CASA Connects – July 2014

  • by BPC Staff
  • on July 24, 2014
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In the News
For a complete view of all CASA news, visit CASA Current News.

CASA Upcoming Events
August 20-22, 2014
Monterey, CA
The preliminary program is now posted and registration is open.
January 21-23, 2015

Winter Conference,
Hilton Palm Springs, CA

For a complete list of all upcoming CASA and industry events, visit the CASA calendar of events.

CASA member launches Omnivore Biogas Facility
Congressman Paul Cook will do the honors at the ribbon cutting ceremony planned for September 26 to mark the opening of the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority’s renewable biogas facility. 

Combined Heat and Power Webinar to Focus on Wastewater
The California Energy Commission and the Department of Energy (DOE) Pacific Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership are hosting a webinar on combined heat and power (CHP) for wastewater treatment plants on July 31, 2014 at 10:00 AM pacific daylight time. Registration is free. The webinar will address current opportunities and challenges for CHP in wastewater treatment plants in CA. Topics include South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1110.2 CHP solutions, co-digestion, demand response with CHP, and financial incentives for CHP projects.

Understanding California’s Water Puzzle the Focus of CASA Annual Conference
When CASA members meet next month in Monterey, they will explore such diverse topics as water infrastructure financing and partnering to address today’s challenges-among the many pieces that can help solve “California’s Water Puzzle.” Jordan Dorfman, Attorney-Advisor, with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, will shed light on the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014 and its applicability to wastewater projects. Ralph Eberts, Vice President of Black & Veatch, will discuss global water change and how the U.S. matches up with its international counterparts. Other presentations focus on the water bond, sustainable practices for utilities, and emerging environmental issues. Agency directors, managers and may participate in AB 1234 ethics training on Wednesday afternoon, and on Friday morning, a panel of water quality leaders will engage in a conversation on regional collaborative approaches to water quality challenges. The conference will close with a preview of the November election.
CASA will also hold its annual business meeting on August 21, including the election of the Board of Directors and the 2015 dues resolution. The CASA conference offers a great opportunity to learn about today’s issues, network with other wastewater professionals, and help to shape CASA’s priorities. There is still time to register; make your plans today to join us in Monterey.

Debate Over Proposed Waters of the United States Rule Continues
CASA continues to track developments related to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposed waters of the United States rule. In the wake of a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases, the proposed rule is intended to clarify precisely which waters are subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act and thus fall under USEPA and Corps jurisdiction. CASA has worked diligently over the past several years to ensure that the new regulation preserves the existing “waste treatment” exemption. As proposed, the new rule retains the exemption and also confirms that groundwater is not ensnared by the new rule, two of CASA’s top priorities.

Federal Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Implementation Moves Forward
USEPA’s Office of Water is moving swiftly to put in place the structure of the new loan program enacted as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) is slated to provide up to 49% of a water or wastewater project’s costs through low interest loans or federal guarantees. As part of this program, project sponsors could combine WIFIA assistance with State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans or other federal support to finance up to 80% of a project’s costs. However, the remaining 20% would have to be financed using financing sources other than federally tax-exempt assistance. The agency is kicking off the program with a series of stakeholder sessions, and as part of this process, USEPA representatives will present on aspects of the program at the CASA August Conference.

State Water Board Announces New “Funding Finder” Tool
The State Water Board recently announced a new “Funding Finder” to assist agencies and interested parties in finding the most appropriate funding source for water quality project. The tool is available at the State Water Board’s website. After answering a few simple questions about your project, the “Funding Finder” tool will provide you with available funding source(s) within the Division of Financial Assistance (DFA). For each of the funding programs available, those using the tool will find a brief description of the program, highlights, funding terms, the funding process, and a link to the applicable web page. For those already aware of the funding sources available to them, this information is also available as part of a list of all the water quality funding programs searched by the “Funding Finder.”

California Supreme Court Finds in Favor of Kern County on Procedural Matter in Biosolids Litigation
On July 7, 2014, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kern County on a narrow procedural issue in the City of Los Angeles v. County of Kern biosolids litigation. The issue pertains to tolling of a statute of limitations period when state law claims are pending in federal court. Under Kern’s interpretation, the lawsuit challenging Measure E in state court was not timely, and earlier this year, the Supreme Court granted review exclusively to address this technical claim. In its decision, the Court agreed with Kern County on its challenge to the timeliness of the complaint filed by CASA and its fellow plaintiffs in state court.

CASA Continues to Work With State Water Board on Nutrient Policy
Following the first Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) for development of a nutrient policy for inland surface waters held in June, CASA continues to work internally with interested CASA members and externally with the State Water Board to develop a better approach to addressing nutrients in California. CASA has provided significant feedback related to a proposed workplan for policy development that attempts to refocus the effort on implementation of a sound nutrient management strategy rather than simply the development of numeric endpoints. CASA also provided feedback on the science panel candidates and criteria, an important part of the policy review process once development is underway. The next stakeholder meeting is expected to occur in late summer. State Water Board staff appear to be willing to work together with stakeholders to develop an outcomes-based approach focused on beneficial use improvement rather than the traditional regulatory paradigm of setting a numeric value followed by stringent, potentially unachievable limits.

Achievement Award Deadline Extended!
CASA agencies still have the opportunity to obtain recognition for their successful programs and projects. The Awards Committee has extended the deadline to submit applications for the CASA Achievement Awards to October 31, 2014. Due to the change in schedule, the award winners will be announced at the CASA Winter Conference in January rather than in August, as the Association has traditionally done.

CASA Congratulates Tom Selfridge on his Retirement
The CASA Board of Directors and staff wish Tom Selfridge all the best in his retirement. In mid-July, Tom retired from his position as General Manager of the Truckee Sanitary District. Tom served for 10 years as CASA’s Secretary Treasurer, and in that role he had primary responsibility for CASA’s financing, budgeting and accounting functions. Though not one to seek the limelight, Tom is a familiar face to the CASA membership and has been a constant and steadying force on the Board. He will be joining us at the August conference where CASA will have a chance to wish him and his wife Gretchen all the best in this well deserved new phase of life.

USEPA Deputy Announces Departure
USEPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe has announced his decision to retire from the agency effective this August and become President of a not-for-profit climate and energy think tank. In making this announcement, Perciasepe caps a distinguished career at the agency where he served as the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Water under the Clinton Administration. The action means that the agency will likely operate for some time with an unofficial number two since the position of Deputy Administrator is subject to Senate confirmation.
Disclaimer: The comments, suggestions and views outlined in the articles included in CASA Connects are the sole opinions of the authors’. 
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