with proposed and existing DPR projects within the U.S. The chair of the panel is Dr. George Tchobanoglous, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis.
The publication is available at https://www.watereuse.org/watereuse-research/framework-for-direct-potable-reuse/
- EPA Finalizes Rule Making Related to NPDES Permitting
EPA has finalized NPDES related rule making. The final rules address:
- EPA Administrator's determinations that new or revised water quality standards are necessary
- Designated uses for water bodies
- Triennial reviews of state and tribal WQS
- Antidegradation requirements
- WQS variances, and
- Provisions authorizing the use of schedules of compliance for water quality-based effluent limits (WQBELs) in NPDES permits.
A summary fact sheet and the revised rules are posted at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/wqs_index.cfm
- EPA Approves Revised Oregon Ammonia Criteria
On Aug. 4, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved revisions to Oregon’s ammonia water quality standards for the protection of aquatic life. These criteria are now effective for all Clean Water Act programs in Oregon. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission adopted ammonia criteria and other minor revisions on Jan. 7, 2015. EPA’s approval also included a correction to the pH value applicable to the Snake River and revisions to the West Division Main Canal water quality standards in the Umatilla Basin. See adopted rulemaking documents on DEQ’s Rules and Regulations page. The revised ammonia criteria are contained in Table 30 on the Toxics Standards page.
- Value of Water Information Available Free
The ‘Value of Water’ Coalition has released its media kit for water-related organizations to use to increase the public’s knowledge of the value of water. The materials are free resources to be downloaded and used as is, or add your organization’s logo and website to show the connection to water in your area. Available materials include ads, billboards, bill stuffers, bus shelter ads, banners, and social media information. More at http://thevalueofwater.org/mediakit/preview
- EPA Issues Draft updated Selenium Aquatic Life Criteria
In July 2015, EPA released a draft updated national recommended aquatic life criterion for the pollutant selenium. The public is able to provide scientific views on the draft document until September 25, 2015. More information at http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/standards/criteria/aqlife/selenium/
- EPA Announces Update of Technology Innovation Report Featuring Gresham Plant
EPA's Jeff Lape announced the update of the EPA Technology Innovation Report reflecting on his tour of the Gresham Net Zero Energy plant. See the story on his blog:
It’s vital that we continue to support innovative efforts like Gresham’s. The challenges that increasingly face our water resources will require new ways of doing things, holistic ways of managing water, and valuing water in all forms for the resources contained within in order to maintain a clean source of water for this generation and the ones to come."
- ACWA Setting Temperature Compliance Strategy Workshops
Hot showers and washing clothes and dishes makes meeting the Oregon stringent temperature standard difficult. ACWA is organizing two workshops to share compliance ideas and strategies - October 7, 2015 in Eugene and October 8, 2015 in Gresham. Both workshops will be from 9 am – noon. The workshops will cover the same material. The 10/8/15 workshop will be available by webinar and phone.
2015 April - June
Hauled Waste Plan Resources
This article from the June, 2015 issue of WE & T has good background information for preparing a Hauled Waste Plan. DEQ is requiring Hauled Waste Plans for POTWs that accept hauled waste when NPDES permits are renewed.
DEQ Updates 2015 WQ Permit Issuance Plan
DEQ has updated its 2015 Water Quality Permit Issuance Plan. A number of municipal permits have been moved to ‘delayed’ status.
EPA Updates and Releases Multi-Sector General Permit
EPA has updated and finalized the multi-sector general industrial stormwater permit for areas where EPA oversees the industrial stormwater program.
EPA finializes 'Waters of the US’ rule
Working with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA has finalized the ‘waters of the US’ regulations. The final rule clarifies that municipal stormwater systems are not ‘waters of the US’ and encourages green infrastructure - - an important aspect for ACWA members. The rule will become final within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. Additional information is available on the EPA web site.
- Regulatory Guidance - Cannabis Operations
Oregon Public Works Departments facing questions about licensing cannabis operations in their community will find this guidance from the State of Washington useful — Regulatory Guidance for License I-502 Cannabis Operations.
- DEQ Develops Electronic Data Delivery System
With greatly increased monitoring for toxics being required in renewed, major permits - - entering the data into the appropriate Reasonable Potential Analysis spreadsheet and updating the RPA calculations is challenging. DEQ has created a new tool to assist permit holders with this effort. More information on the Electronic Data Delivery system is available at http://www.oregon.gov/deq/WQ/Pages/toxics/eddtoxics.aspx
- DEQ Completes Report on Water Toxic Monitoring
A study released in April, 2015 from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Laboratory and Environmental Assessment Program shows that toxic chemicals ranging from pesticides to metals are present in all water basins of the state, with some monitoring sites showing levels above state criteria or benchmarks for human health and aquatic life. The largest variety of chemicals detected where in the Willamette and Hood River basins.
- DEQ Outlines NPDES Permit Targets for 2015
DEQ has outlined the NPDES permit renewals it is targeting for 2015. The list is available here
- EPA Comments on Washington Proposed Human Health Criteria
EPA Region 10 provided detailed comments on the proposed Washington human health criteria. ACWA members involved in the debate in Oregon over the human health criteria may be interested in reading them….
- Gresham Net Energy Zero Wastewater Treatment Plant
Read this great article about the huge accomplishment of the City of Gresham in making its wastewater treatment plant net zero energy!
- DEQ Issues Anti-Backsliding Memo
DEQ has developed an Anti-Backsliding Memo to clarify when “anti-backsliding” (NPDES renewal, reissuance or modification of a permit that contains less stringent water quality-based effluent limits than those established in the previous permit) would apply and the allowable, narrow exceptions.
2015 January - March
PCBs in Municipal Products
The City of Spokane has completed a review of over 50 products commonly used by municipalities for PCB levels. Many products can easily come into contact with rain water and contribute to PCB concentrations in stormwater runoff. Municipalities are concerned about the presence of PCBs in commonly used products such as road paint, asphalt sealers, pesticides, and de-icer, to name a few. However, limited data is available as to the concentration of PCBs in products used for road and facility maintenance.
Nearly 50 product samples were collected and analyzed for PCBs using EPA Method 1668C. This method is capable of detecting low concentrations of PCBs for all 209 congeners. The majority of samples were composed of roadway, pipe, and vehicle maintenance products. Because PCBs are also ubiquitously detected in sanitary wastewater samples, five personal care products were sampled as well. PCB levels in some common public works products was high.
Municipalities Using Poplars for Wastewater discussion
An informal workshop was held in Eugene on March 10, 2015 to share information on poplar use and consider if additional coordination and sharing of technical information would be useful for the Oregon facilities currently using poplars.
- Washington Completes Report on Flame Retardants
In response to a budget note, the Washington Department of Ecology has completed a report on flame retardants in children’s products and furniture. The report recommends that the Washington Legislature restrict use of 10 toxic flame retardants in children’s products and in upholstered furniture. The report also recommends additional study to be informed by the disclosure of the use of flame retardants in consumer products.
- EPA and Auto Makers Reach Deal to Reduce Copper in Brake Pads
On January 21, 2015, EPA, states, and the automotive industry signed an agreement to reduce the use of copper and other materials in motor vehicle brake pads. The agreement calls for reducing copper in brake pads to less than 5 percent by weight in 2021 and 0.5 percent by 2025. In addition to copper, this voluntary initiative reduces mercury, lead, cadmium, asbestiform fibers, and chromium-6 salts in motor vehicle brake pads. More at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/copperfreebrakes.cfm
- DEQ Presentation to SW Committee on Stormwater Permitting
Erich Brandstetter of DEQ made a presentation to the ACWA Stormwater Committee on 1/14/15 covering a variety of stormwater permitting issues including UIC; 1200Z and 1200COLS update; 1200C, 1200CA, and 1200CN renewal plans; with MS4 Phase I and Phase II renewals.
Washington Tackling WQ Standards and Fish Consumption Issues
The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing revisions to its water quality standards related to increased fish consumption rates. Washington is setting a higher fish consumption rate - - similar to Oregon’s - - but reducing the risk factor.
- DEQ Adopts Revised Ammonia Criteria
The Environmental Quality Commission adopted revised Oregon ammonia criteria on 1/7/15. The revisions are pending EPA approval; EPA must consult with the Services under the Endangered Species Act prior to ruling on the Oregon standards revision.
Generally, the revised standards are less stringent than the previous Oregon standard for ammonia and more stringent than Oregon’s acute criteria for ammonia. The revised standards are based on EPA’s latest guidance and account for mussel and snail sensitivity to ammonia.
The complete staff report and the revised rules are here. More information regarding the EQC's January meeting can be found on DEQ's website.
- EPA Updates Financial Capability Assessment Framework
EPA updated it Financial Capability Assessment Framework in November, 2014. This document is important for utilities considering using the EPA Integrated Framework for balancing Clean Water Act needs.
- Oregon Adopts Green Purchasing Policy – Districts and Cities Can Follow
The State of Oregon has adopted revised state procurement practices focused on reducing toxic chemicals of concern in products procured by state agencies and used by their contractors, and realize the economic, environmental and public health benefits of Green Chemistry. Under the State’s Cooperative Procurement Program, districts and cities can follow this procurement system to gain the benefit of competitively priced products with fewer toxic chemicals. A copy of the policy is here; more information is posted on the State of Oregon procurement web site at http://www.oregon.gov/DAS/EGS/PS/pages/index.aspx
- Ebola contaminated waste handling
Many hospitals are developing Ebola waste handling practices, and requesting additional information from wastewater treatment plants. Here are example directions from the City of Portland and the City of Springfield
- CDC Interim Guidance for Managers and Workers Handling Untreated Sewage from Individuals with Ebola in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued interim guidance for managers and workers handling sewage from individuals with Ebola disease. This guidance will be important for protecting wastewater workers and to working with local hospitals on wastewater from infectious individuals.
- EPA issues draft Dental Amalgam Rule
EPA is proposing technology-based pretreatment standards for discharges of pollutants into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) from certain existing and new dental practices. The proposal would require such dentists to comply with requirements for controlling the discharge of dental amalgam pollutants into POTWs. The requirements are based on the best available technology or best available control technology, amalgam separators, and Best Management Practices. EPA is also proposing to amend the General Pretreatment Regulations (40 CFR Part 403) to streamline oversight requirements for the dental sector. Oregon has existing statewide regulations for amalgam separators and BMP’s so coordination between the existing State requirements and new Federal requirements is an issue to watch.
Now there is an easy way for consumers throughout the Pacific Northwest to make smart choices in lawn and garden products that are safer for people, pets and the environment: The Grow Smart, Grow Safe® app.
Products available in area stores are rated low, medium or high hazard to help shoppers make smart choices. Take this tool to the store or out to the garage and find out how your favorite lawn and garden products rate. The app even offers great tips on gardening without pesticides. Download for free at the iTunes App Store.
The app was created by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County; Portland Metro; and Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, to provide reliable, science-based information to all consumers.
- Utility of the Future – White Paper
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies has released a Utility of the Future final report.
- Wyoming Circuit Riders Warn of Meth Lab Dumping
The Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems has developed this Fact Sheet to assist smaller communities in uncovering and investigating if their treatment plant might be been dumped on by a mobile meth lab. This breaks bad for the receiving treatment plant…
EPA Promotes Effective Utility Practices
EPA has released a report Moving toward Sustainability: Sustainable and Effective Practices for Creating Your Water Utility Roadmap. Tthe ACWA Summer Conference will include a table topic discussion on the report and other utility management issues on Wednesday, 7/24/14.
Polluted Historic Willamette River
A group of conservationists used color film to document the conditions of the Willamette River, leading to the creation of the State Sanitary Authority in 1938—the predecessor of the Oregon DEQ. See the original film from the OSU archives.
- Treatment Technology Review and Assessment
HDR Engineering completed a review of the impact of revised human health related toxic water quality standards on NPDES permit holders. The report evaluates the available technology and costs to meet toxic water quality standards similar to Oregon’s. The report concludes that there are limited ‘proven’ technologies to meet discharge standards this low, and that the types of advanced treatment needed to meet the standards could increase the capital cost of wastewater treatment by $17 to $29 per gallon per day of capacity, with associated high energy consumption, increased greenhouse gas production, increased solids production, and increased footprint requirements. The report was completed for the Association of Washington Business (12/13)
- ACWA Releases 2013 Cost of Clean Water Index
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has released its 2013 clean water index. The average charge for wastewater services increased by 5.5% in 2013—more than triple the Consumer Price Index. The average regional annual charge in 2013 for the Pacific Northwest was $502.
- Water Resources – ‘Place Based’ Water Resource Planning
The Oregon Department of Water Resources has issued a draft policy document outlining options for developing ‘place based’ integrated water resource planning efforts, and posing a number of policy questions. You can download a copy of the WRD briefing for the ACWA Board on our website. Details about the draft policy document and how to provide public comments is available on the Oregon.gov website.
- USGS Study of Columbia River Finds Harmful levels of Contaminants
A USGS study of the Columbia River, including the associated food web, has found elevated levels of toxic contaminants, including chemicals of emerging concern. Although evaluating water quality with respect to environmental benchmarks was not the focus of the study, concentrations of the chemicals were compared to ODEQ screening level values for carcinogens in fish tissues for human and wildlife consumption. ODEQ Acceptable Tissue Levels were exceeded for several contaminants including some legacy pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. More about the study is available on the USGS website.
- EPA Releases Water Innovation Technology Blueprint
EPA has released its Blueprint for Integrating Technology Innovation into the National Water Program. This blueprint for more sustainable wastewater and stormwater utilities includes many actions ACWA members are focused on to become Utilities of the Future including energy conservation, renewable power production, water reuse, green infrastructure, Natural Treatment Systems, and material recovery. EPA staff member Jeff Lape will discuss the report in his presentation a the ACWA Summer Conference in July 2014.
- DHM Research Completes Review of Stormwater Education Effectiveness
DHM Research has completed a review of stormwater education effectiveness, and outlined a series of recommendations to improve stormwater education. The report was jointly funded by contributing ACWA stormwater utility members and ACWA dues.
- DEQ Completes 5 year Review of Willamette TMDL
DEQ has completed its 5 year review of the Willamette TMDL. Read the report here.
- EPA Issues Draft Rules on ‘Waters of the US…’ Definition
The US EPA has issued draft regulations further defining ‘Waters of the US… Additional information on the proposed rule and comment details is available at http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters
EPRI Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project – YouTube
Watch this video to learn more about the Ohio River Basin water quality trading project—a collaborative effort of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, in partnership with EPRI.
More about the trading program is available at http://wqt.epri.com/
- EPA Finalizes federal Construction Site Permit
EPA has finalized its federal rule for stormwater discharges from construction sites. In the final rule, EPA deleted the reference to specific turbidity standards. A link to a fact sheet summarizing the rule is here. Additional information can be found on EPA's C&D webpage.
Geomorphology of the Willamette River
The US Geological Survey, in partnership with Oregon State University, has published a report entitled Geomorphic and Vegetation Processes of the Willamette River Floodplain, Oregon - —Current Understanding and Unanswered Questions (2013).
The report will be of interest to Willamette Dischargers. A link to the report is available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2013/1246/pdf/ofr2013-1246.pdf
- DEQ Revises Nuisance Odor Policy
DEQ adopted a policy for handling odor nuisance complaints in fall, 2013. The policy is available at www.oregon.gov/deq/docs/NuisanceOdorReport.pdf
The DEQ policy recognizes that many municipal wastewater treatment agencies have a system for monitoring and responding to odor complaints. The DEQ policy acknowledges that local municipal and district wastewater systems should use their established systems for receiving and responding to odor complaints.
Wastewater treatment utilities should have a policy to promptly respond to odor complaints received. Document odor investigations and follow up actions to resolve odor complaints. , ACWA has developed this flyer that summarizes best practices for evaluating and responding to odor complaints.
- Building Resilient Water and Electric Utilities
The Johnson Foundation has completed a report on Building Resilient Utilities - How Water and Electric Utilities Can Co-Create Their Futures. .ACWA Energy Committee Chair Frank Dick participated in the group, and the City of Gresham and ACWA’s Sustainable Energy Management training program are featured.
- EPA Completes Report on the Importance of Water to the US Economy
EPA is releasing a Synthesis Report on the Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy. This report is intended to help raise the awareness of water’s importance to our national economic welfare, and to summarize information that public and private decision-makers can use to better manage the nation’s water resources. It highlights EPA’s review of the literature and practice on the importance of water to the U.S. economy, identifies key data gaps, and describes the implication of the study’s findings for future research. EPA hopes this report will be a catalyst for a broader discussion about water’s critical role in the U.S. economy. http://water.epa.gov/action/importanceofwater/upload/Importance-of-Water-Synthesis-Report.pdf
- UIC and Groundwater Protection Brochures Available
The ACWA Groundwater Committee has produced two new brochures designed to inform both homeowners and businesses about protecting groundwater and actions to keep pollutants out of Underground Injection Control (UIC) systems. The brochures are designed to be customized by adding contact information for the local utility on the back panel.
Brochures are included for:
- FOG Feasibility Studies
As ACWA members evaluate adding Fats, Oil & Grease (FOG) or other waste streams to their digesters to increase methane production, reviewing the feasibility studies in neighboring communities may provide interesting information about the available market and pricing for FOG and other waste streams. Some example feasibility studies include:
- DEQ Discusses Status of Human Health Criteria
DEQ staff discussed the status of Oregon’s implementation of the human health criteria at an environmental law conference the end of October. The session was presented by Jennifer Wigal and Dennis Ades.
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