Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results FY2008:
Water Compliance Highlights
The Texas Association of Builders (TAB), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) signed an unprecedented agreement on July 31, 2008, recognizing the work these organizations have been doing together to further educate, inform and assist home builders in meeting federal and state stormwater requirements.
The agreement is the first of its kind in the nation, designed to ensure comprehensive training for Texas builders, on stormwater compliance. Over 1,300 Texas builders have received stormwater compliance training pursuant to this partnership since 2005. TAB, EPA and TCEQ developed a training manual, and the National Association of Home Builders assisted in the development of an accompanying training DVD. In 2007, a second training course, “Stormwater SWPPP It or Sweat It,” and a more comprehensive training workbook was produced.
Following the 2007 trainings, each 2007 attendee was provided with a “Self-Assessment Checklist.” In an effort to determine where additional stormwater compliance training might be necessary, attendees were asked to complete and return the checklists to TAB. The returned checklists were evaluated by TAB, EPA and TCEQ, and it was determined that builders who completed this training initiative appear to be complying with federal and state stormwater regulations. Beginning in late Fall 2008, builder members of the Texas Association of Builders may choose to complete a “Self-Assessment Checklist” for each of their Notices of Intent (NOI). For each fully completed checklist, the builder will receive one “Stormwater Self-Certified” sticker to place on the corresponding permit. Sites that display the certification sticker will be a lower priority for routine inspections.
EPA, Region I is working in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to address Sanitary Sewer Overflows from municipal water systems in Rhode Island. This partnership is employing an integrated strategy using both compliance assistance tools and more traditional enforcement approaches to help ensure environmental protection and compliance with environmental requirements.
Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) are caused by breakdowns in the system of pipes, pumps and other equipment that municipalities and wastewater utilities use to collect and transport sewage to a wastewater treatment plant. These un-permitted discharges often occur due to blockages caused by roots, debris, or fats, oils and grease, structural, mechanical or electrical failures, and extraneous flows (ground water or stormwater) that enter wastewater collection systems. When an SSO occurs, raw sewage is released from the wastewater collection system and may end up in streets, basements or surface waters.
EPA, working with state and municipal officials, trade associations the academic community, and others, is applying an integrated strategy to help Rhode Island municipalities prevent future SSOs and develop long term sustainable improvements to municipal water infrastructure. The assistance activities being used include: workshops that offer assistance with operation and maintenance, Asset Management (long term infrastructure planning), Energy Star Benchmarking, financing issues, and GIS (to track sewer use); development of public partnerships (with state, municipal, trade associations); development of a Preventative Maintenance Template for collection systems and the creation of fact sheets on specific areas of concern (such as manhole identification).
The Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) was also the recipient of a 2008 EPA State Innovation Grant that will be used to encourage Rhode Island waste water treatment plants to engage in energy reduction activities and to develop an Environmental Results Program with restaurants in the NBC service district to utilize fats, oils and grease (FOG) for use in bio-diesel thereby reducing FOG going into the sewer systems, causing infrastructure blockages.
Marinas can potentially cause significant harm to human health, safety, and the environment. These businesses, for example, can potentially generate significant hazardous waste from products such as paint, cleaning products, solvents, heavy metals, oils and fuels. In addition, stormwater runoff on marina property can pick up pollutants discharged from marina operations and flow through both point and non-point sources, into US waters.
This year, Region 1 focused efforts on addressing various issues marina owners face in controlling pressure wash water. Regional staff and external partners, primarily state environmental agencies and marine trades associations, conducted six marina-owner training workshops designed to educate the owners on boat pressure wash water control requirements and technologies available to control pressure washing water. Vendors who market technologies for controlling pressure washing, such as recycle systems, containment pads, and filtration related equipment also attended to display their technologies, and staff from the region or state where the workshop was held presented information on the requirements and best practices.
Over 300 marina owners, nearly half of the region’s marina owners who conduct maintenance and cleaning activity attended the trainings offered this year. Information provided voluntarily, and from recent inspections, indicate that the number of marinas who have installed or have on order pressure wash systems has grown tremendously over the past year. Capital investments for pressure wash systems are typically in the $25,000-$100,000 range. [More Information]
In February 2008, EPA’s Idaho Operations Office staff conducted stormwater and wetland regulations workshops, targeting the construction industry. The one-day workshops provided information to over 200 people and also provided EPA with an opportunity to build its partnership with the MS4 communities and support their local programs that are in early development. The workshops received very positive feedback; of those responding to the question, over 50% reported an increase in understanding and knowledge from the workshop, of wetland and stormwater permitting requirements.
Presenters at the workshop included the Corps and Engineers, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and a number of local agencies.
Labs that test drinking water throughout the four states of EPA's Region 7 should be better suited to respond to natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other emergencies, as a result of a week-long regional preparedness exercise completed this year. EPA has developed and is exercising plans to coordinate laboratory support for responses to actual or suspected drinking water contamination incidents. Over the past two years, EPA developed drinking water Regional Laboratory Response Plans for each of the 10 EPA regions in the country. State environmental and public health labs were active participants in developing the plans.
This year, Region 7 conducted its first-ever functional exercise at seven labs to verify that federal, state and local lab personnel can properly coordinate with each other to provide necessary water testing capacities, in the event that any one lab might find itself overwhelmed by a large quantity of samples needing to be tested in a short period of time. These exercises were a success and have better positioned the agencies to be able to protect the public health in times of emergency.
To learn more about CWA compliance, please visit Clean Water Act Compliance Assistance.