Session 11A: Planning
8:00am - 8:45am
Use of Integrated Planning to Facilitate an NPDES Permit Renewal
1Clean Water Services, United States of America; 2HDR Inc; ,
Wastewater and stormwater utilities face significant challenges to manage aging infrastructure, meet customer expectations, and address regulatory obligations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized that municipalities could more efficiently use their resources to make important, cost-effective environmental improvements that align with community priorities. To support communities in these efforts, EPA released the Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework. Since its inception, Integrated Plans have primarily been used by communities in response to enforcement actions to address combined sewer overflows. More recently, EPA has encouraged the use of Integrated Plans as part of the NPDES permitting process. Clean Water Services has developed an Integrated Plan for submittal with its NPDES permit renewal application. The goal of this Integrated Plan is to establish a long-term permitting strategy to prioritize and schedule actions well into the future to proactively address the challenges it faces. Following EPA’s model, Clean Water Services’ Integrated Plan includes key items like watershed assessment, watershed objectives, challenges, public outreach, and adaptive management. Unlike many other Integrated Plans, Clean Water Services’ plan is not driven by wet weather compliance issues. It therefore provides an example to other utilities that want to use the Integrated Planning framework to establish a long-term permitting strategy.
8:45am - 9:30am
Regionalization for Economic Development and Watershed Protection
Keller Associates, Inc., United States of America;
Failing septic systems can be a significant health hazard to both the septic tank owner and downstream residents. Additionally, the amount of land needed for drain fields makes it difficult to attract new businesses and developers. For some communities, their financial situation prohibits the addition of a city sewer system. Moreover, for residents of the North Santiam Canyon region of Oregon, The Three Basin Rule (OR 340-041-0350) makes it even more challenging to convert to a community-based sewer system. This rule prohibits additional surface water discharges to certain rivers, including the North Santiam River, which supplies drinking water to the City of Salem. Add to all this the recent wildfires that devastated this North Santiam Canyon region and bring up additional questions about rebuilding.
A regional solution to address these regulatory and financial issues has gained traction in the past few years. With the support of Marion County and the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, the communities of Detroit, Gates, Idanha, and Mill City have engaged in discussions regarding the possible incorporation of a regional system sewer system. In January 2017, a regional sewer system feasibility study was completed. A master plan is currently underway, and these entities are in the final steps of establishing a “sewer authority.” This presentation will discuss the difficulty in developing a regional sewer system in this mountainous area, the challenges of creating a sewer authority among the communities, and the steps needed to protect this critically important drinking water source. Added to this will be navigating the planning process during and after the recent wildfires in the canyon.