New Roles at CASA!
We are excited to share that Jessica Gauger and Jared Voskuhl have taken on new roles here at CASA. Jessica has been promoted to Director of Legislative Advocacy and Public Affairs. In this newly created position, Jessica will continue her role as our primary state legislative advocate and will also take a more active role in CASA’s strategic communications, including overseeing the communications program.
Jared will serve as CASA’s Manager of Regulatory Affairs. In this role, Jared will take the lead on many regulatory matters pertaining to water quality as well as management of CASA’s regulatory and collection system workgroups. Jared is well known to many of you for his efforts as our Legislative and Regulatory Analyst where he assisted with several key CASA initiatives, including labeling requirements for wet wipes. Feel free to reach out to both Jessica and Jared to wish them well!
COVID-19 Updates
Treated Wastewater Safe from the COVID-19 Virus
On April 21, the State Water Board released a fact sheet on the efficacy of wastewater and sludge treatment on inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 Virus. “Sanitation experts have determined that existing treatment plant disinfection processes successfully disinfect wastewater containing the COVID-19 virus.” The Fact Sheet is a helpful resources for responding to safety and health concerns, and includes a number of strong statements from the Water Board. Read more here:  California’s Recycled Water and Treated Wastewater Is Safe from the COVID-19 Virus
Wastewater Serves as a Tool to Identify the Prevalence of Coronavirus in Communities
The current spread of the new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the COVID-19 disease is of pressing public health concern. Testing influent wastewater for the COVID-19 virus is a pragmatic means of understanding community outbreak and positioning along the curve, and a number of agencies are beginning to actively puruse this as a strategy. Working closely with wastewater agencies, the University of Arizona WEST Center (among others) is able to assist communities by testing for incidence of the Coronavirus in sewage. They have the ability to evaluate influent samples to determine whether COVID-19 has been shed in a community and if so, what percentage of the virus remains viable. Monitoring sewage offers community leaders a unique set of data since it can be used to evaluate if the virus is present in a community even if groups of individuals are asymptomatic (i.e. show no visible symptoms). Sewage testing can also quantify potential risk of infection to wastewater workers. For more information about wastewater surveillance of Coronavirus and details on services available to interested agencies, please contact Greg Kester .
Updates to CASA COVID-19 Webpage
As new information is released and obtained, CASA continues to update our COVID-19 webpage . Some recent additions include:
Federal Update
U.S. Supreme Court Rules on County of Maui Litigation
On April 23, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in County of Maui v Hawaii Wildlife Fund. This is one of the most significant Clean Water Act (CWA) cases to reach the Court in the last decade and, could have significant implications for the water and wastewater community.

The case presented the Court with a key jurisdictional issue: whether the CWA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements apply to discharges from point sources that enter groundwater before reaching navigable waters. In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court held that discharges to groundwater that ultimately end up in surface waters will require an NPDES permit if the discharge to groundwater is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge to a surface water. The Court identified time and distance as the primary factors for determining whether a discharge meets this test, but also listed a number of other factors that would be used to make that determination.

Many fear that this ruling represents a win for potential plaintiffs looking to sue water and wastewater agencies. While more limited than the 9 th Circuit’s “fairly traceable” standard, the “functional equivalent” standard is still nebulous and means plaintiffs groups will be able to allege that a discharge to groundwater from an infiltration basin, irrigation channel, green infrastructure or leaky pipe is the functional equivalent to a direct discharge and therefore requires an NPDES permit.
Senate Committee Releases Draft Water Infrastructure Bills
This week, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) unveiled drafts of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020) and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (DWIA 2020). The two drafts represent the first iteration of the Senate’s Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA) for 2020 that will deliver a comprehensive federal approach to address the nation’s water infrastructure needs.

This year the committee separated U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and clean water infrastructure provisions and drinking water provisions into two bills. AWIA 2020 provides a total of $17 billion in new federal authorizations to support USACE and municipal wastewater, stormwater, and other clean water infrastructure needs. Titles II and III of the AWIA draft contain provisions related to clean water infrastructure. DWIA 2020 provides a total of $2.5 billion to address the nation’s drinking water needs.
Congress Passes Coronavirus 3.5 Relief Package
The President signed into law the latest version of a federal COVID-19 relief package, H.R. 266, Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act . Dubbed the coronavirus 3.5 relief package, H.R. 266 builds off the CARES Act Congress passed last month. This new package provides a total of $484 billion to support the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), assist hospitals, and support national testing initiatives. The bill, however, does not provide funding to support states and local governments. H.R. 266 passed the Senate by voice vote and the House approved the package on a roll call vote of 388-5. A brief summary of the key provisions within the bill can be accessed here .
Regulatory Update
Revised SB 1383 Regulations in Print
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery released the long anticipated new regulatory text for the regulations to implement SB 1383 on Organics Diversion. There is a 30-day public comment period, with comments due on May 20 th by 5:00 PM. CASA’s initial review shows no substantive changes that would negatively impact wastewater agencies or change our position on the regulations. As we review and draft a comment letter, we will update the LISTSERVs as appropriate and develop a template letter for interested agencies. Please contact Greg Kester with any questions or comments.
Central Valley Salinity Plan
Amendments to the Central Valley basin plans to implement a Salt and Nitrate Control Program (CV-SALTS) were approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on October 16, 2019 ( RESOLUTION NO. 2019-0057 ) and the majority of the program became effective on January 17, 2020. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVWB) intends to begin sending out Notices to Comply for the Salt and Nitrate Control Program in late May.

While updates on this program have previously focused on wastewater agency concerns from the perspective of water quality and discharge limits, the implications for biosolids activities are now coming into focus as well. CV-SALTS consists of two distinct programs with which permittees must comply. The first addresses salt in both surface and groundwaters and the second addresses nitrate in groundwater. All who land apply biosolids, including compost, in the Central Valley Region need to comply with requirements of both programs. Please find the full summary here: Central Valley Salts Summary and we will keep you posted as the policy becomes implemented.
AWWA Water & Sewer Affordability Report
The American Water Works Association released a study on Water and sewer affordability in the United States: a 2019 update . Results show that affordability conditions have worsened on average since the last such study in 2017. Read more here.
Tomorrow, 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.
Tomorrow, Wednesday April 29, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:00pm (PT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a webinar on: Water Treatment Modeling Tools for Removing PFAS and Other Contaminants . This webinar will provide an overview of the series of adsorption models, along with examples of how they can be used to help design pilot treatment systems and provide a first-cut prediction of full-scale results. The information generated from the models will provide utilities with a better understanding of the fundamentals of carbon adsorption and what that means to the operation, performance, and costs associated with this technology.
On May 5, 2020 from 10:30am – 11:30am (PT), the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is hosting a Webinar Series: Asset Management Plans and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund . 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.
On Thursday, April 30, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:30pm (PT) the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) will host its fourth free webinar: What We're Learning About the Coronavirus and Disinfection  . This webinar will feature three experts in wastewater disinfection who will delve into the world of regulations, research and operations to explore what we know and what we are learning about the coronavirus and disinfection. Register today!
On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:45pm, CWEA, in partnership with CASA and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) will host a webinar:  Wastewater and Coronavirus Update #2 . This is the fifth webinar in CWEA’s COVID-19 in California series and will provide an update on wastewater disinfection, biosolids recommendations, transition plan for reopening, testing wastewater for community surveillance, and more. Register today, you won’t want to miss this webinar!
On Thursday, April 30, 2020, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm (PT) the Water Research Foundation will host a webinar: Business Cases for Co-Digestion of Food Waste: Lessons Learned . Co-digestion of food wastes with wastewater solids at water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) can provide financial benefits to WRRFs, as well as a broad range of environmental and community benefits.

This webinar’s speakers will discuss WRF’s  Developing Business Cases for Food Waste Co-Digestion at Water Resources Recovery Facilities  (4792), which offers general principles and case study examples of how to create value and manage the risks of adopting co-digestion of food waste (e.g., fats, oils, and grease, food manufacturing residuals, and food scraps) with wastewater solids to enhance recovery of biogas, soil amendments, and nutrient products. Be sure to register today!
Member News
Member Dues Changes
The CASA Board recently approved a change to the 2021 CASA Member Dues tiers and amounts, which is still subject to approval at CASA’s Annual Business meeting in August. With this change, a number of member agencies (particularly smaller agencies) will see a significant decrease in dues, while some of the larger agencies will see a nominal increase of 1-2%. The impetus for these changes was to soften the financial impact on agencies that may be transitioning from one tier to the next, particularly smaller agencies, and to assist with retaining and recruiting these agency members. The structural changes are designed to be revenue neutral for CASA as an organization. We will provide additional details in upcoming Connects, but the proposed changes are outlined here so agencies can begin to plan and budget for 2021.
Virtual Plant Tour
The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (Central San) has come up with a creative and insightful way to keep the public engaged, connected, and informed on the clean water process…all from the comfort of home! Central San’s new Virtual Treatment Plant Tour is a 360-degree inside look at how the plant operates to make dirty water clean again. There are also magnificent 360-degree photos for each stage of the treatment process accompanied by an audio tour for each section. Great work Central San and thank you for sharing!
CASA Awards 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, May 1. Your organization works hard to do what’s right for California. Recognition from the leading clean water association honors your hard work and accomplishments. It’s a symbol of respect, credibility, and innovation. For more information about the award criteria and categories, please visit the Awards Program Webpage .
CWEA Emerging Leader Awards
As the May 1 deadline approaches, be sure to nominate the leader who comes to your mind when you think of an accomplished water professional! If you know someone making a significant, positive impact on California’s water that has not yet been recognized for that effort, nominate them for the California Water Environment Association’s (CWEA) Emerging Leader Award today!
CASA Education Foundation Scholarship Deadline Approaching
Does your local college or university know about CASA’s financial aid to students interested in a career in water? There is still time to apply for the CASA Education Foundation’s scholarship by Friday May 1. Help us get the word out to California college students about this great opportunity! If you have a relative, neighbor, or friend studying for a degree in the water sector, be sure to share this application with them. For information on how to apply, who is eligible and the scholarship guidelines, please visit the Education Foundation’s Scholarship Webpage .
Congratulations CWEA Award Winners!
Congratulations to all of CWEA’s 2019 award winners, and especially to the CASA member agencies, of which there were many! Some of the first-place awards include:

  • Central Marin Sanitation Agency: Safety Plant of the Year
  • City of Riverside: Collection System of the Year
  • Central Contra Costa Sanitary District: Community Engagement and Outreach;
  • Project of the Year
  • Best Use of Social Media
  • Ironhouse Sanitation District, Delta Diablo, and Byron Sanitary District: Community Engagement and Outreach; Project of the Year
  • Orange County Sanitation District: Community Engagement and Outreach; Film Festival
  • Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County: Community Engagement and Outreach; Film Festival
  • Encina Wastewater Authority: Leadership Development; Plant of the Year

To view the entire list of winners please visit CWEA Awards 2019-20 Gallery
In Memoriam
Madelyne “Maddi” Misheloff, immediate past President of the Dublin San Ramon Services District Board of Directors, passed away on Saturday, April 11, 2020. She was an active member in the CASA community and her presence will be missed. CASA extends our deepest condolences and sympathy to Maddi’s friends, family, and all those whose lives she touched, especially at DSRSD. Read more about Maddi’s time and legacy at DSRSD: DSRSD Mourns Director Misheloff’s Passing .