ARCHIVE SITE - Last updated Jan. 19, 2017. Please visit www.NACWA.org for the latest NACWA information.
January 9, 2015
NACWA, Milk Producers Discuss Potential Collaboration
Representatives from NACWA staff and Member Agencies met Thursday with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to discuss a potential collaboration between the utility and nearby dairy operations. The meeting was an outgrowth of the Memorandum of Understanding NACWA and NMPF signed in 2014, which seeks to foster such collaborations. NMPF is working to help its dairy cooperative members put their manure waste to beneficial use and address environmental impact concerns. California is one of NMPF’s initial focus areas given the concentration of dairy operations and power purchase rates that will make investments in digesters and power production equipment more feasible. In addition to power generation from manure digester gas, NMPF also wants to help its members address water quality issues and is targeting the use of nutrient recovery technologies to produce pellets that can be transported out of the watershed. This is where collaboration with the clean water community can offer significant benefits, as the nutrients removed from the watershed could generate credits, allowing utilities to invest in offsetting nutrient discharges rather than installing additional treatment technology. The MOU envisions partnerships between dairy operations and utilities on both energy and water quality projects, but the initial focus has been on the water quality/nutrients front. Another call is planned for February and NACWA hopes this partnership will serve as a success story to spur additional collaborations elsewhere.
NACWA’s legal advocacy remained busy over the holidays, with the Association submitting legal briefs in two different court cases involving land application of biosolids and regulation of municipal stormwater discharges.
On December 23 NACWA submitted a brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Gilbert v. Synagro, a case addressing whether the land application of biosolids is an agricultural activity that is protected under ‘right to farm’ laws.
The Association’s brief, submitted jointly with the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association (PMAA) and NACWA member the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN), argues that land application of biosolids is a highly regulated activity which qualifies
as a normal agricultural operation and deserves the protection of right to farm statutes. Ensuring that land application is considered a normal agricultural practice under right to farm laws is critical for clean water utilities because it provides land application programs with additional legal protection from lawsuits challenging the practice, similar to protections enjoyed by other agricultural fertilizers.
On January 7, NACWA joined with a number of other interested parties on a brief submitted by the City of New York to the Court of Appeals of New York in litigation over the appropriate regulatory requirements in municipal stormwater discharge permits. The joint brief in Natural Resources Defense Council v. New York Department of Environmental Conservation focuses on the proper application of the “maximum extent practicable” (MEP) standard for municipal stormwater under the Clean Water Act. The brief provides a robust and spirited defense of the MEP standard against challenges from environmental activist groups. In particular, the brief argues that MEP is a unique standard created for municipal stormwater that does not require strict compliance with water quality standards nor requires numeric permit limits, but instead allows necessary flexibility for site-specific stormwater controls based on cost-effectiveness.
The CEO Search Committee of NACWA’s Board of Directors, has begun the process of soliciting candidates for the Association’s next Chief Executive Officer. The posting for the position is available at www.nacwa.org/ceo. Resumes may be submitted until February 27.
In 2013, NACWA Executive Director, Ken Kirk, formally announced his plans to retire on July 31, 2015. At that time, Kirk will have been associated with NACWA for over 35 years – and served as its Executive Director for the last 26 years. In the months to come, Kirk’s many contributions to the success of the Association will be honored – culminating in a celebratory dinner at the Association’s Summer Conference & 45th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Providence in July.
EPA is hosting a webinar for NACWA members on the proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) e-Reporting Rule supplemental notice on January 15 from 12:30 – 2:00 pm Eastern. No registration is required, but those attending are encouraged to call from a central location as there are limited ‘seats’ available. Call in information is provided below.
EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA) released the supplemental notice this month soliciting additional comment on the proposed rule. The notice seeks to clarify a number of issues and requests additional comments on several elements, including the implementation schedule and the State Readiness Criteria. NACWA encourages members to read the 16-page notice and consider providing input, paying special attention to the number of issues on which EPA is specifically requesting comment. The entire rule can be considered in any new comments. The Association submitted comments on the original proposed rule in December 2013, as did a number of Member Agencies, and will also comment in response to this notice.
Webinar Dial-in Information:
NACWA, the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and the American Public Works Association (APWA) are finalizing an agreement with INDA (the trade association of the nonwoven fabrics industry) to continue moving forward to reduce the burden of nonwoven wipes and other non-dispersible products that are flushed into sewer systems. The agreement is the culmination of a technical workgroup formed by the groups and funded in part by NACWA’s Targeted Action Fund (TAF).
The continuing work will include development of new flushability guidelines for wipes that will be protective of collection systems and wastewater treatment plants. These 4th Edition Guidelines (GD4) will be developed by a workgroup that includes representatives from INDA member companies and wastewater utilities. Frank Dick, Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator for the City of Vancouver Department of Public Works and Vice Chair of NACWA’s Pretreatment & Pollution Prevention Committee, will represent the Association on the GD4 drafting workgroup, which will hold its first meeting on January 27.
The participating associations will also work together on a product stewardship initiative that will focus on package labeling and consumer education. Plans include the promotion of improved labeling as a first line of consumer education, with the potential for a broader consumer education effort on proper disposal of wipes and other products. NACWA will provide additional information to its members about the product stewardship and GD4 efforts when the final agreement is reached.
NACWA’s Security & Emergency Preparedness Committee will meet via webinar on Thursday, January 15 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern. All NACWA members are encouraged to join the meeting, which will focus on Lessons Sustained – case studies from utilities that have experienced natural disasters and continued to use the lessons learned in their emergency planning. Guest speakers will include Bob Steidel, City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities; Andy Kricun, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority; and, Andy Fairey, Charleston Water System. Updates will also be provided on other security issues, including the Ebola virus and Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) legislation.
The deadline for completing NACWA’s 2014 Cost of Clean Water – Service Charge Index Survey has been extended to January 16. NACWA has published the Index annually since 1992 to track average annual single-family residential service charge increases as measured against the rate of inflation. The Index has become an important resource for clean water agencies – as well as a wide variety of policymakers and subject matter experts. Responses from as many members as possible are crucial to keep the Index a reliable and informative resource.
Have you made your plans to join us at our 2015 Winter Conference? The hotel reservation deadline has been extended to January 19, and we'd hate for you to miss out on a program focusing on the importance of new partners and key collaborations to improve water quality and protect the environment. The Belmond Charleston Place, NACWA’s conference hotel, is offering a room rate of $190 per night (single/double) plus applicable taxes, for Winter Conference attendees. To ensure a hotel room, contact The Belmond Charleston Place at 888.635.2350. Be sure to identify yourself as a NACWA attendee.
NACWA members are invited to attend the National Water Quality Trading Alliance’s (NWQTA) complimentary lunch program following the 2015 Winter Conference in Charleston, SC. The lunch program will take place at The Belmond Charleston Place Hotel, on Wednesday, February 4 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm. This lunch will include a presentation on the state of water quality trading markets across the U.S. – with a particular emphasis on opportunities for point source credit purchasers – and the NWQTA's efforts to enhance and expand these markets. NWQTA invites you to RSVP today!
Imagine if, in the midst of rush hour, a water main break occurs in the middle of a major metropolitan area, completely inundating a large section of the public transportation system and affecting tens of thousands of commuters. This was the scenario that DC Water found themselves in this past December. Our guest blogger, Andy Le, DC Water’s Digital Communications Manager, discusses how his utility used social media to transform a crisis into an opportunity to educate the public and provide exceptional customer service. Read on to find out more.
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