Save the Date! CASA Winter Conference Goes Virtual
Join us on January 27-28, for CASA’s 2021 Virtual Winter Conference. As we look ahead into the upcoming new year, CASA is pleased to offer an exciting virtual program to facilitate discussion, strategy, and networking with a key theme in mind: “Moving Forward”. Be sure to keep an eye out for further details in an upcoming CASA Connects. We look forward to seeing all of your faces (in a virtual format) this winter!
State Legislative Update
Governor Newsom Establishes Broad Environmental Goals Through Executive Orders
Governor Gavin Newsom has issued several Executive Orders in recent weeks focusing on climate change mitigation and the environment. Some of these initiatives have the potential to impact California’s wastewater community. Earlier this month, the Governor signed an Executive Order, EO-N-82-2020 which directs state agencies to deploy a number of strategies to store carbon in the state’s natural and working lands and remove it from the atmosphere. The order also sets a first-in-the-nation goal to conserve 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal water by 2030 to fight species loss and ecosystem destruction.  There are several provisions of interest to CASA members, including:
  • Actions to enhance and conserve the state’s biodiversity;
  • A directive to state agencies to develop a Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy that serves as a framework to advance the State's carbon neutrality goal and build climate resilience; and
  • A directive to identify and implement near- and long-term actions to accelerate natural removal of carbon and build climate resilience in our forests, wetlands, urban greenspaces, agricultural soils, and land conservation activities.
Federal Update
President’s Executive Order Establishes Water Subcabinet
Last week, the President signed an Executive Order (EO) on “Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure.” The EO establishes an interagency federal Water Policy Committee, or Water Subcabinet, to better coordinate federal agencies’ water resource management and infrastructure policies and actions. The Subcabinet will be co-chaired by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of the Interior (USDOI) Secretary David Bernhardt and will be comprised of senior officials from USEPA, USDOI, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Army Civil Works. To ensure coordination across the government, the Subcabinet will also work closely with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Management and Budget, and Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Subcabinet’s mission is to ensure that the federal government develops and delivers efficient and effective water management practices that support the modernization of the nation’s water supplies and infrastructure systems.
USEPA Releases Financial Impact Tool
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has released the Water Utility COVID-19 Financial Impact Tool which can help drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater (“water”) utilities assess the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the utility’s cashflow. This tool leads water utilities through questions that can determine how their revenues, expenses, and cashflow have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The spreadsheet automatically calculates the changes for a utility’s revenues and expenses by looking at current 2020 monthly financials versus the average monthly financials of the utility’s 2019 audited financial statement. Water utilities can use the tool each month to keep a running total of their cashflow. Check out the webpage to download the Financial Impact Tool and view the Press Release.
USEPA’s Water Workforce Initiative
Earlier this month, the USEPA released America’s Water Sector Workforce Initiative which lays out a number of actions USEPA, other federal agencies, and various water sector partners will be taking in the coming years. This two-year effort signals a call to action for stakeholders to come together to address this important challenge facing the water sector. Check out their new webpage to house information about the Workforce Initiative and other important information.
Member News
CASA Members Selected as Representatives on ELTAC
Congratulations to Josie Tellers with the City of Davis and Sushmitha Reddy with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency on their respective appointments to serve as representatives on the Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (ELTAC), an advisory body to the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). ELTAC provides technical and scientific advice to ELAP and state regulatory agency partners to advance the mission of protecting public health and the environment in California. Josie and Sushmitha serve on the 2021-2022 Committee, which has been designed to ensure the necessary scientific expertise exists to address current and emerging environmental monitoring and laboratory accreditation issues. Read more on the ELAP Announcements webpage.
CASA Awards of Excellence Deadline Approaching
Don’t forget, there are only nine days left to apply for CASA’s 2020 Awards of Excellence. The deadline is Friday, October 30, 2020. CASA seeks to recognize members who provide essential public services and go above and beyond to protect public health and the environment. All member agencies and associates are invited to submit an Award of Excellence application. Your organization works hard to do what’s right for California. Recognition from the leading clean water association honors your hard work and accomplishments. It’s a symbol of respect, credibility, and innovation. For more information about the award criteria and categories, please visit the Awards Program Webpage.
USD Wins Two NACWA Awards
Congratulations to Union Sanitary District (USD) on receiving the National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ (NACWA) Peak Performance Platinum Award for 11 years of 100% compliance with regulatory permit requirements. USD also won NACWA’s Excellence in Management Silver recognition award for their commitment to sustainable, successful programs that exemplify the attributes of an effectively managed utility. “These honors reflect the commitment and hard work of the entire District staff,” said General Manager Paul Eldredge. “USD is proud that our dedicated employees work collaboratively every day to provide the highest level of service to customers and protection of the environment. They are the reason for our success.” Read more here. Congratulations USD, well done!
OCSD State of the District 2020
The Orange County Sanitation District is hosting their first-ever live virtual State of the District event on Friday, October 30 from 9:00am to 10:00am during which they will showcase their accomplishments throughout the year and highlight planned projects. They are also offering a virtual tour immediately following the event of their Plant No. 1 in Fountain Valley. For those interested in attending, follow this link to sign up.
In Case You Missed It
USEPA, CDC Boost Efforts to Detect Virus in Water
Follow the link below for an article on USEPA’s efforts to continue analyzing wastewater in an effort to identify covid infection trends. The story reports that USEPA will be bolstering its efforts with the CDC and HHS to develop detection methods and analysis tools using wastewater. Read more here.
Connecticut City Renames Treatment Plant after Last Week Tonight Host John Oliver
The City Council of Danbury, Connecticut voted 18-1 in early October to rename the city’s wastewater treatment plant to the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant. Read the humorous article here for details on the exchange between the town’s mayor Mark Boughton and comedian John Oliver. 
Microplastics Health Effects Webinar Series
The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) is hosting a five session webinar series every Monday from 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.
CAAWEF Webinar
On Thursday, October 29, 2020, CASA is pleased to be sponsoring an event as part of the California African American Water Education Foundation (CAAWEF) webinar series that will focus on strategic communications from wastewater agencies to diverse communities and ways to broaden POTW messaging. Be sure to join for a chance to hear from communications experts like Maurice Chaney from the City of Roseville and Heather Engel with ACWA. The event will be livestreamed via Streamyard, accessible on youtube(@CAAWEF_), facebook (@CAAWEF), and a link on the CAAWEF webpage here.
Join us as we continue our COVID-19 webinar series on October 27, 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. 
Clean Water Summit Partners’ Workshop
Please save the date for Wednesday, October 28, from 9:00am to 1:00pm for a continuation of the Clean Water Summit Partners’ first workshop on the State Water Board’s investigative order of PFAS. This webinar is designed to assist agencies with efficient and consistent compliance with the order. Speakers will include managers from clean water agencies discussing QAPPs and SLAPs, commercial laboratory representatives discussing best practices, a legal perspective on responding to the questionnaire and data disclaimers due to lack of EPA approved test methods, toxicologists sharing about the risk of PFAS for human health exposure and OEHHA’s corresponding work, and PFAS researchers examining the fate of PFAS at long term biosolids application sites, as well as grab vs. composite samples and TOP analysis. Be sure to register today.
CASA/CWEA Planning for Fiscal Recovery Rescheduled for December 3
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.
Virtual Funding Fair
The California Financing Coordinating Committee (CFCC) is pleased to invite you to attend a free virtual funding fair on October 22, 2020. The funding fair will provide the opportunity to learn more about available grant, loan and bond financing options for infrastructure projects from federal, state, and local agencies. Representatives from water industry professionals, public works, local governments, and California Native American Tribes should attend. This includes city managers and planners, economic development and engineering professionals, officials from privately owned facilities, water and irrigation district managers, financial advisors, and project consultants. For more information about CFCCC, please visit the website at
State Water Board and CPUC Workshop
On Friday, October 30, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a public workshop on Water Affordability Impacts During COVID-19. The workshop will include panel discussions on solutions to customer protections, arrearage management, fee forgiveness CARE funding, and small water system operation impacts. The workshop is an opportunity for interested persons or parties to provide input to the State Water Board. Read more here in the notice from the State Water Board. 
Oct. 19-22
Oct. 29
Nov. 12, 17, 19
Nov. 12-13
Jan. 27-28, 2021
CASA Winter Conference 2021