Happy Holidays from the CASA Staff! Wishing you lots of cheer, from here to there!
CASA Winter Conference 2021:
Let’s Talk Agency Finance
It’s no secret that 2020 has thrown a wrench into many aspects of our lives. The state of municipal finance is no exception, and one which begs the question: Where do we go from here? Be sure to join us during CASA’s Virtual Winter Conference 2021 for a special panel, Planning for Fiscal Recovery - Perspectives for Agency Executives, CFOs and Board Members, to get some of the questions on all of our minds answered. As sanitation agencies continue to adjust to uncertain economic conditions, balancing the needs of their constituents and the effective operation of their systems is paramount. This session will cover perspectives on whether agencies should raise rates or rely on reserves, considerations when providing customer rebates, continuing to build agency capital programs, and communicating with customers. Hear from industry experts as they discuss these important topics at our Winter Conference.
Registration is now open, be sure to secure your spot today!

Set for January 27-28, 2021, CASA’s Winter Conference is sure to be one for the books. The program, developed around a theme of “Moving Forward”, will feature an impressive line-up of speakers and opportunities to connect with your peers, all while participating from the comfort of your home or office. We are bringing back the ever popular small-group roundtable sessions (with two sessions this time!), an incredible keynote speaker on the future of work, and a full suite of Committee Meetings, all live and interactive! Register here, we hope to “see” you in January!
Federal Update
President-Elect Joe Biden Selects Top Environmental Nominees
After officially being declared President-Elect, following members of the Electoral College casting their votes for the Presidency on December 14, Joe Biden continues to make nominee selections for key environmental positions. This includes Michael Regan to be Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Brenda Mallory to head the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (USDOI). All require a Senate confirmation. As the incoming Administration builds out their environmental policy cabinet, CASA sent a letter to President-Elect Biden highlighting important clean water policy initiatives that should be pursued in any future infrastructure package.
Congressional Omnibus and COVID Package
After missing the December 18 deadline to pass an omnibus bill containing Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations, COVID-19 Relief Assistance, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA), and a comprehensive energy innovation package due to last-minute policy obstacles pertaining to the COVID-19 relief package, Congress worked into the weekend to finalize an agreement in order to pass the omnibus bill before the Christmas Holiday. Late Monday night, Congress overwhelmingly passed the omnibus bill. The White House has stated the President will sign the bill into law. Over 5,000 pages, the bill delivers over $2 trillion in overall spending, with the COVID-19 relief package delivering $900 billion and FY 2021 appropriations providing $1.4 trillion.
State Update
Leadership Announces 2021 Policy Committee Assignments
Last week Legislative Leadership announced the State Senate and Assembly policy and fiscal committee assignments for the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session. Leadership in Committees that our sector typical works with remained largely unchanged with a few noteworthy exceptions. Asm. Luz Rivas replaces Asm. Laura Friedman as chair of the Natural Resources Committee and Sen. Nancy Skinner now chairs the Senate Budget Committee. The full Assembly Committee roster is here and the Senate roster is here. The Legislature will return to kick off the 2021 Legislative Session on January 11th. 
Member News
APWA “Best Project of the Year” Award
Congratulations to the Las Virgenes – Triunfo Joint Powers Authority for being awarded Best Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA) of Southern California for process air improvements at the Tapia Water Reclamation Facility. The project, completed in partnership with PACE Advanced Water Engineering, included the installation of more than 60 aeration grids and three new blowers, which reduce the amount of energy consumed at Tapia by 40%. Overall, the JPA and the communities it serves benefit from a return on investment of less than six years and an estimated savings of $2.5M over the 20-year expected life of the new system. “Efficient operations is one of our leading business values,” said LVMWD General Manager David Pedersen. “We prioritize capital improvement projects that ensure both the reliable delivery of water to our customers and the efficient treatment of wastewater thereafter.” Read more in the press release.
In Case You Missed It
International Group Updates Flushability Specifications for Wipes
“The International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG) has published an updated version of its flushability specifications. The original specifications were published in 2018 to provide a method for evaluating whether wipes and other products labeled “flushable” are safe for sewer systems. Problems caused by improperly flushed consumer products are experienced by clean water utilities worldwide, resulting in clogs, overflows, and billions of dollars in maintenance costs every year. The updated specifications contain slightly modified testing procedures and criteria to improve the repeatability of the tests and consistency of the results. The three publicly available specification (PAS) documents together describe the criteria that a product should meet to be compatible with being flushed down a toilet.” Read more from here.
Biosolids: The Ultimate Recycling Success Story
CASA’s Director of Renewable Resource Programs, Greg Kester was recently interviewed by Babcock Laboratories for an article on what is arguably Greg’s all-time favorite topic… you guessed it, Biosolids! “Biosolids have a plethora of benefits, they assist in creating healthy soils which help crop growth, they are significant mitigators of climate change, reduce irrigation use, offset the use of inorganic fertilizers, and essentially are the best example of recycling,” said Kester. In fact, many agricultural areas depend on biosolids to help provide micronutrients such as phosphorus to help enrich their soils and produce plentiful crops. Kester went on to say that, “Phosphorus is a finite resource that will be exhausted within a hundred years and it is vital that we recycle the amounts of phosphorus that come from our wastewater treatment facilities through biosolids.” Clearly, Mr. Kester is a fan of biosolids and knows his stuff. Read more in the article here.
Newsom Picks New Leader for Powerful California Air Board
“California Gov. Gavin Newsom will announce Wednesday that he is appointing longtime state regulator Liane Randolph as the next chair of the Air Resources Board, an agency that has regularly shaped the U.S. manufacturing landscape through strict environmental requirements.” Read more in the Politico article here.
Jan. 27-28, 2021
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.