May 14, 2018
Senate Unveils Water Resources Development Act of 2018
On May 8, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee introduced its 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) reauthorization bill, the America’s Water infrastructure Act of 2018,
and followed with a hearing
the next day. WRDA is biennial legislation that authorizes flood control and environmental restoration projects undertaken by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and, in recent years, has served as a vehicle for broader water policy provisions. The WateReuse Association is advocating for the inclusion of a “Local Planning Enhancement and Watershed Integration
” provision in WRDA legislation that would direct USACE to coordinate with communities to support local stormwater management goals, such as water reuse or aquifer recharge where feasible. This proposal has the support of eight water sector groups.
Although the proposed language was not included in the Senate’s introduced package, WateReuse is working to have the language incorporated into an amended package when the Committee takes action on the measure in the coming weeks. The House WRDA bill has yet to be introduced and WateReuse is also advocating for the inclusion of this provision in this bill. Both the Senate and House are on schedule to pass its respective WRDA bills out of committee by the end of the month.
There are several provisions in the Senate WRDA bill of interest for WateReuse members:
- 5002. Extends the authorization of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act at $100 million into fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
- 5006. Codifies integrated planning, encourages the use of green infrastructure, and directs EPA to adopt new affordability criteria. This language is from S. 692, which passed as a standalone bill in the Senate last year.
- 5007. Provides $9 million per year for fiscal years 2019 to 2021 for research for water and water resources technology and innovation, including nonstructural alternatives and decentralized approaches.
- 5009. Encourages the consideration of onsite, decentralized wastewater treatment and recycling systems. The section
- states that decentralized systems can be an affordable option for many,
- requires EPA to disseminate information on the cost-effectiveness of decentralized treatment and recycling to local governments and technical assistance programs,
- requires small community recipients of federal financing assistance—including SRFs, WIFIA, and USDA programs—to have considered onsite/decentralized options, and
- requires EPA to submit reports that describe how much SRF money went to decentralized recycling technology, as well as the barriers, cost-saving potential, environmental benefits, and more.
- 5010. Establishes an EPA competitive grant program to encourage and promote innovative programs for workforce development in the water utility sector.
A more detailed section-by-section summary of the Senate bill and the full text are also available. WateReuse will continue to closely track developments in WRDA.
WateReuse Joins Letter Supporting Bill Reinstating Advance Refunding
WateReuse joined a letter
supporting H.R. 5003
, a bill that would reinstate tax-exempt advance refunding, which was eliminated in the tax reform bill passed at the end of last year. Advance refunding is an important cost-saving tool that allows utilities to take advantage of reductions in interest rates to benefit communities and ratepayers. In fact, between 2012 and 2017, states and localities advance refunded over 1000 tax-exempt municipal bonds that paid for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements, saving communities and ratepayers at least $1.61 billion. The letter is signed by a broad coalition of public sector groups encouraging representatives to co-sponsor the bill led by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL).
WateReuse Supports Water Infrastructure Resiliency Bill
Reps. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Tom Reed (R-NY) introduced H.R. 5596
, the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act of 2018.
This bill establishes an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant program for communities to improve the resiliency and adaptability of water-related infrastructure to withstand changes in hydrologic conditions. Grants will fund projects that conserve water or increase efficiency in its use, preserve or improve water quality, rebuild or relocate threatened infrastructure, protect source waters and ecosystems, and implement advanced treatment technologies such as water reuse and recycling. The grant program would be authorized from fiscal years 2018-2022 with $50 million authorized each year.
WateReuse joined several other water sector groups in a letter to express support for this bill. Although similar bills have been introduced in the past, this is the first year this bill has been introduced as a bipartisan effort.
Reclamation Launches Competition Seeking Improved Pathogen Removal Methods for Water Reuse
The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) launched its Pathogen Monitoring Challenge
, a new prize competition seeking improved methods to sample and monitor for pathogens, specifically viruses, to advance water reuse. This is stage one of a planned two-stage challenge. For this stage, Reclamation is seeking idea submissions with detailed descriptions, specifications, supporting data or literature, and requirements necessary to bring the idea closer to becoming a product. Up to five prizes may be awarded for a total prize award pool of $80,000. Deadline for submissions is August 8, 2018. Submissions may be entered here
Stage two of this challenge will be contingent on the success of stage one. Stage two will require a submission of a working prototype of the proposed technology. Potential applicants do not have to participate in stage one in order to compete in stage two. There will be a larger prize for stage two.
EPA List of Planned Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions Released, Includes WOTUS Rule
The Administration released its 2018 Spring Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions
, which reports on the actions administrative agencies plan to issue in the near and long term. Included in the list for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the two-step process to revise the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.
Consistent with the President’s February 2017 Executive Order and the schedule Administrator Pruitt has outlined, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers expect to deliver a proposed “step two” rule that would revise the definition of “waters of the United States” to the Office of Management and Budget soon. The proposal will be issued for public comment after the interagency review process is complete. The estimated date for a notice of proposed rulemaking is August 2018 with a final rule estimated for August 2019.
EPA Announces New Study on Oil and Gas Wastewater Management, include Onsite Reuse
On May 2, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Final 2016 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan
, which included plans for three new studies. One study
will take a holistic look at how oil and gas wastewater is managed and regulated. Large volumes of wastewater are generated in the oil and gas industry and currently the majority of this wastewater is disposed of through underground injection and some onsite reuse. A 2016 EPA rule
prohibits the discharge of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) wastewater to publicly owned treatment works (POTW). However, there are some POTWs that have the capacity and technology to properly treat UOG wastewater for beneficial reuse. WateReuse was approached by the UOG sector earlier this year to discuss this issue. EPA will also conduct studies examining pollution discharged from industrial sources.
EPA Seeking Nominations for National Drinking Water Advisory Council
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking nominations
of qualified candidates to be considered for a three-year appointment to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council. The 15-member council was established by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to provide practical and independent advice, consultation, and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on the activities, functions, policies, and regulations required by the SDWA. This notice solicits nominations to fill four vacancies from August 2018 through December 2020 and five vacancies from December 2018 through December 2021. Nominations are due May 31, 2018.
Department of Energy Examining Use of Competitions to Address Critical Water Issues
The Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking feedback
on key barriers that may prevent long-term access to low-cost water supplies that could be best addressed through challenges and prize competitions. This Request for Information (RFI) was first released in conjunction with a roundtable discussion
led by Energy Secretary Rick Perry on the use of federal prizes and challenges to drive innovation, particularly when it comes to critical water issues. DOE may use the information provided through this RFI to develop challenges and prize competitions to address these key water issues. DOE’s main role in water issues is focused on the energy-water nexus, a term to describe the interconnected nature of energy and water systems. Comments are due electronically by 5 p.m. EDT on May 14, 2018.
Washington Calendar for Key Water Reuse-related Programs
State Updates and Member Profiles
Welcome New Members!
The WateReuse Association welcomes the following new members:
California: WateReuse California Submits Comments on Intended Use Plan for CWSRF
WateReuse California submitted comments last Wednesday to the State Water Resources Control Board on its draft Intended Use Plan (IUP) for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), a major source of funding for recycled water projects in California. The draft IUP proposes a number of significant changes that respond to the unprecedented interest in the CWSRF. In its letter, WateReuse California recommended the creation of an annual list of applications eligible for funding to create certainty for agencies in their planning. The section also offered support for partial funding, reimbursing constructions costs, removing prioritization from regional boards, and developing a tri-annual report on CWSRF performance.
California: Santa Monica to Capture and Recycle Stormwater Runoff
The City of Santa Monica is nearing completion of the second project in series aimed at transforming rain runoff into a recyclable resource. Downtown Santa Monica runoff that has been funneled to the Bay will be diverted and captured in a newly installed 1.6 million gallon water tank. Beginning in August, the captured water will be piped to a nearby facility for treatment, and then the recycled water will be used for irrigation, flushing toilets, or to recharge groundwater supplies. Read More.
California: Survey Shows Strong Public Support for Recycled Water
Eighty-seven percent of Californians are willing to use recycled water in their daily lives, according to a survey released April 30 by WateReuse Association member Xylem. The survey also found that Californians across the political spectrum support using recycled water as an additional local water supply, regardless of water shortages. More than 90 percent believe it is important to adopt solutions to safeguard the water supply, including expanding the availability of recycled water. Read More.
California: Long Beach Selects Technology to Treat and Reuse Stormwater
The City of Long Beach recently awarded a $4.41 million contract to Purifics Water to purchase purification equipment to treat stormwater for recycling and reuse. The recycled water will be used to irrigate parks and sustain a wetlands habitat. The stormwater reuse project is part of a larger venture called the Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater Treatment Project. Read More.
California: Pajaro Valley Celebrates Upgrades to Recycling Plant for Farmers
WateReuse Association member the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency on May 3 celebrated $5 million worth of upgrades to a water recycling plant that provides water to the local agricultural industry. The upgrades included a 1.5 million gallon storage tank, the installation of new pumps, and energy efficiency improvements. As a result of the upgrades, growers no longer need to schedule access to the irrigation water. Read More.
Colorado: New Laws Allow Toilet Flushing and Crop Irrigation with Recycled Water
Two water reuse bills that recently passed the Colorado legislature have become law in different ways. On April 30, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Colorado House Bill 1069, which allows reclaimed water to be used for toilet flushing. The governor announced, however, that he would allow Colorado House Bill 1093 to become law without his signature. HB 1093 allows the use of reclaimed water to irrigate food crops. Read More.
Florida: State Celebrates Water Reuse Week
May 13-19, 2018 is Florida Water Reuse Week! WateReuse Florida issued a proclamation in March announcing the week-long celebration. Water management districts and utilities across the state are participating, including the South Florida Water Management District, St. Johns River Water Management District, and Southwest Florida Water Management District. WateReuse Florida also will host a water reuse spring workshop on Tuesday, May 15.
2018 Awards for Excellence in Water Reuse: Nominations Due June 27
The WateReuse Association is accepting nominations for the 2018 Awards for Excellence in Water Reuse through Wednesday, June 27. The WateReuse Awards for Excellence celebrate communities, businesses, public-private partnerships, non-profit organizations and individuals that are making significant contributions toward advancing the adoption of water reuse in their community or elsewhere. The award categories have been modernized to showcase and celebrate the wide range of innovative ways in which water reuse is being deployed across the country, and the individuals and organizations leading these efforts. Learn More.
Conferences and Events
WateReuse Florida Hosting Spring Workshop in Tampa
Join WateReuse Florida in celebrating Reuse Week in Florida with the Every Drop has Value Spring Workshop. This year’s event includes a tour of the City of Tampa’s David L. Tippin Water Treatment Plant at 8:30 a.m. A series of technical presentations and panel sessions begin at 10 a.m. Lunch and refreshments are included in the cost of registration. Learn More and Register.
Registration Opens This Week for the 33rd Annual WateReuse Symposium
Learn “What’s Working, What’s New, and What’s Next in Water Reuse” at the 33rd Annual WateReuse Symposium, September 9-12, 2018, at the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas. The Annual WateReuse Symposium is the nation’s premier conference on water reuse and the only conference dedicated solely to advancing the policy, technology, innovation and public acceptance of recycled water. Registration opens in May! Learn More.
WateReuse to Exhibit at ACE18
The WateReuse Association will host an exhibit booth at ACE18, the Annual Conference & Exposition of the American Water Works Association, on June 12-14 at the Mandalay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. ACE18 is set to inspire and connect the water sector with innovative solutions and new insights to help solve global water challenges. Register for the conference by May 24 for the best rates. Learn More.
WateReuse Executive Director Participates in Two Events
WateReuse Association Executive Director Pat Sinicropi participated in two events last week, contributing to the growing water reuse discussion among water professionals across the nation. Sinicropi moderated a session on Improving Reuse Practices and Communication at the 2018 Water Research Foundation Conference, held May 6-8 in Atlanta, Georgia. The association was also a Supporting Organization for the conference. Sinicropi also presented on Opportunities and Challenges in Water Reuse at the 2018 Chesapeake Water Environment Association/American Water Works Association Spring Meeting in Chevy Chase, Maryland on May 10.
The Annual WateReuse Symposium is the premier conference on water recycling — attracting more than 800 water professionals globally for knowledge-sharing, networking, and intriguing discussions! The event is planned in collaboration with The Water Research Foundation and will include engaging sessions on the latest reuse-related research projects.
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