ARCHIVE SITE - Last updated Jan. 19, 2017. Please visit www.NACWA.org for the latest NACWA information.
NACWA filed comments this week on EPA’s proposed national enforcement priorities for fiscal years 2017 – 2019, expressing concern over the Agency’s continued focus on municipal wet weather enforcement. The comments noted that a focus on municipal wet weather issues without addressing other sources of water quality impairment – especially nonpoint source runoff – will fail to achieve meaningful water quality improvements. This is particularly problematic given the significant investments that many municipal clean water utilities are required to make as a result of wet weather enforcement actions.
NACWA’s comments also highlighted the recent EPA Inspector General report on the Agency’s wet weather enforcement program. The report called on EPA to improve tracking and reporting on the degree to which water quality benefit is resulting from wet weather enforcement initiatives and consent decrees in the wet weather arena. NACWA further noted that the Association was encouraged by EPA’s embrace of adaptive management and the consideration of financial capability in the proposed enforcement document, but highlighted the need for EPA to take a more collaborative approach with communities in addressing affordability concerns. EPA is expected to finalize the enforcement initiatives sometime next year.
NACWA was an active participant this week in two different meetings sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), demonstrating important collaboration between utilities and local elected leaders on a number of environmental issues. Association President Adel Hagekhalil attended the USCM Water Council meeting in Los Angeles, representing both the City of Los Angeles and NACWA. The meeting addressed a variety of current hot topics facing local governments, including water supply and reuse issues, the use of green infrastructure, and public private partnerships. Speakers also addressed the evolution of integrated planning.
Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, participated in a panel presentation, Treating Food Waste as a Water Resource, at the USCM’s Municipal Waste Management Association (MWMA) Fall Summit in Evanston, IL, along with two representatives from NACWA Member Agencies: Kevin Shafer, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, and Debra Shore, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The panel discussed why utilities are interested in using food waste to increase energy production at their treatment plants, the various methods that can be used to obtain and transport food waste, and the potential costs and benefits that utilities must consider in using food wastes.
NACWA’s members that operate sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs) gathered this week via conference call to discuss their options for seeking additional time to comply with the impending March 21, 2016, federal compliance deadline (some states require compliance before this date) for the Clean Air Act (CAA) emission standards finalized in 2011. Several members have contacted NACWA expressing concern that despite their best efforts, they may not be able to meet the compliance deadline. NACWA is working to secure a response from EPA to its May 2014 petition and a letter sent earlier this month, but staff stressed on the call that EPA is not expected to make any changes to the federal compliance date. Individual utilities, however, might be able to secure additional time working with their permitting authority under certain circumstances.
Adam Krantz, NACWA CEO, spoke at the Annual 3 Rivers Wet Weather Conference in Pennsylvania on the need for a “collaboration of equals” between local utility leaders and their state and federal regulatory/enforcement counterparts, especially on the wet weather issues that are in focus for many Pennsylvania communities. Krantz spoke on NACWA’s advocacy efforts such as working with EPA on tools like integrated planning and the related affordability framework, as well as its ongoing efforts to push back on unreasonable enforcement. These efforts help to preserve maximum utility flexibility around prioritizing investments and affordability considerations to find the most cost-effective ways for utilities to address wet weather challenges.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the conference, highlighting the challenges communities face including a 2008 federal consent decree, in which ALCOSAN must eliminate sanitary sewer overflows and reduce combined sewer overflows by 2026, and the steps they are taking to reach compliance. Collaboration is increasing among communities to stretch dollars and reduce duplication of efforts and communities are turning to green infrastructure to capture stormwater. Krantz was quoted saying that “everyone is frustrated with a federal government that regulates without contributing enough to the solution” forcing communities to spend billions and stating that this “is not a sustainable partnership.” NACWA staff will continue to bring the national message to key venues across the country to bring attention to the pressing issues faced by clean water agencies.
The Southeast Stormwater Association (SESWA) invited NACWA to speak at its conference this week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. SESWA is heavily involved in the National Stormwater Advocacy Network (NSAN) which NACWA convened earlier this year, and the Association’s participation at SESWA's 10th anniversary meeting is an example of the ongoing collaboration between the two organizations and the importance of keeping smaller communities engaged and informed about what is happening at a federal level. Over 250 stormwater professionals, managers, inspectors, and maintenance staff attended SESWA’s 10th anniversary meeting. NACWA updated attendees on the federal stormwater program as well as national legal and regulatory trends around the country. SESWA is a regional stormwater association comprised of stormwater managers from across EPA Region 4.
If a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words – Then an App Is Even Better!
Over the course of the year, we’ve come across apps, pictures and websites that are water centric, useful, entertaining, innovative or just plain addictive — and in some cases, all of the above. Read on to find out some of our favorites!
Membership gives you access to the tools to keep you up to date on legislative, regulatory, legal and management initiatives.