ARCHIVE SITE - Last updated Jan. 19, 2017. Please visit www.NACWA.org for the latest NACWA information.
April 18, 2014
Water Sector Coalition Urges Congress to Reject Proposed Cuts to the SRFs
NACWA, along with a number of other water sector groups, submitted joint testimony for the Congressional Record following a Public & Outside Witness Hearing held last Thursday on the House Interior, Environment & Related Agencies appropriations bill. The group’s testimony highlights the vital importance of federal funding for water infrastructure and urges Congress to continue funding the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs at the FY 2014 funding levels of $1.449 billion and $907million, respectively. The groups joining NACWA in this effort include the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), the American Public Works Association (APWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Council on Infrastructure Financing Authorities (CIFA) (see related story), and the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC). NACWA will continue to provide updates on the FY 2015 budget as negotiations continue.
NACWA, the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) met this week with Nancy Stoner, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, and other EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) staff to provide an overview of the upcoming report, Utilities of the Future Energy Analysis. The draft Energy Analysis report – which was funded by NACWA, WEF, and WERF – provides a detailed estimate of the energy contained in wastewater compared to the amount of energy required to treat the wastewater – as well as the costs needed to make upgrades to treatment facilities to have them become energy neutral over the next 20 years. The report will be finalized later this spring.
The associations discussed with EPA and DOE the actions that could be taken now by utilities to decrease their energy consumption and increase energy generation, and the research and incentives that would be needed in the future to realize the long-term energy generation potential from wastewater. EPA and DOE expressed interest in continuing to work together on energy-water issues, especially as DOE continues to explore ways to become more involved in energy-water nexus issues. DOE also asked the associations to provide additional details in the final report on how all of the groups can work together to achieve these shared energy goals.
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) recently submitted a letter to Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, & Related Agencies, requesting $15 million in the FY 2015 EPA budget to establish an integrated planning pilot program. The proposed program would provide grants to as many as 50 communities from around the country to develop integrated plans. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) also signed the letter.
Several members in the House of Representatives made a similar request for a $5 million integrated planning pilot program including Representatives Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Tim Bishop (D-NY), David Joyce (R-OH), and Steve Chabot (R-OH). The House and Senate must now craft their EPA appropriations bills and NACWA is hopeful that with this support, an integrated planning pilot program will be included. With that said, the Administration’s FY 2015 EPA budget request did not include funding for this program so there are still key hurdles to overcome in terms of the program’s inclusion in a final budget bill. NACWA will continue to provide updates on this effort as they occur.
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a draft Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Solicitation this week, which would make up to $4 billion in loan guarantees available to support innovative, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The solicitation seeks applications for any renewable energy or energy efficiency technology that is new or significantly improved, as compared to more established technologies already used in the US. Two technology areas of interest are identified by DOE that may be applicable to clean water agencies: waste-to-energy and enhancement of existing facilities.
NACWA provided the latest updates from Washington this week to attendees at Texas Water 2014 and shared the clean water community perspective during a panel discussion hosted by the Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities (CIFA).
In Dallas, the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT) and the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association (TAWWA), hosted Texas Water 2014, one of the largest state/regional water association meetings in the United States. NACWA provided updates on a range of regulatory, legislative and legal developments and discussed key aspects of its ongoing advocacy agenda. Chris Hornback, the Association’s Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs, stressed the importance of collaboration and its ongoing efforts to enhance the lines of communication among NACWA and its state and regional partners. During the conference, Larry Patterson, Deputy Executive Director for the Upper Trinity Regional Water District and NACWA Board Member, was honored by WEAT with its Lifetime Achievement Award. NACWA extends its congratulations to Larry for his dedicated work on behalf of the clean water community.
NACWA, this week, also discussed priority funding and financing issues on panel at CIFA’s Capitol Hill Fly-In with the Executive Directors of the Environmental Council of States and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators. In his remarks, Adam Krantz, Managing Director of Government & Public Affairs, underscored the municipal clean water community’s strong support for continued SRF funding and the importance of garnering creative financing for Utility of the Future-type initiatives.
Get recognized for your dedication to excellence in utility management — apply for the 2014 Excellence in Management Recognition Program (EIM). The EIM Program celebrates Member Agencies who are dedicated to implementing sustained, successful programs that address the range of challenges faced by public clean water utilities in today’s competitive environment. Featuring the Ten Attributes of Effectively Managed Water Sector Utilities as well as Resource Efficiency & Protection Activities, the Program offers Platinum, Gold, and Silver recognition to utilities that have embraced implementing these Attributes and Activities. For more information on the Excellence in Management Recognition Program, visit the Excellence in Management Recognition Program page. Applications are due by April 30, 2014.
NACWA’s Pretreatment & Pollution Prevention Workshop will be held May 14-16 at The Depot Renaissance Hotel in Minneapolis. Jan Pickrel, EPA’s National Pretreatment Team Coordinator, and Marcus Zobrist, Chief of the Industrial Branch in EPA’s Water Permits Division, will be attending the Workshop to provide updates on EPA programs that affect utility pretreatment programs. The Workshop will also include presentations on controlling dental amalgam, with or without a national rule; reducing pollution – including plastic microbeads – from consumer products; and bio-cremation and pretreatment. Case studies involving legal problems with hauled wastes will also be presented. Networking and small-group discussions on pretreatment issues are available with three roundtable sessions throughout the Workshop. For more information about the Workshop, including hotel and registration information, please visit www.nacwa.org/14pret.
As addition to the Workshop, NACWA is offering an all-day "Introduction to the Pretreatment Program for Wastewater Utilities" training course on Tuesday, May 13, geared toward pretreatment professionals in the first few years of their pretreatment careers. Separate registration is required for this course.
The year 2014 will likely mark a turning point in the direction of stormwater regulation in individual communities around the country. In late March, the EPA released an official statement that it is deferring development of a National Post-Construction Stormwater Rule in lieu of more targeted, locally-driven efforts to help municipalities better control stormwater runoff. This, and other developments suggest, that EPA is moving away from top down, national regulatory approaches to stormwater management regulation, and instead focusing on providing more support to local programs. At the same time; however, permitting authorities will likely leverage existing requirements to ratchet down on municipal stormwater permits. With a new post each week, subscribe today to The Water Voice and don’t miss a post!
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