Emerging Issues

  • NEWS

      Announcement from the State Water Board ELAP office. This is a State Water Board sponsored training event, it is not organized by CWEA. ELAP and A2LA Workplace Training are excited to announce the 2016 TNI Quality System Documentation Workshop as part of ELAP’s compliance assistance initiative, the Roadmap to ELAP Accreditation. This training is designed to help laboratories implement the 2016 TNI Quality...

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        Stay up-to-date on water infrastructure cybersecurity by becoming a member of WaterISAC. Update 2/17/21 Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released their initial review of the incident. “On February 5, 2021, unidentified cyber actors obtained unauthorized access to the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system at a U.S. drinking water treatment facility. The unidentified actors...

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          State Water Board press release Public water systems throughout California are facing heightened financial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, as about 1.6 million residential water customers, or 12% of all households, have been unable to pay their bills, according to the State Water Resources Control Board’s comprehensive survey. The results of the survey were presented...

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            Originally published in WEF’s Stormwater Report As the stormwater sector grows in complexity with new the rise of new contaminants, technologies, and practices, so too do stormwater management regulations. Because the regulatory landscape of the stormwater field tends to be more dynamic than other water management segments, it can be difficult for stormwater managers to...

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              This article is part of our water reuse coverage, supported by Hazen & Sawyer > The California state Water Board is beginning the development of Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) statewide regulations by assembling an Expert Panel as required by AB 574 (Quirk-2017). This panel is expected to assist the Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water...

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                  We are living in a hotter, drier California. 2020 is on track to be one of the hottest on record. Seven of the ten most destructive wildfires in California’s history have burned in the last five years.  And, California has only recently emerged from one of the worst droughts in 500 years.    Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) is a source of local supply to help blunt the impacts of climate change and create more than...

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                  View all coronavirus stories > Updated 3/8/21 We are hearing from some water and wastewater agencies that vaccine priority decisions for water and wastewater workers are being made at the individual county public health department level. On the state’s vaccine roll-out, Phase 1C does not, at this time, contain a list showing water and wastewater...

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                    From the International Water Services Flushability Group… Products that meet the IWSFG flushability specifications are unlikely to cause harm to wastewater conveyance systems or treatment plants.  The IWSFG flushability specifications are available for use by product manufacturers, governmental organizations, and other entities that want to determine if products that are flushed are safe for wastewater...

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                      View all coronavirus articles here > Testing mixed liquor sludge can better detect COVID viral infection in communities Accurately identifying changes in community COVID-19 infections through wastewater surveillance is moving closer to reality. A new study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, identifies a method that not only detects the virus in wastewater samples but also...

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                        The Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSCC) is urging U.S. water and wastewater utilities to coordinate with state and local health departments to ensure they are included in distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine. Today, WSCC, issued an open letter describing utility actions to increase the speed of receiving vaccine doses for water sector workers. Timely local...

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                          The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is once again extending its Emergency Residential Community Assistance Program, which is designed to help residential customers struggling to pay their water, sewer and Hetch Hetchy power bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which launched in May, was set to expire at the end of the year,...

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                            British researchers look at the dangers of working around raw sewage. They find SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to be spread by sewage. “Overall, we conclude that while virus particles contained in respiratory droplets are known to be highly infectious, evidence suggests that feces and urine probably contain low levels to no infectious particles. In comparison to...

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                              Stanford researchers examined the best place to search for SARS-CoV-2 by examining raw wastewater effluent and settled primary sludge. Sludge appears to be the most efficient place to test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA strands for wastewater surveillance. “The primary settled solids samples resulted in higher SARS-CoV-2 detection frequencies than the corresponding influent samples. Likewise, SARS-CoV-2 RNA...

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                                AquaVitas, an HHS contractor, will be conducting SARS-CoV-2 testing in wastewater treatment plants, and requests assistance in identifying utilities interested in participating.  This opportunity is open to all wastewater treatment plants, whether they are currently submitting wastewater samples or not. Priority will be given to treatment plants that serve large populations. AquaVitas plans to begin...

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                                  In recent years, PFAS has become a topic of public concern, particularly when found in water supplies. We in the water sector are also concerned about PFAS because protecting public health and the environment and increasing sustainability in our communities is our daily mission. The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and its members always prioritize science,...

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                                     The CWEA-CASA free COVID-19 webinar series continues with an in-depth discussion from four prominent experts and moderated by CASA’s Greg Kester. Sponsored by GT Molecular Speakers and their topics include: Dr. Rose Kantor, with the University of California, Berkeley speaking on their project to conduct wastewater Based Epidemiology (WBE) for the San Francisco Bay...

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                                      Today, at the virtual 2020 WEFTEC conference, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the next step in EPA’s effort to help address workforce challenges that are facing America’s drinking water and wastewater utilities. The new America’s Water Sector Workforce Initiative outlines actions that the public and private sector are committing to that...

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                                        On August 25, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler launched an innovation challenge to identify solutions to destroy PFAS. The Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge is a partnership between federal and state agencies seeking detailed plans for non-thermal technologies to destroy PFAS in concentrated aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), used in firefighting. This challenge...

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                                          Our COVID-19 webinars continued on August 27, 2020 with another deep dive into the emerging role of wastewater surveillance. Collecting samples from the sewershed and at the treatment plant can help communities track coronavirus and gain early-warning signs about potential community spread. We heard from leading state, national, and international experts about the latest research...

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                                            A panel of wastewater and public health experts has determined that occupational risk of COVID-19 infection for wastewater workers is low. The panel also found that standard wastewater treatment processes inactivate the virus and additional research should be conducted to further increase understanding of hazards and protections for personnel. WEF convened this blue-ribbon panel of...

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                                              View complete coverage of Coronavirus worker safety > From the CDC on Monday, August 17, 2020 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with agencies throughout the federal government, are initiating the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) in response to the COVID-19...

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                                                By Paula Hansen and Artem Dyachenko East Bay Municipal Utility District Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet (UVC – approximately 254 nm) light to kill or inactivate microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses, molds, and other pathogens). It destroys nucleic acids of the microorganisms and disrupts their DNA, leaving them unable...

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                                                  View all coronavirus stories > WEF releases an updated and expanded version of “The Water Professional’s Guide to COVID-19” Authors: Rasha Maal-Bared, Naoko Munakata, Kyle Bibby, Kari Brisolara, Charles Gerba, Mark Sobsey, Scott Schaefer, Jay Swift, Lee Gary, Samendra Sherchan, Akin Babatola, Lola Olabode, Robert Reimers, Robert Bastian, and Albert Rubin  Primary Messages The research...

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                                                      View this post on Instagram   Wastewater Utility Manager Vince Ines shares, “Our dedicated employees at the wastewater treatment plant are trained for emergency events such as COVID-19 and are prepared to handle these situations”. Learn how you can do your part to protect vital infrastructure! #venturawater #cityofventura #stayventurastrong A post shared by Ventura...

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                                                      Use alkalinity profiling in wastewater operations to control biological activity and optimize process control The Water Environment Federation’s new Operations Challenge laboratory event will determine alkalinity needs to facilitate nitrification. Operators will evaluate alkalinity and ammonia by analyzing a series of samples similar to those observed in water resource recovery facilities. This event will give operators...

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                                                        Coverage of asset management topics is supported by MentorAPM This article was produced and published by the Water Education Foundation as part of its Western Water news. The Foundation can be found at www.watereducation.org. Our thanks to WEF for permission to republish their article. By Gary Pitzer Water Education Foundation WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Lower flows damage...

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                                                          Upcoming events: CWEA’s annual WDR training workshops will be held in May. Workshops will be held in San Ramon (May 8th); San Luis Obispo (May 15th); and Los Angeles (May 22nd).  One of the most talked-about topics is the update to the Statewide Sanitary Sewer Systems General Order.  The State Water Board is holding five...

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                                                            Cástulo Estrada grew up in the eastern end of the Coachella Valley – an area that had little if any water and wastewater infrastructure. Today, as a member of the Coachella Valley Water District board of directors, he’s proud of a special program bringing clean water infrastructure to disadvantaged communities in eastern Riverside County. Called the...

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                                                              Coverage of asset management topics is supported by MentorAPM AN INTERVIEW WITH WATER EXPERT PAUL BROWN California’s wastewater systems were designed decades ago with flow rates predicted to be much higher than what we’re seeing today. Corrosion, odor, grit, nutrients and less water for reuse are all consequences of declining sewer flows. So now what? To...

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                                                                It’s the new “abnormal” as Governor Jerry Brown calls it. Bigger and more intense fires have killed more people in California and destroyed more property than ever before. Even as the fires are put out, water professionals know there’s a new threat. Floods. Fires and floods happen so often throughout California’s history, some regions have...

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                                                                  The Senate voted on – and passed nearly unanimously by a vote of 99-1 – the biennial Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which include a number of major provisions that benefit drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure and policy. The conference report for the bill, known as America’s Water Infrastructure Act (S. 3021), was passed unanimously by...

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                                                                    The city founded to fight a sewer, finally gets its own sewer. Malibu was originally incorporated in 1991 in order to fight construction of an LACSD sewage treatment plant in the area. The residents succeeded in the 1990s and no sewage treatment plant was built and the city was incorporated. However, in 2009 the Regional...

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                                                                      From the State Water Board website… Water Recycling Funding Program Pilot Project Grant Requirements The Water Recycling Funding Program provides grants to assist public agencies with the construction of pilot projects for new potable reuse.  The applicant must demonstrate that the pilot project will develop new information that does not currently exist and increase the...

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                                                                        Two collection system leaders discuss the importance of certification and the role training and technology have in the massive reduction in Sanitary Sewer Overflows. Daryl Lauer is the Collections Superintendent for Carmel Area Wastewater District the Chair of CWEA’s Collection Systems Committee. Ken Merkle is the Senior Collection Systems Supervisor for the City of Stockton...

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                                                                          Support for CWEA’s coverage of wipes comes from Aqualitec. This case study was written by the sponsor.  It was the 1970’s. Fat neckties, leisure suits, and wide collars abounded, and pensioners flocked in droves to escape harsh Midwestern weather in favor of Arizona’s mild winter climate. Sun City grew like wildfire, and its infrastructure soon caught...

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                                                                            BY TOM ABATE AND ANDY MYERS A new wastewater treatment plant under construction in Redwood Shores will be the largest to test Stanford-developed technology that significantly reduces the cost of cleaning water. The key: bacteria that eschew oxygen while producing burnable methane. Billions of years ago, when Earth’s atmosphere reeked of unbreathable gases, microbes evolved...

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                                                                              AUTHORS Arvind Akela, Senior Engineer, Silicon Valley Clean Water Chuck Fenton, Operations Consultant, Silicon Valley Clean Water Allan Lacson, Customer Relationship Manager, PG&E OTHER CONTRIBUTORS Kevin Johnson, Senior Program Engineer, PG&E Dan Thomas, Technical Sales Support Specialist, PG&E Mike Tooley, CEO, MISCOWater Dwight Craig, MISCOWater Marcel Huijboom, INVENT For questions regarding PG&E’s Energy Efficiency Programs,...

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                                                                                Legislation co-sponsored by Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) that would improve resources for failing water systems now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown after gaining widespread support from both houses of California’s legislature. Assembly Bill 2050 – the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018, which is authored by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) –...

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                                                                                  The United States Bureau of Reclamation recently announced its selection of sixteen research projects to receive funding under the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program (DWPR), two of which will be conducted in part by Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) research and development staff. Of the $3.5 million that the DWPR awarded, $350,000 will go...

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                                                                                    Moulton Niguel Water District is celebrating its 50th year of operating one of the state’s most successful water recycling programs, which reuses more than 2 billion gallons of water every year. As one of the first agencies to use recycled water in Orange County in the early 1960s, Moulton Niguel Water District now provides recycled water...

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                                                                                      According to Patrick Dube, Biosolids Program Manager for WEF, “Looking to learn more about greenhouse gas emissions from composting? You’re in luck as our GHG Subcommittee just released an awesome fact sheet on that topic! Check it out under the biosolids tab on our publications page!” Download the fact sheet here > “Breakdown of Organic...

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                                                                                         The California Water Commission (Commission) recently announced that Regional San will receive $280.5 million—the maximum requested funding amount—in Proposition 1 grant funding to help make the South County Ag Program a reality for the Sacramento region. The South County Ag Program will deliver highly treated recycled water for agricultural irrigation in the southern portion...

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                                                                                          Sponsored post Trihedral expands in response to 45% sales growth over two years The last two years have been an exciting time at Trihedral. New offices in Texas and Alabama, an expanded sales force, and a series of industry recognitions (see below) have helped to boost VTScada software sales 45%. In North America alone, over...

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                                                                                            Cool new video from LA Sanitation featuring: City of Los Angeles 2025 local water goal – One Water Los Angeles Donald C Tillman Water Reclamation Plant Advanced Water Purification demonstration project Ozone treatment option that was chosen LA Groundwater Replenishment project Featuring interviews with LABS Past President Bryan Trussell and member Wendy Broley.

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                                                                                              2018 Environmental Communications Awards Competition Winner The Sanitation Districts have a legacy of cost-effectively converting waste into resources such as recycled water, renewable energy, and recycled materials. Southern California’s complex jurisdictional boundaries have allowed this service to occur largely unnoticed for the past 95 years. However, the recent need to invest in aging infrastructure identified...

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                                                                                                Leading biosolids and organics solutions provider, Lystek International Ltd. (Lystek), is pleased to announce that it has been awarded multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts by the both the City of Benicia (Benicia) and the City of Palo Alto (Palo Alto) for Biosolids Management. The two agreements will see Lystek accept biosolids generated in both cities, converting them into LysteGro®,...

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                                                                                                  Advancing the cause of sustainability, Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) and Macquarie Capital today announced completion of the nation’s largest energy storage system being used for on-site power – a 2.5 MW/15MWh installation now powering the District’s largest water recycling plant. The award-winning behind-the-meter battery system at IRWD’s Michelson Water Recycling Plant is the centerpiece...

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                                                                                                    Introduction  East Bay Dischargers Authority (EBDA) is a joint powers agency consisting of five local agencies including Oro Loma Sanitary District, Union Sanitary District, City of San Leandro, City of Hayward and the Castro Valley Sanitary District. EBDA conveys treated wastewater from its member agencies together with treated wastewater from Livermore-Amador Valley Water Management Agency (LAVWMA),...

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                                                                                                      The purpose of this standard is to define the critical requirements for the effective operation and management of a DPR water program. ISBN: 9781613004739 Publisher: AWWA Publication date: 2018 AWWA catalog no: STG_0086771 Media Type: PDF Number of pages: 14 DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.12999/AWWA.G485.18 Agency reviewers include: J.D. Brown, Contra Costa Water District, Concord, Calif. S. Deshmukh, West Basin Municipal Water District, Carson, Calif....

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                                                                                                        Coverage of the wipes issue is supported by Aqualitec. Press release from INDA… INDA and EDANA, the leading global trade associations representing consumer wipes manufacturers and supply chains, announce publication of an update to their strict guidelines for labeling of non-flushable wipes and for assessing the flushability of disposable nonwoven wipes. New Labeling Guidance for Non-Flushables...

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                                                                                                          CWEA member Albert Lau from Padre Dam Water District explains how pure, recycled water from their Advanced Water Purification ceter was used to brew a one-of-a-kind batch of Ballast Point beer. “The brewing process is very similar to the water treatment process.”

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                                                                                                            Press release from NASSCO… The University of Texas at Arlington Research Team Found Existing Literature on Chemical Emissions of Styrenated CIPP Non-conclusive A four-month study on the review of published literature pertaining to chemical emissions of styrene-based resin used in the cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) process found that existing studies do not adequately capture worker exposures...

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                                                                                                              Water and wastewater utilities have emergency plans for floods, leaks, spills, earthquakes, personnel rescue and terror threats.  But what about wild fires that damage or destroy not only your infrastructure but whole swaths of the community itself?  That was the situation in Santa Rosa following the devastating Tubbs fire last October.    Santa Rosa’s director of...

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                                                                                                                Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board announced that the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) and five East Bay communities will be assessed $389,300 in penalties for violating the terms of a 2014 settlement designed to prevent untreated sewage from entering San Francisco Bay. “East...

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                                                                                                                  Coverage of the wipes issue is supported by Aqualitec. Ten years have passed since the fierce battle began to wipe out sewer clogging wipes. How close are we to a solution? Sadly, not close. Mainstream wet wipes were introduced in the early 2000s for cleaning and as a “flushable” wipe. They’ve become a major challenge...

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                                                                                                                    At this year’s Annual Conference in San Diego a room packed with wastewater professionals listened intently as a panel of experts provided updates on wipes, rags, pills and other debris getting flushed down the toilet. What’s being done to bring this nightmare to an end? The panel of experts agreed we saw some major breakthroughs...

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                                                                                                                      Support for coverage of safety issues in provided by ehs  According to a Purdue Engineering Department study released last month there are potentially volatile organic compounds and other toxic gasses in the steam venting from the cured-in-place-pipe process. Are workers and the public safe? From Purdue’s news release:  New research is calling for immediate safeguards...

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                                                                                                                        From Scientific American and Environmental Health News… “A DDT deposit in the ocean off Los Angeles County has rapidly shrunk, shocking experts and casting doubt on the need to mount a controversial $60-million Superfund cleanup, according to new data. What has happened to the DDT off Palos Verdes Peninsula is, for now, a scientific mystery....