NACWA Report Calls for Focus on Watersheds

Nov. 1, 2007
In recognition of the 35th Anniversary of the landmark Clean Water Act, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has released a new report...

In recognition of the 35th Anniversary of the landmark Clean Water Act, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has released a new report, Recommendations for a Viable and Vital 21st Century Clean Water Policy. The report recognizes that despite tremendous water quality improvement made over the last 35 years, significant challenges to US waters threatens continued progress.

The report is the product of NACWA’s Strategic Watershed Task Force, which began its work on the report in the spring. The Task Force is comprised of NACWA public agency leaders with the mission of investigating how the concept of a “watershed approach” can be successfully implemented to further improve the quality of the nation’s waters.

Chris Westhoff, NACWA President and Assistant City Attorney and Public Works General Counsel for the City of Los Angeles, officially announced the release of the report via his testimony at a hearing in mid-October before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure titled The 35th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act: Successes and Future Challenges.

Westhoff’s testimony outlined the short-term and long-term recommendations for an effective watershed approach detailed in the Task Force report. Examples of the short-term recommendations for an effective watershed approach include:

  • Reinvigorate the watershed-based planning process as outlined in Section 208 of the Clean Water Act;
  • Pursue new, more aggressive measures and funding to address needed controls on agricultural nonpoint sources; and
  • Use a more appropriate sequence for establishing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).

Long term recommendations include:

  • Establishing a new water quality framework via a 21st century Watershed Act;
  • Reorganizing EPA to reflect this new watershed framework; and
  • Conducting improved monitoring and research to track the progress being made via a watershed approach.

As the report states, “NACWA believes that the watershed approach is the appropriate approach to prioritize investments and resource allocations, and will result in the greatest benefit to the environment”.

The report is available on NACWA’s website at The Association’s 35th anniversary of the Clean Water Act testimony is also available online at

Survey Finds Water Costs increasing

An annual survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group found that the average price of water in the United States climbed by 6.0 percent for the period of July 1, 2006 to July 1, 2007. The survey, which includes 51 water systems located throughout the country, revealed the highest price paid was in Huntington, WV, at $5.61 per one thousand gallons (“KGal”) while residents in Greenville, MS, enjoyed the lowest water price at $0.80 per KGal.

The average cost of water in the US was $2.64 per KGal -- rising 15 cents per KGal over the past year. Including related sewer costs, the survey also found that the national average price rose to $6.52 per KGal -- an increase of 5.9 percent from July 2006. Over the past five years, average surveyed water rates in the US have increased by 28.6 percent.

Some of the more notable increases in water prices over the past year were observed in Trenton, NJ (+40.0%), Indianapolis, IN (+36.2%), Albany, NY (+25.1%), New York, NY (+22.4%), Los Angeles, CA (+20.8%), Duluth, MN (+19.7%), Denver, CO (+14.2%), Savannah, GA (+11.4%), Kansas City, MO (+10.9%) and Cleveland, OH (+10.5%). Of the water systems surveyed, none reported a decrease in pricing with 19 having no increase in pricing.

“Our experience is that average water costs consistently rise each year,” said Richard Soultanian, co-president of NUS Consulting Group. “While considered cheap when compared to other industrial nations, the long term outlook for water rates in the United States is increased pricing well above the annual rate of inflation.”

Virginia’s Team HRSD Wins Operations Challenge 2007

The Water Environment Association of Virginia’s Team HRSD captured the first-place trophy during Operations Challenge competition at WEFTEC®.07 in San Diego, CA. Coached by Riley Riggers, the team of Captain Wesley Warren, Joel Niemi, Erin Girardi, and Eric Washbon defeated reigning champions the WEA of Texas’ Trinity River Authority (TRA) CReWSers and 38 other teams from the United States and Canada to take top honors during the fast-paced, full-day event. Full competition results include:

Division 1

First Place: Hampton Roads Sanitation Districts Team HRSD - Virginia Water Environment Association

Second Place: City of Littleton/Englewood Commode Commandos - Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association

Third Place: Trinity River Authority CReWSers - Water Environment Association of Texas

Division 2

First Place: Force Maine - New England Water Environment Association

Second Place: Brown Tide - New York Water Environment Association

Third Place: Ft. Worth Regulators - Water Environment Association of Texas

Celebrating its 20th year, Operations Challenge has grown from an original 22-team event to its current 40-team, two division format, each four-member team is judged on the best combination of precision, speed and safety. Winners are determined by a weighted point system for five events including collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance and safety. The events are designed to test the diverse skills required for the operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities, their collection systems and laboratories.

Treatment Systems for Endocrine Disruptors

Awwa Research Foundation (AwwaRF), a nonprofit water research foundation dedicated to advancing the science of drinking water, has published a report on advanced oxidation process (AOP) methods to remove endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) from drinking water. These contaminants have been detected at low concentrations in streams around the world.

The report shows that ultraviolet (UV) technology, in combination with low levels of hydrogen peroxide to achieve advanced oxidation conditions, can be an effective treatment to break down several EDCs in drinking water. This research follows another groundbreaking AwwaRF report on EDCs, Removal of EDCs and Pharmaceuticals in Drinking and Reuse Treatment Processes.

“This new report is an excellent example of AwwaRF developing cost-effective solutions to emerging problems in the drinking water industry,” said Robert C. Renner, executive director of AwwaRF.

The report, Impact of UV and UV/H2O2 AOP on EDC Activity in Water (order #91175), is currently available only to subscribers of AwwaRF. The report will become available publicly later this year. To learn more about AwwaRF and its research, please go to

EPA, Iowa utility Agree on Plan to City Sewers

Muscatine, IA, has agreed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to spend what could amount to $30 million or more to repair its sewer system. The administrative agreement sets a schedule for the city to complete the separation of its combined sewers, which carry storm water and sanitary sewage.

EPA Region 7 Administrator John B. Askew said, “This agreement will produce significant reductions in health risks to the public while making important improvements to the environment. I commend Muscatine and its residents for making this investment in their city.”

The agreement calls for Muscatine to eliminate all combined sewer overflows by Dec. 31, 2024. EPA estimates that the work will eliminate the annual discharge of more than 100 million gallons of untreated sewage to the Mississippi River and local streams.

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