The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) held its annualmeeting and National Clean Water Policy Forum April 30-May 3 at the CapitalHilton in Washington, D.C. The National Clean Water Policy Forum was heldjointly with the Water Environment Federation.
The meetings included two days of committee meetings and a board of directorsmeeting. Two topics that were first and foremost on the minds of the memberswere the TMDL case recently decided by a D.C. court and wet weather issues,specifically EPA’s stance on sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) regulations.
The National Clean Water Policy Forum kicked off May 2 with a breakfastkeynote address delivered by Leon Billings, who played a role in the writing ofthe Clean Water Act of 1972. He spoke about its creation and its importancetoday, noting that the public at large must get involved to protect waterresources. “Society as a whole must act as a permit holder or else our waterinfrastructure will suffer from decay and neglect,” he said.
Charles Cook, author of the Cook Political Report, followed with an overviewof clean water legislation and funding and an analysis of the 2006 mid-termelections and 2008 presidential campaign. Cook noted that prospects forincreased funding for water infrastructure funding were poor due to the currentatmosphere favoring tax cuts, as well as issues such as the military involvementin Iraq and natural disaster recovery efforts from last year’s hurricanes alongthe Gulf Coast. Cook said that the best prospects for infrastructure fundingwould be to develop an off-budget, dedicated form of funding, such as the CleanWater Trust Fund proposed by NACWA.
In addition, Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office ofWater, spoke on EPA’s regulatory priorities, including EPA’s promotion ofadvanced management practices for sustainable infrastructure.
Panel discussions on Legislative Priorities, Securing the Nation’s CriticalWater Infrastructure and Refocusing Federal Attention on Nonpoint SourcePollution were presented featuring recognized experts in their respectivefields.
Linda Kelly of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) delivered the luncheonkeynote speech on the group’s “Water Is Life and Infrastructure Makes it Happen”campaign.
The policy forum concluded on May 3 with a technical roundtable breakfastwith featured speaker James Hanlon, director of EPA’s Office of WastewaterManagement, before splitting into smaller, targeted discussion groups.