Bipartisan Senate Group Reaches Infrastructure Deal with White House
Last week in a major move, the White House and a bipartisan group of 20 senators struck a deal on a $579 Billion bipartisan infrastructure deal that would invest $55 billion in national water programs and another $5 billion in Western water programs. The deal includes only a portion of the President’s American Jobs Plan (AJP). Congressional Democrats are expected to take up much of the remainder of the AJP in a partisan reconciliation package beginning later this summer.
The Senate group and White House have yet to release the details of the bipartisan package. The WateReuse Association will track and provide a breakdown of the deal as soon as further details become available. In response to news of the bipartisan deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated that the House of Representatives would only take up the deal if it is paired with a reconciliation package.
WateReuse is urging Congress to include at least $100 million annually for two priority water recycling grant programs including Title 16 and the Alternative Water Source Grant Program in this infrastructure package. WateReuse members are urged to contact their Congressional Delegation to request their support for including funding for water recycling programs in this infrastructure package. Please contact Greg Fogel for more information.
House of Representatives to Vote on Water Infrastructure Bill, Including Water Recycling Programs and Provisions
In parallel with the effort to reach a deal on direct infrastructure spending, Congress has also been advancing bills to create new water programs, reauthorize existing programs, and make a range of changes to water policy. This week, the House of Representatives will consider water infrastructure legislation that includes H.R. 1915, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021, which WateReuse helped craft. H.R. 1915 includes two WateReuse priorities—reauthorization of the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program at $200 million per year, and the creation of a federal Interagency Working Group on Water Reuse.
The package will also include the Assistance, Quality, and Affordability (AQUA) Act of 2021 (H.R. 3291), which authorizes $53 billion over 10 years for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to provide assistance for states, territories, areas affected by natural disasters, and water systems and schools affected by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or lead. It also requires EPA to promulgate national primary drinking water regulations for PFAS, microcystin toxin, and 1,4-dioxane. For a detailed summary of the package, click here.
Representatives Propose New Water Recycling Program for Large-Scale Projects
The Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Grants Program is currently the only active federal program dedicated to advancing water recycling. While the program has been wildly successful in the West, per project funding is intentionally capped at $20 million in order to increase the number of projects that have access to the program. WateReuse is working to increase this per project cap to $30 million; however, for very large projects, even $30 million may make up just a tiny fraction of the total project cost.
Last week, Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Susie Lee (D-NV) introduced the Large Scale Water Recycling Project Investment Act (H.R. 4099) to authorize grant funding for recycling projects that cost $500 million or more. The bill authorizes Congress to appropriate up to $750 million for the program over a five-year period. WateReuse has been in conversation with the champions of the legislation and will be vetting it with our national policy committee in the coming days.
Senate Committee Debates Western Water Infrastructure Needs, including Water Recycling Needs
Shortly before announcing that a deal had been reached between key senators and the White House on a bipartisan infrastructure package, one member of the Senate group, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), held a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to consider infrastructure investment needs for the West. Senator Manchin, who chairs the Committee, then left the hearing for the White House to announce that a deal had been reached.
The Committee met to consider placeholder legislation, circulated by Senator Manchin, intended to guide the larger infrastructure investment package. The bill includes $5 billion for Western water infrastructure, including the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Grants Program. During the hearing, Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) argued that funding for Title XVI competitive grants and desalination grants through the Bureau of Reclamation must be included in an infrastructure package. The Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Tanya Trujillo, testified at the hearing and agreed that funding for the Title XVI competitive grants program must be increased.
WateReuse will continue to work with the Committee and our champions to secure at least $100 million per year for Title XVI competitive grants in upcoming legislation.
House Oversight Hearing: West Needs Increased Investment in Water Recycling in Face of Mega-Drought
Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing, “Examining the Department of the Interior’s Spending Priorities and the President’s Fiscal Year Budget 2022 Proposal.” During the hearing, Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA) chided the Bureau of Reclamation for excluding the Title XVI water reuse competitive grants program from its FY 2022 budget request. Congresswoman Napolitano noted the hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of applications that are eligible for and currently awaiting funding through the program.
Fortunately, the Administration’s budget request is just the first step in the annual appropriations process. WateReuse is working with congressional appropriators to ensure the funding is indeed appropriated for the program in FY 2022.
WateReuse Submits FY 2022 Appropriations Requests for Water Recycling Investments
Each year, Congress appropriates discretionary funding for a wide range of water programs, including programs that support water recycling projects across the country. WateReuse has been working with Congress to build support for key investments, and last week formally submitted our FY 2022 appropriations requests to the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
WateReuse argued for increased appropriations for national programs such as the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Grants Program and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program, as well as Western water programs such as the Title XVI-WIIN Water Reclamation and Reuse Competitive Grants Program and the Desalination and Water Purification Program.
You can read our Interior-Environment Subcommittee requests here and our Energy and Water Subcommittee requests here.
WRAP Update: New Actions Proposed on Public Health and Decentralized Reuse
National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) action leaders and partners forecasted two new proposed actions for approval after the July Quarterly Update. The first action proposal, led by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and titled “Develop Public Health and Resiliency-focused on Water Reuse Communication Tools,” aims to develop communications materials and an outreach plan for medical and public health professionals regarding the safety of recycled water and the climate resilience benefits of water reuse. The second proposed action, titled “Develop NSF Test Protocol for Deployable Decentralized Graywater Reuse Systems in Military Operations,” would be led by the U.S. Army Public Health Center.
The lifecycle and adoption process for new WRAP actions includes a 30-day comment period following the release of a Quarterly Update. The proposed actions are expected to be included in July’s quarterly update. Please contact Aliza Furneaux (email@example.com) if you would like to provide comments through the WateReuse Association.
Learn more about the WRAP, including the WateReuse’s leadership, EPA WRAP online portal and EPA WRAP Action webpage.
State Updates and Member Profiles
CA: WateReuse California Submits Comments on Draft Direct Potable Reuse Regulations
On June 24, WateReuse California (WRCA) submitted comments on the State Water Resources Control Board’s draft Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) regulations. WRCA developed these comments after holding a webcast and panel discussion in April to review the draft regulations and solicit comments. A DPR Working Group was formed that assisted in the development of the final letter. The coalition letter included signatures from other major California water organizations, including ACWA, CUWA, CA-NV Section of AWWA, and CASA. In 2017, WRCA and California Coastkeepers Alliance co-sponsored AB 574 (Quirk), which requires the Water Board to develop DPR regulations by 2023.
ID: City Council Approves Bond Vote for Recycled Water Infrastructure
The Boise City Council authorized a bond vote to finance upgrades to the city’s water renewal system, including work to add recycled water infrastructure. If voters approve the bond this November, it will help pay for over $1 billion in repairs, replacements, and new capacity to accommodate growth. Public Works Director Steve Burgos said the advisory group the city convened on the plan expressed strong support for recycled water. Read more.
NM: Congresswoman Calls on State and Local Authorities to Incentivize Water Reuse
Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) called on state and local authorities to develop incentives and programs to make it easier to implement water reuse and recycling programs during keynote remarks at the 2021 Next Generation Water Summit earlier this month. More than 70% of New Mexico’s snowpack will be gone by the end of the century, according to Rep. Stansbury. She also emphasized that the federal government must play a role in finding community-based solutions by investing in infrastructure. Read more.
TX: Consortium Created to Study Reuse of Oil and Gas Produced Water
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new bill into law this month, Texas Senate Bill 601, that creates a public-private consortium to promote the reuse of produced water. Texas Tech University will host the Texas Produced Water Consortium and solicit participation and funding from private sector partners. The consortium will publish a report by September 2022 that will include proposed regulatory changes to allow produced water reuse in Texas. Read more.
Member Spotlight: San Elijo named “Plant of the Year”
The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority (SEJPA) received the California Water Environment Association “Plant of the Year” award for its innovative Water Campus. SEJPA uses advanced treatment to produce recycled water for industrial uses and irrigation at golf courses, schools, parks, streets, greenbelts, and the Del Mar Fairgrounds. San Elijo is in the process of completing a $47 million capital improvement program. Read more.
Member Spotlight: IAPMO Continues Discussion of Water Reuse and Plumbing Resiliency
The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) released part 2 of its podcast on plumbing resiliency, drought prevention, and water reuse. The two-part discussion explores the challenges and opportunities that exist to build resilience through onsite and centralized water reuse systems. WateReuse Association Executive Director Patricia Sinicropi was one of the featured panelists. Listen here.
New Research Completed to Support the Development of California DPR Regulations
The Water Research Foundation (WRF) recently released new reports that support the development and implementation of water reuse projects. Defining Potential Chemical Peaks and Management Options (4991) is the fourth of the five research projects managed by WRF to support the California State Water Resources Control Board in developing criteria and guidelines for direct potable reuse. This research evaluated the potential for certain chemicals to persist through advanced water treatment systems and options for the detection of chemical peaks. WRF also released a technical brief for Constituents of Emerging Concern Using a One Water Approach (5036). This research helps the water sector better understand how to monitor, assess, and communicate with customers about constituents of emerging concern (CECs). This project produced a technical brief, three fact sheets, and a StoryMap. Both reports are available for download once a free account is created on the WRF website.
Member Resources and Benefits
Visit the WateReuse Webcast Library for On-Demand Technical Education
Did you miss a WateReuse webcast you really wanted to see? Or are you looking for information to support your water recycling program? The WateReuse Webcast Library is available exclusively to members and includes over 100 presentations that you can watch on demand with a member login. WateReuse presents webcasts on water recycling technology, operations, research, and policy issues and archives them for member use. Visit the WateReuse Webcast Library to make your selection.
Interactive Map on State Water Reuse Policies and Regulations
Do you need information about water reuse policies and regulations from across the United States? Visit the state policy map on our website to find summaries of the regulatory landscape in key states, as well as links to specific polices and regulations. Clicking on a particular state opens a pop-up window with detailed information about the state. WateReuse invites members to help us fill in gaps in knowledge using the comment box provided on the page. The map will be updated periodically as new information is received and/or states update their regulations. View the state policy map here.
Conferences, Webcasts and Events
Building a Resilient Future Together: Register for the 2021 WateReuse California Annual Conference
Registration is open for the 2021 WateReuse California Annual Conference and there are two ways to participate! Participate in-person September 19-21 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angles or join virtually from the comfort of your office. In-person registration includes access to the on-demand, virtual content. The program will include 48 technical sessions, seven panel presentations, two tours, and many networking opportunities. For those who do not wish to attend in person, all major sessions will be simulcast, and technical sessions will be available on the virtual conference platform. Learn more and register.
WRAP Webcast: Advancing Water Reuse in Small and Disadvantaged Communities
June 29 2021
10 am PT | 1 pm ET (1.5 hours)
The second of two identical outreach and listening sessions will introduce water recycling opportunities available for small communities. Whether you are currently involved in water reuse or are interested in exploring reuse opportunities, this webcast will provide useful resources and information. Register here.
WRAP Webcast: Multi-Agency Water Reuse Programs: Insights in Interagency Collaboration
July 7, 2021
11 am PT | 2 pm ET (1 hour)
Join our panel of experts for a lively discussion of lessons learned through a year-long effort to interview and document the work it takes to bring multi-agency water reuse projects to fruition. The webcast will cover the lessons learned by key regional projects and share insight on governance, regulations, economic and financial barriers, technical and operational issues and leadership. Register here.
Webcast: Discussion on Desalination – Treatments, Research, and the Future
August 11, 2021
11 am PT | 2 pm ET (1 hour)
In this webcast, a panel of experts from the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) and CalDesal will discuss the state of desalination in the United States. The panel will explore current practices, technologies, treatments, on-going research, and the future role of desalination in the resiliency of the country’s water supply. You will also learn about NAWI’s research and development roadmap series on desalination and treatment of nontraditional source waters. Register here.
Save the Date: 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium in San Antonio, Texas
ark your calendar for the 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium to be held March 5-9, 2022 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas. The 2022 Symposium will be our first national conference with an in-person component since 2019! This is a not-to-be missed opportunity to learn about the latest trends in water recycling and network with colleagues in person.
Stakeholder meeting for pending changes to TCEQ Chapter 217 relating to reclaimed wastewater collection systems. View the advocacy updates article for more details, or visit the Wastewater System Design Criteria Stakeholder Group for the proposed changes and future meeting announcements.
Friday, June 9, 2023
11:00 am to 2:00 pm ET (Remote)
More info TBD