National Water Division Directors-State Water Organizations Meeting

On November 5, 2015, ASDWA President Steve Sturgess, supported by Jim Taft of ASDWA staff, attended the EPA National Water Division Directors Meeting in Decatur, Georgia.  The meeting included the ten EPA Regional Water Division Directors; the Directors of the four Office of Water program offices (Office of Ground Water & Drinking Water; Office of Science & Technology; Office of Wetlands, Oceans, & Watersheds; Office of Wastewater Management); the leadership of the Office of Water; and representatives of the state water organizations (in addition to ASDWA) — the Environmental Council of the States; the Association of Clean Water Administrators; and the Ground Water Protection Council.

The purpose of the meeting was to review the status of major program areas; discuss various “hot topics” and; brainstorm about our collective path forward.  Among the topics discussed were the following:

  • Water Technology & Innovation, Energy Management, and Resource Recovery
  • Update on Health & Ecological Criteria Division Activities
  • The National Wetlands Condition Assessment
  • Community Focused Work (especially, the Urban Water and “Making a Visible Difference in Communities” Initiatives)
  • WIFIA and the Water Infrastructure Resiliency Finance Center
  • Harmful Algal Blooms and Associated Cyanotoxins

Each of the state water organizations also provided an overview their principal concerns and issues.  Among the state drinking water program challenges mentioned by Steve Sturgess, on behalf of ASDWA, were preparing to implement new rules (especially RTCR); enahancing the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of small water systems; dealing with new and emerging contaminant challenges (especially HABs and associated cyanotoxins);  protecting sources of drinking water; dealing with droughts and floods as the “new normal; managing drinking water data and preparing for SDWIS Prime; and coping with often  insufficient resources for state drinking water programs.  These meetings, typically held at least once per year, are an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas, share best practices, and highlight upcoming challenges we’ll face as co-regulators.