FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Lori Harrison, 703-216-8565
October 15, 2012
WEF, NACWA and ACWA Celebrate 40 Years of Clean Water Act Accomplishments and Outline a Vision for the Future
Washington, D.C. — The Water Environment Federation (WEF), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) along with local utilities and others in the clean water community came together to celebrate 40 years of accomplishments under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and to call for a new vision to ensure further water quality progress.
Representatives of the three organizations agreed that the CWA has led to vastly improved water quality and community and economic vitality in the United States, and discussed even greater financial, environmental, and sustainability challenges that lie ahead. The executive directors shared their organizations’ unique take on the future of the CWA:
“We should be proud of the accomplishments we’ve made under the Clean Water Act,” said Ken Kirk, Executive Director of NACWA. “But to achieve the next level of water quality progress utilities need to be able to prioritize their efforts to achieve the greatest environmental return for the money invested. The federal government must also continue to be a full, long-term partner in meeting the growing costs of CWA compliance and infrastructure maintenance and repair .”
“WEF is committed to working with our partners, EPA and other stakeholders to develop and promote recommendations for ‘modernizing’ the Clean Water Act. We need both the funding and the flexibility in order to protect future public health, create jobs, and support a sound national economy," said Jeff Eger, Executive Director, WEF.
“As we look to the future, we need to support states and interstates, so that they can carry out effective programs in collaboration with EPA and all stakeholders—and move us closer to achieving our nation’s water quality goals,” said Alexandra Dunn, Executive Director and General Counsel of ACWA.
Although the organizations offered different perspectives, all agreed that there needs to be a new vision for clean water in the United States to ensure continued improvements through 2020 and beyond.
Representatives of DC Metropolitan-area utilities also shared their unique perspectives of how their facilities are meeting the new challenges of wastewater treatment:
“Rather than viewing cleaning water through a single lens, we’re looking at the entire process through a prism to break out the constituent parts,” explained Alexandria Renew Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Karen Pallansch. “We’re seeing new and unprecedented potential – brimming with the promise of recovery and renewal of precious resources at a once unimaginable scale.”
“The Clean Water Act changed our waterways and our business for the good, and for generations,” said DC Water General Manager George S. Hawkins. “The questions of what progress looks like for the next 40 years and at whose expense it should be funded are not simple to answer, but answer them we must.”
“"People don't realize what a difference the Clean Water Act has made in their lives. The fact that they can boat, swim and fish in waterways that previously were considered threats to public health is a direct result of this critical legislation,” said Jerry N. Johnson, General Manager/CEO, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. “As we move forward, planning should take into consideration the most critical impairments first rather than a siloed approach, which is only responsive to regulations rather than the needs of the water body and the population it serves.”
Speakers at the event also included Ellen Gilinsky, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Carlton Haywood, Executive Director, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and ACWA Interstate Board Representative.
Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEF members, Member Associations and staff proudly work to achieve our mission to provide bold leadership, champion innovation, connect water professionals, and leverage knowledge to support clean and safe water worldwide. To learn more, visit www.wef.org.