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Clean Water Current - May 29


 May 29, 2015

NACWA Releases Annual Index, Charges Increased 4.1% in 2014

052915T indexNACWA’s 2014 Cost of Clean Water Index Survey, released this week, indicates that the average cost of wastewater services rose 4.1 percent in 2014, more than double the rate of inflation. For more than a decade, sewer service charge increases have outpaced the rate of inflation, nearly doubling the average annual charge since 2002. The national average amount that a single-family residence pays for wastewater collection and treatment (i.e., the sewer service charge) is now $448 per year, up from $435 in 2013.

NACWA Concerns Addressed in Final Clean Water Rule

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released their final Clean Water Rule, often referred to as the Waters of the United States or WOTUS rule, on Wednesday. The rule, which will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, has consumed much of EPA’s time over the last several years and has been the focus of intense criticism from a range of stakeholders and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Since the Agency first began work on the rule, NACWA has focused its attention on maintaining the current exemptions for wastewater treatment systems and ensuring that municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), green infrastructure and recycled water projects were not incidentally regulated as jurisdictional waters. The final definition of ‘waters of the United States’ maintains the key elements NACWA has fought to preserve and addresses a number of the concerns the Association raised in its comments. Advocacy Alert 15-09 provides additional detail on the content of the final rule.

Media Attention on Wipes Continues; NACWA to Comment FTC Agreement

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The problems utilities experience from wipes continue to receive media attention. The Guardian published an article this week that examined the wipes issues in detail, with a focus on NACWA’s views and the problems experienced by the New York Department of Environmental Protection, a NACWA Member Agency. The Miami Herald also published a story this week about wipes problems at another NACWA Member Agency, Miami-Dade County. Advertising Age focused on a proposed consent agreement announced last week between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and wipes manufacturer Nice-Pak Products, Inc., which will be prohibited from advertising its wipes as flushable unless it can substantiate that the product is safe for sewer and septic systems.

In an Advocacy Alert this week, NACWA provided more details about the FTC proposed consent agreement and its ramifications for the Association’s collaborative work on wipes. Public comments on the proposed agreement will be accepted until June 19, and NACWA plans to submit supportive comments. Member Agencies are requested to provide input for the Association’s comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by June 12.

Legal Webinar to Focus on Clean Water Rule, RICE Rule & State TMDL Promulgation

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NACWA’s next Legal Hot Topics Web Seminar will be held on June 17 from 2:00 – 3:15 pm Eastern. The webinar will kick off with an analysis and short discussion by NACWA staff on the recently released final Clean Water Jurisdiction Rule and the implications for municipal clean water utilities, as well as the possibility of legal and Congressional action in opposition.

The webinar will also feature a presentation by NACWA Legal Affiliate David Friedland, Beveridge & Diamond, on recent federal litigation over EPA’s Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (RICE) Rule and the significant legal uncertainty existing with regard to the regulatory requirements applicable to these kinds of engines. This discussion will be particularly important for those utilities that rely on gasoline or diesel generators to provide backup electrical power at their facilities.

John D. Lazzaretti, an attorney with NACWA Legal Affiliate Squire Patton Boggs, will discuss a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision defining the due process requirements of state Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) promulgation and how NACWA members in Ohio and nationwide can utilize this positive precedent to ensure greater utility participation in TMDL development decisions.

Registration is complimentary for NACWA members. More information on each topic is available on NACWA’s website.

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Greener is Better – DC Water’s Updated Consent Decree

This week guest blogger, George Hawkins, CEO & General Manager of NACWA Member Agency DC Water, discussed his agency’s $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project and updated consent decree. The new plan will green 498 acres of currently impervious surface; create an additional 200 jobs; bring water quality benefits; reduce construction disruption; and, help ease the burden of annual rate increases on residents responsible for funding this massive infrastructure investment. Read on and find out more.




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