According to a post from the Association of California Water Agencies:

The California Coastal Conservancy has released its March 2017 Proposition 1 Grant Solicitation package for multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects. This is the third round of Proposition 1 grants for Fiscal Year 2016-’17.

Continue reading on the ACWA website

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From the State Water Board’s March 2017 newsletter

Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) Reforms

ELAP has developed a Work Plan to implement the Expert Review Panel’s recommendations. It targets the five programmatic areas that were recognized as critical elements in reform efforts: • Establish a Management System • Adopt a Laboratory Accreditation Standard • Ensure Use of Relevant Methods • Expand Resources • Enhance Communication

ELAP is committed to reforming the program through these five initiatives to deliver a top laboratory accreditation program to its internal and external stakeholders. This section contains a summary of recent progress made on each program area.

ADOPT A MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

ELAP completed work drafting the components of its quality management system, including Standard Operating Procedures and program Quality Assurance Manual. ELAP has established procedures consistent with the standards identified in The NELAC Institute, Volume 2, General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Environmental Laboratories (2009). The standardization of ELAP’s processes is aimed at increasing efficiency and staff accountability. The management system is in early stages of implementation and ELAP anticipates identifying revisions moving forward.

Read more

CASA recently announced they are re-doubling efforts to encourage the State Water Board to pass new direct potable reuse regulations.

CASA will work closely with WateReuse California to seek passage of AB 574 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk from Hayward. WateReuse California is sponsoring AB 574, which would change the definitions of different types of potable water reuse and set a deadline for the State Water Resources Control Board to complete its regulations for potable reuse for raw water augmentation. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and is an important step towards advancing water recycling in California.

Help support this legislation by downloading a support letter template from the CASA website (doc) >

Read our coverage of the State’s DPR regulatory process >

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The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) in Irvine recently announced the release of WE&RF’s latest report on re-using wastewater/greywater inside buildings.

A report by NWRI recently released by the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), “Risk-Based Framework for the Development of Public Health Guidance for Decentralized Non-Potable Water Systems,” offers guidelines to assist public health officials in developing programs to manage and oversee onsite water systems. 

Download the report (free report from WE&RF, sign-in required)

Logan Olds

Logan Olds, General Manager VVWRA

It’s a letter no agency would ever want to get. A draft FEMA Office of Inspector General report contains language the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) may not have followed all FEMA guidelines for an emergency project contract. They may even ask the agency to refund $32 million.

The emergency project was to rebuild a large sewer interceptor, washed out in a 2010 storm. The report was released in the fall of 2016 after a year of talking with VVWRA managers about the project.

According to press reports, the OIG never mentioned any reporting issues to VVWRA managers during their meetings. They found out about the OIG’s concerns after the draft report ended up in the local newspaper.

The draft report came out of the blue so quickly, the local newspaper the Daily Press called it “A routine call, then a biting audit for VVWRA.” 

In a recent Daily Press Op-Ed VVWRA General Manager Logan Olds, a past CWEA Board Member, defended the project…

To say that we were caught off-guard by the report would be a massive understatement. Only six months earlier, we were told that the audit was 95 percent complete and that our expenses and accounting were “generally acceptable.”

While we appreciate the federal government’s checks and balances, this particular audit trail leaves us baffled — because of both what we were led to believe and the nature of the pipeline project itself…

Whatever the internal dynamics are within OIG and FEMA, we stand ready to defend how this critically important project was managed and accounted for.

Continue reading Logan’s op-ed


Additional news coverage…

 Auditors: VVWRA Mismanaged $32 million in emergency funds

With scathing audit, high desert rate payers might be losers

 

 

by Elaine Connors

Despite the public using infrastructure every moment of every day, from roads to fresh water to waste removal, this important part of the economy is often ignored or taken for granted.  ‘Infra’ means ‘hidden’ or ‘out of sight’ and in many cases vital portions of infrastructure are hidden from public view.

Government on all levels – federal, state, municipal – react to the priorities of those who elect & will re-elect them.

“It is our duty to bring our communities’ and country’s public works infrastructure before those who can do the most to affect change:  the ratepayers and voters.”

“We need to engage the ratepayers. It is their infrastructure. Local governments, Boards of Supervisors and Town Councils all need to be kept informed.  ASCE’s studies have shown that local and regional infrastructure is better cared for when the money stays within the local community.”

Nick Arhontes

Nick Arhontes

Nicholas J. (Nick) Arhontes, P.E. runs a consulting practice focusing on public works and infrastructure. Prior to this he held various positions at the Orange County Sanitation District in Fountain Valley, retiring in March 2016 after over 28 years with OCSD. He is a CWEA, WEF and ASCE member.

“Wastewater collection and treatment, roads, flood control systems and other infrastructure, power grids, water and natural gas pipelines aren’t exciting to most people. The only time they’ll make the news is if something goes wrong with them. We have legions of public servants and private sector service providers dedicating their working lives to making sure things function well. My fellow members of CWEA already know the importance of Infrastructure. They work with it, plan it, maintain and operate it every day.”

How can CWEA members convey the importance of the planning, designing, building, maintaining and renewing of these essential elements?

One way is participating in the creation of an ASCE “Infrastructure Report Card.”  The information contained in an infrastructure report card is used to inform the general public and all levels of government.  Information is always needed to help allocate funding. The Report Card has become an important way water professional communicate with the public about the state of infrastructure. 

The Report Card has been featured on NBC Nightly News, 60 Minutes, NPR and thousands of media outlets. Read more

Significant Risk of Flooding in Northern California Flood Preparedness and Response Tools for Water Utilities
Widespread flooding can cause major power outages and damage to drinking water and wastewater utilities. EPA has developed tools to help you mitigate the threat of flooding and take action during an emergency. You can use the resources below to increase your overall flood resilience and emergency preparedness.

Flooding Incident Action Checklist
Use this “rip and run” checklist to respond to and recover from flooding in your area. It outlines key actions that can be taken immediately before, during, and after the event to mitigate impacts.

Flood Resilience Guide
This interactive, user-friendly guide contains worksheets, best practices, videos and key resources to help water utilities build resilience to flooding. The Guide’s four main sections include:

  • Overview of flood resilience
  • Developing an approach to flood resilience
  • Identifying flood mitigation measures
  • Flood resilience pilot project

Fed FUNDS
The Federal Funding for Utilities in National Disasters (Fed FUNDS) tool helps drinking water and wastewater utilities identify pre- and post-disaster funding opportunities and offers tips on how to apply.

Additional Resources
EPA Emergency Response for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA recently published its updated Industrial User Inspection and Sampling Manual for POTWs.

Completed revisions to the 1994 Industrial User Inspection and Sampling Manual for POTWs based on extensive input from experts in the Office of Wastewater Management, and the Office of Science and Technology, and experts in regions, states, and POTWs. The revised Industrial User Inspection and Sampling Manual for POTWs is an inspection support tool provided by EPA for use by field personnel conducting inspections and sampling activities under the Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pretreatment Program. With this revision, inspectors will have access to guidance that reflects changes to the Pretreatment Program and compliance monitoring practices from the past 22 years, such as the 2005 Pretreatment Streamlining Rule. This Manual is not a regulation and, therefore, does not add, eliminate or change any existing regulatory requirements. While EPA has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the discussion in this guidance, the obligations of the regulated community are determined by statutes, regulations, or other legally binding requirements.
Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.25.54 PMThe State Water Resources Control Board recently updated the Chief Plant Operators (CPOs) Brochure.
The new brochure highlights CPO responsibilities, lone operator requirements, examples of operator duties and disciplinary action items. Check it out here.

 

SWRCB_Logo1[1]A message from the State Water Resources Control Board

State Water Board Staff released a combined draft Staff Report and Substitute Environmental Documentation broken down into document sections, including the “Core” document (The Table of Contents, the Executive Summary, and Chapters 1 – 10) and each of the individual appendices.  This includes Appendix A, the “Proposed Provisions for Draft Part 2 of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California—Tribal and Subsistence Fishing Beneficial Uses”, or the proposed Regulatory Language.
The website with the table is at:  http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/mercury/

 

Flood Preparedness and Response Tools for Water Utilities Provided by the EPA

A powerful weather phenomenon known as an “atmospheric river” has dumped massive amounts of precipitation on the west coast, causing flooding and mudslides in many areas. Flood impacts are expected to continue as storms move south and floodwaters travel downstream.

EPA has developed tools to help utilities both mitigate the threat of flooding and take action during an emergency. Water systems can use the resources below to increase their overall flood resilience and emergency preparedness.

Flooding Incident Action Checklist
Use this “rip and run” checklist to respond to and recover from flooding in your area. It outlines key actions that can be taken immediately before, during, and after the event to mitigate impacts.

Flooding checklist

Flood Resilience Guide
This interactive, user-friendly guide contains worksheets, best practices, videos and key resources to help water utilities build resilience to flooding. The Guide’s four main sections include:

  • Overview of flood resilience
  • Devising an approach to flood resilience
  • Identifying flood mitigation measures
  • Flood resilience pilot project

Flood Resilience Guide

Fed FUNDS
The Federal Funding for Utilities in National Disasters (Fed FUNDS) tool helps drinking water and wastewater utilities identify pre- and post-disaster funding opportunities and offers tips on how to apply.

Fed FUNDS Link

epa-wifia

EPA’s new WIFIA financing website.

On Jan. 10, 2017, the EPA issued in the Federal Registry a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the new Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Organizations interested in applying for low-interest loans and loan guarantees have until April 10, 2017, to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to the EPA.

Visit the EPA’s WIFIA website: www.epa.gov/wifia

The new WIFIA program received a $20 million appropriation in the recently completed Continuing Resolution passed by Congress. The EPA estimates that current budget authority may provide more than $1 billion in credit assistance to borrowers, which has the potential to finance over $2 billion in new water infrastructure investments. Minimum projects size is $20 million or more, or for communities under 25,000 people, $5 million or more. WEF and other water associations worked hard to create the new program and obtain funding for it, and encourage interested applicants to closely review the NOFA on how to apply.

The borrower selection process is a two-step process. The first step is for potential borrowers to submit a LOI, which includes explanation about the project to be financed and limited financial information about the borrower, as explained in greater detail in the NOFA. The second step will be for the EPA, based upon the LOIs, to notify selected applicants to submit a full application, which will include more extensive details about the project, financial information and fees associated with the application and review process.

The NOFA details the project requirements criteria, which includes the kinds of entities that are eligible to apply, the kinds of projects that are eligible to receive financing, threshold requirements for projects, and federal regulatory requirements. The NOFA also details the necessary information to be included in the LOI, and the EPA’s selection criteria and process.

For more information, please contact Claudio H. Ternieden, WEF’s Senior Director, Government Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at cternieden@wef.org or at (703) 684-2416.