May 21, 2018
Registration Opens for 33rd Annual WateReuse Symposium
Join us for the 33rd Annual WateReuse Symposium
in Austin, Texas, on September 9 – 12, 2018 to learn “What’s Working, What’s New, and What’s Next in Water Reuse.” This year’s program showcases the latest success stories in water recycling, shares exciting new ways in which communities and industries are adopting water reuse strategies, and discusses emerging innovations that will drive greater implementation and acceptance of water reuse in coming years. “Big picture” plenary sessions will examine federal and state policy, emerging trends, and new opportunities for water reuse around the country. The comprehensive technical program captures what’s happening around the nation in water reuse — from technology and operations to policy and communications, the program provides a robust, relevant and well-rounded knowledge sharing experience. Register today to take advantage of Early Bird rates!
Key House Appropriations Subcommittees Propose Increases for Investment in Water
Two House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittees are supporting increased funding for key water reuse infrastructure financing programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The House Interior & Environment
and Energy & Water
Appropriations Subcommittees reported out their FY19 spending packages last week with both subcommittees calling for higher funding levels for the State Revolving Funds (SRF), Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, and the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program.
Under their proposals, the Clean Water SRF would receive $1.54 billion and the Drinking Water SRF receives $1.13 billion. Although these levels are $150 million lower than enacted FY18 levels for each of these programs, they represent continued increased investment over FY17 levels.
WIFIA receives a significant boost in funding at $70 million for FY19, an increase of $13 million over FY18 levels.
Under the Subcommittee package, Title XVI would also see a marked increase in program funding with $65 million targeted for FY19 including $20 million set aside for projects authorized through the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act competitive grant program. This is a $10 million increase in funding from FY18 and a $30 million increase from FY17.
In addition to these strong program funding levels, the House Interior-Environment bill includes a policy rider that would repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States Rule.
WateReuse is very pleased to see such robust funding levels in the House appropriations bills and anticipates that the Senate will follow suit and potentially allocate even higher levels. The Association submitted FY19 appropriations request letters for all of these programs and will continue to advocate for high funding levels throughout the appropriations process.
WateReuse Association Advances Legislative Proposal on Stormwater Capture and Reuse in House and Senate WRDA Bills
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Friday introduced its bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018,
including a legislative proposal advocated by the WateReuse Association that strengthens the links between flood control projects directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and local stormwater management projects seeking to capture and reuse stormwater. Section 109, titled “Local Planning Enhancement and Watershed Integration” would require the USACE to coordinate with communities to support local stormwater management goals, such as water reuse or aquifer recharge where feasible.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee also released its proposed WRDA legislative package and included language encouraging greater coordination between the USACE and local stormwater management programs to accomplish similar objectives (Section 1042). The WateReuse Association is leading a coalition of water associations in support of this legislative proposal and is pleased that the House and Senate WRDA packages include language to advance it. Key House and Senate Congressional supporters for this legislative proposal include Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) in the House; and, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and John Boozman (R-AR) in the Senate.
While the House and Senate proposals differ from each other with respect to specific legislative language, the WateReuse Association and its coalition partners will be working with its Congressional supporters to reconcile the language during House and Senate conference negotiations, should the package advance to this point later this year. WRDA is biennial legislation that authorizes flood control and environmental restoration projects undertaken by the USACE and, in recent years, has served as a vehicle for broader water policy provisions.
Senate WRDA Package Includes Additional Significant Water Reuse Related Proposals
The Senate proposed WRDA package released Friday includes additional provisions that encourage and support the adoption of water recycling and reuse by both communities and industry which, if adopted, would help advance the movement toward water recycling nationally. Section 5014, entitled “Sense of Senate Relating to Access to Nonpotable Water” is a resolution stating that access to nonpotable water sources can relieve supply and demand challenges in water stressed regions and encourages water users to continue implementing and incentivizing nonpotable water reuse programs that will achieve greater water savings and conservation. Should this language pass, it will put Congress on record as supporting nonpotable water reuse for industrial supply needs.
Section 5016 would enact the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act and provide $25 million over two years for investments in water recycling and other measures that increase community resiliency to confront climate change. Finally, Section 5009, titled “National Onsite Wastewater Recycling,” would put Congress on record as supporting decentralized water recycling systems as an affordable wastewater treatment alternative for communities with the technical capacity to adopt them, require the EPA to disseminate information about decentralized wastewater recycling to programs providing technical assistance to local communities, and require small communities serving populations under 2,500 to assess the feasibility of adopting decentralized wastewater recycling in order to access federal financing through key water infrastructure investment programs including the Clean Water SRF, WIFIA, and the USDA rural water loan program. Finally, this provision would require the EPA to report to Congress every three years regarding the adoption rates of decentralized wastewater systems by communities.
Senate WRDA Proposes Permanent and Expanded WIFIA Program
The Senate WRDA package includes language to permanently authorize the Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovations Act (WIFIA) program and enable State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to access financing through WIFIA to make project investments at subsidized rates for communities in need of lower cost financing. Section 5015 establishes a new mechanism within the WIFIA program that would enable the SRFs to leverage their loan funds with financing through the WIFIA program and provide up to 75% subsidy for borrowing rates to qualified borrowers, authorizing $200 million over two years for the additional subsidy program. Should Congress enact this provision, it would establish an alternative financing mechanism within the broader WIFIA program exclusively for the SRFs with qualified projects on their Intended Use Plans. The proposal is being spearheaded by Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and supported by a coalition of water and infrastructure investment advocacy organizations, including the WateReuse Association. However, the proposal is opposed by the American Water Works Association, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and the Water Environment Federation who believe the program may incentivize a move away from the broader WIFIA program’s borrowing approach.
House Committee Passes Bill Deauthorizing Reclamation Water Projects
The House Natural Resources Committee marked up
the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs Water Project Streaming Act
and reported the bill out of committee on May 16. This bill proposes a deauthorization process for Bureau of Reclamation water projects to fund four newly authorized water storage projects. WateReuse is concerned that the proposed deauthorization process will result in Title XVI projects being deauthorized to pay for non-Title XVI water projects due to language that exempts large water projects (over 200,000 acre feet per year) from deauthorization. WateReuse sent a letter
outlining these concerns late last year. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) offered an amendment to strike the language of concern, which was defeated 21-14 mostly along party lines. WateReuse will continue to monitor activity on this bill.
WIFIA Application Deadline Extended to July 31
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending its deadline to apply
for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to July 31, 2018 at noon EDT. WIFIA is a flexible program that can be used to finance a wide range of water infrastructure projects including water recycling projects. Three of the 12 projects selected to apply for WIFIA loans last year were water recycling projects sponsored by WateReuse members.
Congress appropriated $63 million for WIFIA for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, more than twice the level provided in FY17. This funding is expected to generate about $5.5 billion in loans, which in turn could leverage over $11 billion of investment in water infrastructure projects.
State Updates and Member Profiles
CA: Pismo Beach Opens Water Purification Facility
WateReuse Association member the City of Pismo Beach unveiled a new water purification facility last Tuesday. The Central Coast Blue water recycling project takes in wastewater, treats and cleans it, then sends it back into the groundwater basin for another source of drinking water. The project will increase groundwater supplies by a third and cut the amount of wastewater discharged into the ocean by more than 75 percent. Read More.
CO: PureWater Colorado Educates with Water, Beer and Wine
The PureWater Colorado demonstration project operated from January through April 2018 as an extension of the WateReuse Colorado Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) project. The PureWater Colorado demonstration played a key role in in preparing Colorado for future DPR projects by providing a fun, physical context for regulatory development and public outreach. Nearly 200 visitors from utilities, agencies, legislators, and academic institutions visited the demonstration facility and tasted the finished water over four weeks of active tours. The demonstration was made possible with the support of several partners, including Denver Water
, Carollo Engineers
, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Xylem
, Pall Corporation, and Calgon Carbon
. Outreach resources include a video tour
of the demonstration facilities, a project overview
video, and TV
media coverage. Water produced from the demonstration is also being used to produce beer
at Declaration Brewing for Denver Water’s centennial celebration – with all proceeds benefiting WateReuse Colorado scholarships – and to produce wine at InVINtions Winery for WateReuse Colorado outreach events and the 33rd
Annual WateReuse Symposium.
VA: Hampton Roads Opens Potable Reuse Facility
WateReuse Association member the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) officially opened the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) Research Center on Friday, May 18 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. HRSD’s SWIFT initiative is recharging the Potomac Aquifer with purified, reclaimed water and demonstrating the effectiveness of groundwater replenishment on land subsidence caused by over-extraction of groundwater. The facility includes a visitor’s center and a kiosk where visitors can taste the purified water. The facility can purify one million gallons of water per day using advanced treatment processes. It is also a research and learning facility for training HRSD staff and providing public education. At full scale, the SWIFT facility will produce more than 100 million gallons of water per day for managed aquifer recharge.
WA: Community Invests in Water Reuse for Economic Development
A community in Washington State is investing in an industrial wastewater treatment and water reuse facility as a first step to recruiting niche food processors and diversifying the region’s crops. Adams County and the Port of Othello want to recruit companies that produce beverages, craft sodas, health foods or nutraceuticals. A feasibility study found that a 3.4 million-gallon-per-day facility with reverse osmosis would make 70-80 percent of treated water available to processors. The wastewater treatment and reuse plant will cost an estimated $50 million to $60 million. Read More.
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.
Applications Due May 30 for Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program
There is still time to apply for recognition under the Utility of the Future Today program. The recognition celebrates the achievements of forward-thinking, innovative water utilities that are providing resilient value-added service to communities, particularly in community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients. The deadline to apply for recognition this year is May 30. The recognition program is a partnership of WateReuse, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and The Water Research Foundation (WRF), with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Learn More.
Conferences and Events
WateReuse Pacific Northwest Hosts Successful Conference in Portland
WateReuse Pacific Northwest welcomed more than 100 water professionals to Portland, Oregon on May 17-18 to learn about the innovative ways water recycling is being used in the region, get updates on the latest on state and federal policy, and network with peers. The conference also included a regulator summit and a technical tour with stops at the Clean Water Service’s Durham Treatment Facility and Hassalo on Eighth, a luxury apartment complex that includes a decentralized reuse system. The networking reception included a tasting of vodka made with purified water.
Webcast: Developing Regulations that Grow and Support Water Reuse: The Regulator Perspective
States are taking the lead in developing regulations to support implementation and growth of water reuse. Please join us on Wednesday, June 13 at 2 p.m. EDT to learn about the latest regulatory developments in four states across the country at varying stages — from states with a long history of water reuse to states in the early stages of assessing reuse needs and strategy. Regulators from California, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota will discuss the latest developments in their states. 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.