Meeting Minutes
April 12, 2019


  • Chad Bell
  • Dave Bieter
  • Gheen Christoffersen
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • Debbie Kling
  • Diana Lachiondo
  • Nathan Leigh
  • Joe Stear
  • Darin Taylor

Staff and Guests

  • Marry Ann Nelson – Program Manager, IPDES Program
  • Josh Tewalt – Director, Idaho Department of Corrections
  • Bill Larsen – TVP

Welcome and Introductions

New Idaho Department of Corrections Director, Josh Tewalt highlights Community Reentry Centers at the Treasure Valley Partnership Annual Planning meeting on April 12, 2019.

The Treasure Valley Partnership held its Annual Planning Meeting on April 12, 2019. Featured speakers for the meeting were Josh Tewalt, Director of the Idaho Department of Corrections and Mary Ann Nelson, Idaho Department of Environmental Policy IPDES Program Manager.

Each year, the Partnership holds an annual planning meeting to elect officers for the next year, discuss the results of the previous Idaho Legislative session, receive education and information and highlight issues from each jurisdiction and develop plans for future meetings.

The Partnership voted to retain the current slate of nonprofit officers for fiscal year 19-20. The officers for the Partnership will be; President – Chad Bell, Mayor of Star, Vice-President – John Evans, Mayor of Garden City and Secretary/Treasurer – Brad Holton, Mayor of Greenleaf.

During the Open Discussion portion of the meeting, the events of the previous legislative session were thoroughly discussed. Each member got an opportunity to discuss issues that are affecting their jurisdiction. And, issues of concern across the Treasure Valley were vetted. This open discussion time helps set the tone for future meetings. Issues related to education around an issue are brought up and a plan to address these issues in future meetings is developed.

Other than the results of the legislative session, other topics/issues that were discussed in this forum included; growth, highways and transportation and urban renewal. It was mentioned that both Boise State University and the University of Idaho were getting new Presidents. The Partnership decided to work with these two institutions to bring these two new University Presidents to a future Partnership meeting.

April 12 2019 Power Point Presentation

Mary Ann Nelson, IPDES Program Manager, Idaho DEQ, 1410 N. Hilton, Boise, ID 83706 208-373-0291

Mary Ann thanked the TVP for the opportunity to speak about the Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES). It is nice to be able to provide updates and discuss current issues.

When she starts to think about the size of the program, she tends to get overwhelmed very quickly because in Idaho they have over 2,000 dischargers. On a national level, there are over 611,000 entities that report on some level of NPDES reporting to the EPA. It is the second largest to the IRS tax system on the amount of entities reporting and the amount of data they track.

The IPDES program has 29 FTE’s and just got three additional ones this last legislative session. The program is projected to eventually cost $3.1 million and are currently bumping up to $2 million right now.

We have an approved program that was approved last June. They have actually issued their first permit, and it got appealed. She is ok with that and had expected that it would get appealed, not because of how the permit was written, but because it is an opportunity for people interested in the appeals process, to set a precedent.

In other news, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was petitioned over EPA’s approval of the Idaho program. This appeal was filed by the Idaho Conservation League (ICL). This is an ongoing litigation and got delayed due to the government shutdown this winter. The court schedule was pushed back, and briefs won’t be due till mid to late July.

They are operating as they have a program until a judge somewhere says otherwise.

One of the reasons for the switch to an Idaho run system instead of using the EPA was the connectiveness of the permit writer in Seattle to a discharger in Idaho. Basically, it was non-existent. One of the practices they have instilled internally, is every permit writer will conduct a site visit at the facility, have discussions with the waste-water operator about the functioning of the facility and identify concerns that need to be evaluated when writing the permit.

The permit writers are going to have a lot more presence and the waste-water operators should already be feeling that presence. They will not be generating fines for something that happened 5 years ago. If you miss a discharging monitoring report filing, or if you are exceeding an effluent requirement, they are going to let you know. They are going to be doing that within a month or two, not five years later.

Joe said he has really appreciated the comments they get back on these reports. That tell him his staff are doing things right. And it is helpful for him guide the city through this process.

Briefly on the ICL petition. The petition does not want to take the program away from Idaho, in fact they think the IPDES program is a good thing. They are concerned about the statue of limitations which is only two years where EPA’s is five.

The petition also has concerns that Idaho’s criminal intent standard are different than EPA’s. Under the EPA, if you do something wrong and didn’t know you were doing something wrong, they could pursue a criminal case against you. Idaho’s criminal intent standard is a gross negligence standard. This means you have to knowingly do something wrong to get charged criminally.

The petition also doesn’t like the fact they are partnering with the Idaho State Dept. of Agriculture to run the concentrated animal feeding operations portion.

In regard to the Transition of the program from EPA, half of the program has transitioned to the State and half is not transferring to the State till 2021. Right now, they are taking over the municipal wastewater treatment facilities and pretreatment programs. In 2021 Municipal storm water systems will be coming under their jurisdiction as well as bio solids.

As you know there is a fee associated with IPDES Program. The State is funding $2 million and the rest is being funded by dedicated fees. Of that $1 million, cities are providing roughly half of that or $500,000 per year.

Your permit fees are costing $1.74 per dwelling unit. The dwelling unit is calculated by the population served by the treatment plant divided by the average number per household. This fee schedule is written and in rule till 2021. At that point in time this will be looked at and adjusted once they have had time to operate under it.

They will be invoicing the permit fees July 1st with a due date of October 1st. For facilities with more than 575 EDU’s there will be an option of paying quarterly or monthly.

On a side note, there were two facilities that terminated their IPDES Permit, The cities of Incom and Ashton are going to 100% reuse.

Mary Ann said there are just over 100 reuse permits.

There are two types of effluent limits. There are technology based effluent limits. For these they look at the technology you have for your facility. Do you use lagoons, are you using secondary treatment or tertiary treatment? All of those things are considered when setting the limit for the technology you are using.

The other type of limit is the water quality based effluent limit. These limits are derived from, and comply with the applicable water quality standards for the receiving water (i.e., water quality-based effluent limitations). Beneficial use of the receiving water is also used as a criterion. If the water quality effluent limit is the most restrictive of the criteria, then that limit is to be used. And also, vice-versa, if the technology based effluent is more stringent, then that is the one you use.

Some special condition restrictions you may have in your permits may include pre-treatment programs. This is for cities that have industrial users that have the potential to cause pass-through. Or, potentially, depending on the size of your town, the State may remain to be the control authority for that industrial user. The major cities have a pretreatment program and they take care of it themselves.

If you have not received notification that you need to have a pretreatment program, that means they State will most likely be taking it over.

Another special condition might include biosolids (sewage sludge). The IPDES Program is in a unique place where they are writing the municipal permit but do not have the authority for biosolids. If you have a biosolids component, you will see you have to comply with EPA Section 40CFR503 in order to meet that. They don’t have a biosolids program to permit you yet. They will have this as a permitted program potentially in 2021. There are only six states that are delegated authority for biosolids.

Mary Ann stated they have flexibility and have tools they can use as they are crafting permits to help you with some of these issues. These tools include; compliance schedules, mixing zones, water quality trading, variances, and integrated planning.

When you get a new effluent limit in your permit for the first time, or your effluent limit has become significantly more stringent, they can authorize a compliance schedule. This gives you time to meet the effluent limit. Say the schedule is 15 years, over that course of time you will probably have to submit a facility plan that tells us how you are going to upgrade to meet this effluent limit. You would probably have to do a construction plan, a preliminary engineering review and other related engineering things. Therefore, the compliance schedule allows you time to accomplish meeting the limit.

Mixing zones is a State authorized tool. In the course of looking at the effluent and recognizing you can treat to a certain level. There is mixing that is allowed in the receiving water.

As far as they are concerned with mixing zones, they want to “right-size” your mixing zone. In the past they have used a blanket 25% for everybody. From her permitting standpoint, she wants to make sure you get the right size mixing zone for your circumstances. You will see more discussion on mixing zones in the future.

Of huge interest in the Treasure Valley is water quality trading as a permitting tool. This has gone in fits and starts, but she believes they are at a tipping point where they have the first water quality trade in the lower Boise. They have been talking with Clean Water Partners about their support of water quality trading. Clean Water Partners is Dave Tuthill’s group. They are putting constructed wetlands at the end of drains and treating the water coming out of the drains.

If you have a phosphorous limit you can’t meet, trading may be the answer. She did indicate that they are still waiting for the trading framework, however, they can authorize trades without a framework.

Bill said he read a memo that came out of EPA recently on the subject of water quality trading. Mary Ann said the letter clarified EPA’s Headquarters Policy on water quality trading. One of the policy items concerned Banking. So, if you generate a trading credit, initially EPA said you could only bank that credit for a year. Meaning that generated credit had to be used in one year. Now the policy is you can bank a credit for up to two years.

Bill asked her to clarify what she meant when she indicated the water quality trading framework is not available. Mary Ann said they have a Water Quality Trading Guidance document. This says that a water shed should have a trading framework in place. In that trading framework is where you would be outlining who is selling, who is buying, what the trading ratio is and the particulars of how a credit is generated and traded.

Note: The Lower Boise Watershed Council has been working on this trading framework. It has not been approved as of yet as some of the intricacies of the framework are still being worked out.

They can also authorize variances from water quality standards. They are short-term, cover the life of the permit, and you have to renew them every time. For example, the City of Boise is trying to get what is called a 316A variance for effluent limits.

Lastly, one of their permitting tools is integrated planning. The 2018 Farm Bill had some information regarding integrated planning. That is directing agencies to look not only at the wastewater treatment plant and what you need to do for your permit, but also take into account some of those things we haven’t been able to take into account before. It is new for them and she feels this will be a valuable tool for them as we move forward.

How to work with DEQ. Every year they put online a permit issuance plan. That is a listing of all those who are on tap for permit renewal for the next two years. The always encourage folks to engage in a pre-application meeting. This is a time they can start having conversations about re-use or to do something along those lines.

These pre application meetings are meant to be informative for the permittee and they are helpful for DEQ. Mary Ann said it has been really helpful to understand the scope of the capital investment, enterprise funds and other things municipalities have to deal with.

They are requiring their staff to have a Permit handoff meeting. This is an opportunity for the operator, public works directors and others to get an understanding of what is in the permit and what is different from the previous one.

She pulled some data off the website for Idaho on compliance rates. On the bright side, we are about average compared with national averages. However, average is about 75% noncompliance. One thing has to be said about these noncompliance figures. These include all kinds of noncompliance. If you paid attention to your NPDES Permit, there are so many things where you can error. Most of these noncompliance figures are paperwork issues.

Everything they will be doing will be electronic through eReporting. Nathan was one of the first to go through their class.

Tammy said her staff have been talking with Boise’s staff. She has heard nothing but good comments about the interactions they have been having with DEQ on their permit renewal. Debbie said she wanted to echo that sentiment. They have been working a lot with DEQ lately and the interactions have been excellent. Darin concurred.

With regard to inspections, they are required to hit every major facility every two years. Nonmajor programs get one inspection every five years. Pretreatment programs will get two inspections every five years and MS4 permits will be inspected every five years.

With regard to enforcement, just like getting pulled over by a police officer, you can get different enforcement responses based on what you did. For DEQ they have a couple documents that guide their work. They have an Enforcement Procedures Manual that covers how they do inspections and their administrative processes. They also have an Enforcement Response Guide that provides guidance for the regional compliance officer’s on how to respond to violations. Depending on the parameters you in essence are giving them a warning or are you writing a ticket.

They use this Enforcement Response Guide to ensure they have consistent enforcement around the State. Their enforcement is decentralized, and this guide helps to ensure consistency in responding to enforcement actions.

They have informal and formal enforcement actions. They will start off with phone calls and emails regarding a compliance issue and the process gets more formal depending on the response received or failure to correct the compliance issue. If for some reason they find someone out there that has done something egregiously wrong, she can jump straight to a formal enforcement action. Her other alternative, that she doesn’t want to do but has had to, is refer the problem to the EPA Criminal investigations division.

She thanked the Partnership for the time and encouraged people to contact her if you have any questions.

Meet and Greet/ SAUSA Program and Justice Reinvestment

Josh Tewalt – Director, Idaho Department of Corrections, 1299 N. Orchard St., Suite 110 Boise ID 83706 208-658-2139

Josh thanked the Partnership for the opportunity. He became Director on December 18 and prior to that he spent two years working for a national group that represented all the State Directors of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Prisons and a handful of other groups. Prior to that he was with the Department of Corrections as the Deputy-Chief of Prisons.

When he started as the Director, he expected capacity issues. For them it is simple math. When admissions outpace releases, you are going to run into some bed issues. What hits you in the behind immediately is not just bed issues, what they are struggling with is outcome issues.

When you look at the folks that are coming to them with term commitments. People that have failed probation, failed parole and/or failed diversionary program account for 79% of the people coming to them on new term commitments. For these people, the Department has had an opportunity to impact their lives and failed.

This is where their focus is. During this last legislative session, they were able to get approval for some additional capacity. They have a new Community Re-entry Center that has been appropriated for North Idaho. They have new appropriations to expand the St. Anthony work camp. And the year before last they were appropriated resources for a Community Re-entry Center in Twin Falls.

All told between those three programs they are looking at an addition of 400 beds into their system. However, they still have 700 inmates out of State at the moment.

What they are looking to do next, is to focus on additional capacity that helps them focus on outcomes. The community reentry center model we have, there is one in Nampa and two in Boise, are the best beds in their system. The reason they are the best beds in their system is because they are geared toward re-entry and geared toward the reasons people tend to fail once they leave our system. In addition to treatment, they look at employment and reacclimating people to what life is like in the community.

They are going to try increase capacity in this reentry concept for those that are already in the community. Hopefully the increased capacity in this regard will help us to alleviate the 79% that are reentering our system.

This is a significant challenge. As a department they talk a lot about supervision and treatment, and they are important to helping people be successful in the community. You take someone who is high risk that is paroling out of one of our institutions, and you can assign five parole officers to this person. But if a person doesn’t have a safe place to live, access to transportation or if they don’t have prospects for employment, he can tell you with 100% certainty they will be back in the system.

They are excited about the prospect they can solve multiple issues with one stone.

In addition to capacity, they are “pulling the hood up” on their supervision model. Candidly they had Justice Reinvestment that was a reset of their system. With that, they fixed some areas and in some areas, this made matters worse.

They are looking into their supervision model. They need to start at the beginning. They are the operational arm for the judiciary and the parole commission. It all starts with getting a better understanding of what the expectations are from the judiciary and make sure we are meeting those expectations. Also, they want to be able to put their staff in a position where they are successful.

Dianna asked if it was numbers issue. Josh said case load is the easy answer, but he doesn’t think that is the whole story. As an agency, they have an obligation to help themselves before asking the legislature to solve their problems. If you look at the number of P.O.’s they are allotted and you look at the number of folks on felony supervision in the State, there are 35 other states that would kill to have the ratio we do in Idaho.

So, we need to look at what we are having our P.O.’s do. We ask our P.O.s to be coaches, we ask them to be cops, we also ask them to be bill collectors, data entry specialists and fee collectors. This drives him nuts as we have some really good people and we spend time and effort to train them and they end up spending a disproportionate amount of time taking UA’s from people. So, their effort is to rearrange tasks as well as getting P.O.’s tools and options.

This new capacity we are building gives our people meaningful options to help somebody get their mind right. We feel it will be a major step in creating success for our parolees.

Another tool the legislature authorized is electronic monitoring. By itself electronic monitoring is not the answer, but it is important to have this option. There are 16,700 people on felony supervision. They have 25 electronic monitoring units statewide. The legislature appropriated $300,000 and internally they came up with an additional $300,000 for this program.

Finally, they are looking at setting up some day reporting centers. The trick with supervision is that more is not always best. For those that are low or moderate risk, they don’t want them to always have to show up at the PO office. They don’t necessarily want to group them up with others on supervision. With probationers who didn’t go to prison, it doesn’t make sense making them spend time with those that did.

Diana gets reports everyday on their jail capacity. Approximately 150 people are parole violators and other wards of the State. Right now, Ada County taxpayers are underwriting the State to the tune of about $1.6 million a year. How do these potential new solutions help Ada County get rid of this population?

Josh said, number one, these new programs will affect your misdemeanor population. A significant number of parole violators are what are called technical violators. This could be somebody who is not following the rules and are not necessarily committing crime.

These centers will serve folks on both ends of the equation. It will be for those to help keep them from violating parole and it will be for folks who are committing new crimes.

Josh reiterated that these reentry centers are the best bets in our system. We don’t have enough of them. They have a little over 8,800 people in their custody and have a little over 450 reentry center beds. There are about 1,200 people right now that meet the criteria for these beds. They are the least supported by taxpayer funds because we have 100% employment in them. They pay about 40% of the cost associated with those beds. Participants are paying most of their way, they are getting acclimated to the community and more importantly they are putting in thousands of hours of community service. For example, the Nampa CRC is incredibly involved with Special Olympic and, involved with Rake Up Nampa and many other community service projects.

One of the long-term goals for their system is put people in a place to make decisions. When they make good ones, we need to be in a position where they feel the rewards for those good decisions.

Tom asked what kinds of decisions we need to be giving inmates to make while they’re in the penitentiary system. Josh said the first thing we need to do is look at systematically how we classify risk within our system. Today we classify risk based on your age, your crime and criminal history, your proximity to release and your institutional behavior. Largely, if you can get older while you’re in prison and you demonstrate an absence of bad behavior, we are going to lower your custody level while you progress.

Let’s say for example, 2 guys commit the exact same crime, they are the exact same age and they come to us on the same day and they have the exact same sentence. Both come into medium custody because they are relatively young. Both do something stupid that causes a disciplinary event report which effects their points and their custody. They become closed custody and we move them to a closed institution, and they share a cell.

One of those guys takes every advantage given to him and gets a job like a janitor on his tier. He enrolls in education and starts working towards his GED and enrolls in anger management or other type of programming. He affirmatively is making those good decisions.

The other guy sits on his bunk all day every day and doesn’t get in trouble. Which one of those guys is going to come back to medium custody sooner? They are going to come back on the exact same day.

So, when he talks about decision making, we need to put the inmate in a position to decide to get a job, decide to get an education and decide to do programming, and then reward them for it. Make their living situation improved. In order to do that we have to increase capacity in doing the things we know will help people be successful.

Josh said with drug crimes, we have to be realistic with our expectations that we can get them out early. This is unrealistic because addiction is damn hard. We are talking about a population that doesn’t need one or two chances. They often need many chances before they can kick the addiction.

John said our members are connected to the legislature through the Idaho Assoc. of Counties or the Assoc. of Idaho Cities. If there are legislative positions that you are willing to share or need some support for, I recommend you let Bill Larsen know so we can put it on our radar, and we can work with the other associations to provide support.

Josh said to not be shy. If you see something where you think we can be helpful or if you see something where we could have room for improvement, feel free to contact him.