Election Coverage
CASA Connects Special Edition
Be sure to keep an eye on your inbox next week for a special edition of CASA Connects focused on the 2020 General Election results from CASA’s State and Federal Legislative Advocates. We will provide in-depth coverage of state and federal election results, statewide ballot proposition outcomes, and what to expect in the year to come as a result of the election.
Federal Update
Modernizing Rural Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it is investing $891 million to support projects that will modernize rural wastewater and drinking water infrastructure across 43 states. This includes the state of California, and for the Amador Water Agency, that will mean constructing two 1-million-gallon water storage tanks large enough to support operational and emergency needs and provide enhanced water delivery by connecting the new tanks to the water distribution system. The funding, which will be provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, will assist 220 projects and improve rural water infrastructure for a total of 787,000 people. The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program is responsible for providing funding for rural communities of 10,000 residents or less, to support activities to improve drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, stormwater drainage, and sanitary solid waste disposal systems.
COVID-19 Update
National Wastewater Surveillance System
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a new tool in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) for SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. The data collected by NWSS is intended to help public health officials understand the extent of COVID-19 infections in communities. The NWSS webpage includes sampling strategy, testing methodsdata reporting and analyticspublic health interpretation, use, and communication, and targeted use cases. Please contact Greg Kester with any questions or comments.
SASD Featured on KCRA 3: Detecting COVID-19 in Wastewater
Last week, the Sacramento Area Sewer District and Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District was featured on KCRA 3 in a media interview about their wastewater based epidimology work. Check out the four news segments that provided great coverage on the early warning detection system in the Sacramento area, KCRA 3 6p.m. News, KCRA 3 7p.m. News, My58 10p.m. News, KCRA 3 4:30a.m. News.
Dr. Oz Talks WBE with EBMUD’s Director of Wastewater
The East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD)’s Director of Wastewater, Eileen White recently appeared on a segment with Dr. Oz to explain how wastewater testing can be used as a tool to win the war on COVID-19. Listen in as she uncovers how universities and wastewater utilities throughout the United States are testing sewage for the presence of COVID-19 and using it as a tool to track the virus. Check out the segment here.
Regulatory Update
SB 1383 Local Services Rate Analysis Report
CalRecycle has published the SB 1383 Local Services Rates Analysis Report conducted by R3 Consulting Group, Inc. The purpose of this report is to provide information regarding the cost impacts of SB 1383 to local jurisdictions. This R3 report addresses options and recommendations for funding mechanisms that can be used by jurisdictions to implement the collection requirements and support the development of organics recycling infrastructure. As fees for service, otherwise known as “customer rates,” are the most common funding mechanism that pays for solid waste collection, this report discusses how rates can be structured to address necessary cost increases. The results of this R3 study have been incorporated into a CalRecycle report required by SB 1383, which requires CalRecycle, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board, to analyze the progress that the waste sector, state government, and local governments have made in reducing organic waste disposal. Please contact Greg Kester with any questions.
State Water Board Releases Final Draft Proposed Toxicity Provisions
On October 30, the State Water Resource Control Board released the final drafts of the toxicity provisions and staff report. The provisions are currrently scheduled for adoption at the December 1, 2020 State Water Board meeting. CASA continues to work with State Water Board staff and Board members on refinements to the policy, but the draft provisions as well as the Board’s commitment to conduct an extensive study pertaining to the ceriodaphnia dubia reproduction test represent marked improvements over previous iterations. For more information please contact Jared Voskuhl at jvoskuhl@casaweb.org.
Member News
YLWD Rapid Fire Response
Kudos and a job well done to the Yorba Linda Water District (YLWD), which was swift to respond and provide assistance during the Blue Ridge Fire that broke out in Orange County last week. YLWD’s award-winning Marc Marcantonio Heli-Hydrant supported aerial firefighters battling the blaze. The Heli-Hydrant was strategically placed in a fire sensitive wildland-urban zone to provide a rapid water source to helitankers that can be filled with 2,000 gallons of water in under a minute. "Yorba Linda has been hit incredibly hard with wildfires in the past. We've worked hand-in-hand with local fire authorities to save critical time and aid in effective firefighting,” Board President Phil Hawkins said. YLWD plans to continue that support by constructing more heli-hydrants throughout the district in the coming year. Read more in the press release.
Tap-In with LVMWD
It goes without saying that ALL of our lives have changed drastically in 2020 and perhaps no one more so than parents. Balancing the new norm of work, being a parent, and now a teacher couldn't be more difficult and challenging. This is part of the motivation for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District to focus on education for their annual TAP-IN 2020 event. While parents are finding interesting and unique ways to teach their children from home, they wanted to offer a webinar that features well-respected educators, a New York Times best-selling author, and breakout sessions that will provide ideas and other educational options for students to learn more about sustainability, water, the environment, and what the future of education will look like moving forward. This event is useful for anyone interested in becoming more familiar with our new virtual norm and how this might impact the future. This free event takes place tomorrow, November 5, 2020 and November 12, 2020 as a power lunch from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. This is a special event you won't want to miss, be sure to register today for Tap-In 2020.
West Bay Sanitary District Names New District Manager
The West Bay Sanitary District has appointed Gergio Ramirez to serve as their new District Manager. Sergio joined West Bay Sanitary District 10 years ago and served as the Operations Superintendent. “I’m really enjoying my time here at West Bay Sanitary District. Working with a progressive staff and Board of Directors is fantastic and I feel blessed to have benefitted from great mentors along the way including, most recently, the retiring District Manager, Phil Scott.” said Mr. Ramirez. Congratulations to Sergio Ramirez and West Bay Sanitary District on this new chapter. Read more in the press release.
In Case You Missed It
What California can Learn from Cape Town About Water Policy
Senator Robert Hertzberg penned an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle this week that highlighted a number of approaches to potentially addressing future water shortages. Some of the suggestions included working collaboratively with agricultural users to more effectively use and reuse ag waters, incentivizing conservation efforts through effective advertising and public education campaigns, and encouraging our local water agencies to work cooperatively to develop new regional water solutions such as storm water capture and reuse. He also stated his intent to “redouble [his] efforts for bold action” as it relates to pursuing a 100% ocean discharge mandate that has been unsuccessful in the Legislature on two previous attempts over the last 5 years. CASA will continue to track this issue closely and work with Senator Hertzberg’s office in advance of the upcoming Legislative session.
CalMatters Article: Bioenergy and Green Hydrogen
Check out the article published in CalMatters on the need for bioenergy and green hydrogen to ensure a reliable and renewable power grid, penned by Julia Levin of the Bioenergy Association of California. The article explains how solar, wind and batteries are critical to California’s clean energy future, but they are not enough without bioenergy projects to diversify the state’s portfolio.
Microplastics Health Effects Webinar Series
There are two webinars left in the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)’s five session webinar series that runs every Monday starting on October 19 to November 16, during which microplastics experts from around the world will summarize current knowledge and discuss the latest findings regarding microplastics toxicity. Representatives from the State Water Resources Control Board and the Ocean Protection Council will also share their perspectives about how such science will be used in meeting the legislative mandates. This webinar series is open to the public, with the intent of informing the community (e.g., scientists, environmental managers, stakeholders) about the latest scientific developments regarding the potential health effects of microplastics. Learn more and register here.
Join us as we continue our COVID-19 webinar series on November 17, 2020 at 11:00. For the last six months, CASA and CWEA have hosted a series of joint webinars focusing primarily on COVID-19 related issues. We will continue that series through the end of the year, focusing on wastewater based epidemiology developments and other relevant COVID-19 research and initiatives. 
CASA/CWEA Planning for Fiscal Recovery
On December 3, 2020, at 10:00am, be sure to join CASA for a joint webinar with CWEA on “Planning for Fiscal Recovery - Perspectives for Agency Executives, CFOs and Board Members.” As sanitation agencies continue to adjust to uncertain economic conditions, they must balance the needs of their constituents and the operations of their systems. Should I raise rates or rely on my reserves? Can I give customer rebates and what are the impacts? Can I continue to build my capital program? How do I communicate with my customers? Come hear from industry experts as they discuss financial planning, capital funding and customer impacts.
Nov. 12, 17, 19
Nov. 12-13
Jan. 27-28, 2021
CASA Winter Conference 2021