ARCHIVE SITE - Last updated Jan. 19, 2017. Please visit www.NACWA.org for the latest NACWA information.
On this 14th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, NACWA honors the memories of those who lost their lives, recognizes those who were injured, and expresses its deep appreciation to the many first responders and others who raced to the rescue on that day. May we never forget.
NACWA is pleased to provide an advance, members-only, version of the 2015 Water Resources Utility of the Future Annual Report . NACWA, in partnership with the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), and WateReuse developed the Annual Report to provide an update on developments in the utility of the future (UOTF) arena since the original UOTF Blueprint was released in 2013.
In addition to describing recent accomplishments of clean water utilities and exploring the newest horizons for innovation, the Annual Report also discusses an emerging theme from UOTF-focused efforts – that clean water utilities often do not act alone. Innovation has instead occurred within an "innovation ecosystem" comprised of technology developers, consulting engineers and scientists, state and local government, the finance community and a wide range of professional organizations that represent the clean water sector. The Annual Report provides greater insight into how each of these stakeholders is contributing to the increasingly widespread adoption of UOTF practices and approaches. Additional details on the Report are available in Member Update 15-08 .
The Annual Report will be publically released during WEFTEC15. NACWA and its partner associations plan wide distribution of the Report to a variety of stakeholders. The Association's Industry of the Future Workgroup is currently exploring ways to disseminate the practices and approaches highlighted in the Report to a larger audience of utilities of all sizes. The Workgroup is collaborating with EPA on a series of web seminars in the coming year and NACWA will provide further information when it becomes available.
NACWAis pleased to announce that John C. Cruden, the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment & Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), will keynote this year's National Clean Water Law Seminar. The Seminar will be held November 4 – 6 at the Westin Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, NV.
Cruden, who was confirmed by the Senate in December 2014, has a long history of public service and extensive expertise working on environmental and clean water legal issues. Serving as the Nation's top federal environmental attorney, Cruden is charged with advancing ENRD's mission to safeguard and enhance the American environment through litigation in federal and state courts. ENRD is a key party in federal wet weather enforcement judicial actions, acting as outside legal counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With many NACWA members currently negotiating, renegotiating or considering reopening federal wet weather consent decrees, an understanding of DOJ's perspective and objectives is critical. DOJ also plays a key role in determining when EPA may be engaged in impermissible regulatory overreach.
Cruden will share how DOJ perceives the role of enforcement actions in advancing Clean Water Act compliance, and how municipal clean water utilities can work more collaboratively with federal entities like DOJ and EPA to achieve shared environmental goals.
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-4) sent a strong letter to the House Appropriations Committee leadership asking them to reject the inclusion of Sec. 428 of S. 1645 in any final FY 2016 appropriations bill. In her letter Rep. Moore stressed that utilities are already making huge investments to decrease the number of sewer overflows in their communities. Milwaukee was highlighted as an example of a utility that has already invested $1.2 billion to reduce the number of overflows by 60 to an average of 2.5 each year. It would cost another $5 billion to bring the number of overflows down to zero. Although Rep. Moore strongly supports efforts to protect the Great Lakes, she emphasized that Sec. 428 would not effectively address overflow issues and only create a very expensive standard costing ratepayers tens of billions of dollars.
The Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), of which NACWA is a member, submitted letters to Congress this week supporting full funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs and passage of the California Emergency Drought Relief Act (S. 1894). The SRF letter emphasized the importance of maintaining funding levels in the FY2016 Interior-EPA Appropriations Bill to sustain the major environmental and public health gains achieved over the past several decades – especially in face of the current funding gap of $1.3 trillion over the next twenty years.
WIN also supported the CA Emergency Drought Relief Act sponsored by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA), noting the legislation's strong focus on investing in water and wastewater infrastructure as a measure to deal with the drought. Utilities across the West have already started to implement innovative technologies such as water reuse and recycling, water storage, groundwater recharge, and desalination to provide more sustainable and secure water resources for their communities. This bill would provide support to implement more of these projects across the state.
As a coalition of a wide range of organizations including manufacturing, engineering, municipal, and public works, WIN provides a strong voice for water infrastructure. NACWA is a member of WIN's Executive Committee and will continue to work to with WIN on these important infrastructure issues.
The Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSCC) held its quarterly meeting this week, focusing on cybersecurity and other issues that affect the security and resiliency of utilities. NACWA representative Patty Cleveland, Assistant Regional Manager with the Trinity River Authority, Texas, serves as Chair of the Council. The Council received a briefing from EPA's National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC), which is conducting research into a variety of chemical and biological threats for utilities and exploring ways for utilities to better prepare for these threats. The Council also discussed with EPA how utility goals are being met by the Agency's ongoing security-related projects.
A workgroup of water sector association staff and utility representatives also met this week to begin discussing a survey of utilities to gauge the use of cybersecurity tools and practices. The survey will inform the associations, along with EPA and DHS, about utility awareness of the resources available and how the cybersecurity of the sector can be improved. The survey is expected to be conducted in 2016.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced plans this week to move forward with Senate introduction of the Clean Water Affordability Act. Among other things, the bill is expected to increase funding for the Clean Water SRF, codify integrated planning considerations into the Clean Water Act, and direct EPA to update its affordability policy. The bill is designed to provide communities with more flexibility and funding support in addressing wet weather issues, and will be a much more productive approach to dealing with wet weather concerns than legislation included in the FY 2016 EPA appropriations package seeking to ban sewer overflows to the Great Lakes (see related story).
Sen. Brown has been a leader on addressing affordability issues, and NACWA has worked closely with him in recent years to craft a meaningful legislative package. Press coverage of this week's announcement noted NACWA support for the proposal. NACWA looks forward to working with Sen. Brown in the coming weeks to refine the bill ahead of its formal introduction.
The NACWA Stormwater Management Committee held a virtual meeting (slides ) on Sept. 9 focused on EPA's proposed rulemaking for the Phase II municipal stormwater program. The rulemaking is expected to address a court order over concerns regarding the review of notices of intent (NOIs) submitted by small Phase II MS4s, as well as ensuring sufficient opportunity for public review and comment. EPA and environmental activist groups agreed to a recent settlement that lays out the schedule for development of the new rule.
During this week's meeting, the Committee discussed background to the rule and reviewed a number of potential options EPA is considering. The Committee considered the advantages and disadvantages of each option and provided feedback. Committee members were joined by the National Stormwater Advocacy Network (NSAN) organizations on the call, and raised questions and potential concerns with aspects of EPA's two potential approaches. NACWA staff will be incorporating comments from the committee into a letter to EPA to help inform the Agency's thinking as it develops the rule proposal over the coming months.
NACWA members with additional input are asked to please contact Brenna Mannion, NACWA's Director, Regulatory Affairs & Outreach, by September 16 with any comments on the Phase II remand, specific thoughts on each option, and how it may affect permittees.
Something's Happening Here…
In anticipation of the 2015 Water Resources Utility of the Future (UOTF) Annual Report, guest blogger Ken Rubin discusses the state of the UOTF initiative and the future of the sector. What do the combined contributions of technology developers, design engineers, management consultants, the finance community, regulators, professional associations, and governing boards do for the future of the initiative? Read on to find out more!
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