Member Pipeline - Clean Water Current - April 27, 2007
April 27, 2007
NACWA Voices Concerns about EPA Report on Climate Change Impacts on POTWs
NACWA submitted comments (http://www.nacwa.org/getfile.cfm?fn=2007-04-27ord.pdf) today outlining several concerns and recommending changes to two draft screening assessments released by the EPA Office of Research and Development on the potential impacts of climate change on water quality. The reports, A Screening Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Mitigation in the Great Lakes and New England Regions (CSO Report) and A Screening Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Costs of Implementing Water Quality-Based Effluent Limits at Publicly-Owned Treatment Works in the Great Lakes Region (WQBEL Report), highlight two of the many potential impacts global climate change may have on the water environment. NACWA commented that both reports should be revised to better characterize the speculative nature of the analyses. Moreover, some of the analyses contained conflicting results.
Acknowledging the importance of considering how climate change may impact the water sector, the comments added that “suggesting that communities need to provide margins of safety in their CSO projects or make other operational changes now to account for possible future climate change, is premature given the acknowledged uncertainty in these analyses and the underlying climate models used to conduct them.” The comments also urged EPA to make sure its analyses of potential impacts are scientifically based, noting that “the nation’s clean water agencies are already facing what often seem to be insurmountable challenges in meeting the current regulatory and financial demands of managing wastewater today.”
Sold-Out CSO Workshop Continues Tradition of Informative Panels
The fifth annual Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Workshop, put on this week in Chicago by NACWA and the Wet Weather Partnership, was a huge success and opened with a panel of utility directors from several communities with mature CSO programs. Among the key outcome from the Workshop is the recognition that quality CSO projects take time, and solutions to CSO challenges must be affordable and produce value.
Also at the Workshop, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) announced their plans to release guidance this summer addressing when utilities that experience overflows during wet weather would be considered in “significant noncompliance” with the Clean Water Act. In November 2006, NACWA submitted comments (http://www.nacwa.org/getfile.cfm?fn=2006-11-13epaltr.pdf) on a June 2006 draft of the guidance stating that the issues would be better addressed in a formal rulemaking for sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). Additional panels at the CSO Workshop addressed public participation, green infrastructure, affordability, enforcement, and long-term control plan trends, as well as funding and legislation in the 110th Congress for water infrastructure. PowerPoint presentations from the Workshop will be available on NACWA’s website soon.
NACWA, Water Sector Representatives Discuss Farm Bill Proposals with OMB
NACWA and representatives from several other water sector organizations met with White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials this week to gather more information about the Bush administration’s position on conservation funding for the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization. Of significant interest to the Association and others is the administration’s proposal to create a Regional Water Enhancement Program (RWEP) that would be funded at about $175 million annually. RWEP would be designed to encourage multiple landowners within a watershed to work with other stakeholder groups, which could include municipalities and/or water districts, to come up with a project for improving the water quality of a particular waterway. While the program is still being thought out, the White House envisions that a good use for these funds may be a water body for which a total maximum daily load (TMDL) has been developed. Another highlight of RWEP is the inclusion of performance measures that must be met in order for the project to qualify for future funds. NACWA will continue to meet with partners in the municipal and conservation sectors on strategies to ensure that the new Farm Bill contains significant funding to help the nation’s farmers provide strong protections for waterways impacted by their activity.
NACWA Participates in EPA Planning Meeting on Green Infrastructure
NACWA participated in a meeting April 25 with EPA staff to plan strategy for further development and implementation of green infrastructure techniques. The meeting served as a follow-up to the Statement of Intent on Green Infrastructure signed April 19 by NACWA, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, and other stakeholders and represents the first step in implementing the goals outlined in the Statement. Other signatories to the Statement, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Low Impact Development (LID) Center, also attended the meeting. The groups focused on identifying the key components of a green infrastructure strategy and the organizations that have the appropriate resources to help implement those components. NACWA will be actively engaged in this process and will help move this process forward. Additional meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks on this topic, and NACWA will provide updates on any developments. These efforts will also be featured at NACWA’s summer conference, Sustainable Infrastructure Choices . . .Gray, Green, and Everything in Between, July 17-20 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Water & Wastewater Leadership Center Alumni Program Applications Now Available
Applications are being accepted for graduates of the Water & Wastewater Leadership Center to attend an alumni session designed especially for them. The 2007 alumni program will be held Sept. 23-26, 2007, at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill at the Kenan Flagler Business School for graduates of the Class of 2006 and prior years and will entail advanced executive training. Students will have the opportunity to reconnect with classmates and faculty during this 2 ½ day leadership experience. They will sharpen their professional skills with accelerated course work, high caliber networking and a further defined leadership assessment. The deadline for applications is Aug. 24, 2007. The Alumni Session application and further information on this program are currently available at http://www.nacwa.org/meetings/leader/. Please contact Kelly Brocato, Water & Wastewater Leadership Center Program Manger, for more information at email@example.com or 202/833-1449.
Still One Week to Register for Clean Water Policy Forum, Join Top Officials in D.C.!
There is still time to register online (http://www.nacwa.org/meetings/07may/) for the NACWA/Water Environment Federation (WEF) National Clean Water Policy Forum, May 6-8, at the Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C. Walk-in registrations are also welcome! This year’s Policy Forum has an unmatched roster of speakers, including Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), the architect of the Water Quality Investment Act of 2007 (H.R. 569), which would provide $1.7 billion in grants for sewer overflow control projects. Also participating will be EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), ranking member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Additionally, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), member of the House Ways and Means Committee and a clean water champion, will speak at the Clean Water Utility Executives Summit March 7. The Summit will gather top utility officials from around the country to examine the past, present, and future of the water sector. NACWA encourages you to join us for this must-attend event. Fully updated registration and agenda information is available online at http://www.nacwa.org/meetings/07may/.