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State Innovation Grants

EPA 2005-2006 State Innovation Grants Competition Pre-Proposals



Applicant: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Agency Contacts:
Charles Dvorsky Ken Zarker
Address: MC-165 MC-112
P.O. Box 13087 P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087 Austin, TX 78711-3087
Telephone: 512-239-5550 512-239-3145
FAX: 512-239-4410 512-239-4410
Email: cdvorsky@tceq.state.tx.us, kzarker@tceq.state.tx.us

Federal Programs: The existing and planned infrastructure for this proposal is, in part, supported by federal funds under Clean Water Act §106 grant funds awarded to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Regulatory Flexibility: No need for Federal Regulatory Flexibility is anticipated to implement this proposal.

Commission Support: This proposal is supported by the Commissioners and Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.


The Environmental Monitoring and Response System (EMRS) TX: North Bosque River Watershed will enhance performance of permitted wastewater treatment facilities and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the water quality impaired North Bosque River watershed. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) developed EMRS to continuously monitor water quality conditions and provide the basis for targeting field responses and investigations to identify point and nonpoint sources of pollutants.

This proposal provides for: 1) expansion of automated monitoring for changes in instream water quality; 2) enhanced targeting of staff responses and investigations based on the monitored changes in water quality; 3) technical assistance and compliance support to permittees to join Clean Texas, Cleaner World / Performance Track; and, 4) develops a “green dairy” model. This proposal supports EPA Strategic Plan Innovation Strategy, Using Innovation to Solve Priority Problems and Developing Problem‑Solving Tools and Approaches.

The EMRS system is the first “real-time” water quality monitoring system for delivering better environmental results: monitored data is used directly to prioritize field investigations and technical assistance to improve facility performance. This is the first ambient water quality monitoring network of its type in the nation and will serve as a model for other states and tribes to: 1) improve water quality monitoring; and, 2) enhance the effectiveness of field response and investigation of monitored changes in ambient water quality. The project will result in a technical protocol to facilitate replication of the EMRS program in other priority watersheds and in other states and tribes.

Overall, the proposal will improve performance of permitted facilities and improve water quality in the North Bosque watershed by targeting staff responses and investigations to facilities contributing most to degraded water quality conditions in the North Bosque. The proposal will also provide training, technical assistance and incentives to facilities in developing and implementing facility EMS programs to improve their performance and reduce their environmental liability through joining Clean Texas, Cleaner World / Performance Track. The proposal will provide a watershed public awareness program designed to produce measurable environmental results through a watershed partnership with broad stakeholder participation within the North Bosque watershed.

The proposal supports EPA Strategic Plan Goal 2 - Clean and Safe Water; Objective 2.2: Protect Water Quality; and, Sub-Objective 2.2.1 Improving Water Quality on a Watershed Basis by enhancing the ability to target potential pollution sources, to respond effectively, and to provide technical and compliance support to permittees to reduce their pollutant loadings. This proposal also supports EPA Strategic Plan Goal 5 - Compliance and Environmental Stewardship; Objective 5 Improve Compliance, Sub-Objective 5.1.1 Compliance Assistance by providing technical assistance to improve compliance, reduce pollutant loading, and provide compliance incentives. This proposal also supports Sub-Objective 5.1.3 Monitoring and Enforcement by effectively targeting staff investigations to probable point and nonpoint pollution sources.

The Goals of this proposal are: 1) to improve the timeliness and efficacy of field responses; 2) to improve wastewater facility performance, improve performance of best management practices for nonpoint sources; and, 3) to restore water quality in the North Bosque. Reductions in the average concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) at the established TMDL index sites will serve as an environmental indicator for the proposal. When average monitored SRP concentrations at TMDL index sites are consistent with modeled Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) endpoint concentrations, the desired environmental outcome of restoring the water quality of the North Bosque River will have been achieved. Programmatic output measures will include: 1) EMRS data; 2) compliance support activities associated with the EMRS network; 3) technical assistance provided to facilities; 4) corrective actions initiated by facilities; 5) EMRS technical protocol; and, 6) public outreach activities.

This project will start on September 1, 2005, or as soon as the final funding agreement between EPA and TCEQ for the project is executed. The project is scheduled to be completed within three years of the date the final funding agreement between EPA and TCEQ for the project is executed.

OBJECTIVE 1- Expand and Enhance Environmental Monitoring and Response System. Expand and enhance the North Bosque EMRS network to improve targeting of staff resources to identify pollution sources, focus technical assistance to improve facility performance, and reduce pollutant loading to the watershed.

This Objective expands and enhances TCEQ’s existing EMRS network in the North Bosque by providing operation and maintenance of three new automated remote water quality monitoring systems in priority areas of the North Bosque watershed. The capital and development costs associated with these three additional sites are not part of this grant proposal. The goal of this Task is to improve field response to pollution events based on monitored water quality values when established instream concentrations are exceeded. Site selection will be based on estimated gross loading of phosphorus from agricultural and municipal point and nonpoint sources from subwatersheds of the North Bosque. By expanding TCEQ’s two existing EMRS sites in the North Bosque to five EMRS sites, TCEQ will enhance its ability to target field responses and investigations to point and nonpoint source in those subwatersheds most likely to have contributed to EMRS monitored water quality conditions. Field responses and investigations will focus on identification of source(s), compliance support, and potential enforcement actions. Each EMRS site in the North Bosque will collect and analyze water samples for T o, pH, DO, conductivity, turbidity, rate of flow, nitrate, ammonia, and total reactive phosphorus (a more conservative constituent than SRP) and reports the data to TCEQ electronically. The data is compared to established site-specific triggers for individual parameters.

Currently, when a trigger level is exceeded, TCEQ’s Field Operations Division (FOD) staff and data validators determine whether the equipment is operating within quality control ranges. Once a trigger is validated, based on the EMRS location(s), FOD staff target and prioritize field response and investigations to increase the probability of identifying pollution source(s). FOD staff currently utilize water quality data and notifications from the two existing EMRS sites in the North Bosque to improve the efficiency and efficacy of field response. With five EMRS sites in the upper North Bosque, when a trigger is exceeded, the EMRS data will allow FOD staff to focus on no more than 19 of the 75 facilities in the watershed resulting in greater efficacy in identifying sources and more timely and effective response. FOD staff will focus on improving the performance of facilities and best management practices (BMPs) in the North Bosque; however, based on the field investigations, enforcement actions may also be initiated.

TCEQ will conduct all activities necessary to establish all EMRS sites and will operate and maintain two of the EMRS sites at no cost to the grant. No capital or equipment will be purchased under this grant. TCEQ will also incur all costs associated with FOD staff responding to EMRS triggers and any associated investigation costs and provide these services to leverage the grant funds. The grant costs of this Task are strictly limited to the operation and maintenance of the three additional EMRS sites to be established in the North Bosque by TCEQ during 2005.

Task 1.1 : Deploy three additional EMRS sites in Upper North Bosque by 10/01/2005.

Task 1.2 : Develop and execute contract for operation and maintenance of three new EMRS sites in the North Bosque and development of an EMRS technical protocol (see Objective 2 below) by 01/01/2006.

Task 1.3 : Incorporate data from the three new EMRS sites in decision making to improve targeting field responses and investigations by FOD by 02/01/2006.

Task 1.4: Make EMRS data available online, loaded to TCEQ’s Surface Water Quality Monitoring Information System (SWQMIS), and available to transfer to EPA’s STORET by 09/01/2006.

Milestone: Three new EMRS sites go online by 02/01/2006.

Deliverable: Final Report describing success of EMRS data collection, responses, and results will be submitted within ninety days of project completion.

OBJECTIVE 2 - Develop EMRS Technical Protocol. Develop an EMRS technical protocol to facilitate replication of the North Bosque EMRS network in other priority waterbodies by other entities.

The TCEQ Monitoring Operations Division (MOPs) will contract (see Task 1.3 above) for development of an EMRS technical protocol. The contractor will work with TCEQ MOPS, FOD, and Small Business and Environmental Assistance (SBEA) staff and potential EMRS cooperators during the development of the EMRS technical protocol. The EMRS technical protocol manual will be the primary mechanism by which the EMRS program can be replicated by other entities.

The protocol will address stakeholder participation, siting specifications and limitations, required equipment, optional equipment, analytic capabilities of instruments, data storage and communications, data validation, options for establishing notification levels, operation and maintenance schedules, service intervals, consumables and replacement parts inventory, and component replacement intervals. Each activity will be detailed in a standard operating procedure. The resulting EMRS technical protocol will effectively guide TCEQ staff, EMRS cooperators, and environmental agencies from other states in the development, operation, and utilization of EMRS to collect continuous water quality data and to use that data to target resources.

Task 2.1: Contractor submits draft outline for EMRS technical protocol by 12/31/2005.

Task 2.2: TCEQ provides input on protocol content, organization, and incentives by 1/31/2006.

Task 2.3: Contractor develops draft protocol based on revised outline by 7/31/2006.

Task 2.4: SBEA, MOPs, and FOD provide comments on draft protocol by 9/31/2006.

Task 2.5: Contractor prepares final protocol by 12/31/2006.

Task 2.6: TCEQ presents EMRS protocol to TCEQ Clean Rivers Program Cooperators by 2/28/07.

Task 2.7: TCEQ presents EMRS protocol at TCEQ Environmental Trade Fair by 5/31/07.

Task 2.8: TCEQ adopts EMRS Water as Innovative Practice by 5/31/2007.

Milestone: Commission adopts EMRS as an Innovative Practice for water. Final EMRS technical protocol

Deliverable: EMRS Technical Protocol Manual available by 3/31/2007. TCEQ adoption of EMRS Water as Innovative Practice by 5/31/2007.

OBJECTIVE 3 - Clean Texas, Cleaner World Watershed Initiative (CTCW) . Improve environmental performance at regulated entities by offering regulatory incentives, technical assistance, and recognition for demonstrated environmental performance.

The CTCW/Performance Track Watershed Initiative will serve as a watershed model to deliver targeted technical assistance and provide training and technical assistance for implementing Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to the regulated community within the North Bosque. The TCEQ’s EMS is a comprehensive system that a site uses to achieve three goals: compliance with environmental requirements, reductions in pollution, and reduced liability. TCEQ will enhance partnerships with EPA and existing local, regional, and national partners to leverage existing tools and resources, including EPA’s National Agricultural Assistance Center and the National Center for Environmental Innovations.

The EMS effort will provide training and training audits to dairies in the North Bosque watershed. Assistance would help facilities develop a results-based EMS focused to reduce SRP loadings to the North Bosque by including review of the site’s systems for maintaining compliance with permitting requirements and BMPs to reduce non-point source pollution. TCEQ will facilitate efforts to develop and demonstrate a model “green dairy” operation in partnership with Texas Cooperative Extension, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), Tarlton State University, and other partners.

Sites implementing a results-based EMS have shown reductions in plant loadings and reductions of nutrients in discharges while maintaining or increasing treatment capability. Sites that participate in this grant-funded effort will be surveyed to measure the reductions in pollution. Based on previous surveys, roughly 15% of sites report reductions in pollution addressing human health risk and environmental risk.

Task 3.1: Conduct CTCW/Performance Track marketing and recruitment activities to encourage dairy operations, composting operations, small businesses, universities, and local governments to join the voluntary program by 5/31/2007.

Task 3.2: Participate in the development of a model “green dairy” operation in partnership with Texas Cooperative Extension, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), Tarlton State University and other partners by 5/31/2007.

Task 3.3: Conduct at least four pollution prevention site assistance visits, workshops, demonstration projects, EMS training events, and/or presentations in the watershed by 5/31/2007.

Task 3.4: Conduct at least one EMS training audit by 8/31/2007.

Task 3.5: Identify and market state and federal incentives to organizations that commit to implementing an approved EMS by 5/31/2007.

Milestones: One dairy recruited to participate in development and implementation of “green dairy” Model by 12/31/06.
TCEQ conducts one EMS training audit by 6/30/2007.

Deliverable: “Green dairy” EMS model by 8/31/2007.
Report on implementation progress by 8/31/2007.

OBJECTIVE 4 -Project Administration - To effectively coordinate and monitor all technical and financial activities performed under this grant, preparing regular progress reports, and maintaining project files and data.

Task 4.1: TCEQ Project Manager will provide technical and fiscal oversight of the contractor(s) to ensure Tasks and Deliverables are acceptable and completed as scheduled and within budget.

Task 4.2: TCEQ Project Manager will submit regular semi-annual reports to EPA documenting the status of Tasks and Deliverables and the financial status of the program element. TCEQ Project Manager will participate in Mid-Year and End-of Year Reviews with EPA.

Deliverables: Semi-annual progress reports detailing progress for all Objectives and Tasks and financial status under this Program Element. Interagency contracts and amendments

Semi-annual grant reports with:

Schedule: Interagency Contracts/amendments - within one month of contract execution
Semi-annual grant reports - October 1 and April 1 until project completion


STATE: Texas
AGENCY: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PROJECT TITLE: Environmental Monitoring and Response (EMRS): TX - North Bosque River Watershed

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