NACWA stresses need for solutions addressing water quality challenges

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Aug. 6, 2014 -- The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has addressed that ongoing water quality incidents around the nation, such as the recent water crisis in Toledo, Ohio, for example, underscores the need for continued investment to ensure water quality and support for viable watershed-based solutions to deal with these complex water challenges.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) provided the direction and resources necessary for the nation's wastewater treatment agencies, or clean water agencies, to dramatically improve water quality across the country. While these agencies continue to work aggressively to enhance and improve water quality, it is widely acknowledged that in order to completely address the remaining quality impairment, greater attention and resources must be focused on nonpoint sources of pollution resulting from stormwater runoff from agricultural lands and urban areas.

"Early indications are that agricultural interests are committed to work with the utility community to solve this national problem," said Julius Ciaccia, former NACWA president and executive director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer Authority, "but it's going to take time, money and a growing understanding by Congress that we need more flexibility to craft watershed-based solutions. Toledo is not alone in facing this challenge."

The recent passage by Congress of the Farm Bill is to be commended as an important first step. In particular, the Farm Bill's Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) facilitates partnerships between clean water utilities and agriculture to implement innovative nutrient management solutions. NACWA, along with leaders in the agricultural community, has supported this -- and other efforts to deal with nutrient issues -- by working collaboratively to address this challenge.

Water quality trading (see "Bartering for a Better Environment") and memorandums of understanding, like one NACWA will soon enter into with a federation of milk producers, offer other innovative partnership approaches to enhance water quality.

See also:

"Toledo water resources contaminated by toxin from algae in Lake Erie"

"New Farm Bill spurs partnership between agriculture, clean water agencies"


About NACWA

The NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily. For more information, visit www.nacwa.org.

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