International Economic Expert Larry Adam to Speak at CASA’s Virtual Annual Conference
 You won’t want to miss CASA’s first virtual Annual Conference “Meeting the Moment,” set for August 12-13, 2020. Confirmed speakers include Larry Adam, Chief Investment Officer with Raymond James, who will provide CASA members with an up to the minute look at how the economy and market have changed as result of the COVID-19 pandemic and what to expect in the coming months and years. A former Deutsche Bank Global Strategist, Mr. Adam has been featured prominently on CNBC and Bloomberg and is frequently quoted in well-known publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and the International Herald Tribune.
Check out our preliminary program to see the other great speakers, panels, and presentations available during CASA’s 2020 Annual Conference and register today! 
COVID-19 Update
CASA Partners with State Water Board on COVID-19 Survey
Keep an eye out for a forthcoming survey from the State Water Resources Control Board related to the effects felt by local agencies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CASA has been working collaboratively with the Water Board to develop a survey that focuses on the financial impacts to local wastewater agencies. The survey will also help us get a grasp on other agency efforts and adaptations, including workforce adjustments, operational changes, and information gathering related to wastewater based epidemiology and virus tracking. This survey is key to understanding the impact of the pandemic on local agencies, so please respond to the survey promptly. We look forward to sharing the results once it is complete!
NACWA Releases White Paper on Funding and Financing Options
NACWA has released a  white paper   that outlines various funding and financing options the federal government could pursue to help municipal clean water utilities recover from the current economic challenges facing the sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The document comes as many clean water utilities around the nation are facing unprecedented lost revenue due to the widespread economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more about the comprehensive strategies outlined here .
New Study Tells Public to “Close the Lid” to Reduce COVID-19 Exposure
New studies are indicating a new potential exposure route for the COVID-19 virus and the public– flushing the toilet without closing the lid. Based on the scientific simulations, the cloud of water droplets, fecal matter particulates, and air expelled upwards when a toilet is flushed reach high enough and linger long enough to potentially be inhaled. Scientists have yet to determine if these clouds, professionally termed “toilet plumes”, contain the COVID-19 virus to the extent that it is a mode of infection. CASA, the State Water Board and our partners have developed a series of fact sheets and guidance related to wastewater safety and the low likelihood of infectivity during the collection and treatment process. However, these new studies cover activities before it reaches our systems. 
State Legislative Update
Legislature Passes “Workload” Budget
The California Legislature passed a placeholder “workload” budget to the Governor on Monday, June 15, the Constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget. The Governor has until July 1 to sign the budget, and in the meantime, negotiations have continued between the Legislature and Governor’s office on how the budget will be implemented. Early this week the Governor and Legislative leadership announced they’ve reached agreement on a final Budget deal, for which the Legislature will need to pass a second Budget bill reflecting the agreement in order for the Governor to sign it by July 1 st .  The uniqueness of this year’s circumstances will have a significant impact on the ongoing budget process, which will continue through the summer. In particular, because much of the Legislature’s approved budget plan depends on additional federal aid, further legislation will likely be needed to account for the availability of additional funding, as well as to adjust for the actual revenues from personal income tax receipts following the July 15 extended tax deadline. Additionally, special non-general fund expenditures, such as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, will also be determined later this summer and not as a part of the “workload” budget. 
Regulatory Update
State Water Board Adopts Definition of Microplastics
At its  June 16 meeting , the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a definition of microplastics in drinking water. In the days leading up to the State Water Board meeting, the proposed definition was expanded to encompass particles an order of magnitude smaller than originally proposed. These “nanoplastics” are distinct from microplastics, pose different risks and impacts, and require detection through different and more costly laboratory instrumentation. During the State Water Board workshop in April, staff explained at numerous junctions why nanoplastics had been excluded from the proposed definition, but after a brief discussion the Board ultimately adopted the revised version including nanoplastics. An accompanying change sheet was adopted with a provision certifying the required administrative processes must be followed before the definition is used for regulatory purposes.
CASA Advocates for Improvements to Clean Water State Revolving Fund
On June 16, the State Water Board adopted its annual Intended Use Plan (IUP) for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The IUP is the business plan for the upcoming fiscal year and calls for funding 66 “carry-over” projects from last year’s list that were not completed, as well as five additional projects totaling $303 million in new funding. CASA and WateReuse CA provided testimony and joint comments on the IUP, urging the Water Board to increase expenditures to address California’s wastewater and recycled water needs. CASA also requested that an additional 18 projects be added to the fundable list. The Water Board took a position that authorized staff to add the projects if “sufficient progress” is made in resolving the backlog by October 31.
On a broader level, CASA, WateReuse CA, and several individual agencies questioned a new financial capacity analysis completed for the Water Board which concluded the sustainable funding level for the program is $587 million annually—a 41% decrease from the prior funding target of approximately $1 billion. The methodology, assumptions and rationale were not shared with stakeholders. In response to our comments, the Water Board revised the IUP to acknowledge the concern, committed to follow up meetings with stakeholders, and specified that future years’ targets will be subject to refinement and revision following additional review.
Federal Update
House Democrats Unveil Broad Infrastructure Investment Package
House Democrats have officially unveiled their broad infrastructure investment package, entitled the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which builds off of the Moving Forward Framework House Democrats released earlier this year. H.R. 2 is an expansive package that would invest more than $1.5 trillion to support investment across the nation’s diverse infrastructure sectors, including clean water infrastructure. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), explained that the purpose of the package is to support the nation’s recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, as well as address inequities and injustices facing certain communities in this country. The House plans to pass the legislation before July 4.
According to a fact sheet summarizing H.R. 2’s provisions, the bill would provide the following investments in the nation’s wastewater and drinking water infrastructure:
Senator Udall Reintroduces Plastics Pollution Bill with Wet Wipes Language
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) recently reintroduced an updated Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (S. 3944) in the Senate. As explained by Udall when the bill was originally introduced in February, the Break Free From Plastics Act of 2020 aims to address the plastic pollution crisis by offering holistic solutions to tackle the public health, environmental, and economic issues associated with plastic pollution. The legislation includes provisions CASA helped to secure over the last year to address the issue of the flushing of single-use wet wipes down the toilet. Provisions include establishing “Do Not Flush” labeling requirements for synthetic wet wipes and requiring that non-synthetic wet wipes meet dispersibility performance standards outlined by the International Water Services Flushability Group. These provisions remain in the updated bill. 
Several Permit Streamlining Bills Introduced in the House and Senate
A series of bills have been introduced in the House and Senate aiming to update federal infrastructure permitting processes in an effort to support expediting project development and construction. The bills focus on consolidating the federal environmental review process, establish regulatory review commissions, address permitting determination delays, and establish timetables for opponents to bring litigation against project permits. The bills come as the House and Senate are considering broad transportation and water infrastructure bills.
Member News
Resiliency at its Finest!
You know the saying, “Some people are lost in fire, and some people are built from it?” Well the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD), is definitely the latter! In November 2018 the Woolsey Fire ripped through the facility, damaging multiple pieces of equipment and buildings. On Friday, May 29, 2020, the Rancho Las Virgenes Composting Facility (Rancho) finally got back to doing what it does best: composting. After 18 months of construction, repairs, upgrades and maintenance, Rancho is once again able to turn biosolids captured at the Tapia Water Reclamation facility into Class A – Exceptional Quality garden compost. This aligns with LVMWD’s vision statement, Valuing Every Drop- Bringing Water Full Circle. The composting facility closes the sustainability loop. Congratulations LVMWD, way to rise from the ashes! Read more in the Press Release .
State Water Board Increases EMWD-Record Grant Award
On June 11, 2020, the Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) shared that they reached a final agreement with the State Water Board to increase a $36.3 million grant award to $44.9 million. The grant has been awarded for EMWD’s proposed Perris North Groundwater Program, a long-term solution to improve groundwater quality in the North Perris Groundwater Basin. This is the largest grant award in EMWD’s history and will cover half of the estimated cost of the project, reducing the financial impact for EMWD’s customers. Congratulations to EMWD! Read more about the grant and the Perris North Groundwater Program here .
The Bar Association of San Francisco
Today, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, from 2:30pm to 3:45pm (PT) the Environmental Law Section of The Bar Association of San Francisco presents the webinar: The Supreme Court’s County of Maui Decision – What it Means and What’s Next Hear from CASA’s Executive Director Adam Link as the panel of speakers discuss the decision and the factors set forth by the Court, as well as the level of uncertainty created by the Court’s decision. Attorneys can tune into this discussion to learn how states, municipalities, businesses, and even individual landowners can move forward in compliance with this decision and learn what this means for projects in the Bay Area. Pre-registration is required, so be sure to register now !
CWEA & CASA Webinar
Join us on Thursday, June 25, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:30pm (PT) for the second webinar in our two-part series on Wipes in partnership with the California Water Environment Association (CWEA). Wipes Webinar 2: O&M and Technology Strategies will focus on agency success stories, led by  Diana Messina  with the State Water Board. Learn about outreach, operations and technology tactics agencies are using in the fight against wipes. Be sure to join us as we share these new and exciting techniques and technologies to keep those flushed wipes from clogging sewers and causing sewer overflows.
CV-SALTS Webinar
On Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 10:30am PT the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-term Sustainability (CV SALTS) will host a webinar CV-SALTS Salt and Nitrate Compliance that will provide an overview and orientation for professional services consultants, attorneys, and outreach specialists interested in supporting regulated dischargers in the Central Valley comply with new regulations for salt and nitrate management.
NACWA Webinar Series
Join the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) on July 8, 16, and 28 at 11:00am PT respectively, as they present a three-part webinar series titled “ Partnerships to Reduce the Impacts from COVID-19 on the Water Sector ”. These webinars will each feature a panel of private sector thought leaders shaping the water sector and will be moderated by a NACWA public utility executive with the goal of hearing how the consulting/engineering companies, manufacturing and investment firms and rating agencies have been impacted by and are offering innovative services in response to the economic challenges caused by COVID-19. Register today!
Upcoming Events
August 12-13, 2020