April 1, 2011 – SWRCB Meeting Update

MVCAC representatives met with Chief Deputy Director, Jonathan Bishop, of the SWRCB on Friday to discuss issues regarding the NPDES permit. Meeting attendees were Dick Shanahan, Terry Cooke, JR Flanders, and Gary Goodman. A letter from MVCAC to Mr. Bishop is attached that highlights the topics discussed.

Mr. Bishop recognized that the process to finalize the NPDES permit was expedited to meet the April 9th deadline and that the extension granted by the 6th Circuit Court allows everyone to “take a breath” in this process.

Mr. Bishop indicated that they recognize the new timeline to have a NPDES permit is now October 31st if you are making any applications to/over/near waters of the U.S. He also said he would ask the SWRCB general counsel to send a letter to MVCAC that would confirm that, in light of the extension, there is no need to have a permit until October 31st.

Mr. Bishop indicated that the SWRCB staff should have no problem in processing and approving Notice of Terminations (NOT) to Districts that already have received provisional Notice of Applicability (NOA).

The final version of the permit is near completion and is awaiting administrative processes before it will be posted. He stated that the permit should be posted on the website “soon”.

MVCAC indicated that there were certain issues that we had with the last-minute changes to the permit and because of expedited timelines, did not have an opportunity to comment on those issues. Mr. Bishop explained the process to ask the SWRCB for modifications to the permit, and stressed that staff would like the opportunity to address those modifications in an informal setting (allowing staff to propose the recommended permit modifications to the SWRCB). This issue is mainly concerning the clarification of 303(d) listed waterways as listed on page 20 of the permit reading “…impaired by the same pesticide active ingredients or any pesticide in the same chemical family”. Mr. Bishop seemed amenable to a modification associated with this new language and the MVCAC informed Mr. Bishop of other potential changes once the permit is posted and there is time for a thorough review. Mr. Bishop stated that this added language may have resulted in an “unintended consequence” of rushing through the process and that the staff is very open to evaluate the unintended consequences of this and other last-minute permit changes and to consider appropriate modifications.

The MVCAC addressed the toxicity study that will be brought before the SWRCB on April 5th. The MVCAC informed Mr. Bishop of our intention to begin chemistry analysis in the 2012 mosquito season and a willingness to work with the SWRCB and the Granite Canyon Laboratory on the design and implementation of the study. Mr. Bishop was grateful for the coordination and cooperation that MVCAC is providing and understood the need to work through the planning of the study before implementation. He encouraged MVCAC to speak at the April 5 State Board meeting to request coordination concerning the toxicity study. Mr. Bishop did ask if the coalition would be agreeable to a pilot or test study this season to “work out the kinks” of the toxicity study. We are evaluating a possible limited pilot or test study for this summer. URS provided Mr. Bishop with a literature review of already existing information on toxicity associated with vector control applications and offered to work with the design of the study to fill in the gaps and therefore limit the duplication of work that has already been done.

Overall, the meeting with Mr. Bishop went very well and he was agreeable to working collaboratively with the MVCAC on the permit and its requirements.