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This Week in Washington

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April 7, 2011                                                    Vol. 1, No. 1

The Stormwater Report is a monthly e-newsletter that highlights advanced practices, cutting-edge research, policy updates, and current events pertaining to stormwater.  Look for The Stormwater Report on the first Thursday of every month.

StormFeature

Leading the Shift from Gray to Green

After regionalizing stormwater systems in three northern Kentucky counties — forming a network of more than 400 km (250 mi) of storm sewers — Jeff Eger understands the difficulties of dealing with stormwater. In fact, during his 16-year tenure as executive director of Sanitary District 1 (SD1), Eger consolidated 30 city sanitary sewer entities, yet he considered stormwater management his biggest challenge.

Now, as the new executive director of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), Eger envisions WEF as the go-to resource for stormwater professionals. And one way of addressing stormwater needs, Eger believes, is by supporting green infrastructure.

“Through green infrastructure, we achieve more measurable water quality and quantity improvements than through gray controls alone,” said Eger. In addition, green infrastructure has many co-benefits and is often less costly than gray controls, he said.

“Although green infrastructure solutions are not universal, utilities need flexibility and site-specific remedies,” said Eger. For example, by diverting flow to a new collection system, SD1 was able to greatly reduce sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) at one heavily used wastewater pump station. However, to reduce SSOs to zero, SD1 would need additional storage — a $20-million, underground, concrete tank.

The tank, however, would not improve water quality in the nearby stream, which was already bacterially impaired during dry weather. But, by constructing a wetland, SD1 was able to improve dry-weather water quality by 20 additional recreation days. Plus, the project cost only $1.2 million — half of which came from stimulus funds. While existing regulations did not accommodate the trade, regulators did allow SD1 to delay construction of the tank.

“The paradigm shift from gray to green starts, at the highest level, with sound science,” said Eger. “By bringing that information to the forefront, WEF will enable decision-makers and the water community as a whole to rethink the way we manage stormwater.”

 

StormNews

WEF Expands Stormwater Focus
Managing stormwater is integral to protecting the water environment. Therefore, WEF is making stormwater a key priority. To coordinate expanding efforts, WEF recently formed a Stormwater Coordinating Council. In addition, WEF’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC®) 2011 will have continuous stormwater programming, plus a green infrastructure workshop. Registration for WEFTEC 2011 is open now.


Planning for a Rainy Day

The April issue of Water Environment & Technology (WE&T) features an article on a Massachusetts utility that is taking advantage of real-time flow measurement devices coupled to automated diversion gate controls. This technology is enabling the utility to simplify storm preparation for operators, make use of in-line storage capacity, and reduce combined sewer overflows. Read more at www.wef.org/magazine.

StormEVENTS

WEF Events

“Meeting the Public Education Requirements of the Municipal Stormwater Permit”
This free webcast will be presented at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 4.

Member Association Events

WEA of Ontario Annual Conference
April 10–12, Toronto, Ontario
Session 19, “Stormwater,” is scheduled for 8:30–11:30 a.m., and Session 24, “Watershed Issues,” will be held 1:30–3:30 p.m. on April 12.

Alabama WEA Annual Conference
April 10–13, Orange Beach, Ala.
This event will feature stormwater sessions 1–4 p.m. on April 11.

California WEA
April 12–16, Ontario, Calif.
Sessions on “Stormwater Management” are slated for 1:40–4:35 p.m. on April 15.

The Georgia Association of Water Professionals’ 2011 Spring Conference and Expo
April 19–20 in Macon, Ga.
Stormwater sessions are scheduled 9–10:30 a.m. on April 19.

Wet-Weather Issues, Stormwater and CSOs
May 3–4 in Portsmouth, N.H.
A specialty seminar and exhibit by the New England Water Environment Association

"Meeting the Challenge of Achieving Bay Area Stormwater Requirements"
8 a.m. to 4:35 p.m., May 17
Linthicum Heights, Md.
A seminar presented by the Chesapeake Water Environment Association

U.S. EPA Invites WEF To Present Barriers and Solutions to Green Infrastructure
On March 31, WEF met with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after an invitation to identify barriers and solutions to implementing green infrastructure. EPA will use this input to inform its green infrastructure strategy. See the April 1 issue of This Week in Washington for more information.


U.S. EPA Seeks Comments on Stormwater TMDL Memo
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting comments on a memorandum concerning changes in some policies related to stormwater-based total maximum daily loads until May 16. WEF will develop and submit comments through the Government Affairs Committee Stormwater Workgroup. See the March 18 issue of This Week in Washington for more information. 


DOJ Interpretation Improves Localities’ Access to Federal Payments
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s interpretation, the "Stormwater Amendment" recently passed by the U.S. Congress requires federal agencies to pay local stormwater fees — for the treatment and management of runoff — from their general annual appropriation. This will make it easier for localities to obtain federal money for stormwater improvements. See the March 25 issue of This Week in Washington for more information.


U.S. EPA Releases Web Site for Tracking Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Pollutants

In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new Web site called ChesapeakeStat that will track the progress of the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load (TMDL) implementation. The Web site shows each state’s TMDL allocations for sediment and nutrients, including those specific to stormwater sources.  

Did we miss something? Feel free to suggest content by e-mailing Kristina Twigg at ktwigg@wef.org or WEF’s stormwater team lead, Seth Brown at sbrown@wef.org.