CASA Connects for September 5, 2018

In the News 
Media Focus: Flushables and Microplastics
In recent weeks, a number of high-profile news articles have focused on nonflushable products and microplastics, both priority issues for CASA and our members. A New York Times article did an excellent job highlighting reasons why not to flush the vast majority of products that many people regard as flushable including disposable contacts, pharmaceuticals and ubiquitous disposable wipes.
Legislative and Regulatory
Legislative Session Ends: CASA Sponsored Bill Moves to Governor
The 2017-18 Legislative Session ended on Friday, August 31 and was preceded with a flurry of activity. Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto all legislation that has passed through the legislature.
CASA’s Legislative Focus
  • SB 212 (Jackson), a bill establishing a comprehensive statewide pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship program, passed on the final day of session. CASA was supporting this measure, which was the result of several years of negotiations between proponents and the pharmaceutical industry.
  • SB 1263 (Portantino), CASA’s sponsored bill on microplastics, is headed to the Governor after passing through the legislature with unanimous bipartisan support. The bill directs the California Ocean Protection Council to develop a statewide microplastics strategy and make policy recommendations to the Legislature by 2021. This important bill takes a scientific approach to addressing a significant pollution problem.
  • SB 1440 (Hueso) was passed on the final day of session. The bill directs the California Public Utilities Commission to consider establishing a statewide biomethane procurement program. While the measure was significantly pared down from its original version, it still has value for the wastewater sector and CASA supported this bill.
  • SB 1215 (Hertzberg) was also passed late last week. The bill authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Boards to order sewer service extensions to certain septic system users in disadvantaged communities. While CASA was working earnestly with the Senator to try to resolve several key issues with the bill, we ultimately had to take an oppose position in coordination with several other members of the local government community. We will be conveying our concerns with the bill to the Governor’s office for his consideration.
CASA was involved in various other bills during the 2018 Legislative Session. For a full list of bills and CASA’s positions, click here.
WRDA takes Center Stage as Congress Prepares to Return to Work
Congress returns to work after its summer recess with a handful of items pending before the November mid-term elections. Front and center will be the Water Resources Development Act (S. 2800/H.R. 8) that is fast becoming the last hope for water infrastructure policymaking this session. WRDA appears to be the one remaining water resources bill advancing toward the legislative finish line. It represents the final opportunity to attach water infrastructure policy this year. 
This includes several proposals supported by CASA such as:
  • SRF-WIN program, a new RIFIA approach to fund water storage and water recycling projects 
  • Expediting permit approvals of water projects
  • Renewing the Clean Water SRF program 
  • Boosting WIFIA assistance to support up to 80% of a project’s costs 
USEPA to Place Greater Emphasis on Compliance Assistance
Last week, USEPA’s enforcement office unveiled plans to transform its National Enforcement Initiatives program into a National Compliance Initiatives program. The staff memo announcing the change explained that the objective is to renew focus on compliance, noting that enforcement is only one of many tools available for achieving this goal and that a broader set of compliance assurance tools will be developed under the new program.
Member News
CASA Celebrates 100% Membership Renewal!
Thank you.
All 111 CASA agency members from 2017 renewed their CASA membership for the 2018 calendar year, resulting in a 100% membership retention rate! Thank you to all our members for believing in the value of CASA’s advocacy and education efforts. A shout out also to the CASA Board membership committee for their continued efforts to bring more wastewater and collection agencies and cities into the organization. 
CWEA Nominations Open
Do you know an individual or agency that should be recognized for achievements in promoting awareness and understanding of water quality issues? The 2018-2019 California Water Environment Association Community Engagement and Outreach award application and submission is open! Submit applications here.
New DSRSD and EBMUD Recycled Water Partnership
Dublin San Ramon Services District and EBMUD have joined forces with the City of Pleasanton to produce more recycled water. The project will boost water producing capacity from 9.7 million gallons per day to 16.2 million gallons per day – an increase of nearly 60 percent. Read more.
Mark Your Calendar
2018 ACWA Regulatory Summit
The Association of California Water Agencies’ Regulatory Summit will take place on October 16 in Sacramento. The purpose is to learn about new and evolving water quality regulatory requirements in California. CASA is working with the AWCA to organize this event. The registration deadline is October 5. Learn more.
Tuesday, October 16
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Hilton Sacramento Arden West
National Clean Water Law Seminar and Enforcement Workshop
CASA has once again partnered with the National Clean Water Law Seminar for their annual workshop. The workshop brings together clean water attorneys, legal professionals and utility leaders to address the critical legal and regulatory issues that impact the clean water sector. The workshop takes place on November 14-16 in San Diego. Learn more.
Sept. 17 – 18
Sept. 29 – Oct. 3
Nov. 14 – 16
Jan. 23 – 25, 2019
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