A Big Thank You to All Wastewater Professionals!
We know being away from your families or adjusting to a new work from home routine at a time like this is difficult, and we are especially grateful for you and your agencies’ persistent dedication to protecting public health and the environment during this challenging time. Clean water professionals are the unsung heroes in our communities, and we would just like to take a moment to recognize you.

COVID-19 has impacted the wastewater community in a variety of unprecedented and challenging ways, and we are proud of our member agencies as you continue to work together and support each other through these tough times. CASA is honored to stand with such resilient and talented workforces. We will continue to do everything we can to support you during these times with additional resources and continued advocacy on your behalf. Thank you for your dedicated service.
Updates to CASA COVID-19 Webpage
As new information is released and obtained, CASA continues to update our COVID-19 webpage . Some of the significant recent updates include:
  • New COVID-19 Communication Tools Page: In light of the influx of media requests to CASA and member agencies, CASA has prepared a Media Resources Toolkit to aid in agency outreach so that you and your teams can keep a focus on maintaining operations. Check here for samples of internal and external communication materials, links to recent press on wipes, and upcoming webinars. Thank you to the agencies that have provided materials, we will continue to add resources to the page as we receive them. If you have items you are willing to share with the membership, please email them to Alyssa Downs.
  • Research Page: As research related to all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic becomes available, we are gathering those studies and articles of most relevance to the wastewater sector in one place for your reference and usage. This page also contains information on efforts to utilize wastewater as a potential method of tracking COVID-19 hotspots across the country. 
  • FEMA Deadlines Upcoming: Under the recent COVID-19 funding package, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) received $45 billion to utilize and distribute to states and localities. As part of the funding process, FEMA requires a Request for Public Assistance in order for governmental entities to follow-up on specific reimbursement requests. To receive funds, agencies will need to submit a FEMA Form 90-49 and CAL OES forms 130 and 89. Information on this process, deadlines, and additional resources are now up on the CASA webpage. The current deadline is April 17, 2020, but may be extended by the State.
PPIC: Wastewater Treatment Kills Most Pathogens, Including COVID-19
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released an article yesterday focused on questions about managing COVID-19 in wastewater. This article includes an interview with CASA’s Executive Director, Adam Link. “I’m very encouraged by how well our agencies have come together to solve the new problems the pandemic raises and prepare for the worst together... Our agencies are working around the clock to keep systems functioning properly and prevent major breakdowns”, says Adam. Kara Nelson, an expert in waterborne pathogens at UC Berkeley is also featured and sheds some light on the “very, very low” levels of risk from the virus in wastewater. The full interview is available here.
Federal Legislative Update
CASA Submits Letter on Fourth Federal Relief Package
Last week, CASA sent a letter to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) outlining policy priorities that Congress should address in the fourth federal relief package. The letter was also forwarded to the entire California Congressional Delegation. In the letter, CASA is urging Congress to address several significant issues including enhanced ratepayer assistance, clarifications on assistance eligibility and tax treatment of public agencies, and longer-term infrastructure needs.
CASA Supports Rep. Cox’s Dear Colleague Letter
Representative TJ Cox (D-CA) has written a Dear Colleague letter urging House and Senate leadership to make state and local governments eligible to receive emergency paid family and sick leave tax credits in the upcoming fourth federal relief package. CASA is listed as a supporting organization of the letter, which has bipartisan support in the House.

Under the recent federal relief packages, the private sector was granted eligibility to receive emergency paid family and sick leave tax credits. However, this eligibility was not extended to public employers, despite the fact that public employees are eligible to receive emergency paid leave. Representative Cox is calling on leadership to amend this issue and extend these emergency tax credits to the public sector in the fourth economic relief package expected later this month. CASA is supportive of this effort and will continue to make it a priority.
More COVID-19 News
COVID-19 Analysis in Wastewater
Through advanced laboratory capabilities and expertise in Coronavirus research, the University of Arizona Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center (WEST) has initiated a monitoring program to allow Coronavirus sewage surveillance for interested wastewater treatment plants. This presents an opportunity to test for COVID-19 in your wastewater and an ability to assess its presence in your community. Drs. Gerba and Pepper at the University of Arizona are able to determine whether COVID-19 has been shed in your community and if so, what percentage of it remains viable. Both tests on influent run about $1600 (though they recommend also testing effluent). Our understanding is that a MIT/Harvard group (BioBot) is also offering this analysis. If you are interested in learning more please follow this link to find contact and application information along with detailed cost data at the U of AZ. Please let Greg Kester  know if you have any questions.
Recycled Water Volumetric Annual Reporting – COVID-19 Exceptions
In anticipation of the recycled water volumetric annual reporting due on April 30, 2020, the State Water Board released multiple materials including a  FAQ  and a  Help Guide for Geotracker  to assist over 900 permittees in understanding and complying with changes to monitoring and reporting programs for WDRs, NPDES permits, water reclamation requirements, master recycling permits, and general waste discharge requirements. The State Water Board is considering requests for extension of this deadline for agencies affected by the COVID-19 emergency. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and Water Board staff have offered to work with individual agencies to identify the best solution. Those requests should be submitted via email to  Rebecca Greenwood  and the  recycled water inbox .
CalWARN: Emergency Preparedness and Response
The California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (CalWARN) is an affiliation intended to assist the water and wastewater sector cope with emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis. Their mission is to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response, and mutual assistance processes for public and private water and wastewater utilities. The new  CalWARN Web Portal  expands utilities’ ability to achieve agency, regional and state preparedness by providing new tools and proven practices. The CalWARN Program provides its member utilities with:
Tomorrow, April 15, 2020, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm, the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) will host a free webinar: Managing Collection Systems During the Coronavirus Pandemic . While wastewater professionals await definitive science, this webinar will explore how collection system professionals can take precautions. Be sure to register today!
Tomorrow, April 15, 2020 from 11:00am - 12:00pm, in partnership with the Water Research Foundation (WRF), WateReuse will host: Breaking Down Implementation Barriers for Onsite Non-Potable Water Systems , this presentation will cover key components of successful onsite non-potable water systems.

On April 21, 2020 from 11:00am – 12:00pm, WateReuse will host: America’s Water Infrastructure Act – Implications for Water Reuse and COVID-19 . This webcast will discuss how water reuse interacts with the risk and resilience assessment (RRA) and highlight some the ways that risks are viewed and managed from The America’s Water Infrastructure Act perspective. It will also discuss how we are interpreting and acting upon risk in the midst the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and how we can use RRAs to prepare for future risks.
On Thursday, April 16, 2020 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm the Water Research Foundation will host a webinar on the Latest Coronavirus Research Update . The world-renowned presenters are experts in infectious disease control, virology, water and wastewater engineering, personal protective equipment (PPEs), outbreak epidemiology, pandemic trends, and risk emergency response. The presenters will provide participants with up-to-date technical details, resources, and published public health recommendations as we continue to learn more about this ongoing pandemic.
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:00pm (PT) the Water Environment Federation (WEF), in partnership with NACWA, WateReuse, and the Water Research Foundation(WRF), are encouraging water professionals to join them for a webinar: Water Advocacy Update and How to Virtually Lobby Congress During Water Week 2020

(April 26 – May 1). This webcast will walk participants through the latest from Capitol Hill, the water sector’s key issues and talking points, and tools and tips for engaging during Water Week – such as setting up Zoom congressional office visits and messaging resources for social media and community outreach during Water Week and beyond.
On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:30pm (PT) the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), in partnership with the Water Environment Federation (WEF), WateReuse, and the Water Research Foundation(WRF), invite clean water utilities and all water professionals to participate in the webinar: Water Week 2020 – Insights from Washington, DC . Register today to hear the latest water policy developments from EPA senior staff, messages from Members of Congress about the value of water sector advocacy, and updates from key Water Week partners. Don't miss this unparalleled opportunity to hear from these key policymakers.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is hosting a Webinar Series: Asset Management Plans and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund on May 5, 2020 from 10:30am – 11:30am (PT). Asset management is a foundation for understanding near-and-long term operational and capital needs, and can provide a clear picture of infrastructure-related expenses and future investment needs, which inform financial planning processes. Presenters will discuss the components of asset management plans, how State CWSRF programs are implementing them, and various incentives that borrowers receive for funding projects that include asset management plans.
Member News
Members in the News!
As we continue to see news releases concerning the influx of wipes due to COVID-19, you may notice some familiar faces! Check out one of the latest clips from ABC 7 News featuring footage at Novato Sanitary District’s treatment plant headworks building and interviews with Mike Prinz, General Manager of Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District and Sandeep Karkal, General Manager of Novato Sanitary District. If your agency is receiving media requests and need assistance, we are here to help! Please contact our Communications Analyst, Alyssa Downs for resources and CASA’s media statement on flushing wipes.
CASA Associate Member Offers COVID-19 Relief Program
During this public health crisis, SmartCover has created a COVID-19 Relief Program for free remote collection system monitoring. Their goal is to help the wastewater industry deal with the current and future issues associated with limited staff and the influx of wipes and other debris that have increased the risk of spills. Smart Cover Flyer
CWEA Emerging Leader Awards
Who comes to mind when you think of an accomplished water professional, someone making a significant, positive impact on California’s water? Have they not yet been recognized for that effort? Nominate them for the California Water Environment Association’s (CWEA) Emerging Leader Award today!
We Love the Creativity!
Many agencies are working hard to get messages out in their communities to inform the public of various important matters, and we love to see it! Kudos to Rancho Water , Yorba Linda Water District , Las Virgenes Municipal Water District , and Ross Valley Sanitary District on their creative messaging and efforts in public outreach! If your agency has recently created public outreach materials that you are willing to share with the CASA membership, please send them to our Communications Analyst, Alyssa Downs .
Toilet Paper Pantry
On Saturday April 11, Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan) hosted a COVID-19 Community Toilet Paper Pantry in partnership with Smalltown Society. This event was created in response to the toilet paper shortage caused by COVID-19 and felt by all, but especially the underserved in the community. What a great way to support your local community, well done CVSan!
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 .