Member Pipeline - Clean Water Current - July 20, 2007
July 20, 2007
Chris Westhoff Elected 2007-2008 NACWA President at Board Meeting in Cleveland
The NACWA Board of Directors elected Chris Westhoff, assistant city attorney and public works general counsel for the city of Los Angeles, as the Association’s president for 2007-2008 at its meeting during the 2007 summer conference, Sustainable Infrastructure … Gray, Green and Everything in Between in Cleveland. Marian Orfeo, director of planning and coordination for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, was elected to be NACWA vice president. The other officers elected by NACWA’s Board are Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, as treasurer and Jeff Theerman, executive director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, as secretary.
NACWA Conference on Green Infrastructure Gets Enthusiastic Response
NACWA’s 2007 summer conference, Sustainable Infrastructure … Gray, Green and Everything in Between, revealed the enthusiasm public agencies have for innovative and green solutions to address wet weather concerns. In numerous presentations, NACWA member agencies demonstrated their leadership and willingness to bolster traditional pollution controls with natural treatment options that capture rainwater for beneficial uses rather than allowing it to run off into local sewer systems. As one panelist noted, stormwater should be viewed as a resource rather than a waste product.
While green infrastructure measures, such as porous pavement, constructed wetlands, green roofs, and other technologies that take advantage of nature’s treatment systems, provide clean water benefits and can save money, they should not be viewed as substitutes for traditional gray controls of pipes and treatment plants. Green infrastructure is not only gaining greater acceptance among clean water agencies, but generates enthusiasm among the public as well. “The public loves this stuff,” one panelist said. “Our profession gets excited about it as well.” One of the challenges associated with the use of green infrastructure is how to quantify its benefits. Several panelists pointed to the need for more research into gauging benefits of green infrastructure technologies. This would help public agency members get credit for their activities when negotiating permit provisions and consent agreements with regulatory authorities. NACWA thanks all the participants for making this conference a success. Presentations from NACWA’s summer conference will be posted Monday on the Association’s Conferences and Meetings website (http://www.nacwa.org/meetings/materials.cfm).
NACWA Files Comments Raising Concerns about Science Panel’s Hypoxia Report
NACWA raised several concerns about a draft report released by EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) regarding hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico in comments filed today. The draft report of the SAB’s Hypoxia Advisory Panel relies too much on point source controls and recommends that wastewater treatment plants meet the limits of technology for nutrient controls. The report, however, “fails to reasonably justify those recommendations relative to the cost and benefit of other available options,” NACWA’s comments said. “The Panel’s report contains only very limited information on the cost of possible point source controls.”
NACWA sent out a Regulatory Alert 07-04 (http://www.nacwa.org/private/regalerts/ra07-04.cfm) July 11 seeking member comment, and the draft report was also discussed by several NACWA committees during the Association’s 2007 summer conference in Cleveland. Text of the comments will be posted on NACWA’s website (http://www.nacwa.org/advocacy/releases.cfm#cmt) on Monday.
House Agriculture Committee Approves 2007 Farm Bill Reauthorization Bill
The House Agriculture Committee approved a five-year, $250 billion Farm Bill (H.R. 2419) that would increase conservation funding, including money aimed at improving water quality. NACWA has worked hard with other organizations in the water sector and with conservation groups to ensure water quality protections were part of the massive Farm Bill. The committee approved the creation of the Regional Water Enhancement Program (RWEP), which authorizes $60 million per year from 2008-2012 for cooperative agreements between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and agriculture producers and other entities including local government units, to improve regional water quality or quantity in priority areas, including but not limited to the Chesapeake Bay, Klamath, Everglades, and Upper Mississippi River Basin. The bill also would provide $150 million for river restoration projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and $200 million to create a baseline for the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program. NACWA and other water sector groups will seek to expand the scope of the program to other watersheds. The full House is expected to take up the bill by the end of the month. The Farm Bill was a focus of the Legislative Policy Committee at NACWA’s summer conference, and the Association continue to work with key congressional staff to ensure water quality protections remain a key priority in the 2007 Farm Bill.