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Clean Water Current - July 31

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 July 31, 2015

Members, Key Stakeholders Engage Congress in Opposition to CSO, Blending Provisions

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NACWA continues to push forward with an aggressive advocacy campaign in opposition to legislation that would undermine the 1994 Combined Sewer Overflow Policy for dischargers to the Great Lakes. Dischargers would also be prohibited from discharging blended effluent – even effluent meeting National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) standards.

A growing number of Great Lakes NACWA members, including those in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and New York, have contacted their Congressional delegations through letters and phone calls. In addition, NACWA is surveying direct and indirect dischargers to the Great Lakes to gather information about the cost implications to their agencies and ratepayers should the legislation be adopted.

NACWA is also working with key municipal stakeholders on a coordinated strategy to defeat the provisions, including the US Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and National Association of Counties who are activating their local networks of elected officials throughout the Great Lakes. The proposed legislation is included in Section 428 of the Senate’s FY16 appropriations package for the Environmental Protection Agencypdf button and was inserted in the package at the request of Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), a first term Senator and member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Kirk, who is facing a difficult reelection next year, has sponsored similar legislation in the past, but it failed to advance.

Should this legislation be enacted, it would establish dangerous national precedent and could lead to catastrophic rate increases in many communities. NACWA is urging its members to weigh in with their Congressional Delegations in opposition to this language. For more information, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , NACWA Senior Legislative Director.

Utility Leaders Gather to Review Effective Utility Management Attributes

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On Wednesday and Thursday this week, utility representatives from around the country gathered in Washington, DC to review and consider revisions to the Ten Attributes of Effective Utility Management (EUM) and the associated Keys to Management Success. Since their release in 2007, the Attributes and Keys to Management Success have been widely-adopted by water and wastewater utilities.

The group of leaders was convened by the six water sector organizations who first partnered on the EUM effort – NACWA; the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA); the American Water Works Association (AWWA); the American Public Works Association (APWA); the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC); and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) – together with EPA, with the addition of representatives from the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA). NACWA Board Members Tom Sigmund, Executive Director for NEW Water in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Diane Taniguchi-Dennis, Deputy General Manager for Clean Water Services in Hillsboro, Oregon represented the Association at the meeting. Discussions focused on how changes in the water sector, including a new focus on resource recovery and the Utility of the Future, can be reflected in the EUM Attributes and Keys to Management Success, while also maintaining the basic structure and content of the EUM elements that have been so widely embraced. The utility leaders also discussed how the EUM message can be carried forward to a broader utility audience.

The next step in this effort is to convene at least two webinars to gather input from a wider audience of utility leaders and consultants. The final product will be a written report outlining recommended updates to the Attributes and Keys to Management Success, and the related documents that have been produced under the EUM umbrella.

NACWA Releases New Financial Survey

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NACWA is pleased to announce the release of the final report from its triennial Financial Survey, Opportunities & Challenges in Clean Water Utility Financing & Management. The survey report, funded through the Association’s Targeted Action Fund (TAF), features detailed analyses and trend information for each question. As an added benefit, NACWA is again providing an Excel spreadsheet with all survey responses to allow for more in-depth analysis and utility-to-utility comparison.

The report, detailed data spreadsheet, and Executive Highlights document are now available for download – free of charge to NACWA Member Agencies and Affiliates. Association Members will soon receive a hardcopy of the Executive Highlights via mail.

Since 1981, the Association has conducted the survey every three years to provide clean water agencies, government officials, and the public important insight into the financing and management of clean water utilities. The survey is recognized as the most comprehensive resource for this type of information. Special thanks go out to the members and leaders of NACWA’s Utility & Resource Management Committee who dedicated their time to review the survey form and final report.

NACWA President Adel Hagekhalil Feted in Los Angeles

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The City of Los Angeles and Association leaders paid tribute, this week, to Adel Hagekhalil in honor of his becoming President of NACWA. Speeches by city officials from a wide array of departments and interests were made congratulating Hagekhalil on his unmatched record of achievement for the City of Los Angeles – LA Sanitation, and his role as a national leader exemplified by his election to the NACWA presidency. The evening event honored Hagekhalil’s innovative leadership and his vision of implementing projects that not only improve the environment and water quality – but also the daily lives of Angelinos. The tribute, attended by approximately 200 people, was preceded by a day-long tour of green spaces and innovative projects that firmly ensconce LA Sanitation as a Utility of the Future.

NACWA Launches Blending Survey

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To assist with its advocacy efforts on peak wet weather flow management, NACWA is conducting a survey of publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) on blending. NACWA has been advocating for years for a consistent national policy on blending, an effective method for managing peak wet weather flows and protecting water quality. Blending is, however, still being targeted on both the regulatory and legislative fronts. Despite the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals 2013 ruling in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA, EPA continues to consider blending a bypass for POTWs outside of the 8th Circuit. In addition, Section 428 of the current Senate FY16 appropriations package would prohibit blending and sewer overflows for any POTWs that directly or indirectly discharge into the Great Lakes (see related story in this issue).

NACWA’s survey will provide the Association with technical, legal, and policy information about the current status of blending at utilities across the country. NACWA is asking all POTWs that use blending – whether NACWA members or not – to complete this survey by Friday, September 4. Additional information about the survey is available in Advocacy Alert 15-14 key, and questions should be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.

POTWs that discharge to the Great Lakes will be receiving a supplemental survey with questions directly related to Section 428 of the Senate appropriations package. These POTWs are asked to complete both the NACWA blending survey and the supplemental survey. Questions regarding the supplemental survey should be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , NACWA’s Senior Director of Legislative Affairs.

Senate Drought Bill Includes Funds for Recycled Water Projects

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Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-CA) today introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act pdf button. The legislation is designed to help communities cope with ongoing drought conditions and combat future droughts through a variety of mechanisms including water reuse, groundwater recharge, and conservation. The bill identifies 105 potential recycling projects with the ability to produce almost 854,000 acre-feet of water, as identified in the Recycled Water Projects National Surveypdf button undertaken by NACWA and other groups in 2013. The bill focuses largely on California, but does authorize $200 million in increased funds for Bureau of Reclamation’s water recycling and reuse program (Title XVI) which applies to all western states. A loan guarantee program, the Reclamation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act, modeled after TIFIA, is also authorized at $200 million.

The Senators’ proposed legislation joins a field of drought bills in both Houses (see May 22, 2015 Clean Water Current) and will likely be a marker bill that will become part of a larger Western drought bill in the future. Hearings on the proposal are expected to occur in September before the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.

Association Members Showcased as Game Changers

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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its Infrastructure Game Changers Report last week, spotlighting innovative projects across the water, surface transportation, freight, and other sectors. NACWA members from coast-to-coast were featured for visionary projects in innovative partnerships; sustainability; environmental stewardship; cost and energy savings; and, more.

DC Water and Philadelphia Water were recognized for using solid waste as an energy source to treat water and run their operations. DC Water was also lauded for its massive underground tunnel project, designed to reduce untreated water runoff from flowing into local rivers. LA Sanitation was recognized for water recycling, a critical issue in water-starved Southern California. And, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) was showcased for an innovative water capture and reuse project. NACWA congratulates its member for their visionary leadership.

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This week, discussions on NACWA's online network, EngageTM include:

  • Ethics Policies for Plant Operators;
  • Using Solar Energy to Power a Clean Water Utility;
  • Costs for Public Education and Awareness at Utilities;
  • Computing Recovered Volumes of Sanitary Sewer Overflows; and,
  • Bonding for Haste Haulers.

If you’ve not yet engaged – now is the time to network with colleagues from the NACWA community. If you would like to learn more about Engage™ or have questions on this unique online community, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Director of Marketing & Digital Media at 202.533.1802.

 

 
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