COVID-19 Update
State Water Board Survey Results
Over the summer, CASA and the State Water Board collaborated on developing a survey to gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 has affected the budget and operations of collection systems and wastewater treatment facilities. The State Water Board released the survey in July and provided an initial synopsis on the fiscal impacts at their August 18 meeting. The State Water Board has now provided CASA the raw survey data with agency-specific information removed, and there are some very interesting results. Over 250 agencies participated in the survey, and 93% reported service revenue loss. Of those, 79 agencies provided more specific details about the extent, and while roughly two-thirds estimated their service revenue loss was between 0 and 10%, some agencies indicated they had suffered over 30% percent revenue loss. Other interesting findings include: 37% of the survey respondents reported an increase in delinquent payments. 50% of agencies experienced a notable increase of wet wipes in their system. 25% of agencies reported experiencing system operational personnel shortages, and 22% reported applying for agency relief from FEMA or CalOES.

While the data still requires further analysis, the immediate portrait it provides of the impacts to California sanitation and collection systems raises concerns. Thank you to all of our members who participated in the survey and partnered with us to learn more about the impacts you are experiencing. CASA will share more information as it becomes available. Please contact Jared Voskuhl with any questions.
PFAS Updates
EPA Technical Challenge Seeks Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS
On August 25, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler launched an innovation challenge to identify solutions to destroy PFAS. The Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge is a partnership between federal and state agencies seeking detailed plans for non-thermal technologies to destroy PFAS in concentrated aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), used in firefighting. This challenge is part of implementing the PFAS Action Plan, a comprehensive cross-agency plan to address PFAS as an emerging chemical of concern. “EPA researchers and staff are harnessing the power of crowdsourcing to identify ways to destroy PFAS through non-incineration methods,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. To address the need for new non-thermal technologies that destroy PFAS without generating hazardous byproducts, EPA is offering up to $50,000 for the best design concept(s), with the added potential opportunity for field testing of the winning design concept(s) in partnership with EPA and ESTCP. Challenge details can be found at: The challenge opens today and closes on November 23, 2020. Winners are expected to be announced in early 2021.
CDC Multi-Site PFAS Health Study
The CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) received approval from the Office of Management and Budget for the Multi-site Health Study protocol. The goal of the study is to learn more about the relationship between PFAS exposure and health outcomes among differing populations, and will compare levels of PFAS exposure from different sites and corresponding health outcomes. The project will provide better scientific understanding about the relationships between PFAS exposure and certain health outcomes to help people understand their risk for health effects. Information from the health study can be applied to communities across the nation. 
Seven study partners will conduct the Multi-site Health Study in locations across the United States, including: 
•     El Paso County, Colorado 
•     Parchment/Cooper Township, MI, and Belmont/Rockford area, Michigan 
•     Montgomery and Bucks Counties, Pennsylvania 
•     Gloucester County, New Jersey 
•     Hyannis, MA, and Ayer, Massachusetts 
•     Hoosick Falls, NY, and Newburgh, New York 
•     Communities near the UC Irvine Medical Center, California 
Study recruitment may begin at some sites within the next few months.
More information on the study is available on CDC/ATSDR’s PFAS website
PPIC Annual Priorities for California Water Event Goes Virtual
The Public Policy Institute of California’s (PPIC) annual Priorities for California Water event has morphed to reflect restrictions on in-person gatherings, and this year will take place as a series of three webinars on November 12, 17 and 19 from 11:00am to 12:00pm. The PPIC Water Policy Center and a diverse group of state and local experts will come together for these thought-provoking discussions about policies and practices that can boost resilience to multiple sources of stress, while supporting economic recovery and workforce development. Topics will include funding resilient water systems while ensuring affordability and equity, collaborative approaches to foster groundwater sustainability and a healthy environment, and priorities for a water-resilient California. CASA is proud to be a sponsor of this event and hope you can attend! Keep an eye out for further details.
Regulatory Updates
Promising Water Board Study on POTW Excess Capacity Released
On August 24, the State Water Board released a long awaited report on excess capacity at California wastewater treatment plants for co-digestion of diverted organic waste. The in-depth comprehensive analysis of opportunities and challenges for the wastewater sector in helping the state meet the mandates of SB 1383 was commissioned by the State Water Board and executed by Carollo Engineers. Tomorrow, September 9, from 9:00am to 10:30am, CASA and CWEA will host a joint webinar exploring details of the study: Food Waste Co-Digestion in California – The Role of WRRFs and Investment Needs to Maximize Co-Digestion in Support of SB 1383.

The excess capacity report is an important tool that demonstrates the opportunities for additional partnerships between solid waste operators and the wastewater sector to meet the state’s short lived climate pollutant reduction targets. CASA will be actively engaging with partners, stakeholders, and policymakers to make them aware of the findings in the report. 
Expert Panel on Sewage Surveillance Features CASA's Greg Kester
CASA’s Director of Renewable Resource Programs, Greg Kester, has been invited by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences to participate on an Expert Panel for a project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation entitled “Building Capacity and Communication Networks in SARS-CoV-2 Sewage Surveillance Programs for a Public Health Response”. The goal of the Expert Panel is to develop best practices for reporting and interpreting sewage surveillance data, assure that the information shared is responsive to public health concerns and perspectives, and develop a communication strategy that can be used by communities building surveillance programs. Principal Investigators for the project include Drs. Sandra McLellan (UW Milwaukee), Alexandria Boehm (Stanford), Kyle Bibby (Notre Dame), Andrea Silverman (NYU), and Dominque Brossard (UW Madison).
The National Biosolids Regulation, Quality, End Use & Disposal Survey
The North East Biosolids & Residuals Association (NEBRA) is moving ahead with the 2nd National Biosolids Data Project, an update of the widely cited survey and data published in 2007. Work on the project has already begun, with the actual surveying planned for later this month. NEBRA is asking those who can contribute to consider donating to help fund the project. For more information please see the attached Prospectus.
Member News
EMWD Achieves Seventh Consecutive Cal STAR Safety Recertification
At the end of August, Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) received recognition and recertification by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) for its industry-leading safety achievements. EMWD again obtained Cal/OSHA Voluntary Protection Plan STAR status, exemplifying the safety culture and corresponding recognition it first achieved and has continuously held since 1999. EMWD received three separate certifications for its water, wastewater and recycled water divisions and their respective administrative areas. When first certified in 1999, EMWD was the only water or wastewater agency in the nation to hold a state recognized STAR status. “Workplace safety will continue to be our top priority,” stated EMWD Board President Ronald Sullivan. “This recertification is a direct result of the continued commitment by each and every EMWD employee to put safety at the forefront of every decision.” Well deserved EMWD and congratulations!
Central San Appointed to the California Environmental Education Interagency Network
The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (Central San) has been appointed as a Partner Organization of the California Environmental Education Interagency Network, a state government consortium of environmental educators representing various statewide departments, boards, and commissions. Through coordination and collaboration, CEEIN's mission is to support member agencies and partners to foster environmental literacy as an essential tool for safeguarding environmental and public health, conserving our natural resources, and preparing Californians to prosper in the 21st century. The CEEIN partnership provides a forum for its members to share resources, programs, and materials with California's public schools and students in kindergarten through university. Ben Lavender, who manages Central San’s school education programs, noted that Central San is “in rare company” in CEEIN: They are one of only a handful of regional partners in the network and the only wastewater agency. What an honor! Congratulations Central San!
Waterhound Futures Seeking Collaborator for Energy Efficiency Study
Waterhound Futures, Inc. anticipates a grant to pilot the application of software in water and wastewater treatment works in the Central Valley and is looking for volunteer wastewater agencies in the Central Valley. Waterhound’s software is a digital solution for engineers, plant operators and managers to optimize performance and cost efficiencies in water and wastewater treatment works. Waterhound is seeking a sanitation agency in the Central Valley that is interested in participating in the demonstration for wastewater treatment simulation. The project is estimated to begin in the fall of 2020. Contact Dr. Tony Jones, or at (916) 990-3699 with any questions.
In Case You Missed It
Chronic Underinvestment in America’s Water Infrastructure Puts the Economy at Risk
The United States is underinvesting in its drinking water and wastewater systems—putting American households and the economy at risk, according to a new report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Value of Water Campaign. The report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure: How a Failure to Act Would Affect the U.S. Economy Recovery,” finds that as water infrastructure deteriorates and service disruptions increase, annual costs to American households due to water and wastewater failures will be seven times higher in 20 years than they are today—from $2 billion in 2019 to $14 billion by 2039. Read more here.
Special Districts Made Easy
The California Special Districts Association has published a free downloadable 16-page educational brochure and a three-minute video to promote the understanding of special districts. The new special districts brochure and video are concise, straight-forward resources aimed at anyone who wishes to better understand their local government. These are also useful tools for advocates, leadership in local government, and special districts who need help explaining these highly-specialized but often under-recognized agencies in public forums or advocacy efforts. See the full press release here.
CASA and CWEA Excess Capacity Webinar
Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 9, 2020, from 9:00am to 10:30am, CASA and the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) will host a joint webinar: Food Waste Co-Digestion in California – The Role of WRRFs and Investment Needs to Maximize Co-Digestion in Support of SB 1383. In response to Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) adopted in California in 2016, municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) offer one avenue for the targeted organics diversion by accepting food waste diverted from landfills and co-digesting it with municipal solids. Through co-digestion of diverted food waste in anaerobic digesters, municipal WWTPs can help achieve SB 1383 goals while producing and making beneficial use of biogas, which is a renewable energy source. The California State Water Resources Control Board received a multi-purpose grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to analyze co-digestion capacity at municipal WWTPs in California and selected Carollo Engineers, Inc. to complete the study. This webinar will summarize the major results of this comprehensive study. While results are specific to this state, the evaluation methodologies, costs, lessons learned, regulatory considerations, and potential greenhouse gas emissions will be valuable to any facility, state, or regulatory body considering implementation of organics waste diversion through co-digestion.
CA-NV AWWA and CWEA Operator Certification Webinar
On Thursday, September 10, 2020, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm (PT) the Certification Teams from the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) and the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) are hosting a webinar: Ask the Experts: State Water Board’s Operator Certification Exams. This webinar is an informative and free webinar for water professionals and utility leaders focused on the State’s drinking water distribution, treatment and wastewater treatment operator exams. Annette Caraway, the Chief of the Office of Operator Certification within the State Water Board’s Division of Financial Assistance will be joined by members of her team who oversee various aspects of the State’s program including the application, exam and certification process.
NACWA Wipes Webinar
On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, from 11:00am to 12:30pm (PT) the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is hosting a webinar: Wipe Out: How States and Municipalities are Flushing the Wipes Dilemma. This webinar will look at the current state of legislation, regulation, and litigation around wipes and other non-flushable products, as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic have heightened attention to the issue and utility responses. Webinar speakers will provide updates on all of these aspects of the “war on wipes,” challenges facing utilities, and how NACWA and its members have worked with other organizations through the Association’s Toilets Are Not Trashcans™ campaign to provide solutions. Jessica Gauger, CASA’s Director of Legislative Advocacy and Public Affairs will be on the panel, so you won’t want to miss it!
Oct. 19-22
CWEA Annual Conference
Nov. 12, 17, 19
PPIC Annual November Water Conference