TECHNICAL COMMITTEE NEWS

Banner year for the Water Resources Management Committee

Art Gall
Technical Services Program Manager
APWA Kansas City Office

The Water Resources Management Technical Committee has taken a section of the association's mission statement, "APWA will be the members' primary gateway resource for education, knowledge exchange, and services," to heart. In support of this goal of providing technical assistance in the areas of potable water, sanitary sewer systems and stormwater management, the committee members, individually and as a group, have come through with a number of initiatives.

The 2003-04 committee consists of: Chair, Bud Curtis, P.E., DEE, Senior Engineering Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Norfolk, VA; Bruce Florquist, Director of Public Works, City of Rawlins, WY; Bob Carr, Senior Water Resources Engineer, XP Software, St. Francis, WI; Steve Masters, P.E., Public Utilities Administrator, City of Lincoln, NE; Doug Drever, P.Eng., Manager-Public Works, City of Saskatoon, SK; and Bill Spearman, P.E., Partner, Woolpert LLP, Columbia, SC. The Director-at-Large for the group is Christine Andersen, P.E., Director of Public Works, Long Beach, CA.

These dedicated volunteers should be proud of their accomplishments in being a resource of practical knowledge and sharing their expertise with other association members.

The committee was the source of three educational sessions at this year's Congress. Two members, Bud Curtis and Bob Carr, were part of the sessions, discussing water reclamation and engineering software selection. Bill Spearman has offered his time as a member of the Congress Program Review Committee, helping screen submittals for the 2004 Congress in Atlanta. The Atlanta Congress will feature the committee's programs entitled, tentatively, "Selling/Funding the Infrastructure Gap," "Water Reuse - Present Uses and Future Possibilities" and "Understanding Regulatory Compliance Activities Associated with CSO, SSO and CMOM."

Bud Curtis also coauthored a new APWA publication, Financing Stormwater Utilities, which discusses the rationale behind the approach as well as planning utilities, legal considerations, and details for establishing rate structures and estimating user charges.

Committee members Doug Drever, Bruce Florquist and Steve Masters wrote, contributed to or provided some of the technical articles that you see in this issue.

Bill Spearman and Bud Curtis were moderators of one of the association's popular Click, Listen & Learn series. "Case Studies in Stormwater NPDES, Phase II" gave practical insight into the sometimes daunting process of creating a stormwater utility. This subject area is very timely as stormwater utilities are increasingly coming into play to address the new federal compliance requirements of Phase II.

In order to encourage professional excellence and innovation in the area of water resources through an awards program, the committee lobbied for and developed selection criteria for a Water Resources Manager of the Year award. This award will be presented at a ceremony during next year's Congress.

Technical Committees, such as Water Resources Management, help provide a means for a member-oriented process for defining formal association positions. The committees serve as a voice of the membership and are an authoritative source of technical insight. Their input to and drafting of position statements allow a variety of views to be debated and, ultimately, reconciled. These position statements deal with current issues (legislative, regulatory and operational) that define the system within which public works professionals operate. Position statements form the basis for advocacy stances at the various levels of government and recommendations for regulatory agency procedures, measuring methodologies or permit limits.

Towards that end, the committee has drafted and approved two position statements dealing with the federal funding mechanisms for water or wastewater facilities. They have also considered and approved position papers dealing with topics relevant to public works or utility operations. The papers address such items of concern as:

  • Floodplains and stormwater quality management
  • Drought policy
  • Sanitary sewer/combined sewer overflows
  • Clean Water Act reauthorization
  • Optimum use of water
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Wetlands protection
  • Total maximum daily loads (TMDL)
  • Municipal stormwater management programs
  • A watershed stakeholders approach to maintaining water quality

Along with advising APWA legislative liaisons, committee members have also been personally involved in the legislative and regulatory processes in Washington, D.C. They have devoted their time and energy to active participation in a national water infrastructure advisory organization and have been involved in EPA outreach programs, such as the one on Environmental Management Systems (EMS). This EPA educational initiative involves introducing EMS, a systematic way to review and improve utility operations by incorporating environmental considerations into an organization's decision-making structure.

The committee has also provided input to an EPA proposal to promote water-efficient products to consumers. This proposal, if enacted, would institute a product water efficiency labeling program.

Another venue for the sharing of technical knowledge is the infoNOW Environmental Community on the APWA website (www.apwa.net). Approximately every three weeks, you will find a new "LINKS OF INTEREST," a list of water-related websites which you should find helpful. Subscribing to the infoNOW Communities is simple and there is a wealth of knowledge displayed there. Once you have accessed and viewed the "LINKS OF INTEREST," any feedback would be appreciated. Contact information is provided at the top of the list.

Congratulations to the committee for their sterling efforts and hard work in furthering APWA outreach goals in the past year.

Art Gall can be reached at (800) 848-APWA or at agall@apwa.net.