Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Session 29A: Regulatory Challenges
Wednesday, 11/Sep/2019:
8:00am - 10:15am

Session Chair: Eric Roundy, Keller Associates, Inc.;
Location: E145

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8:00am - 8:45am

NEW Water—Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Innovative Strategy And A Case Study For Implementing Watershed Nutrient Management

Brent Brown1, Jeff Smudde2, Megan Bender1, Patrick Burke1

1Jacobs, United States of America; 2Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District;


As the Pacific Northwest grows, our water resources will face increasing pressures. The State of Washington projects that the population of the Puget Sound basin will increase by 1.7 million people by 2040 and estimates that the added population could translate to a 40 percent increase in nutrients discharged from publicly-owned treatment works.

With competing demands for public funds, wastewater utilities will need new and innovative tools to protect water quality. This presentation profiles an innovative watershed-based approach used by the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District (GBMSD), Wisconsin, to manage nutrients in their surrounding watershed that has relevance to Pacific Northwest communities facing similar challenges.

State of Wisconsin Regulatory Framework

The State of Wisconsin has enacted legislation that allows point sources to partner with other stakeholders to implement basin-wide strategies to meet total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) promulgated under Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Permits. These strategies have been shown to provide lower cost-saving opportunities when compared to traditional point source treatment approaches.

The NEW Water Program

NEW Water, the brand of the GBMSD venture into watershed collaboration for TMDL compliance, started with a pilot project. NEW Water and Jacobs have been leading stakeholders within local watersheds to pilot test adaptive management for TMDL compliance for GBMSD’s wastewater treatment facilities. The success of these efforts has led GBMSD to formally include adaptive management for meeting nutrient limits stipulated in their WPDES Permits.

The presentation will discuss the following aspects of the NEW Water program:

  • Baseline watershed characterization
  • Enhanced nutrient management approaches to reduce watershed phosphorus loads
  • Decision framework used to evaluate non-point source controls versus removal through GBMSD’s treatment plants
  • Tools developed to plan the work and verify progress, including high‐tech mobile applications
  • Water quality improvements observed to date

8:45am - 9:30am

Achieving Temperature Compliance through Watershed Partnerships and Water Quality Trading

Alex Johnson1, Todd Miller2, Paula Brown3

1The Freshwater Trust, United States of America; 2City of Springfield, United States of America; 3City of Ashland, United States of America; , ,

Water quality trading for temperature compliance in the Pacific Northwest has become established as an innovative tool for improving watershed health within the framework of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting. Trading builds the bridge for green infrastructure projects to be counted and credited toward regulatory compliance. Using trading, municipalities are able to shift some amount of ratepayer compliance spending away from traditional grey infrastructure upgrades to high-quality watershed restoration that provides both regulatory compliance and a greater overall benefit to rivers and streams.

The City of Ashland and the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission of Eugene-Springfield (the MWMC) are launching trading programs to meet new temperature limits in their upcoming NPDES permits. Ashland’s trading program plan has been accepted by the Oregon DEQ, and the city and its partners are embarking on implementation of riparian revegetation projects to generate credits to satisfy the expected temperature obligation. Following a successful pilot project implementation and coordination with Oregon DEQ and local partners, the MWMC has identified a pathway to cost-effective temperature credits generated from riparian shade restoration via landowner agreements established under the Pure Water Partners collaborative. Pure Water Partners provides a framework to bring together multiple partners with watershed protection and restoration objectives through diverse funding sources.

This presentation will discuss the two programs’ next steps, including:

  • Finalizing structure of funding and NPDES permit-ready water quality trading plan for compliance (the MWMC);
  • Kicking off pre-permit implementation of riparian shade credit projects in McKenzie River and Middle Fork Willamette River watersheds (the MWMC);
  • Designing program plan and piloting riparian shade credit projects in Bear Creek watershed (Ashland); and
  • Long-term partnerships with The Freshwater Trust for trading program administration and implementation.

9:30am - 10:15am

Hold onto Your Cap: Navigating Nutrient Requirements for Puget Sound

David Clark, Bryce Figdore

HDR Engineering, United States of America; ,

Wastewater utilities that discharge to Puget Sound face new caps on nutrient discharges that are intertwined with complex water quality issues ranging from compliance with Washington’s strict dissolved oxygen standards and new criteria for toxics, to broader implications for food chain impacts on endangered Chinook Salmon and Orcas. Nutrient management requirements compete for limited funding resources with a multiplicity of other challenges that wastewater managers must address. These issues include continuing provision of adequate capacity, wet weather compliance, asset management demands, resiliency, etc. Changes in wastewater characteristics, climate, demographics, and societal priorities all contribute to a cauldron of challenges to form the most complex operating environment to confront utilities since the inception of the Clean Water Act.

Washington Ecology has published a Bounding Scenario water quality modeling report as part of the “Puget Sound Nutrient Source Reduction Project” that includes seasonal biological nitrogen removal at all municipal wastewater facilities with an effluent concentration of Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) of 8 mg/L and CBOD of 8 mg/L. Meanwhile, Northwest Environmental Advocates (NWEA) petitioned Ecology to adopt a rule establishing technology-based effluent limits for the discharge of nutrients and toxics from municipal wastewater treatment facilities that discharge to Puget Sound to include effluent limits for total nitrogen of 3.0 mg/L and phosphorus of 0.1 mg/L, or lower. In rejecting the NWEA petition, Ecology has committed to cap nutrient discharges and continue to pursue modeling to establish water quality based effluent limits.

This presentation will focus on strategies for easing the transition to nutrient removal through approaches that combine innovative regulatory frameworks with treatment technologies that address multiple utility challenges. Finding the optimal intersection between compliance requirements and treatment technology is the key to successfully navigating all of the demands for utility management on Puget Sound.

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