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States & Wastewater Officials Seeks Flexibility on Technology to Meet Clean Water Act Rules

Regulators and wastewater officials released a 2020 vision plan on October 15th that encourages the use of the latest developments in technology and regulatory flexibility to meet Clean Water Act obligations. The 2020 vision plan is a joint release of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The vision plan recognizes the accomplishments to date under the law but also highlights new approaches to achieving compliance with the law’s myriad obligations in the coming years. Go to http://www.nacwa.org/images/stories/public/2012-10-15cwa40.pdf to read the Joint Vision Plan in its entirety.

NACWA, WEF, and the Water Environment Research Foundation are also developing a blueprint for a wastewater utility of the future that will go beyond providing secondary treatment. This blueprint considers the role of utilities as water supplies grow scarce, funds shrink, and needs for cleaner water increase. More utilities opt for green infrastructure approaches to manage stormwater overflows because they do not have the capital to build large storm drains that would be required traditionally.

The Utility of the Future blueprint complements the Vision Plan because the plan urges support for:

  • developing holistic watershed approaches that can effectively address the diffuse and complex sources of water pollution that hinder additional progress;
  • ensuring that maximum flexibility, creativity, and innovation under the Clean Water Act are supported and that barriers that may stand in the way of these objectives are addressed;
  • spreading awareness of the value of our nation’s water, including the vital role of water and wastewater infrastructure in job creation, economic expansion, and public health protection;
  • maximizing the effect of limited human and capital resources by focusing on the initiatives and projects that achieve the greatest water quality gains relative to the collective effort invested; and ensuring that municipalities and states have the funds and financial tools needed to implement programs that will ensure 40 more years of clean water improvements.