Element 2 - Area-wide Waste Treatment and Basin Planning

Section 208 Planning Authority for Area Wide Waste Treatment and the Identification of Wastewater Treatment Collection Systems for Permitted Facilities under Section 209 Basin Planning

The Water Pollution Control Program conducts and coordinates various planning activities and programs initially prescribed by the Clean Water Act under Sections 208 and 209. Under Section 208 planning authority states have designated area-wide waste treatment management planning agencies and have developed plans under Section 209 that include the identification and construction of treatment works needed to meet municipal and industrial needs for a design period of at least 20 years.

The original continuing planning process under Section 208 is largely replaced by the Clean Water Act Section 201 facility planning effort. The programs basin planning effort under Section 209 identifies all wastewater treatment collection systems for permitted facilities in metropolitan and outlying areas and the affected stream reaches in each basin.

Under Section 209 basin planning the Department is working towards a watershed based permitting process, within the 66 different watersheds. The watershed approach will allow the program to comprehensively address watershed-specific issues. Solutions will be tailored to specific needs rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Revisions to the Construction and Operating Permits rule, 10 CSR 20-6.010, will help answer long standing questions on what is available, how a community becomes a regional sewer provider and, other initiatives such as long term infrastructure and water pollution controls, on a watershed basis. Other challenges with planning that the Department is addressing are the rule's authorities for Level 1 designated areas. As wastewater effluent regulations continue to become more protective, costs for providing wastewater treatment increases the focus on watershed based permitting and decision making. More communities are interested in Level 2 authority where there is a need for the development of a regional plan to address wastewater, infrastructure, and water needs.

Public participation is a vital and required component in future planning and implementation. The program needs continued input from stakeholders on what the State’s priorities are and how planning should occur.

Section 208: Area-wide Waste Treatment Planning
Under section 208, states were required to designate area-wide waste treatment management planning agencies and develop plans that include the identification and construction of treatment works needed to meet municipal and industrial needs for a design period of at least 20 years. These plans recognized that the watershed and sub-watershed are the primary planning geography for managing wastewater and storm water flows.

In 1974, three areas in Missouri were designated under the Section 208 federal code and Section 644.141, RSMo. The areas were designated to allow the communities and surrounding areas to address the water quality and permitting issues facing their area. Kansas City (Mid-America Regional Council), St. Louis (East-West Gateway Coordinating Council), and the Joplin area (and Ozark Gateway Council of Governments) were designated. Kansas City and St. Louis were designated due to being large metropolitan areas and the influence of large rivers on the cities (the Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers). Joplin was designated due to its issues and impacts of historic mining operations and being a regional hub for the four state area. Missouri’s Water Quality Planning was completed and certified as required.

With the originally approved plans approaching thirty-five years old, plus the changes in wastewater treatment technologies, water quality standards, and the site-specific conditions the 208’s have faced, the designated entities are evaluating updates to the 208 plans.  East West Gateway approached the department about amending the East West Gateway approved plan, specifically the Jefferson County section of the plan. East West Gateway expects to  present in front of the Clean Water Commission in . By amending the plans, the designated entity (East West Gateway, for example,) updates the various sections to account for population growth changes, changes in treatment technologies, newly impaired streams, and plans for twenty years into the future.

In many ways, the ideas behind the 208 area-wide management plan are still being used. Besides being used for water permitting, the plans include transportation planning, hazard mitigation, homeland security issues, and economic development. However, rather than being limited to the three areas identified by EPA, basin planning for the entire state was adapted. The 208 funding decreased, along with the idea that there were other basins in the state in need of protection, leading the state and federal funding to Section 209 basin planning type activities.

Section 209: Basin Planning
Under the Clean Water Act section 209 basin planning effort Missouri has in the past and attempts today to identify all private and industrial wastewater treatment collection facilities in metropolitan areas recommending their incorporation into public systems. Public systems are therefore known as section 201 facility planning areas for municipal dischargers. Non-municipal dischargers are also identified in basin plans. All dischargers were originally compiled into basin plans together with the specific effluent(s) discharged and the severity of the pollution problem(s) existing at that time. The Water Quality Management Plans were completed in 1979, providing a basis for the state water pollution control program operations and decisions. Section 201 delineations, treatment plant regionalization orders, construction grant awards and permit limits were based on the basin planning efforts (Missouri Water Quality Management Plan, 1979). In the past basin planning focused on Missouri’s significant discharges and affected stream reaches, determined from the 303(d) or 305(b) lists. While significant discharges can and do affect the stream, the large number of small communities with part time operators and limited resources have the greater potential to affect human health and the environment.

Planning Now and in the Future
In many ways, the state and communities operate under a hybrid of the 208/209 plans in identifying sources of pollution and eliminating point sources affecting the stream. Overall planning must be budgeted for and supported over the next 20 years of growth. The total maximum daily load program operates through basin plans to help streams recover from pollution. By assigning waste-load allocations and, identifying point and non-point sources contributing to the stream impairment, implementation planning allows the stream to achieve its designated uses.

In addition to Total Maximum Daily Load implementation, some communities, especially communities around the Lake of the Ozarks and Table Rock Lake, have established citizen groups to help the communities plan for future growth, eliminating water quality issues by monitoring programs designed to eliminate failing on-site systems. Communities have worked and are working with the department through stakeholder meetings and, through grant funding, to help achieve their goals.

The program continues to promote regionalization for proposed new developments and for existing facilities facing the need to upgrade or expand. Regionalization helps with basin planning by reducing the number of point sources. By connecting to existing facilities, the resultant economies of scale make upgrades and expansions more affordable for communities. With regard to funding, public entities can take advantage of public funding and financing for regional wastewater treatment facilities. The state’s delegated funding authority under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for project loans and grants for area-wide waste treatment is intended to encourage districts and communities to design and build needed wastewater treatment and collection systems. With the changes to water quality standards, more existing publicly owned and privately owned wastewater treatment plants have approached the department for help in evaluating regionalization plans. As water quality criteria continues to tighten effluent limits, more streams are classified with existing uses, and the economic impact of decisions has the department moving to a watershed based permitting approach. By permitting and monitoring by watershed, it will allow the department and the public to address issues for the whole watershed, including point and non-point sources. The watershed data will be used to provide more technically sound permits, supporting human health and the environment.

Watershed Based Permitting
Watershed-based permitting is part of a larger watershed-based management effort including permitting, effluent trading, water quality and biological monitoring and assessment, including inspections, Section 319, State Revolving Funds, and water resources and soil & water conservation projects as well. This planning is integrated with the department’s Our Missouri Waters Initiative. The goals are to comprehensively address watershed-specific issues using all of the tools the department can offer. This means that solutions need to be tailored to specific needs rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

The goal is to address watershed-specific issues with targeted solutions, tailoring activities within a watershed to the specific needs of that watershed. This approach provides measurable results so continued improvements can be made in water protection activities. The goals are tailored to the specific watershed group, identifying key issues. The result is a systematic approach to evaluating each watershed, applying the most appropriate solution, including permitting of point sources within the watershed. Watershed-based management effectively puts all site-specific permits on to a rotating basin schedule where all permits within the watershed are issued during the same year. This allows the department to establish predictable timelines for new permits, allows focus on water quality monitoring efforts, and plan the best approach to resolving issues within each watershed. The first step in comprehensive watershed-based management is to develop a schedule that will systematically address each of the 66 HUC 8 watersheds in Missouri. Operating permits were  issued for time periods less than five years to achieve the goals of the watershed based permitting and synchronization in 2013. 

All 66 watersheds were divided into five groups,  each consisting of twelve to thirteen watersheds. The grouping of the watersheds ensures that the each regional office will be involved with two or three watersheds per year, as the transition to watershed based management includes significant data collection with inspections and sampling.

Public participation is a major component of the planning required. The water program and the department can embark on studies and publish reports, but without the public’s input and help, achieving healthy, safe streams will not occur.

Continuing Authority
Along with the move to a watershed based permitting and evaluation process, the Department is updating the continuing authority sections of 10 CSR 20-6.010.The current rule includes five levels of authority, which are described briefly below with examples. Continuing Authority is a complex requirement for permittees and the department, but a requirement exists in all operating permits that facilities are required to connect to higher authority within 90 days of notice of availability.

  • Level 1 Authority is areas designated to allow the communities and surrounding areas to address the water quality and permitting issues facing their area. Kansas City (Mid-America Regional Council), St. Louis (East-West Gateway Coordinating Council), and the Joplin area (and Ozark Gateway Council of Governments) were designated in the mid-1970s.

    Responsibilities for Level 1 Authorities include long term planning and connection to serve wastewater infrastructure needs in the service area, management of water quality and, permitting issues in the area. The planning should include capital improvement plans, ordinances, how to address noncompliance in the area and, connection of existing private facilities.  They are eligible for sewer extension and treatment plant authority for area-wide management authority, and may complete construction activities without obtaining a construction permit from the department.  Communities under Level 1 Authority may want to pursue integrated planning in addressing all their water and wastewater responsibilities.

  • Level 2 Authority is a voluntary program for municipalities, public sewer districts, and PSC regulated sewer districts that the Missouri Clean Water Commission approves. A sewer district or municipality must develop a capital improvements plan, develop ordinances requiring connection, develop plans and processes for dealing with environmental concerns within their jurisdiction; and hold a public hearing, before advancing towards the Department and/or Commission. For communities desiring Level Two Authority, there are significant resources required to develop the plans and documentation to present to the Clean Water Commission and the implementation of the plan.

    Responsibilities for Level 2 Authorities include long term planning, connection to serve wastewater infrastructure needs for their service area; management of water quality and permitting issues in the area. The Level 2 Authority planning should include capital improvement plans, ordinances, how to address noncompliance in the area and, connection of existing private facilities. They are eligible for sewer extension and treatment plant authority for the area-wide management authority to oversee construction activities without obtaining a construction permit from the department.  Communities under Level 2 Authority are encouraged to pursue integrated planning in addressing all their water and wastewater responsibilities.

    Currently, Boone County Regional Sewer District and Northeast Public Sewer District are  the only Level 2 Authorities; however,  the Taney County Sewer District and the Lake Ozark Wastewater Treatment Facility are investigating if it would be beneficial to request approval from the Clean Water Commission.

  • Level 3 Authority is a municipality, public sewer district, or sewer company regulated by the PSC other than the ones identified as Level 1 or Level 2.  Level 3 Authorities responsibilities include managing water quality and permitting issues with in the service area boundaries. They may be eligible for sewer extension and treatment plant authority for area-wide management authority to oversee construction activities without obtaining a construction permit from the department. Communities should have long term planning and connection for their service area to serve wastewater infrastructure needs, including a capital improvements plan, ordinances, and connection of existing private facilities. Larger Level 3 Communities may want to pursue integrated planning to address all their water and wastewater responsibilities.

  • Level 4 Authority is any person, persons, or group of persons contractually obligated to collectively act as a wastewater collection and treatment service, or nonprofit company organized. Responsibilities for Level 4 Authorities include managing operations, maintenance, water quality and permitting issues within the property boundaries at the industry, wastewater treatment facility, or mobile home parks. Communities should have long term planning to address wastewater infrastructure needs. An example of Level 4 Authority includes the Ozark Clean Water Company.

  • Level 5 Authority is an association of property owners served by the wastewater treatment facility, such as homeowners associations. Responsibilities for Level 5 Authorities include managing operations, maintenance and permitting issues in the subdivision or service area. For a permit to be issued to a homeowner’s association, the association needs to be registered with the Secretary of State’s office and be in good standing. Communities should have planning to address wastewater infrastructure needs. The association should have covenants and restrictions in place to force connection and that fees are paid. Examples of Level 5 Authority are mobile home parks and home owners associations.

The updates to the continuing authority regulations include a way to determine availability. In operating permits currently, one condition requires connection to a higher continuing authority within ninety (90) days of availability. The revisions to the rule discuss what is available. The options include a waiver from the higher authority; a written statement or a demonstration of non-response from the higher authority declining the offer to accept management of the additional wastewater; a diagram that clearly illustrates that the collection system operated by a higher preference authority is beyond two thousand feet (2000’) from the proposed facility; a proposed connection or adoption charge by the higher authority that would equal or exceed one hundred twenty percent (120%) of the applicant’s cost of constructing or operating the proposed wastewater system; a proposed service fee on the users of the system by the higher authority that is above what is affordable for existing homeowners in that area; terms for connection or adoption by the higher authority that would require more than two years to achieve full sewer service; or terms for connection or adoption by the higher authority are not viable or feasible to homeowners in the area.

A change to the rule allows for municipalities, sewer districts, or sewer companies regulated by the Public Service Commission to apply for Level Two Authority. Level Two Authority is a voluntary program that the Missouri Clean Water Commission approves. The amendment to this rule provides the procedure for approaching the Commission based on how the process has worked with previous communities and lessons learned. A sewer district or municipality must develop a capital improvements plan, develop ordinances requiring connection, develop plans and processes for dealing with environmental concerns within their jurisdiction; and hold a public hearing, before approaching the Department and Commission. For communities desiring Level Two Authority, there are significant resources required to develop the plans and documentation to present to the Clean Water Commission and the implementation of the plan. As communities continue working to strategic planning and holistic approach to addressing water, wastewater, and stormwater concerns, there may be more communities interested in pursuing Level Two Authority.

The long term significance of the ongoing rule revision may be that as the Department continues working on Watershed based permitting and addressing long term integrated planning for communities, the definition of availability and the process for obtaining Level Two Authority may have a substantial role in those plans. The Department sees the revisions to 10 CSR 20-6.010 to answer long standing questions on what is available, how can a community become a regional sewer provider, and along with the other initiatives the Department is working on in planning for the long term infrastructure, water pollution, and water needs on a watershed basis.

Other challenges to be addressed are working with the Level 1 Authorities for example, would be to continue addressing concerns in those designated areas. As wastewater effluent regulations become more protective, cost for providing wastewater treatment increases due to the increased emphasis on watershed based permitting and decision making. In time the Department anticipates that more communities will be interested in Level 2 Authority and/or the development of a regional plan to address wastewater, infrastructure, and water needs.

The Department continues to build on the area wide wastewater treatment and basin planning of the past under 208/209 planning to provide watershed based planning and, integrate this planning with the Department's Our Missouri Waters Initiative.  The department utilizes all of the tools the department can offer, whether the resources are located in Water Protection Program, Water Resources Program, or in the Soil and Water Conservation Program.   The watershed approach and other challenges facing communities on their ability to maintain, operate, and modernize their treatment plants will continue to evolve.  The Water Protection Program is comprehensively address watershed-specific issues and retaining lessons learned that may serve other watersheds or communities. Solutions will be tailored to specific needs rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This approach allows for measurable results so continued improvements can be made in water protection activities. The end result should be a systematic approach to evaluating each watershed and applying solutions, including permitting of point sources within the watershed with public participation and input.  

References

  • Clean Water Act 1977 (as amended 1992), Section 303(d) (4) Water Quality Standards & Implementation Plans, Continuing Planning Process, (B) “the incorporation of all elements of any applicable area wide waste treatment management plans under Section 208 and applicable basin plans under Section 209.”
  • Missouri Clean Water Law, Section 644.116 Rules and Regulations of CWC for Wastewater Projects Missouri Clean Water Law
  • Missouri Clean Water Law, Section 644.141 1.A Planning Authority and 1.B Management Authority, 1.C Interstate Agencies, 1.D Termination of Authority. Continuous basin planning updates provide information for the Water Quality Reports to Congress under Section 305(b) biannual reporting requirements
  • Department of Natural Resources rules, Division 20, Clean Water Commission: Chapter 6, Permits, Construction and Operating Permits, 10 CSR 20-6.010 and No-Discharge Permits 6.015, and Fees 10 CSR 20-6.011; Chapter 4 Grants; Chapter 7 Water Quality Standards; Chapter 8 Design Guides; Chapter 9 Treatment Plant Operations
  • Department of Natural Resources website
  • Draft WP Modernization and Streamlining Conceptual Plan