Important water issues discussed at Washington Briefing 2004

Issues important to the water quality community and its efforts to protect public health were discussed during the first day of the Water Environment Federation's (WEF) annual Washington Briefing, Monday, April 26.

Apr 30th, 2004


ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 30, 2004 -- Issues important to the water quality community and its efforts to protect public health were discussed during the first day of the Water Environment Federation's (WEF) annual Washington Briefing, Monday, April 26.

Following opening remarks by WEF President Lawrence P. Jaworski, keynote speaker, Ben Grumbles, Acting Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), spoke about the agency's key priorities for 2004 including wetland protection and infrastructure investment. Along those lines, he outlined three cornerstones for achieving success in those areas including monitoring, conservation and restoration. Correlating the importance of wetland preservation and the maintenance of aging and failing infrastructure to public health, Grumbles stressed the importance of education and investment as keys to solving these critical issues.

Additionally, Grumbles supported the Federation's efforts to bring attention to the infrastructure issue in the United States with the formation of an Infrastructure Task Force. "I commend WEF on the formation of its Infrastructure Task Force and look forward to the results of its inaugural meeting," said Grumbles. The first meeting of the newly formed Task Force is scheduled for Tuesday, April 27. Its mission is to propose and promote a three-year educational program for the Federation that focuses on the health benefits of a well-maintained water infrastructure. The Task Force will discuss the issue of infrastructure management and investment in the United States and develop options to address aging and failing water and wastewater systems.

Panel discussions comprised the remainder of the first day focusing on topics such as EPA's proposed blending policy, wet weather treatment options for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), the CSO/SSO report to Congress, monitoring, water quality trading, watershed permitting and perspectives on enforcement. A luncheon address by Mack Gray, Deputy UnderSecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture, addressed the Farm Bill and its relation to water quality efforts.

The two-day event will culminate with meetings of WEF's Government Affairs Committee and the Infrastructure Task Force on Tuesday, April 27 at the Renaissance Hotel, 999 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC. For more information and the complete agenda, visit www.wef.org.

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. The WEF network includes water quality professionals from 79 Member Associations in over 30 countries.

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