Technical Resources

This Week in Washington


June 2, 2011                                                      Vol. 1, No. 3

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.


A Look At Wet Weather Issues

For wastewater operators, heavy rainfall makes for a busy day on the job. It starts when stormwater infiltrates defects in sanitary sewer pipelines or rushes into combined sewers. Excess inflow can overflow collection sewers and lead to the unintentional release of untreated wastewater.   

“The impact on water quality in receiving streams is the primary concern,” said Keith McCormack, moderator of Session 12, “Wet Weather Issues,” at the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) upcoming Collection Systems 2011 conference, June 12–15 in Raleigh, N.C.

Even if stormwater inflow does not cause overflows, operators may face basement flooding, reduced capacity in collection sewers, excessive pumping requirements, and equipment demands, McCormack said. 

During the session, speakers will discuss a number ways operators can manage wet weather flows in collection systems, ranging from predictive modeling to pipeline rehabilitation.

“Pipeline and manhole rehabilitation are preferred methods of decreasing inflow,” McCormack said. “But, if those are not cost-effective, storing excess flows and additional conveyance are control alternatives.”

Some larger cities have thousands of miles of aging pipelines, so with limited budgets, it is important to prioritize which ones should be rehabilitated, and afterward, to monitor the effectiveness of rehabilitation in reducing wet weather issues. Presenters will cover these topics as well as other creative ways of improving wet weather management, such as adding a public outreach component.

According to presenters from the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (Louisville, Ky.), notification of potential sewer overflow locations and risks can improve community safety. Public outreach also can make communities more supportive of investment needs and increase awareness and participation in reducing overflows. For example, residents can conserve water during heavy rainfall, capture stormwater, rehabilitate private laterals, and properly dispose of fats, oils, and greases, which clog sewer systems.

The session also covers control programs for disinfecting or treating overflows. If pathogen removal is the primary objective, contact tanks can provide disinfection. For sediment removal, there are other control devices such as swirl concentrators, or baffles for solids and floatables. 

“Managing wet weather requires a wide range of technical, administrative, financial, regulatory, public relations, and even political skills,” McCormack said. “Overall, Session 12 is a nice cross section of real-world case studies reflecting these challenges and the current state of technology.”

Click here to get details, register, or purchase the proceedings after Collection Systems 2011.



WEF Invited To Present at AWWA Sustainability Conference
The Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) has been invited to host a session on green infrastructure at the American Water Works Association’s (Denver) 2012 Sustainable Water Management Conference. Abstracts for this session are due June 17. Check here for submission details and conference information. 

WEF Stormwater Untility Seminar Coming Aug. 2
On Aug. 2, the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) will host a 1-day seminar in Chicago entitled “Weathering the Storm:  Is This the Right Time for You to Form a Stormwater Utility?” The event will cover the financing, planning, and management of stormwater utilities along with related regulations and public relations case studies. Presenters will be representative of different-size utilities throughout the U.S. Speakers will be confirmed in the coming weeks, and the agenda will be updated often, so check the link above periodically.  

House and Senate Introduce Bill Promoting Green Infrastructure
On May 26, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D–N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D–R.I.), and Ben Cardin (D–Md.) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D–Md.) introduced the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act. This legislation encourages the research, development, and promotion of green infrastructure, and it would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to accept green infrastructure in permitting activities. Finally, this bill would create as many as five regional research and development centers. Read more about this bill and green infrastructure benefits.

WEF Comments on EPA Stormwater TMDL Memo
The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) submitted comments on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memorandum, which calls for changes in some policies related to stormwater-based total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). In summary, WEF believes that this memo should be withdrawn and included with the stormwater rulemaking effort. This would allow for more input from the public and industry. It also would give EPA a chance to develop stronger guidance on complex issues, such as the use of surrogates as a measure of water quality as well as numeric limits. WEF has offered to provide EPA with case studies to better develop and clearly outline a stormwater-based TMDL strategy.


WEF Events

Collection Systems 2011: Rehab or Roulette: Is Our Environment at Risk?
Raleigh Convention Center
Raleigh, N.C.
June 12–15
Includes sessions on combined sewer overflows, wet weather issues, green approaches, and a stormwater BMP retrofit tour of Raleigh

AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference & Exposition
Portland, Ore.
March 18–21, 2012
Abstracts for WEF’s invited session on green infrastructure due June 17, 2011
General conference abstracts due June 24, 2011

WEF Webcast: Green Infrastructure
June 29, 1–2:30 p.m.
To cover regulatory, economic, technical, and research-based topics related to green infrastructure with speakers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, and Stratus Consulting

Weathering the Storm:  Is This the Right Time for You to Form a Stormwater Utility?
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago
Aug. 2
To cover regulations, public relations, financing, planning and management of stormwater utilities

Los Angeles Convention Center
Oct. 15–19
Check here for stormwater-specific programming

Member Association Events

New Jersey Water Environment Association
Permit Series Seminar: Freshwater Wetlands Review
New Brunswick, N.J.
June 7, 9 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.

Central States Water Environment Association
Classic Collection System Seminar
Watertown, Wis.
June 9, 7:30 a.m.– 3 p.m.
Topics to include storm sewer dye testing, sediment and erosion control, collection system rehabilitation, and more

New Jersey Water Environment Association
Stormwater Management Rule and BMP Manual
Bordentown, N.J.
June 13, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Georgia Association of Water Professionals
Knowledge Pipeline Collection Systems Mini-Workshop
Marietta, Ga.
June 21, 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
Topics to include pipeline assessment, sewer rehabilitation, and more

Texas Water Environment Association
CMOM Capacity, Management, Operation & Maintenance — Proactive Approach
Austin, Texas
Aug. 11-12

WEF Board Approves Stormwater Position Statement
On May 6, the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) released a revised stormwater position statement recommending updates to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater program. The statement also outlines several recommendations for improved stormwater management, including use of a volume-based approach for stormwater treatment, support of green infrastructure, flexibility in the stormwater regulatory framework, consideration of climate change, and integration of a watershed-based approach to permitting. It also supports points consistent with several 2009 National Research Council recommendations, such as increased funding and support for monitoring efforts.

U.S. EPA Meets To Discuss SSOs
Although collection systems are expected to address sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), there is no national regulatory program specific to SSOs. Therefore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held listening sessions in 2010, seeking stakeholder input on updating NPDES to include SSO-related maintenance, operation and management goals. EPA is hosting a facilitated SSO workshop July 14–15 in Washington, D.C., with the goal of crafting a path forward on SSOs. Key WEF members will be participating in this workshop. See the May 13 issue of This Week in Washington for more information.

WEF Announces 2012 Stormwater Event
The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) announces a multiday, multitrack Stormwater Symposium to be held next summer. WEF currently is seeking volunteers who are interested in joining the conference planning committee and reviewing abstracts for the event. Interested individuals should contact Jenn Chavira at

WEF To Comment on ASCE Stormwater Safety Guidance
The Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) is actively commenting on an American Society of Civil Engineers (Reston, Va.) guidance document for enhancing public safety near stormwater structures. Although stormwater safety is often overlooked, poor design, maintenance, and planning of urban stormwater management facilities can lead to injuries or fatalities. Areas of concern include impoundments (ponds, dam embankments), conveyance features (swales, ditches), flooding areas (overtopped roads, backwater zones), and features that may be bacterially impaired or harbor mosquito-transmitted diseases (West Nile Virus).

WEF Member Association Stormwater Events Attract Strong Attendance and Interest
In early May, the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) held Wet-Weather Issues, Stormwater and CSOs,” a seminar focusing on stormwater utilities, green infrastructure planning and implementation, and stormwater practice performance research. Regulatory updates were also provided by headquarter and regional EPA officials on stormwater and wet weather topics. This successful event was the first event of its kind for NEWEA, and considering the strong attendance and interest, it’s not likely to be the last. Conference attendees and NEWEA members can access proceedings from this event here

On May 17, the Chesapeake Water Environment Association (CWEA) experienced growing attendance at its second 1-day seminar, “Meeting the Challenge of Achieving Bay Area Stormwater Requirements,” attracting 164 speakers, vendors, and attendees from public and private sectors. Participants were briefed on regulatory details, case studies, research, and new technologies for addressing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load (TMDL) released Dec. 29, 2010. According to CWEA, the TMDL requires jurisdictions — Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia — to implement pollution controls by 2025 capable of cumulative reductions of 25% nitrogen, 24% phosphorus, and 20% sediment, with 60% of the planned pollution controls in place and operating by 2017.

A summary of the event and seminar presentations are available online. CWEA also is planning a stormwater summit meeting in September and a November seminar on wet weather issues. Check here for more information. 

Washington Universities Open Stormwater Center
Washington State University (WSU; Pullman, Wash.) announced May 20 a new Stormwater Center and Green Infrastructure Partnership. The center joins WSU’s already established Low Impact Development Center and Watershed Stewards outreach program. A Washington Department of Ecology grant helped to fund the Center's development in Puyallup — an area that has been targeted in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s green infrastructure initiative. Read more about the center’s goal to help develop stormwater solutions for restoring Puget Sound.

Maryland Passes Fertilizer Use Act
To reduce nutrient loading of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland has passed a bill that limits nitrogen and eliminates phosphorus in most fertilizers. The act also establishes best practices for public fertilizer application and a training and licensing program for professionals. The law, which should be fully implemented by October 2013, is designed to target commercial lawn care providers and homeowners who contribute 14% of nitrogen and 8% of phosphorus loadings according to the Chesapeake Bay Commission. Check here for more information.

Check This Out!
The Arbor Day Foundation’s National Tree Benefit Calculator determines, among other advantages, the amount of stormwater a tree will intercept depending on its species, location, and diameter.

Heal the Bay recently released its 2011 Beach Report Card. The report is coupled with a tool that allows users to find wet and dry weather grades for each beach along the West Coast.

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