BACWA Bulletin - August 2016

Table of Contents


Save the date for BACWA's Annual Members' Meeting - January 27, 2017

BACWA's Annual Members' meeting will be held on January 27 from 8:30 to 3pm at the Metropolitan Golf Course, 10051 Doolittle Drive, Oakland. Stay tuned for the agenda, which will be posted prior to the event.

Nutrient data for Annual Report due July 31

The second group Nutrient Annual Report will be due to the Regional Water Board on October 1.  As was the case last year, the consultant team that is conducting the Nutrient Treatment Optimization and Upgrade Studies is also developing the Group Annual Report. You can view the 2015 Group Annual Report here. Because of difficulties obtaining agencies' monitoring data from CIWQS in 2015, the consultant developed a Nutrient data sheet for agencies to fill in and submit their data for the 2016 Annual Report. Agencies should have submitted their nutrient monitoring data covering the period between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 to Mike Falk by July 31. If your agency has not submitted its data yet, please do so as soon as possible.

Please respond to BACWA's survey on POTW Budgets

BACWA is conducting a brief survey to better understand the aggregate budget for wastewater treatment and conveyance in the San Francisco Bay Area. This information will be used to gauge the relative expenditures of our community on wastewater versus other infrastructure projects. It will also help provide context for discussions with the Regional Water Board on the estimated cost of potential treatment plant optimization and upgrades to remove nutrients as we move into negotiations for the next Nutrient Watershed Permit. Last year, BACWA estimated that Regionally, wastewater agencies spend $2B annually for operations and have a 5-year capital budget of $7.5B. This year we are asking separately about budgets for wastewater treatment and collection systems. Please take a moment to add your agency's governing body-approved operating and capital budgets to this BACWA survey. The survey consists of just a few questions that will take a few minutes to complete for a person familiar with your agency's budget.

EPA proposes new selenium criteria for the San Francisco Bay Estuary

On July 15, the EPA published its proposed selenium criteria in the Federal Register.  The rule proposes to reduce the selenium water quality criteria for the waters of San Francisco Bay and Delta from 5 ppb to 0.2 ppb. Most San Francisco Bay Area POTWs would not be able to meet this concentration without dilution credit (See 2012 SFEI study on selenium in SF Bay Area POTWs). Selenium discharges from North Bay POTWs are governed by the 2015 North Bay selenium TMDL which is expected to be approved by the EPA in the near future, but POTWs in the South Bay could be impacted in the future by the new criteria. EPA will be holding a virtual public hearing on August 22, and two in-person public hearings on August 23. Comments are due to EPA on September 13. BACWA will discuss the proposed criteria with Regional Water Board and EPA staff, and work through the Permits Committee to develop a response to this proposed rule. 

SB163 (Hertzberg) is pulled from committee, but will likley return next year

A coalition of recycled water and wastewater associations and local agencies has successfully lobbied to stop SB 163 (Hertzberg). The bill, if passed, would have required the State Water Board to develop regulations to require ocean and bay dischargers to recycle at least 50% of their treated wastewater by January 1, 2033. The bill was considered during a hearing of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on June 14. In response to opposition, Senator Hertzberg offered conceptual amendments that had not been made publicly available for review.  On June 20, Senator Hertzberg requested to cancel the second hearing, therefore the bill is no longer moving through the legislature. In a letter to supporters, Senator Hertzberg pledged to reintroduce the bill next year.

Scholarships Available for classes leading to a Plant Operator Certificate and multiple careers in the water/wastewater industry

The Bay Area Consortium for Clean Water Education is offering scholarships for Community College classes for students seeking a career in the water/wastewater industry. Registration is now open and the first class begins on September 1st from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in Martinez. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition and books, and a Plant Operator Certificate is given to students who complete the 28 required units. Students must maintain a grade of C or better in each course. Relevant jobs include Water or Wastewater Treatment Operator, Water Distribution Operator, Wastewater Collections Operator, Mechanic/Machinist, Electrician, Instrument Technician, and more. For more information about this program, please go online to or send an email to

SFEI seeking clean water scientist

SFEI/ASC is seeking an Environmental Scientist to assist in the scientific and programmatic management of projects within the Clean Water Program.  The Environmental Scientist will lead or assist with the Delta Regional Monitoring Program, San Francisco Bay Regional Monitoring Program, or other similar programs.

What's new in BACWA's Committees

AIR Committee

The AIR Committee's Annual Meeting with Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Staff was held on June 15. The key messages from BAAQMD were:
  • Draft Clean Air Plan control measures have been posted on BAAQMD’s Open Air Forum.  These measures are largely exploratory at this stage, but will help guide prioritization of future actions, including those related to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Air Toxics:
    • BAAQMD is working on revisions to Regulation 2, Rule 5 – New Source Review of Air Toxic Contaminants.  Revised rule language should be available in August, for consideration by the Board in September.  At this time, BAAQMD is not proposing any changes to the current significance thresholds.
    • BAAQMD is considering a new policy or rule in 2017 to address air toxics emissions from existing facilities. 
  • BAAQMD is re-evaluating the enforcement of Regulation 9, Rule 2 on hydrogen sulfide discharges as new permit applications or permit modification requests are received for digesters. Their goal is to develop case-by-case permit conditions that allow digester gas venting up until a certain quantity of hydrogen sulfide has been released (# lbs/hour).  This limit is intended to correlate to the downwind concentration allowed by Regulation 9, Rule 2.
  • Given the forthcoming waste diversion regulations, BAAQMD’s Organic Waste Workgroup is researching both barriers and incentives for organic waste diversion projects (permitting issues, best management practices, economic incentives, etc.).  Contact Carol Allen/BAAQMD if you have any feedback to help promote these projects moving forward
View previous AIR meeting materials.


The June BAPPG meeting featured a presentation from the public relations consultant firm O'Rorke on the status of BAPPG's outreach initiatives.  Additionally, Bill Pollock from Alameda County Environmental Health gave an update on their pharmaceutical take-back program efforts.  BAPPG submitted a letter to Bay Area Senators in support of SB1229, which offers liability protections for pharmacies that have pharmaceutical take-back bins. The August meeting will feature the annual pollutant prioritization exercise. View notes from previous meetings.

Biosolids Committee

The BACWA Biosolids Committee plans to conduct a survey to better understand how POTWs in our Region plan to manage their biosolids, and their plans for when landfill application is phased out, which will likely occur by 2025. The survey will be distributed via this Bulletin and committee email lists. The next Biosolids Committee meeting will be held in October, location to be announced.

Collections Systems Committee

The July Collection Systems Committee meeting featured a presentation by Jim Fisher of the State Water Board staff on SSS WDR compliance and enforcement. Committee members should expect a survey to be distributed by Committee leadership to identify meeting topics for the next year. For more information, see previous Collections Systems Committee Reports.

Permits Committee

The August meeting will focus on BACWA's response to EPA's selenium objectives. Additionally, the committee will discuss the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance's request for input on climate risks to wastewater infrastructure. For more information about committee activities, please see previous Permits Committee Reports.

Pretreatment Committee

On June 22, the Pretreatment Committee cohosted a training with the firm EEC, covering the following items:
  • 40 CFR Key Provisions
  • Program Elements
  • Regulatory Climate Forecast
  • Updating Local Limits
  • Audit Preparation
  • Categorical Standards
  • Program Modification.
The next regular Pretreatment Committee meeting will be held August 30 at Union Sanitary District.

Recycled Water Committee

At the July Recycled Water committee meeting, members discussed the mandatory enrollment of 96-011 permittees into the State General Order for Recycled Water, adopted June 7, 2016. The committee plans to develop a proposal to deliver to the Regional Water Board on how to seamlessly manage the transition to the State General Order. For more information about committee activities, please see Recycled Water Committee meeting notes.

Upcoming Events

RMP Annual Meeting, October 7, 2016, David Brower Center 2150 Allston Way Berkeley, CA. 

9th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference, November 15-17, 2016, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento.

BACWA Annual Members' Meeting, January 27, 2017,  Metropolitan Golf Course 10051 Doolittle Drive, Oakland, CA.

BACWA External Representation

Collaboration with outside groups and initiatives is an important facet of BACWA's mission. Below is a list of BACWA's representatives to these  technical, regulatory, and management groups:

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