ARCHIVE SITE - Last updated Jan. 19, 2017. Please visit www.NACWA.org for the latest NACWA information.
The Association sent a letter to Capitol Hill this week supporting two sections in S. 2012 , The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, that will advance innovation in the clean water sector. NACWA voiced support for Section 4101 which establishes an Interagency Coordinating Committee to identify and coordinate all activities across federal agencies related to the nexus of energy and water. The Committee will gather data to establish best practices and develop new energy-water programs. As a central repository of knowledge for the energy-water nexus, the Committee will also serve as an important resource that clean water agencies can utilize when implementing innovative projects.
The Association also strongly supported Section 4102 of the bill which establishes a Smart Energy & Water Efficiency Pilot Program. This Program would provide competitive grants to eligible entities – including drinking water and clean water utilities – implementing unique and advanced technology-based projects that increase the energy efficiency of water, wastewater, and water reuse systems. The bill authorizes the pilot program at $15 million to fund 3 – 5 projects. The concept aligns with the Water Resources Utility of the Future (UOTF) initiative that many NACWA members have embraced, and offers an exceptional opportunity to advance the innovative work of clean water agencies.
NACWA recognizes that effective communication is essential to achieving the Association’s advocacy goals, and is committed to a thorough analysis of its current communication efforts. Along these lines, NACWA has contracted with experts in communications and public opinion research to execute an independent and comprehensive communications audit – including internal and external opinion research. The results of the audit will help NACWA develop a strategic plan to improve its communications and outreach efforts and more effectively serve its members on a variety of fronts. However, to develop the best strategic communications plan, the Association need your help!
Earlier this week, NACWA CEO Adam Krantz sent an invitation to Association Member Agencies and Affiliates to complete a 10-minute survey. If you have not already done so, please complete the survey as soon as possible. Responses are anonymous and will be reported without attribution.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has released a discussion draft of legislation to address drought issues in the West. The legislation contains significant funding for water recycling and reuse. The bill also references the results of a water recycling project survey carried out by NACWA, the WaterResue Association, the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA), and other groups. The Senator’s press release on the bill also specifically references the survey and notes NACWA’s role.
Among important elements, the bill would authorize $200 million for water recycling projects that could reclaim and reuse wastewater. It would also authorize an additional $200 million for a federal loan program to assist municipalities and other eligible entities with the financing of water projects, including recycling and reuse projects, along with $10 million for EPA’s existing WaterSense program to promote water efficiency.
Efforts to pass a comprehensive drought bill were unsuccessful at the end of last year, but this new proposal from Sen. Feinstein demonstrates a renewed interest in advancing meaningful drought legislation in this Congress. NACWA and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) have been closely involved in these efforts and will continue discussions with Congress moving forward. The Association will be distributing a more detailed analysis of the bill next week and will keep the membership updated on developments.
NACWA’s Biosolids Management Committee met via conference call on Thursday to discuss a range of legal and regulatory developments. Jimmy Slaughter, Principal with NACWA Legal Affiliate Beveridge & Diamond, provided updates on two important legal issues – the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision that biosolids are protected under the state’s right to farm laws and the upcoming trial in the fight over land application in Kern County, California.
The Committee also discussed EPA’s work to complete a risk assessment evaluating pollutants identified in the Agency’s Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey, ongoing implementation of the new incineration regulations, and a number of other recent developments on the biosolids front.
NACWA, this week, participated in two Southwest conferences which addressed water reuse issues – a particularly timely topic as many in the West continue to feel the effects of a historic drought. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) hosted an International Symposium on Potable Reuse in Long Beach, California with the support of NACWA and a number of other organizations. At the close of the week, the Multi-State Salinity Coalition (MSSC) invited utilities, regional and local government, and salinity managers to their annual Summit in Las Vegas. NACWA was privileged to organize and moderate a panel at the Symposium on public health, and to present perspectives on federal funding and legislation for reuse at the MSSC Summit.
Presenters and participants at both events, regulators and utilities alike, focused on the adoption of safe and innovative technology, the protection of public health, and the outlook for both water reuse regulation and funding. AWWA also promoted their collaborative framework to help state regulatory agencies and utilities develop guidelines for direct potable reuse. Amidst a number of interesting perspectives, participants acknowledged that in many states water reuse of one form or another is a necessary component of communities’ ability to meet future water demands in the face of population growth.
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will be hosting a February 10 web seminar from 2:00 – 3:30 pm Eastern, demonstrating the unique uses and distribution of Clean Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF). The CWSRF: A Flexible Tool for Advancing Clean Water seminar will include valuable case studies on innovative ways in which CWSRF resources have been used. NACWA Member Agency the Camden County (NJ) Municipal Utilities Authority will be one of the presenters. NACWA members interested in creative use of the CWSRF are encouraged to register.
Flint Crisis Spurs National Dialogue, Water Sector Responds
The unfolding drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan continues to receive significant national media attention, and serves as an important reminder about the fundamental importance of safe and reliable water treatment. As the facts in Flint continue to unfold, all can agree that the residents of Flint deserve much better and that there was a core breakdown in what should have been a local-state-federal partnership aimed at protecting the residents of Flint and the basic access to safe water. How can the national water sector respond to this crisis and work to ensure something like it doesn’t happen again? Read on to find out more.
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