House Announces Leadership for Committees with Key Roles in Water Reuse Policy and Funding
WateReuse Members Profiled in EPA Water Workforce Compendium
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is showcasing the successes of several WateReuse Association members in recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce to manage water reuse, wastewater, and drinking water programs. As a key element of its Water Workforce Initiative, EPA developed a compendium of case studies describing how nine utilities across the country are taking innovative steps to implement workforce programs. The new report, Making Water a Career Choice: A Compendium of Case Studies from Across the Country, highlights efforts on workforce recruitment, retention, competency, and community partnerships.
Utilities profiled in the compendium include WateReuse members Moulton Niguel Water District, AlexRenew, and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. WateReuse is a partner in EPA’s Water Workforce Initiative along with several other national water organizations. Read the case studies report here.
Bureau of Reclamation Points to WateReuse Member Projects to Highlight Value of Federal Investment in Water Recycling
In a new report, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation informed Congress that investment in water recycling is reducing the risk to water supplies in the West. Every 5 years, Reclamation submits a report to Congress under the SECURE Water Act that analyzes projected risks to water supplies in the West using the best available science and highlights collaborative efforts to mitigate those risks. In its report to Congress, Water Reliability in the West: 2021 SECURE Water Act, Reclamation highlights the success of Title XVI projects at El Paso Water Utilities and Pure Water Monterey. The report lists the 749 WaterSmart projects since 2016. Read more.
WateReuse and NACWA Joint Comments Included in Finalized Maui Guidance
The U.S. EPA’s guidance memorandum “Applying the Supreme Court’s County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program” was quickly finalized before inauguration. The final guidance includes language submitted jointly by the WateReuse Association and NACWA acknowledging stormwater controls, green infrastructure, water reuse and recycling, and groundwater recharge are less likely to trigger a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the functionally equivalent test described in a U.S. Supreme Court decision. WateReuse will continue to track the guidance as it becomes clear what the Biden Administration’s next steps will be.
New EPA Grant Program Can Help Utilities Build the Recycled Water Workforce of the Future
Last week, the U.S. EPA released a Request for Applications for the Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grant Program. Applications will be accepted through March 26, 2021. Grants are between $200,000 and $500,000 for efforts aimed at innovative career development opportunities in the drinking water, wastewater, and water recycling utility sectors. Read more.
Bureau of Reclamation Funds nearly $1.2 Million in Desalination Research
The Bureau of Reclamation announced nearly $1.2 million in funding for eight projects across Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas through the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program. The projects were selected for demonstrating a potential to increase water supply while decreasing cost, energy consumption, and additional environmental impacts. Funding recipients include GHD, National Water Research Institute, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Noria Water Technologies, Inc., Texas State University, University of Arizona, and the University of New Mexico. Read more.
State Updates and Member Profiles
Welcome New Members!
The WateReuse Association welcomes the following new members:
Member Spotlight: El Paso Water Receives $4.5 Million to Expand Aquifer Storage and Recharge
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced last week that El Paso Water will receive a $4.5 million grant to expand its aquifer recharge project, which currently injects up to 3 million of gallons of recycled water into the Hueco Balson aquifer daily to slow the decline of aquifer levels. The expansion plan will use a combination of recycled water, treated river water, and stormwater to recharge the aquifer. The Texas Military Commission provided the grant funding to support water resiliency for El Paso’s Fort Bliss. Read more.
Member Spotlight: Hillsborough County’s Bart Weiss Explains the Value of Engaging with Medical Professionals to Support Potable Reuse
Why is it that doctors are only focused on 40% of the human body? According to Bart Weiss, Chief Officer for Innovation and Resiliency at Hillsborough County Public Utilities in Florida, it is because medical professionals are not experts on what makes up the other 60% of the human body: water. In a recent LinkedIn article, Weiss discusses research that indicates that the public trusts medical professionals to tell them what water is safe to drink. As a result, the water recycling industry is taking a leadership role in engaging and educating public health and medical professionals on the safety of drinking water. Read more.
California: High School Researcher Discovers Low-Tech Way to Recycle Water
Shreya Ramachandran, a high school senior, teamed up with the University of California, Berkley to research alternative soap products to allow for more effective gray water recycling. Ramachandran’s efforts centered on her family’s use of soap nuts and a desire to conserve water. The research found graywater produced from the use of soap nuts and several organic detergents in a home could be safely reused for non-potable uses. She has earned several awards and established her own non-profit called The Grey Water Project aimed at educating the public on water reuse practices. Read more.
Texas: State Water Development Board Receives $72 Million to Support Water Infrastructure, Including Water Reuse
The U.S. EPA awarded the Texas State Water Development Board $72.6 million to provide low-interest loans for water recycling and other clean water projects under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The loans address water quality infrastructure projects that manage wastewater systems, nonpoint source pollution, or projects to improve water reuse or efficiency. Under the CWSRF, EPA provides grants to all 50 states plus Puerto Rico to capitalize state CWSRF loan programs, and states contribute an additional 20 percent to match the federal grants. Read more.
Member Resources and Benefits
Now Available! New Activity Booklet Provides Water Reuse Education for Late Elementary and Early Middle School Students
The Project WET Foundation and the WateReuse Association announce the release of a new Water Reuse booklet that introduces students to the world of water reuse with fun activities that develop math and science skills. Students will learn about the urban water cycle, the treatment processes that make water safe to use again, and much more! The booklet was produced with the support of the Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Texas WateReuse State Sections. Check out the booklet highlights in this short video.
The booklet is available on the Project WET store. WateReuse members interested in ordering 250 copies or more through March 20 will receive a 20% discount using the coupon code: WATEREUSE.
Conferences, Webcasts and Events
Webcast: Stormwater Capture Drivers, Impediments, and Future Visions
February 3, 2021
11 am PT | 2 pm ET
Join a group of stormwater management leaders from around the US to discuss stormwater capture motivations and drivers, barriers to progress, and future directions. The audience will learn about opportunities to market and advance stormwater capture. Register here.
Webcast: Communicating about Potable Reuse and Public Health –Tools for Success
February 17, 2021
11 am PT | 2 pm ET
This webcast will describe methods to communicate with stakeholders – including healthcare providers – regarding the human health safeguards associated with potable reuse implementation. Register here.
11 am PT | 2 pm ET (1 hour)
WateReuse Members: Free; Others: $49
The Four Corners region includes the arid western states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. These four states have several common challenges to providing reliable water supplies including: rapid population growth, severe long term drought conditions, and dwindling or overallocated natural water sources. Indirect potable reuse is currently being practiced in these states, often through managed groundwater replenishment or incidental means. Is engineered potable reuse the next step to building safe, reliable, and resilient water resource portfolios?
While water utilities in the Four Corners states are taking steps toward direct potable reuse (DPR), each of these states face different implementation challenges. This panel discussion delves into the progress and issues regarding DPR in the region.
- Brian Biesemeyer CITY OF SCOTTSDALE, AZ
- Robert Fowlie REPRESENTING THE VILLAGE OF CLOUDCROFT, NM
- Steve Gallegos CITY OF RIO RANCHO, NM
- Raymond Garrison CITY OF SOUTH JORDAN, UT
- Tyson Ingles CO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
- Sarah Page UTAH DIVISION OF DRINKING WATER
- Austa Parker BROWN AND CALDWELL
- Javier Setovich CITY OF GOODYEAR, AZ
- Katie Vanyo BROWN AND CALDWELL
- Matt Benak, TOWN OF CASTLE ROCK, CO
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11 am ET | 8 am PT (1 hour)
WateReuse Members and Florida Water Reuse Week Registrants: Free; Others: $49
Registrants for Florida Water Reuse Week will receive a discount code for free webcast registration
Florida reuses 34 percent of its wastewater compared to the national average of about 7 percent. A recent statewide survey showed that 75 percent of Floridians are familiar with the concept of using reclaimed water for irrigation, industrial uses, and other non-drinking purposes. However, as the state is undergoing record-setting growth and rulemaking for direct potable reuse, additional education and outreach is needed to gain public acceptance. Water professionals and utilities from across the state are working collaboratively through WateReuse Florida to develop and implement consistent messaging on how reuse will safely supply Florida’s future. As Florida celebrates Water Reuse Week May 15-21, join us to hear about the latest education and outreach efforts happening to support traditional and potable reuse at the local and state level.
- Robyn Felix, Communications & Board Services Bureau Chief, Southwest Florida Water Management District
- Tamara Richardson, P.E., Director of Polk County Utilities
Shea Dunifon, Education Coordinator, Pinellas County Utilities, Florida
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