CASA Virtual Annual Conference
CASA Wraps Up Successful Virtual Annual Conference
While the 2020 CASA Annual Conference looked a little different this year, we are proud to report that the transition to a virtual event was a resounding success! The two-day event was well attended with nearly 250 participants and several preeminent speakers who shared insights on how the economy and market have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the science of implicit bias, political implications of the pandemic and what to expect heading into the November election.

The conference kicked off Wednesday, August 12, with keynote speaker Larry Adam from Raymond James, followed by a COVID-19 panel, lunchtime water trivia, and the ever-popular roundtable sessions. The day concluded with three-afternoon committee meetings.

Thursday opened with a virtual women’s networking breakfast/coffee and a welcome from CASA’s new president, Jason Dow, before keynote speakers Cassandra Pye and Bruce Mehlman. Attendees were virtually introduced to this year’s CASA Education Foundation Scholarship recipients and received state and federal updates during the luncheon program. The conference wrapped up with a panel on Where Engineering and Finance Meet and CASA’s state legislative committee meeting.

Presentations and materials from the conference are available online for those who registered for the Annual Conference. Thank you, everyone, who joined us virtually!
COVID-19 Update
The CDC Wants State and Local Sewage Systems Tested for Coronavirus
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies will begin coordinating with state, local, territorial and tribal health departments to collect data on sewage samples. The goal is to find traces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, that have been shed from people and traveled through wastewater. Depending on the level of virus in the sewage, wastewater testing can also be a leading indicator of a worsening outbreak, the CDC says. Read the full article here.
State Legislative Update
AB 1672 (Bloom) Held in Senate Appropriations Committee
CASA’s sponsored wet wipes labeling bill was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee during its final “suspense file” hearing on August 20. The unexpected action came as a shock to us, our co-sponsors, Assembly Member Bloom and the other stakeholders. As we have reported previously, the bill was negotiated over several months and represented a consensus agreement to enact the strongest wet wipe labeling requirements in the nation. Unfortunately it is difficult to get a clear picture of what ultimately drove the Senate to this decision. We are still working with the Legislature to parse out any lingering concerns that we can consider in future legislative initiatives. Needless to say this is a very disappointing conclusion of our legislative efforts for the last two years. Nonetheless, throughout this process we have built productive relationships with industry partners and elevated the public discourse about problems faced by wastewater agencies from the improper flushing of wet wipes. We are grateful for our member engagement in this effort and look forward to moving the conversation forward next year.
Regulatory Update
CASA Comments on Revised Toxicity Provisions
Earlier this week CASA submitted a comment letter to the State Water Resources Control Board on the second draft of the revised Toxicity Provisions and updated Staff Report, which were released on July 7. The proposed toxicity provisions will establish numeric water quality objectives for both acute and chronic toxicity and a program of implementation for dischargers to surface waters to control toxicity. CASA has been actively engaged in the development of the toxicity provisions for many years. Our toxicity workgroup met earlier this month with CVCWA, BACWA, and SCAP to identify concerns with the revisions from the prior draft of released in 2018. Staff’s summary of the changes, along with an analysis of Economic Considerations for the regulations and Response to Comments on the 2018 draft are all available for review. Staff held a workshop on July 29 to review the revisions for which the presentation is available here and the video is archived here. Please reach out to Jared Voskuhl with questions or your agency’s comments.
Power Conservation Alert for Public Water/Wastewater Systems
Early last week the Governor declared a state of emergency in connection with a prolonged heatwave that stressed the electrical grid. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert calling for voluntary electricity conservation from Monday, August 17th through Wednesday, August 19th to help reduce power demands within California while prioritizing public health and safety. The Governor also issued an Executive Order allowing for the emergency use of back-up generators to relieve stress on the power grid during peak hours for the duration of the heat wave. The State Water Board issued a power conservation notice asking all public water/wastewater systems to consider what extra steps they could take to reduce power use during flex alerts, while maintaining essential water/wastewater service. If your agency was able to reduce power consumption during this period, the Water Board is requesting that you voluntarily report your efforts to Jonathan Bishop at jonathan.bishop@waterboards.ca.gov

The Water Board is also asking agencies to reach out to customers and remind them of the need to reduce energy use during this time. Sample social media messages have been provided by CalEPA and the State Water Board which can be re-posted and shared. Thank you for anything your agencies can do to address this most recent crisis.
Member News
SVCW Reaches New Green Energy Milestone
Silicon Valley Clean Water reached an important milestone that will benefit their entire community and the environment. SVCW has received the green light from PG&E to export energy generated at the treatment plant back into the power grid. This milestone, which was years in the making, advances green energy capabilities at SVCW and allows their onsite cogeneration engines to operate at full capacity (1,250 kW). In addition to allowing export of energy to the power grid, the plant’s 1,040 kW Energy Storage System using Tesla batteries will now store energy at night when demand for energy is low and cost of energy is much cheaper. During the day, the batteries will discharge energy as needed when the demand increases. The batteries were installed a year and a half ago, and SVCW staff is excited to finally put them to use for expanding the energy resiliency and efficiency program, and reduce the utility power cost. The Energy Storage System is expected to save up to $150,000 in utility bills every year and take the agency closer to becoming more energy independent. Read more in the news release.
EMWD Honored for Financial Reporting Excellence
The Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) was recently recognized for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association, marking the 17th consecutive year that EMWD has earned the distinction. “EMWD is honored to once again be recognized by the Association for our commitment to financial transparency,” EMWD Board President Ron Sullivan said. “We are proud to continually demonstrate responsible stewardship of public funds on behalf of our customers.” Congratulations to EMWD!
Completion of Regional San Recycled Water Project
Earlier this month Regional San completed a recycled water project that provides one million gallons of recycled water per day to the Sacramento Power Authority Cogeneration Plant located in south Sacramento. The recycled water is being used at the cogeneration plant’s cooling tower and replaces the use of potable water—protecting this valuable resource. The potable water saved equates to the needs of about 2,200 single-family residential homes. The completion of this project demonstrates a successful collaboration between three local agencies—Regional San, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the City of Sacramento. Well done Regional San, SMUD, and City of Sacramento! Read more in the press release.
In Case You Missed It
Pothole Repair Made Eco-Friendly Using Grit from Wastewater Treatment
“Potholes are aggravating to drive over, and they can cause billions of dollars of damage every year to automobile wheels, tires and suspensions. Currently, road crews fill in these holes with hydrocarbon-containing asphalt, but that material can leach out, polluting the environment. Now, scientists report a brand-new way to repair roads that’s also eco-friendly — by using a remnant of wastewater treatment called grit that’s usually disposed of in landfills.” Read the full article here.
Webinars
Economic Impacts of Water Infrastructure
Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 26, 2020, at 9:00am (PT) the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Value of Water campaign are hosting a webinar: Economic Impacts of Water Infrastructure. ASCE and Value of Water campaign are releasing a new report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure: How a Failure to Act Would Affect the U.S. Economy Recovery. The report examines the economic benefits of investing in water infrastructure, the potential costs of underinvestment, and explore the potential ramifications if our systems are not made a priority over the next 20 years, and the rewards if their needs are addressed.
CASA-CWEA Webinar
On Thursday, August 26, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:30pm (PT) the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) in partnership with CASA, is hosting a webinar: COVID-19: Wastewater Surveillance. Our free COVID-19 webinars continue with another deep dive into the emerging role of wastewater surveillance. Collecting samples from the sewershed and at the treatment plant can help communities track coronavirus and gain early-warning signs about potential community spread. Hear from leading state, national, and international experts about the latest research at Stanford University, in the State of Michigan, and in Spain. We’ll also set aside time where you can ask questions about how your agency can help support wastewater surveillance. You won’t want to miss this, be sure to register today!
NACWA Webinar
On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:30pm (PT) the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is hosting a webinar: Wipe Out: How States and Municipalities are Flushing the Wipes Dilemma. This webinar will look at the current state of legislation, regulation, and litigation around wipes and other non-flushable products, as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic have heightened attention to the issue and utility responses. Webinar speakers will provide updates on all of these aspects of the “war on wipes,” challenges facing utilities, and how NACWA and its members have worked with other organizations through the Association’s Toilets Are Not Trashcans™ campaign to provide solutions.