State Legislative Update
CASA Sponsors Three Bills in 2021
Last Friday, March 19, the CASA State Legislative Committee met and took positions on all bills of interest to the wastewater community that were introduced in the 2021 Legislative Session.  During the meeting the committee also decided CASA should co-sponsor AB 622 (Friedman), making for a total of three CASA sponsored bills in this legislative session. These top priority bills promote innovative water management, source control, and pollution prevention. Consistent with our newly adopted strategic plan, our efforts to proactively engage on legislative issues that directly impact our industry are keeping us very busy this year! Below is an overview of the three bills CASA is co-sponsoring.
AB 818 (Bloom): Labeling of Non-Flushable Wipes 
CASA’s “Non-flushable Wipes Bill,” AB 818 (Bloom), sponsored in partnership with the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) and the Association of Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) was introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom. It requires “Do Not Flush” symbols and phrases for non-flushable wet wipes products that are used for diapering and other household purposes. Flushed wipes not only cause dangerous and costly backups in sewer pipes, but also contribute to microplastics pollution. This bill is set to be heard in the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on April 7 before it is heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. CASA is strongly supporting and engaging on this bill (see our support letter here). We are looking forward to making major progress with this important piece of legislation this year! If your agency would like to join on to our coalition letter on this bill please reach out to Alma Musvosvi as soon as possible!
SB 273 (Hertzberg): Wastewater authority to receive stormwater & runoff 
SB 273 (Hertzberg) is co-sponsored by CASA and California Coast Keepers Alliance. This bill would authorize any wastewater treatment entity in California to undertake voluntary programs and projects to divert and treat industrial, commercial, and municipal stormwater and dry weather runoff. On March 11, it passed out Senate Governance and Finance Committee on consent. It has also been referred to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee where it is recommended for the consent calendar when it is heard on April 12. The water sector has been very supportive of the legislation and our coalition support letter outlines our position. Senator Hertzberg has also prepared this fact sheet on the bill and we have created a template support letter agencies can use to register support with the Committee. 
AB 622 (Friedman): Microfiber Filters 
AB 622 requires all new residential washing machines sold in California beyond 2024 to be equipped with 100-micron mesh filters to capture microplastic fibers shed during the wash cycle. The State Legislative Committee voted to co-sponsor this bill because of its emphasis on source control and microplastics pollution prevention. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on April 7th. 
Click here for a list of all CASA bill positions.
Federal Update
CASA Holds Special Committee Meeting on Congressionally Directed Funding Rules 
Last week, the CASA Federal Legislative Committee (FLC) held a special committee meeting for the CASA membership to review the recent reinstatement of congressionally directed funding, known as Community Project funding (and formerly referred to as “earmarks”), and how CASA members can engage in the process. The meeting explained the new guidelines and procedures for the process and when community project funding submissions are due for Member offices and the Committee on Appropriations. Attendees were also given an explanation on what types of wastewater projects are eligible for funding requests. The overview presentation is available here, and deadlines are coming up soon so if your agency is interested, please review the parameters as soon as possible!
House Members Introduce Bipartisan Clean Water Investment Bill
This week, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021. This bipartisan bill provides substantial federal funding assistance for the clean water sector to help enhance and modernize water capture and treatment operations, improve water quality, and increase resiliency of communities’ water supply portfolios. Key investment provisions include:
  • Authorize the Clean Water SRF at $40 billion over five years
  • Authorize an additional $2 billion in grants to municipalities to capture, treat, or reuse stormwater or sewer overflows
  • Authorize $2.5 billion in grants to States to support implementation of States' water pollution control programs
  • Authorize $1 billion to support clean water pilot programs for watershed-based activities that address wet weather discharges, stormwater best practices, and increase climate resiliency
  • Authorize $1 billion for alternative water source projects, including wastewater or stormwater reuse
  • Authorize $1 billion in grants for municipalities to implement PFAS treatment standards 
  • Authorize $2.5 billion for wastewater infrastructure assistance to support infrastructure needs of Tribal communities
Next steps will be for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to consider the legislation and vote to report it out of committee.
Senate Environment Committee Examines Needs of Nation’s Water Infrastructure
This week, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to examine the needs of the nation’s clean water and drinking water infrastructure. The purpose of the hearing was to learn what current challenges are facing the water sectors and what role the federal government can play to help address these challenges and support systems that are able to meet future community, water quality, and climate demands.

Two major themes that ran throughout the hearing’s discussion were affordability and access to water supplies and services. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) cautioned the committee that as the committee works to address water infrastructure needs, to not make the “false choice” between better serving underserved communities versus serving unserved communities when it comes to water access and affordability.
House Republicans Vote to Support Congressionally Directed Funding
House Republicans have adopted a resolution in support of returning to the practice of “earmarking” appropriation bills to direct spending for projects in their districts. The 102-84 vote reflected strong opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus. The resolution sets certain criteria for the funding requests, including public disclosure, written justification, and verification that members and their families won’t financially benefit. In addition, the resolution provides that the Republican committee Chairs or Ranking Members may not give special consideration to a requesting Member’s seniority, committee assignments, or position in elected leadership when making submitted community project funding request decisions. 
Earlier this year, House Committee on Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro published updated guidelines for how the community project funding process will be managed. This includes increased transparency, a ban on for-profit recipients, and a limited of ten requests per Member.
Member News
Welcome New Associate Member!
LACSD Launch Event
On April 15, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts is hosting a virtual launch event for their Clearwater Project. The Clearwater Project is being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure and involves constructing a new 18-foot diameter tunnel using a state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine (TBM). At the event, they will unveil the TBM and recognize the finalists from their student contests. A 15-minute virtual tour will be offered immediately following the event. The event and tour will be broadcast on Zoom, to receive a reminder, register here
Webinars and Workshops
CalRecycle: Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship (SB 212) Plan Workshop
Today, Wednesday, March 24, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm CalRecycle staff will present an overview of the statutory and regulatory requirements, submittal process, and timing for covered drug and home-generated sharps waste stewardship plans and initial program budgets as required by the Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship law and its implementing regulations. The workshop will include time for questions and answers. To be as informative and responsive as possible, staff encouraged questions to be submitted to by March 10, 2021. Be sure to register today!
EPA: Cultivating a Positive Workforce Culture from Apprenticeship to Career
On Thursday, April 1, from 9:00am to 10:30am the EPA will host a webinar, Cultivating a Positive Workforce Culture from Apprenticeship to Career. This is part of an ongoing series of webinars to provide information across the water sector on ways utilities and others are addressing the challenges of building and maintaining a sustainable water workforce for the future. A career in the water sector offers meaningful and challenging work that makes a difference in local communities. By building an inclusive and supportive workplace that encourages employee growth, the sector can attract and retain the qualified candidates it needs. Join this webinar to hear from leaders in the water sector who are embracing the challenge of “Creating the Water Workforce of the Future.” Joone Lopez from Moulton-Niguel Water District will describe her organization’s journey to build a culture that allowed MNWD to become recognized as one of the outstanding water utilities in the country. Tim Friday and Eric Dunker from Castle Rock Water and Arapahoe Community College will then describe a utility/community college partnership that trains and places students into jobs in the water workforce. Attendance is free, be sure to register 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.