TECHNICAL COMMITTEE NEWS

Water Resources Committee again serves

Art Gall
Technical Services Program Manager
APWA Kansas City Office

This year's Water Resources Committee has again demonstrated its value to APWA members. Through collective and individual efforts, the committee members have provided technical insight and leadership to their fellow professionals. These professionals—the operators, designers and builders of the potable water, wastewater disposal and flood control systems on which we all depend—are facing an ever-changing landscape. Those responsible for providing vital services must cope with challenges such as securing adequate sources of drinking water for growing populations, funding for sometimes outdated infrastructure, new techniques in the control of stormwater, and changing environmental regulations. Committee members can feel pride in their efforts to help APWA members meet these challenges.

Chairing this year's committee is Bill Spearman, P.E., a partner at Woolpert LLP, Columbia, SC. The other members of the committee are Bud Curtis, P.E., DEE, Senior Engineering Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Norfolk, VA; Bob Carr, P.E., President and Senior Engineer, Water Resources Modeling, 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 a new member, Matt Singleton, Manager of Operations, City of Grapevine, TX.

This group was responsible for some of educational sessions offered at last year's Congress in Atlanta. The sessions explored the topics of infrastructure funding, water reuse and sanitary sewer regulatory compliance. Bud Curtis served as a presenter at a seminar dealing with the financing of stormwater utilities. The 2005 Congress, in Minneapolis, will again feature educational programs produced or coordinated by committee members. The programs will outline the practical aspects of water and sanitary sewer system assessment, EPA SSO enforcement activities, case studies of municipal sewage treatment/storage efforts, and the science of hydraulics and hydrology. In addition to their active roles in making technical training available, committee members also serve as a focus group to help suggest and develop future APWA educational offers, such as the onsite Construction Inspection workshops and the webcast series, Click, Listen & Learn.

To help share their knowledge in a more public venue, the APWA Reporter magazine, committee members Doug Drever, Bob Carr, Bill Spearman and Bud Curtis wrote, contributed to or provided some of the technical articles in this issue. Two of the newer techniques of stormwater management, low impact development and stream restoration, are presented in the pieces entitled "Low Impact Development: Moving towards economically sound environmental asset management" on page 38 and "Restoring Fee Fee Creek" on page 48.

In another effort to make technical resources more accessible to other APWA members, the committee urged association support of the International Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Database. APWA joined with other organizations to help fund the continued operation of this unique resource. The online reference source (http://www.bmpdatabase.org) makes available to stormwater engineers an extensive list of BMPs. The list also provides comprehensive details of their performance and other characteristics. The information presented has been independently reviewed and verified. The database also features a hardy search function which allows users to sort the records by selecting up to five parameters including geographic location, watershed size, amount of stormwater flow, construction and water quality (specific pollutants or associated categories).

As in the past, the APWA Washington, D.C. staff has turned to the committee for technical and practical insights on a variety of legislation priorities or proposed regulations. The committee, backed with member survey data collected by the Washington office, drafted a Position Statement outlining preferred funding mechanisms for water/wastewater infrastructure improvements and maintenance. In conjunction with Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) members, APWA and the committee have endorsed the creation of a national Water Trust Fund.

The committee was again consulted when there were proposed changes to federal regulations potentially affecting municipalities. The effects of revised guidelines for federal jurisdiction over wetlands, EPA standards for lead water service lines and the wet weather treatment of wastewater were discussed. Committee feedback helped shape the association's public comments or recommendations on these proposed revisions.

To assure that the Washington staff has the most current perspective on water resources management, the Water Resources Committee, along with other Technical Committees, has initiated an annual review of all Position Statements. Discussed and approved to this point are such areas of concern as:

  • A national drought strategy
  • Optimum use of water 
  • Endangered Species Act 
  • Wetlands protection
  • Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) regulations
  • A watershed approach to maintaining water quality
  • A national clean water policy

This article attempts an overview of the more obvious accomplishments of the committee. There are many more ways in which this group has been an asset to APWA and its members. These dedicated volunteers should take pride in all of their efforts to serve and further enhance the public works profession.

Art Gall is the staff liaison to APWA's Water Resources Committee. He can be reached at (800) 848-APWA or at agall@apwa.net.