New Tool Available for Kentucky’s Watershed Professionals

BY KENTUCKY ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT CABINET ON  • ( LEAVE A COMMENT )

By Michaela Lambert

Kentucky watershed professionals have an updated tool available to them this fall as they prepare to write their watershed plan applications.

The new Watershed Explorer, which will replace the former Kentucky Watershed Viewer, will allow groups and individuals to more easily gather information required for submitting 319(h) Nonpoint Source Funding applications. The new Kentucky Watershed Explorer will feature a collection of more focused tools and viewers, including the new 319 Grant Reporter.

“The old viewer tried to be all things for all needs,” said Caroline Chan, who created the 319 Grant Reporter. “Because it had so much information, it was hard to find what you needed,” but the new explorer will “allow users to zero in on what their needs are by selecting the application that suits that purpose. Additional applications will be added as they are developed.”

The 319 Grant Reporter is the first focused application in this collection to be rolled out. The application will better serve the watershed managers and other professionals that submit work to address water quality issues through the 319(h) Nonpoint Source Program.

The reporting tool allows users to search for their watershed of interest and identify information that is necessary for submitting 319(h) Clean Water Act Nonpoint Source Funding applications. Users will be able to search for their watershed using stream name, county, Hydrologic Unit (HUC) or by scrolling to its location.

Snapshot of the opening view of the 319 Reporting Tool. Users will use the search box or zoom to find their watershed of interest. Purple areas are Kentucky’s 7 major river basins and their Basin Team Priority Watersheds.

Once the correct watershed is selected, users will know what major river basin it’s in, whether it has been assessed to meet its designated uses, has a Total Maximum Daily Load Allocation (TMDL), if it is in a Source Water Protection Zone (SWPP), and if it has any assigned special designations such as an Outstanding State Resource Water (OSRW) or Division of Water Priority Watershed. Users will be able to download and print a copy of the report and attach it to their 319(h) application or use it for any other uses they see fit.

The 319 Program also will be testing a letter of intent for the 2022 grant season as a replacement for its traditional request for proposals. Those who plan to apply for 2022 funds are highly encouraged, but not required, to watch the 319 grant funding informational video and submit a letter of intent. The earlier letters are submitted, the easier it will be for the NPS staff to help future applicants submit a successful application. Applications are due February 2023. All applications must still go through the rank and review process.

“We are excited to launch the 319 Grant Reporter”, said Watershed Management Branch Manager Joanna Ashford. “This tool will help applicants identify water quality information, HUC12 numbers and other needed information for the 319 Application.”

For more information about the 319 Grant Program please check out the Kentucky Division of Water’s 319(h) Grant Program Funding page.

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Kentucky’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, a step forward in improving water quality

The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) has released an update to Kentucky’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The plan will prioritize investments and encourage cooperative efforts to decrease excessive nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that fuel harmful algal blooms (HABs) in rivers, lakes, and streams, and contribute to the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” or hypoxic zone off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

Pollution and excessive nutrients are a growing water quality concern throughout Kentucky and the U.S. that can impose significant costs to drinking water utilities, lost revenue from recreational tourism, and smaller harvests for fishermen.

Along with 11 other states and five federal agencies which make up the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Hypoxia Task Force (the “Hypoxia Task Force” or HTF), Kentucky has committed to develop a state specific strategy to address nutrients. Kentucky began its initial efforts to reduce nutrient loading to its waterways through the 2014 Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).

The updated plan, which also includes an interactive story map, provides a framework that is tailored to Kentucky’s unique geological, agricultural, and hydrologic landscape, and improves on progress made since 2014. The strategy includes point and non-point source water improvement efforts, education and outreach, monitoring and assessment, local engagement, reporting practices and more.


As part of a data-driven plan to prioritize available resources, more than 40 years of water monitoring data was used to create Nutrient Priority Areas (see map below), which balance the needs of drinking water sources, open water recreation, and areas with greater nutrient concentrations (i.e., high yield watersheds).

As a result, state funding applicants in these Nutrient Priority Areas will rank higher on grant and loan applications through DOW’s 319 Grant Program and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Program. Likewise, agriculture proposals will rank higher with the Division of Conservation’s (DOC) State Cost Share Program. Farmer applications may also receive a higher cost share rate for  installing conservation practices from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in source water portions of the Nutrient Priority Areas.

New funding sources such as the Gulf Hypoxia Program will build on collaborative progress between DOW, DOC, and NRCS to prevent erosion, improve wastewater treatment, and empower local communities in these priority areas. To maximize water quality improvements, DOW will continue to collaborate with federal, state, and local agencies, universities, citizen groups, and non-profit organizations.

More information on the draft Nutrient Reduction Strategy Update can be found at eec.ky.gov/nutrientreduction, including interactive story maps and actions that minimize nutrient loss.

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Division of Water announces funding available for projects that clean up polluted streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2022) – Grant funding is available through the Energy and Environment Cabinet for projects that help clean up polluted streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater, and for projects that protect water resources. Funds are provided through the EPA’s Nonpoint Source Program, and are distributed to states to support best management practices. 

“The funds can be used for watershed restoration projects, watershed plan development, and other projects that reduce and prevent runoff pollution,” said Joanna Ashford, manager of the Division of Water’s Nonpoint Source Grant Program.

These funds can be used to pay for up to 60 percent of the total cost for each project with a required 40 percent non-federal match. Nonpoint source pollution, also known as runoff pollution, is the number one contributor to water pollution in Kentucky. The Division gives priority to projects that develop and implement watershed plans for impaired waters, source water protection areas, and special-use waters such as cold water aquatic habitat, state wild rivers and federal wild and scenic rivers with identified threats.

To determine stream designations in your area, visit http://watermaps.ky.gov/WaterHealthPortal/.

Letters of intent to apply are optional but highly recommended and are due Nov. 15, 2022. Project application forms must be submitted no later than February 10, 2023.  Division of Water staff will review the project applications and rank them according to eligibility and priority criteria.

A variety of organizations, from federal, state and local governments, to utilities, conservation districts, universities, and nonprofits are candidates for funding. To determine if your organization is eligible and to obtain a letter of intent form, application, or other resources, please visit https://eec.ky.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water/Protection/Pages/Section-319(h)-Grant-Program-Funding.aspx

For more information, contact Joanna Ashford at 502-782-2198 or joanna.ashford@ky.gov.

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Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission  to Meet September 19

Videoconference will begin at 9 a.m.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 7, 2022) – The Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission will hold a meeting Monday, September 19 at 9 a.m. Eastern time. This meeting will be held by videoconference.

Anyone who wants to attend virtually can follow this link (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84553623580?pwd=NTFSMUZCak5tVG9GcG5YcTN6eFFaUT09) or join with Zoom meeting ID 845 5362 3580 and password SWCC.

Anyone who wants to view the September 19 meeting in person can attend at 300 Sower Boulevard in Frankfort.

If you have questions, please contact Johnna McHugh at 502-782-6703.

AGENDA

  1. Call to order and introductions
  2. Swearing in of new member
  3. Minutes of the last meeting
  4. Agency reports
  5. Correspondence
  6. Equipment report
  7. Approval of vacancy petitions and incentive per diem
  8. Agriculture district program
  9. Old business
  10. New business
  11. Adjourn

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Kentucky Drinking Water and Clean Water Advisory Council to Meet September 13

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 6, 2022) – The next meeting of the Drinking Water and Clean Water Advisory Council will be on Tuesday, September 13 at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87370005180 
Meeting ID: 873 7000 5180 
One tap mobile 
+13017158592,,87370005180# US (Washington DC) 
+13092053325,,87370005180# US 
For assistance with meeting access, please contact Kim Greenidge at Kim.Greenidge@ky.gov or (502) 782-6630

Agenda (Subject to change)

Welcome and opening remarks – Director Carey Johnson, Division of Water

Discussion items – Director Carey Johnson
     Emergency / disaster recovery
     Discussion/questions about updated SRF guidance 
     2024 CWSRF Guidance 
     2024 DWSRF Guidance Document.pdf (ky.gov) 
     PFAS developments – policy & treatment

Division of Water focus items – Assistant Director John Webb, Division of Water

Presentations:
     Water Workforce Survey – Donna McNeil / Valerie Lucas

Committee reports – Director Carey Johnson
     Compliance & regulations
     Lead In dinking water
     Nutrients
     PFAS
     Small wastewater systems

Announcements facilitated by Director Carey Johnson

DWAC/CWAC remaining meeting schedule for 2022 (2nd Tuesday of the last month of the quarter): December 13.

DWAC/CWAC tentative meeting schedule for 2023 (2nd Tuesday of the last month of the quarter): March 14, June 13, September 12, December 12.

Adjourn

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Source Water Protection Week

Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2022

The Kentucky Division of Water invites water stakeholders to participate in this year’s  Source Water Protection Week. Begun in 2021 by the American Water Works Association (AWWA), Source Water Protection Week is an opportunity for water utilities, NGO’s, state and federal agencies, and anyone who has an interest in clean water (aka everyone!) to raise awareness about the value of the sources that supply our drinking water.

Throughout the week, partners for water health will be raising awareness about the importance of protecting drinking water sources. The Kentucky Division of Water’s Source Water Protection Week website (bit.ly/SWPWeek) will host a wide range of materials about the importance of source water and will be using social media to highlight state specific tools you can use to help protect water resources.

Ways To Participate in Source Water Protection Week:

  • Follow us @KentuckyEEC and/or visit the website and share the information about source water protection. Examples could include training courses, webinars, workshops, and K-12 school programs. 
  • Educators can hold a poster, photo, or essay contest for kids to show what source water protection means to them. 
  • Connect with your local watershed and conservation organizations to discuss ways you can collaborate on source water protection efforts. 
  • Host and/or participate in community volunteer activities that protect the environment such as watershed cleanups, stenciling stormwater drains, and planting trees or riparian buffers.
  • Find your source! Use the Source Water Protection Viewer to identify where your water comes from.
  • Join your local Watershed Watch in Kentucky group and learn how to monitor water quality in your watershed for free!

Ways To Protect Source Water Every Day:

  • Manage household hazardous waste properly (cleaners, paints, vehicle fluids, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) Only purchase what you need. Donate unused portions to friends or community organizations. Recycle leftovers when possible. To find recycling/disposal locations visit www.earth911.com or call 1-800-CLEANUP.
  • Avoid dumping – Never put anything down the sink, toilet or storm drain as it can end up in drinking water sources. Dispose of cleaners, medicines, oil/grease, etc. properly.
  • Clean up – Pick up after yourself and your pets. Use trash receptacles and recycle whenever possible. Pet waste can enter storm drains and spread bacteria.
  • Use alternative products – Avoid using products that may contain harmful materials such as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); use cast iron or stainless-steel pots and pans instead of non-stick pots and pans.
  • Conserve water – Use water efficiently to ease the burden on water sources and save money. Repair leaks, use a rain barrel, install low flow devices to toilets and showers, wash full loads of laundry and dishes, etc. For more steps to save water visit https://www.epa.gov/watersense.
  • Limit use of fertilizers and pesticides – Reduce the amount of materials used on your lawn or consider natural alternatives.
  • Service your septic system – Have a professional inspect your septic system every 3 years and have it pumped every 3-5 years.
  • Participate in volunteer activities – Attend events such as removing invasive plants and replanting natives, stormwater drain stenciling, rain barrel workshops, litter cleanups, etc. Watershed groups are often familiar with upcoming local events.
  • If you see something, say something – Report any spills, illegal dumping, or suspicious activity to authorities.

More information about Source Water Protection is available on AWWA’s resource page and at the Source Water Collaborative Learning Exchange. Also, be sure to follow the Hashtags #SourceWaterProtectionWeek and #ProtectTheSource.

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State officials urge avoiding contact with flooded waters 

The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) is urging residents in the affected flooded areas of eastern Kentucky to avoid coming into contact or swimming in waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River, Troublesome Creek, and North Boone Creek, or other flood impacted streams.

This recommendation is due to a general concern about what contaminants may be in the river.  Wastewater treatment plants in Letcher County are temporarily experiencing bypasses of treatment processes resulting in raw sewage being discharged. Damage in other areas to waste water collection systems also could result in potential contamination.

The DOW is working closely with the KY Transportation Cabinet, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and state and Federal Emergency Management Agencies in cleanup efforts. 

The DOW would like to reassure residents that all drinking water plants in the affected area are operational and drinking water is safe and being monitored. However, boil water advisories are still in effect in some areas due to line breaks. 

Martin County Water District Workgroup to Meet August 31

Video conference will start at 1 p.m.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2022) – The Martin County Water District Workgroup will be meeting by videoconference on August 31, 2022 from 1 – 3 p.m. Eastern time. If you have questions about connecting to the videoconference, please contact Kim Greenidge at 502-782-6630.

Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84486516267

Or dial in toll-free from your phone: 
833-548-0282 
877-853-5257
888-475-4499
833-548-0276

Meeting ID: 844 8651 6267

Agenda

  • Welcome and opening remarks – EEC Secretary Rebecca Goodman
  • Introductions and announcements – DEP Deputy Commissioner Amanda LeFevre
  • Update of MCWD operations – Alliance Water Resources Division Manager Craig Miller
    • Projects update
  • MCWD modeling update – Dr. Lindell Ormsbee, Raymond-Blythe Professor of Engineering
  • Update from the Division of Water – Director Carey Johnson
  • Update from the Public Service Commission – Chairman Kent Chandler
  • Open discussion – Facilitated by Amanda LeFevre
  • Future workgroup meeting proposed date and time
    • December 7, 2022, 1-3 pm
  • Adjourn

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Lead in Drinking Water Working Group to Meet August 22, 2022

Video conference will start at 2 p.m.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2022) – The Lead in Drinking Water Working Group will be meeting by videoconference on May 22, 2022 from 2 – 3 p.m. Eastern time. If you have questions about connecting to the videoconference, please contact Elizabeth Danks at elizabeth.danks@ky.gov or 502-782-0965.

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. https://meet.goto.com/704341093

You can also dial in using your phone. United States: +1 (408) 650-3123 Access Code: 704-341-093

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/303077005

Agenda 

Call meeting to order and roll call of membership – Amy Stoffer 

Approve minutes of May 9, 2022 – Amy Stoffer 

Report out – Small systems subgroup 

Report out – Funding/financing subgroup 

Report out and discussion – Lead service line inventories 

Public comment opportunity 

Set next meeting date – propose October 31, 2022, 2:00 pm
• Note: the October meeting will be video conferenced using Zoom, rather than GoTo Meeting. To download the Zoom app, go here: https://zoom.us/download

Adjourn

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Drinking Water Treatment Facilities Recognized

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) recognized Kentucky drinking water treatment facilities that achieved optimization goals even more stringent than those required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By doing so, these facilities have voluntarily met the goals of the Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) in 2021.

Drinking water systems utilize AWOP tools and methods to increase protection for consumers. In particular, AWOP emphasizes the reduction of turbidity and disinfection by-products (DBPs). Turbidity, or cloudiness, is a measurement of particles in water including soil, algae, bacteria, viruses, organic material, and other substances. DBPs are compounds that form when chlorine (used for disinfection) reacts with organic material in water.

“Forty-six systems who voluntarily participated in the AWOP exceeded their goals, producing water that goes above and beyond federal regulations for drinking water,” said Alicia Jacobs, the Division of Water Drinking Water branch manager. “As both a regulator and a citizen of the Commonwealth, I appreciate the commitment these water facilities have towards protecting the health of the public by working to exceed Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.”

Two drinking water treatment plants received the AWOP Champion Award, which recognizes water systems that achieved AWOP standards for three years in a row, taking into account the high level of turbidity optimization achieved.

  • Lawrenceburg Water and Sewer Department received the 2021 Champion Award for large systems (designed to treat 3 million or more gallons of water per day).
  • Monroe County Water District received the 2021 Champion Award for small systems (designed to treat less than 3 million gallons of water per day).

Sixteen AWOP drinking water plants earned special recognition for achieving AWOP turbidity goals 100 percent of the time in 2021:

  • Columbia / Adair County Water Commission
  • Hardin County Water District #2 Plant A
  • Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority
  • Jackson County Water Association
  • Jamestown Municipal Water Works
  • Kentucky American Water Plant C
  • Kentucky State Penitentiary
  • Laurel County Water District #2
  • Lawrenceburg Water And Sewer Department
  • Liberty Water Works
  • London Utility Commission
  • Louisa Water Department
  • Madisonville Light and Water
  • Monroe County Water District
  • Providence Water Works
  • Webster County Water District

Forty-four drinking water plants received a certificate for meeting AWOP turbidity goals and criteria in 2021:

  • Barbourville Water & Electric
  • Blue Grass Army Depot
  • Booneville Water
  • Bullock Pen Water District
  • Burkesville Water Works
  • Cave Run Regional Water Commission
  • Central City Water & Sewer
  • Columbia/Adair County Water Commission
  • Danville City Water Works
  • Falmouth Water Department
  • Franklin Water Works
  • Glasgow Water Company – Plants A & B
  • Hardin County Water District No. 2 – Plants A & B
  • Hartford Municipal Water Works
  • Hodgenville Water Works
  • Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority
  • Jackson County Water Association
  • Jackson Municipal Water Works
  • Jamestown Municipal Water Works
  • Jenkins Water System
  • Kentucky American – Plant C
  • Kentucky State Penitentiary
  • Knox County Utility Commission
  • Laurel County Water District No. 2
  • Lawrenceburg Water & Sewer Department
  • Lebanon Water Works Company Inc.
  • Liberty Water Works
  • Logan Todd Regional Water Commission
  • London Utility Commission
  • Louisa Water Department
  • Madisonville Light & Water
  • McCreary County Water District – Plants A & B
  • Monroe County Water District
  • Paducah Water Works
  • Princeton Water & Sewer Commission
  • Providence Water Works
  • Rattlesnake Ridge Water District
  • Water Services Corporation of KY, Middlesboro
  • Webster County Water District
  • Williamsburg Water Department
  • Wood Creek Water District

Ten drinking water systems received a certificate for meeting AWOP DBP goals and criteria in 2021:

  • Campbellsville Municipal Water
  • Cynthiana Municipal Water Works
  • Danville City Water Works
  • Franklin Water Works
  • Glasgow Water Company – Plant A and B
  • Hardin County Water District #2 – Plant A and B
  • Paducah Water Works
  • Princeton Water and Sewer Commission

For additional information about AWOP visit https://tinyurl.com/KYAWOP  or contact Jackie Logsdon at jackie.logsdon@ky.gov or 502-764-1209.

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