Wipes Update
Major Wipes Manufacturer Kimberly-Clark Agrees to Meet Flushability Specifications
As part of a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit in South Carolina, Kimberley-Clark, one of the largest flushable wipes manufacturers in North America, has agreed to meet the IWSFG flushability specifications for all of their products that are marketed as “flushable” by May 1, 2022. The IWSFG standards were developed by an international group of wastewater utilities, and require wipes to go through a series of agitation tests and ultimately meet a threshold of 80% disintegration. Kimberley-Clark has also agreed to mandatory “Do Not Flush” labeling provisions based on legislation passed in the state of Washington. These provisions are less stringent than what has been proposed in CASAs sponsored legislation, AB 818, but are consistent with our policy goals. There are several other defendants in the class action who have not reached a settlement, but this is a major victory in the fight against wipes. Here is a link to the settlement agreement. There will be an opportunity for utilities to review and comment on the settlement in the coming weeks and CASA will notify our members when we have those details. Please contact Jessica Gauger with any questions.
Federal Update
Senate Begins Debate on Water Infrastructure Package 
The Senate began floor consideration on the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (S. 914) this week, filing a cloture on the legislation last week. With last week’s action, it allows the chamber to move forward with a formal vote on the measure in the near future. The package enjoyed bipartisan support in the Committee on Environment and Public Works and is expected to receive a bipartisan vote on the floor. 
S. 914 is primarily a reauthorization bill that contains the clean water and drinking water provisions that failed to be passed last year, as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020. Key clean water provisions include: 
USEPA Seeks Compromise For WOTUS
During a House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2022 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) budget request, Administrator Michael Regan fielded questions from committee members on how his Agency would handle the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS). In response, Regan explained that the Agency will seek to establish a compromised regulatory path for WOTUS that balances the concerns of farmers and environmentalists. Under the Clean Water Act, WOTUS establishes the jurisdictional authority the federal government has over water bodies in the country. Over the last decade, it has been a source of contention following a rule change in 2015 that expanded the government’s jurisdictional authority of water bodies by expanding the definition of navigable waters, and recent narrowing of the rule under the Trump Administration that limited the types of navigable water bodies and reduced the authority of the government under the Clean Water Act. 
Based on Regan’s comments, USEPA will try to craft a WOTUS rule that strikes a balance between the two prior proposed rules. Regan stated that the Agency does not “have any intention of going back to the original Obama Waters of the U.S. verbatim, and we don’t necessarily agree with everything that was in the Trump Administration’s version as well. We’ve learned lessons from both. We’ve seen complexities in both, and we’re determined that both rules did not necessarily listen to the will of the people.”
In Case You Missed It
Droughts in California: PPIC Resources Available
With drought on the horizon, water managers across California are moving into emergency planning mode. A new fact sheet, an upcoming event, and other timely resources from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Water Policy Center examine the wide-ranging impacts of drought on different sectors and explore actions we can take to reduce its disruption and costs. For additional resources on this and related topics, visit PPIC’s drought page.
Ask a Communications Professional
Need Communications Advice? Don’t have the money or time for a complex contract to get the help you need? Want a trusted communications expert to talk an issue out? We are here to help! The CASA Communications Committee has come up with a new tool to aid in agency communications needs. On a bimonthly basis, one of the committee members will be CASA’s own point of contact for all things communications. Simply give the comms pro a call or send them an email with any question you may have. This month’s communications professional is Emily Barnett, Communications and Intergovernmental Relations Manager at the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in Martinez, California. Emily is a communications superstar with over a decade of experience in public and governmental relations, continuously leading state and national award-winning communications projects. If you’ve got a communication related question, she’s sure to have an answer! Contact Emily by email at ebarnett@centralsan.org, connect via LinkedIn or directly on her office line at 925-229-7310.
Deadline Approaching
Has your agency applied for CASA’s Award of Excellence yet? There’s still time! CASA seeks to recognize members who provide essential public services and go above and beyond to protect public health and the environment. Member agencies and associates are invited to submit an Award of Excellence application by Friday, April 30, 2021. Categories include Excellence in Innovation & Resiliency, Public Outreach/Education, Organizational Excellence, and Outstanding Capital Project. More information about the award criteria and categories is available on the website.
CWEA-CASA Partnering for Impact in California
Join CASA and CWEA on May 5, 2021 at 9:30am for a workshop entitled “Partnering for Impact in California.” This one-day workshop co-hosted by CASA and CWEA will bring together thought leaders, decision makers, project managers, and plant operators to create an open discussion around innovation in the wastewater sector in California. The audience will engage in facilitated breakout discussions around each topic introduced by our speakers in a short “TED-style” format. Following the breakout discussions, all attendees will participate in a moderated discussion with the presenters. Space is limited so be sure to register today!
CASA Education Foundation Scholarship Applications
Does your local college or university know about CASA’s financial aid to students interested in a career in water? The CASA Education Foundation helps ensure clean water for Californians and energize the future of the clean water sector by awarding scholarships to promising students on a path to serving the environmental community. The Foundation is accepting scholarship applications through May 16, 2021. For information on how to apply, who is eligible and the scholarship guidelines, visit the website.
Member News
SVCW Awarded Plant of the Year
Silicon Valley Clean Water SVCW was recently awarded Plant of the Year by the California Water Environment Association (CWEA). SVCW previously won the local Santa Clara Valley Section award, which automatically propelled them to the state competition for this esteemed award. SVCW staff and management team pulled forces together to complete the application for the state, prepare a presentation for the selection panel interview and answer questions by the selection committee. “I believe what really sets SVCW apart is our staff—a team of motivated individuals who have a passion for what they do. Everyone truly buys in to our mission, which is to do everything in the absolute safest manner, from conveying and treating our communities’ wastewater to meeting our permits every single day.” Said SVCW Manager, Teresa Herrera. Congratulations to SVCW!
EMWD Selects New General Manager
Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) Board of Directors selected Joe Mouawad as EMWD’s next General Manager following a nationwide search. Mouawad served in various leadership roles with EMWD for the past 15 years, bringing a wealth of internal experience to his new responsibility of leading California’s sixth-largest retail water agency. Mouawad is the eighth General Manager in EMWD’s 71-year history. EMWD’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the hire during its board meeting. Mouawad, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry, received a three-year contract. His first day as General Manager is May 3, 2021. “Throughout the recruitment process, it was very clear that Joe’s leadership style, institutional knowledge of EMWD, and his relationship with both staff and our key stakeholders made him the clear choice to serve as EMWD’s next General Manager,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. Congratulations to Joe! Read the full press release here.
Water’s Worth It Photo Contest
CASA member agencies have been invited to submit agency photos of their facilities and team members to CWEA’s Water's Worth It photo contest. They are looking for infrastructure and wastewater professional shots to feature in the Water's Worth It California outreach campaign. The top prize is $500, and the photographer and agency can jointly decide how to the prize money is used. Each agency/person can upload 3 photos, but hurry, entries are due by Friday, April 30th, details: https://www.cwea.org/about-cwea/waters-worth-it. Photo upload/entry link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/waters-worth-it-photos.
Webinars and Workshops
CALMS Webinar: Wastewater Surveillance for Covid-19
On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm, the California Lake Management Society (CALMS) is hosting a lunchtime webinar, Wastewater Surveillance for COVID-19. The objectives of this project were to (i) develop and implement methods to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and (ii) examine the levels of the SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater facilities in Southeast Louisiana and develop key relationships with cases in the community to support public health decisions to manage and prevent the spread of the disease. Weekly composite wastewater samples have been collected from 5 wastewater treatment plants for the analysis of SARS-CoV-2. The results and experience of monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater in 4 cities in Southeast Louisiana will be presented. Be sure to register today!
NACWA: National Pretreatment Virtual Event
On May 17 through May 20, 2021, NACWA is partnering with the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) to bring the latest developments and analysis of the national, state and local issues affecting pretreatment programs from the perspective of both utilities and regulators. Join virtually for the popular roundtable sessions discussing the latest EPA region and pretreatment issues. Then, hear from featured experts who will examine the following hot topics; PFAS Developments, Marijuana Industry and the Potential Impact on Pretreatment, FOG: Strategies for Investigations and Lessons Learned, CROMERR Compliance: Bringing Pretreatment into the Digital Age, and Breaking Down Barriers: EPA, States, and POTWs as Co-Regulators. Be sure to register here today!
CASA represents more than 125 local public agencies engaged in the collection, treatment and recycling of Wastewater and biosolids to protect public health and the environment. Our mission is to provide trusted information and advocacy on behalf of California clean water agencies, and to be a leader in sustainability and utilization of renewable resources.