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 Post subject: Time Sensitive SDWA & CWA activities
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:30 pm 
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Dear Tribal Partners and EPA Regional Indian Coordinators –
The EPA Office of Water would like to share some time-sensitive information and important participation opportunities and activities related to the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. This information and these events may be of interest to tribes, and provides tribes an opportunity to engage with EPA on water-related topics. Please feel free to forward this information, as appropriate.
I. Tribal Consultation Opportunity: Modernizing Public Hearings for Water Quality Standard (WQS) Decisions Consistent with 40 C.F.R. § 25.5. Informational webinar scheduled March 15. Comment period ends April 20.
EPA is initiating tribal consultation and coordination on the Office of Water’s draft informational document, Modernizing Public Hearings for Water Quality Standard (WQS) Decisions Consistent with 40 C.F.R. § 25.5. This draft document provides some possible options for WQS-authorized tribes and states interested in using modern technology to meet the relevant public hearing requirements in the federal regulations.

This informational document will also assist WQS-authorized tribes in choosing whether to integrate technology by making minor (e.g., using the Internet as one means of providing public notice) or substantial (e.g., conducting a public hearing online) changes to its public hearing process or retain its current public hearing procedures. This document does not set minimum requirements for incorporating technology nor identify explicitly which circumstances warrant incorporating technology.

Tribal consultation and coordination process extends from February 12- April 20, 2018. EPA is seeking tribal comment on additional technology options and/or best practices for modernizing the public hearing process, potential implications from modernizing the public hearing process, other factors for the Agency to consider, and/or input on any areas of the document that need clarity.

EPA will hold an informational webinar for tribal leaders and staff on March 15, 2018. The webinar will consist of two parts — first, the EPA staff will provide information about the proposed draft document; and in the second part, tribal representatives will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comment.

The informational webinar is scheduled for Thursday, March 15, 2018 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. eastern time. To register for the webinar, please visit: ... 2726609439. One registered, you will receive an email confirmation with the webinar link and teleconference call-in information.

A copy of the tribal consultation letter, consultation plan, and the draft information document are attached. Tribes also may access the consultation letter, related consultation information, and EPA’s draft informational document Modernizing Public Hearings for WQS Decisions Consistent with 40 C.F.R. § 25.5 on EPA’s Tribal Consultation Opportunities Tracking System (TCOTS), located at

For any questions about this consultation process, please contact Menchu Martinez, Associate Branch Chief, National Branch, Office of Science and Technology via email at, or by phone at 202-566-1218. Written comments should be emailed to no later than Friday, April 20, 2018.

II. Tribal Consultation Period on Forthcoming Proposed Regulatory Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule Closes March 16.
EPA has initiated consultation and coordination with federally recognized tribes on forthcoming proposed regulatory revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). EPA is evaluating potential revisions to the current LCR to improve public health protection while ensuring effective implementation. The Agency is seeking input from tribes on the potential regulatory revisions and suggestions that would assist tribal governments in implementing and complying with the revised rule. The 60-day consultation period will close on March 16, 2018.

The LCR applies to all public water systems, except those that do not regularly serve at least 25 of the same people at least six months of the year. Revisions to the LCR would impact a tribal government that operates public water systems that must comply with the LCR, as well as a tribal government that has primary enforcement authority, or primacy, for public water systems on tribal lands.

EPA established the LCR in 1991 to protect public health by limiting exposure to lead and copper through drinking water. The primary contribution of lead and copper to drinking water is corrosion from service lines and in-home plumbing materials. The current LCR requires water systems to sample households served by their system and requires systems to take actions to reduce exposure to lead and copper from drinking water. The actions triggered by the LCR monitoring results may include treatment to control lead and copper corrosion, the replacement of lead service lines, and the dissemination of educational materials to customers. The Agency is currently in the process of evaluating potential regulatory changes to the existing LCR in the areas of tap sampling, corrosion control treatment, transparency and public education, full lead service line replacement as well as specific copper requirements.

Copies of the consultation letter and plan, and a copy of the presentation slides that were presented at the 1/31/18 informational webinar on the LCR are available at EPA’s Tribal Consultation Opportunities Tracking System (TCOTS) at Tribal consultation comment letters should be submitted via email to no later than March 16, 2018.

For any questions, please contact Bob Rose by phone at 202-564-0322, or via email at For additional information on the LCR rulemaking, please visit:

III. EPA Issues Request for Comment on Discharges via Direct Hydrologic Connection to Surface Water. Comment period closes May 21.
EPA has issued a request for comment on how pollutants that are discharged into groundwater that flows through a direct connection into jurisdictional surface waters should be treated under the Clean Water Act.

Over the years, the courts, EPA, states, tribes and local communities have addressed this type of pollutant source in different ways under the Clean Water Act. The agency wants to hear from all stakeholders about a number of key issues, including whether EPA should provide guidance or rulemaking or should review and potentially clarify any previous agency statements on the issue of how discharges from point sources that reach jurisdictional surface waters through groundwater is treated under the Clean Water Act and in the agency's permitting program.

This input will help inform potential next steps that could provide clarity on this issue. The comment period will be open for 90 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register Notice is available here: ... to-surface. For more information, visit:

IV. Save the Date: The 2018 National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop Scheduled for August 8-10, 2018, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The EPA Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, in coordination with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, is planning a national Capacity Development and Operator Certification workshop to be held at the Westin Indianapolis Hotel from August 8 – 10, 2018. This workshop is held every three years and focuses on capacities related to drinking water utilities. New for the 2018 workshop is a tribally focused meeting beginning August 8. Sessions of the workshop may focus on training and certification of tribal drinking water utility operators; asset management; coordination between technical assistance providers; and coordination with federal agencies for infrastructure development. The workshop will provide the opportunity for participants to share success stories and brainstorm new ideas on program functions. Organizations involved with tribal capacity development and operator certification from across the country are invited to participate. Space is limited, so please contact Sam Russell at (, 202-564-4012) if you are interested in attending or have any questions. For more information, please see the attached flyer.

V. Registration Now Open for 2018 Tribal Lands and Environment Forum. Proposals for trainings and breakout sessions now being accepted through May 4.
The 8th annual Tribal Lands and Environment Forum (TLEF) will be taking place at the Spokane Convention Center in Spokane, Washington, August 13-16, 2018. This year’s forum will feature special trainings, field trips, and breakout sessions focused on the conference theme: A National Conversation on Tribal Land and Water Resources. Topics highlighted at the forum include solid/hazardous waste management, brownfields, UST/LUSTs, Superfund sites, and emergency response. Tribal water program topics – water quality, drinking water, and habitat restoration (including wetlands, streams and fisheries) will also be included with breakout sessions, trainings and field trips. Please visit the TLEF conference website at: to:
• Register for this year’s TLEF at the Spokane Convention Center
• Submit online proposals for trainings and breakout sessions
• Reserve your vendor space
• Research lodging options
• Access materials from past TLEFs

VI. Save the Date & Call for Abstracts for the 2018 National Nonpoint Source Training Workshop. Workshop to be held at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO, from November 5-8, 2018. Abstracts due by April 6.
This workshop is the premier gathering of NPS professionals on the federal, tribal, territorial, and state level. The workshop will provide all attendees with an opportunity to share stories of challenges and successes, attend sessions covering a variety of NPS issues, receive updates on the national and regional level, and network with other NPS program managers and state NPS coordinators throughout the country. Organizers are currently seeking presentations from State, Tribal, and EPA program staff, NPS practitioners, and the NPS community. Tribal presentation submissions are welcome for both tribal and general sessions. We encourage you to forward this Call for Abstracts to your colleagues. For more information, visit ... workshops/. To submit an abstract, please complete the online form by April 6, 2018. Applicants will be notified of speaker selections in June 2018. This workshop is coordinated by New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) in partnership with EPA, Tribal, Territorial, and State NPS program managers and coordinators. Attendance to the Workshop will be via invitation only. For more information, please visit the 2018 National Nonpoint Source Training Workshop Website or contact James Plummer at

VII. March 27 Webinar on Water Security and Resiliency for Small Water Systems. Register today.
As part of the EPA Office of Research and Development and Office of Water's monthly webinar series to discuss challenges and treatment solutions for small drinking water and wastewater systems, the offices will be hosting a webinar on March 27, from 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EST on Water Security and Resiliency. The webinar will include a presentation on the Water Laboratory Alliance for Improving Emergency Response, and a presentation on Sampling and Analysis Tools for Water Emergencies. For more information, please visit: ... nar-series. To register for the webinar, please visit: ... 7047498755.

VIII. Launch of National Tribal Water Council New Website
The National Tribal Water Council (NTWC) is pleased to launch a new website. To view the site, please visit: As the website evolves, it will contain: NTWC’s policy analysis on water related policies that impact tribes, important water quality resources for tribes, and current water quality news. The NTWC hopes that you will continue to visit their website as it evolves to better meet the needs of all who are interested in clean and healthy water and healthy tribal communities.

Karen Gude
Tribal Program Coordinator
U.S. EPA/Office of Water
Phone: (202) 564-0831

Save the Date - CapDev-OpCert Workshop 2018.pdf [731.46 KiB]
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