A Message from Our Executive Director
During this unprecedented time, CASA would like to assure our members that we are closely tracking all COVID-19 developments as they pertain to clean water agencies. We are also actively engaging our agencies on these issues as well as state and federal entities where appropriate. We have developed a dedicated COVID-19 webpage where agencies can find updates on worker safety, sample agency operation and emergency response plans, state and federal legislative developments, communications tools and other helpful resources. As the situation evolves, we will continue to update this information and work closely with our fellow associations, including CWEA and NACWA, which are developing informative webinars and materials for the clean water community.

The CASA office is currently closed, following the guidelines of the California State Public Health Officer and California Department of Public Health Director’s order that all non-exempt individuals stay at their place of residence. But be assured CASA staff are all working remotely and remain available by email or cell phone to answer any questions you may have. Our LISTSERVS, workgroups, and committees remain very active, and we are still able to assist our member agencies with all of our regular functions, including membership renewals, communications outreach, job board postings, and more.

On behalf of CASA, thank you for continuing your vital work to protect public health and the environment. If there is any additional support we can provide, please let us know. We are all in this together. Stay safe and stay healthy.
State Legislative Updates
Administration Announces “Workload Budget”
On March 24, the California Department of Finance (DOF) notified all state agencies, departments, and the state Legislature that it will be moving forward with developing a “workload budget,” which essentially uses the prior year Budget as a baseline with no additional funding changes. DOF further advised that no additional budget proposals will be considered and that all new budget proposals, including those proposed in the January Budget, will be re-evaluated based on expected economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. 
State Water Resources Control Board Issues Advisory on Flushing Wipes
The State Water Resources Control Board issued a press advisory  on March 17, 2020, advising the public to avoid flushing disinfectant wipes and paper towels because of the problems they pose for sewer systems. The press advisory was prompted by several Bay Area agencies experiencing a surge in non-flushable debris causing spills or near-spills. These agencies reached out to the State Water Board asking for help with generating public awareness. The onslaught of wipes debris is suspected to be associated with local and statewide health directives encouraging people to wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes to prevent the spread of disease. Adding to the problem is a national toilet paper shortage contributing to increased use of alternatives such as “flushable” wipes, baby wipes, or other non-flushable products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency followed suit with a Press Release outlining the implications of flushing wipes and encouraging all Americans to flush toilet paper only.

Many agencies are already experiencing or expect to see additional debris and maintenance issues associated with the non-flushable products. If your agency has been experiencing an uptick in challenges associated with non-flushable debris during the COVID-19 crisis, we want to hear from you! Your stories strengthen our ability to advocate for better labeling. Please contact Jessica Gauger  and share your agency’s experience.
In the News: COVID-19 and Wipes
The news advisory released by the SWRCB triggered a sizeable amount of local and national media coverage. CASA received inquiries from multiple reporters and put together a media statement regarding agencies experiencing increases in problems as a result of the response to COVID-19. Over the course of the week a fair number of articles have been released from national news outlets like CNN and The New York Times , which referenced CASA’s campaign hashtag #WipesClogPipes. There has also been great coverage from local news outlets including CBS San Francisco which features our very own CASA Vice President, Jason Dow.

In light of the COVID-19 Crisis and influx of media requests to CASA and member agencies, CASA has prepared a Media Resources Toolkit to aid in agency outreach. We created this resource in the hope the tools are simple enough to “copy + paste” to social media platforms or other communications, so that you and your teams can keep continued focus on the pressing issues facing agencies at this time. Please feel free to use the contents as you see fit.
Federal Updates
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: H.R. 748
Last week the third stimulus package, CARES Act ( H.R. 748 ) was signed into law by President Trump in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It commits to $2 trillion in assistance to support hundreds of economic and health-related needs and focuses on the general public, small and medium-sized businesses, and the healthcare industry. The bill does not include recommendations sought by the House related to support for the water and wastewater sector, such as tax credits for payroll taxes and ratepayer assistance. However, it is possible these issues will be addressed in future legislation. CASA has put together a brief summary of the key provisions of H.R. 748 .
USEPA Meets with CASA During DC Conference
CASA members met with numerous EPA staff on February 25, 2020 in Washington DC for a productive information exchange on a variety of topics including Biosolids Electronic Reporting, Biosolids Management, Legislative Mandates, Perfluourinated Compounds (PFAS), and more. Please see a summary of the meeting here .
Regulatory Update
Biosolids Haulers COVID Update
Questions have surfaced during the COVID-19 crisis about whether biosolids haulers are considered essential public service providers and should continue to work during the crisis. Please find a comprehensive letter from the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (LACSD) articulating that such workers are in fact essential. The letter also provides excellent references to wastewater treatment in general as an essential public service necessary to ensuring public safety. Thank you to Matt Bao and LACSD for providing this and allowing us to share it, and feel free to use it as a template for your own needs. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Greg Kester .
Today, Wednesday, April 1, from 11:00am to 12:30pm the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) in partnership with CASA and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) will host a webinar: Overview of the Coronavirus, Transmission and Operations Planning . CASA's Greg Kester will be on the panel of experts who will help us gain an understanding of the virus so we can protect both wastewater workers and public health. Be sure to register for this free, live webinar here .
On Thursday, April 2, NACWA will host a webinar Responding to COVID-19: Insights & Resources for Clean Water Utilities , featuring multiple utility executives who will share information on how their agencies are responding to the outbreak as well as cover a variety of topics including Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs), Emergency Response Plans, HR and staffing issues, operations issues, losses in revenue, and other challenges being presented by the virus.
Registration is free to NACWA members and nonmembers alike.
The American Water Works Association is hosting two free webinars this week and next week in light of COVID-19. On Friday April 3, from 10:00am to 11:30am (PT) they will be discussing the challenges that communications professionals are facing due to the pandemic: Be a Trusted Source: How to Handle Communication Challenges During COVID-19 . On Monday April 6, from 10:00am to 11:30am (PT) they will be discussing the legal implications impacting water utilities and their operations: Legal Aspects of COVID-19 for Water Utilities .
NSAC Flushable Wipes Webinar
The National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) is hosting a Flushable Wipes Webinar on Friday, April 10, from 10:00am to 11:30am Pacific Time. Our very own Jessica Gauger will be one of the presenters along with Assembly member Richard Bloom, Cynthia Finley from NACWA, Heidi Sanborn from NSAC, and Shane Trimmer from Congressman Lowenthal’s office.

You won’t want to miss this webinar! Register today.
Salary Survey Deadline Extended: May 8, 2020
The deadline for the Agency Salary Survey has been extended to May 8, 2020, and CASA would like to encourage your agency’s participation. The survey provides valuable information for our members. The more responses we receive, the more accurate the statistical summary we can create. If your agency participated previously, your data is important for those agencies that use benchmarks. For those of you who have not participated in recent surveys, or have never participated, you will find this information very helpful when conducting a salary classification and review. Monterey One Water has again graciously volunteered to coordinate and produce the survey report.

For inquiries about the survey, please contact Deborah Welch . Thank you for your participation in the development of this important member resource.
CASA Education Foundation Scholarship Applications
The CASA Education Foundation helps ensure clean water for Californians by awarding scholarships to promising students on a path to serving the environmental community. Does your local college or university know about CASA’s financial aid to students interested in a career in water? The Foundation is accepting scholarship applications through April 26, 2020. For information on how to apply, who is eligible and the scholarship guidelines, visit the website .
Member News
Distinguished Budget Award
Congratulations and a job well done to Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) who received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for the 14th consecutive year! What a spectacular accomplishment.
Members Contribute to CASA COVID Webpage
During these trying times, we are proud of our agencies for pulling together and sharing resources. The City of Modesto has shared their draft Pandemic Emergency Plan , the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) has also shared multiple communications pieces including: an HR Update , General Manager’s Message , FAQs , and their Telecommuting Guidelines . Find these helpful resources and other Agency’s responses on our COVID-19 webpage and remember that we are all in this together.
Community Collaboration
Valley Sanitary District (VSD) has been collaborating with Riverside County’s Emergency Management Department and Public Health Department in managing COVID-19 and related needs in Indio, CA. The staff at VSD has been actively involved in establishing and maintain public health standards related to wastewater discharges from one of eight federal field medical units. Press Release .
Upcoming Events
Aug. 12-14, 2020
CASA Annual Conference - Squaw Creek