A Step by Step Look at Certification CALIFORNIA-NEVADA SECTION AWWA v36 • n3 • Fall 2022 S URCE California Water Legislation In Review Build America, Buy America Managing Social Media's Dark Side
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 7 8 FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Work That Matters By Sue Mosburg 10 SECTION NEWS From the Section Chair Reflections from the Outgoing Chair 12 CA-NV AWWA Releases Environmental Laboratory Satisfaction Survey Results 38 INDEX TO ADVERTISERS ABOUT THE COVER Hands-on training can also be apart of the certification process. We invite readers and members of the California and Nevada water communities to comment on the magazine and issues in the water and wastewater industries. FEATURES DEPARTMENTS CONTENTS 19 California Water Legislation In Review By Tim Worley, Ph.D. 28 Managing Social Media's Dark Side By Darcy M. Burke, MBA 32 Research Driven by You: An Update on The Water Research Foundation’s Research Priority Program By Maureen Hodgins & Megan Karklins 14 Steps to a Successful Operator Certification 26 Water Education Seminar Back in the Saddle Again! By Uzi Daniel & Donna DiLaura 22 Build America, Buy America Implications for the Water Industry By Tommy Holmes S URCE Join the conversation on social media! Find us @canvawwa or @CANVSectionAWWA.
8 SOURCE fall 2022 "GET INVOLVED IN AN AWWA committee. You never know what you might learn and who you might meet.” This statement rings as true today as it did when my supervisor said it a few decades ago. Committees are where technical content is reviewed, policy statements are developed, and where you can build your network of industry experts and grow professionally. He was right! At that time however, I didn’t understand the possibilities. I viewed the American Water Works Association as simply a publisher. AWWA was (and continues to be) the producer of a vast selection of textbooks and guidance documents. It’s the go-to resource for everyone in drinking water from engineers to water operators, from field workers to office managers. I had no idea that subject matter experts meet regularly to develop and update these resources. During their time together, they share research, lessons learned, and best practices. I learned about these discussions as a young professional when I attended my first CA-NV AWWAAnnual Fall Conference in Long Beach, California, and walked into a committee meeting. Back in the early 1990s, being an active CA-NV AWWA committee volunteer meant getting to the conference a day early to attend the semi-annual committee meetings. Before everyone had email and smart phones, committee members would spend hours on their office phones gathering speakers and coordinating conference technical tracks. For committees that also met outside of the conference, members would often need to devote a whole day away from their jobs to attend committee meetings in person. These logistical and resource needs often limited committee participation to those with easy access to an office phone, desktop computer, and company vehicle. Fast forward a few decades. Blend in technology improvements and throw in a pandemic to force long-overdue investments in portable computing and the universal use of virtual meeting platforms. It’s now easier than ever to attend virtual committee meetings and technical discussions from anywhere. Coupled with the return to more in-person activities and the new CA-NV AWWA conference format (introduced earlier this year integrating committee roundtable discussions into each conference day), committees are now accessible to all. With more than 60 committees and 700 active volunteers, there’s a committee for you. Learn more about committees at canv-awwa.org and click on the About the Section tab at the top of the page. S Mission Statement Dedicated to leading, educating, and serving the water industry and our communities. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR Christine Boyle CHAIR ELECT Larry Lyford VICE CHAIR Jim Elliott PAST CHAIR David Hokanson ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR Kate Nutting ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR Heather Collins TREASURER Todd Jorgenson SECRETARY Sue Mosburg TRUSTEES DIRECTORS CONFERENCE Colter Andersen EDUCATION Uzi Daniel CERTIFICATION BOARD Bill Cardinal TECHNICAL PROGRAMS Raha Shirkhani DIVISION CHAIRS UTILITY MANAGEMENT Sepideh Shirkhani WATER RESOURCES Nathan Boyle WATER QUALITY Alex Chakmak ENGINEERING David Gould OPERATORS DIVISION Tommy Pearce COUNCILS MANUFACTURERS & ASSOCIATES COUNCIL Rich Hopkins MEMBER ENGAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT Tom Bloomer PHILANTHROPY COUNCIL Stephanie Hearn WATER UTILITY COUNCIL E.J. Caldwell Daniel Armendariz Robert Janowski Rosemary Smud Gordan Williams Jim Wollbrinck Yan Zhang Committees Are the Place to Connect Sue Mosburg FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
10 SOURCE fall 2022 SECTION NEWS IT’S A GREAT HONOR TO SERVE YOU as Chair of the California-Nevada Section of AWWA as we embark on a year of great water challenges, filled with opportunities to reconnect and solve water together again. The pandemic highlighted the essential nature of water professionals’ work and the critical importance of clean water for public health. I have dedicated my career to being a water professional and am happy and relieved to have our greater California-Nevada water community back together to collaborate on what we face in our arid region. The CA-NV Section of AWWA exists to serve our members, including more than 4,000 professionals across the two states. The last two years posed many challenges to our Section, including cancelling events, navigating virtual technical programming, and delivering value to students and younger members. The great news, however, is that we bounced back! Through the hard work of Section staff, our Board and volunteers, we held our 2022 Annual Spring Conference and Water Education Seminar, with participation exceeding projections. Our members realize that CA-NV AWWA offers a unique venue to gain technical skills, network, and solve critical issues, such as the chlorine shortage in Spring 2022. The issues water operators and managers face are only growing and being a member of CANV AWWA has never been as valuable. For example, whenCA-NVAWWAmembers think about drought, we don’t think of doom and gloom; instead, we think of how to prevent supply side shortages through water loss control and the advances of water re-use technologies. When we hear about impending PFAS regulations, we don’t throw up our hands at the inevitable rulemaking; we contact a WUC member to learn about how our policy and lobbying efforts can better explain impacts of regulations on water systems and communities. When we hear of a rail strike or a bleach shortage, we get on the phone to our neighboring Section members and discuss the best solution forward. This is value in action. My goal for my year as Chair is to continue in our mission to drive value for our members through education, advocacy, and collaboration, while also growing value for the next generation of members — students and young professionals. You also can expect a focus on more localized events serving students and members, as well as more connectivity between members in different age cohorts. I think the learning and value in this connectivity will be shared both ways. I am exceedingly proud of how our Section navigated the pandemic and emerged in 2022 with record-breaking attendance at ASC2022 and WES2022. People have come back to in person events with tremendous enthusiasm and longing to re-connect, as have I. Whether you attended for competitions, technical sessions, or networking, we are thrilled to be your professional water organization to meet these needs. So, welcome back! I look forward to learning, leading, and libating with you soon. S Christine E. Boyle, Ph.D., is the 2022-23 Chair of the CA-NV Section. She is Vice President of Digital Product Development at Xylem and can be reached a Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org. AS I STEP DOWN AS CHAIR OF CA-NV AWWA, I’d like to spend a moment reflecting on the Section’s accomplishments during the past year. The pandemic offered significant challenges to the Section, while at the same time, it offered great opportunities for productive growth. Successful changes during the period were in the areas of participation, networking, membership engagement and development, manufacturers and associates, technology implementation, transferring conference delivery method, and water industry technical roles. From the Section Chair By Christine E. Boyle, Ph.D. Reflections from the Outgoing Chair By David Hokanson, Ph.D., P.E.
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 11 CALIFORNIA-NEVADA SECTION, AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION 10435 Ashford Street, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 Fax: (909) 481-4688 or (909) 291-2107 (909) 481-7200 | www.ca-nv-awwa.org SOURCE Magazine Mission Statement To serve the regional water community with news and information about developments, regulations, technology and trends affecting CA-NV AWWA Section members and California and Nevada’s water professionals. Section Staff S URCE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Sue Mosburg DIRECTOR OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS William Penn CERTIFICATION MANAGER Steven Garner DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Jenna Bland CERTIFICATION SUPERVISOR Gina Enriquez SENIOR EDUCATION SPECIALIST Jennifer Sandoval COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Danielle Hook EVENTS SPECIALIST Jordan Otero SENIOR REGISTRATION/ ACCOUNTING SPECIALIST Shobhana Chickarmane ADMINISTRATIVE SPECIALIST Jenny Mosburg PUBLISHED JANUARY 2023. © Apogee Publications. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part,without the prior written consent of the publisher. PUBLISHER APOGEE PUBLICATIONS 6528 Greenleaf Avenue, Suite 219 Whittier, CA 90601 (562) 698-3424 ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Kathleen Pishotta (352) 371-4933 MANAGING EDITOR Nicole Millman-Falk ART DIRECTOR Aude Cabaldon SECTION NEWS Networking events were held in Oakland, with tailgating and a baseball game that allowed Section interaction, and at Jackrabbit in Sacramento. Both events had exceptional participation, with the exciting opportunity to connect with many students at the Sacramento event. Local networking events are being planned throughout the Section in the coming years. With respect to membership engagement and development, the Inclusion and Diversity Committee, the Veteran’s Engagement and Transition Committee, and the Women’s Leadership Committee continued to grow with successful presentations and tracks at conferences. The manufacturers and associates showed up in force for the Exposition at the first in-person conference in Anaheim. The revised format with less exposure time but more value added by having dedicated sessions associated with the exposition was well received by all attendees. The Section returned from virtual to in-person conferences during this year. We had a successful virtual conference in Fall 2021 and an extremely successful in-person conference in Anaheim in Spring 2022, where attendance figures smashed expectations by a tremendous margin. Both staff and volunteers were instrumental in achieving the successful conferences. Volunteers have moved into new roles with division and committee participation evolving based on the new conference format. It was exciting to see how the Section’s technology initiative allowed us to grow during the pandemic. In addition to a complete overhaul of the technology used by staff to accommodate their working remotely, we conducted a behindthe-scenes transformation and update of our databases to allow the Section to gear up for future technology needs. A core value of the Section has always been to provide sound and exceptional technical leadership on areas of interest to utility subscribers and other constituencies. Notable accomplishments have been achieved in this area with respect to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, with guidance from the Safe Drinking Water Act Committee and the Water Utility Council’s (WUC) Regulatory Committee. The WUC with support of both its Legislative and Regulatory Committees, as well as various Section committees across five divisions, responded efficiently and effectively to provide letters with CA-NV’s positions on various legislative proposals. It has been a boon to my career to serve as Section Chair, both for the chance to provide leadership and, more importantly, for the opportunity to learn from the tremendous community we have created in the Section — all with the goal to solve water challenges and protect public health. S Dave Hokanson, Ph.D., P.E., is Past Chair of the CA-NV AWWA. A Principal Engineer at Trussell Technologies in Pasadena, California, he holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, a master’s degree in civil engineering, and a doctoral degree in environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University.
12 SOURCE fall 2022 SECTION NEWS CALIFORNIA HAS MAINTAINED an environmental laboratory accreditation program (ELAP) for over 70 years to assess and guide laboratories to ensure data quality. Currently the ELAP program resides within the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board). New regulations were adopted and became effective on January 1, 2021, however, full compliance is not required until January 1, 2024. During the three-year transition period, certified laboratories will continue to comply with the requirements in the current ELAP regulations with a phased approach on compliance with the new regulations. ELAP believes that the new regulations will ensure a sustainable accreditation program whereby laboratories generate data of known and documented quality. Implementation of New ELAP Regulations The new ELAP regulations incorporate more stringent laboratory quality assurance and compliance requirements that are based on prescriptive and comprehensive management and technical processes, thereby substantially increasing workload in the quality assurance program. The prescribed quality system is a structured and documented management system detailing how a laboratory ensures the quality of its processes and data. It includes the following elements: • Specified quality manual; • Specified administrative and technical standard operating procedures; • Document control methodology for data traceability; • Data integrity and ethics training; • Management reviews and reports; • Internal audits and corrective action reports for all laboratories; and • Third-party assessments of laboratory proficiency. Additionally, a laboratory must be assessed before each biennial ELAP recertification and pay a fee for the on-site assessment. Another major new requirement is the mandatory use of a third-party assessor (TPA) by laboratories utilizing sophisticated instrumentation. The laboratories using sophisticated equipment must hire and pay the TPA directly. Laboratories not using sophisticated equipment may, at their discretion, hire and pay a TPA in the same manner; or, they may choose to have the on-site assessments (OSAs) conducted by ELAP and pay ELAP for the OSA. Survey Design The Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) requested input fromCA-NVAWWAabout themembership’s perceptions and experiences imposed by the new regulations of ELAP’s accreditation program. In response, CA-NV AWWA’s Water Quality Analysis Committee conducted an ELAP environmental laboratory satisfaction survey. Questions were designed to elicit qualitative information about respondents’ experience with ELAP and the laboratories’ actions and plans under the newly implemented accreditation approach. The survey contained 15 questions in three main categories: observations about ELAP’s recent performance and fees; actions and activities the laboratories are taking with the new accreditation regime; and perceptions of the ELAP assessors. Survey questions were as follows: 1. When was your lab first accredited by ELAP? 2. Over the last few years, is it your experience that ELAP is more helpful, less helpful, or about the same? 3. Has your laboratory added more tests or analytes to its scope of accreditation, removed more tests or analytes, or has about as many tests or analytes as a few years ago? 4. Do you believe that your laboratory is more likely to drop individual tests, or analytes or add individual tests or analytes in the future, or make no changes? 5. Have the costs of remaining accredited increased, remain the same, or decreased over the last few years? 6. When was the last time your laboratory had an on-site assessment? 7. Has the frequency of on-site assessments increased, remained the same, or decreased over the last few years? 8. Do you believe that the quality of on-site assessments has improved recently, is about the same, or has gotten worse? 9. a) For on-site assessments, has your laboratory used ELAP assessors? b) Wereyousatisfiedwith thequalityof theELAPassessor on-site assessment? 10. a) Has your lab used the authorized third-party provider for non-sophisticated equipment? b) Were you satisfied with the quality of the third-party assessor on-site assessment of your non- sophisticated equipment? 11. a) Has your laboratory used the authorized third-party provider for sophisticated equipment? b) Were you satisfied with the quality of the third-party assessor on-site assessment of your sophisticated equipment? 12. a) Has your lab used the new system for scheduling your own on-site assessment? b) Were you satisfiedwith the newsystemfor scheduling on-site assessments? 13. Would you say that the performance testing sample CA-NV AWWA Releases Environmental Laboratory Satisfaction Survey Results
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 13 SECTION NEWS process and review by ELAP has improved over the last few years, is the same, or worse? 14. a) Has your laboratory chosen to be accredited under TNI minus 2? b) If so, how would you compare TNI minus 2 to the old system? 15. a) Has your laboratory chosen to be accredited under the new non-TNI standard? b) How would you compare the non-TNI standard to the old system: better, the same, or worse? Survey Results Thirty surveys were collected. Although this represents a small sample of all ELAP accredited laboratories, the sample plan was not meant to reach all the environmental laboratories. The survey’s significance is more qualitative than quantitative and should be viewed in that light. Most participants represent laboratories typically associated with analysis of samples for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, mostly in-house utility laboratories. A small number of commercial labs and wastewater utility labs also responded. Most of the survey respondents work for laboratories that have existed for over 20 years, with a long history of accreditation by ELAP, implying this surveywas answered by experienced staff members. Unpublished survey results were discussed with participants in a special session at the CA-NV AWWA Spring Conference in April 2022. A majority of respondents believe that ELAP’s performance has either not improved or gotten worse, with specific concerns about the long period of response time to inquiries. One third of respondents believe ELAP’s performance is better. This suggests a general level of dissatisfaction with ELAP at this time. Respondents indicated that laboratories already or are planning to reduce the number of analytes and tests for which they are accredited. The reduced interest and/or ability to retain the FOAs suggests that laboratories now find it more difficult and costly to obtain and retain accreditation. This trend will continue into the future as respondents believe that they will drop even more tests and analytes from their laboratories’ scope of accreditation. One of the most important parts of laboratory accreditation is the OSA. It is the most time consuming to prepare for and conduct and the most diagnostic aspect of accreditation as assessors visit and assess the laboratory in person. Laboratories are reporting that they are getting fewer OSAs and that the quality of the OSA declined. Comments suggest this is seen as quite disappointing in general but especially considering the significantly increasing fees for some laboratories. Given the low frequency at which OSAs have been occurring the last several years, it was difficult to find laboratories that had experienced two sequential OSAs in the same OSA route in a reasonably close enough time to actually make an assessment. Overall, this sample of the laboratory community found general dissatisfaction with the OSA process under ELAP, irrespective of which OSA route is taken. The survey also tried to assess the two tracks of accreditation that ELAP is using currently, under TNI and pre-TNI. However, at the time of the survey, few laboratories have yet chosen to adopt this approach, and those that have done so have only had a short time to do so. Nonetheless, as with the rest of the survey, it seems that most laboratories are not satisfied that the new program is providing adequate performance, especially considering increased fees. Overall, respondents to the CA-NV AWWA survey expressed dissatisfaction with the ELAP program. They generally believe that it has become overly complicated, expensive, difficult, and lacks clear benefits to improve data quality. Although the scope of this project cannot reveal to what extent this view is shared by the whole laboratory community, these survey results suggest that ELAP’s direction will hasten the trend toward fewer accredited water utility laboratories.S
14 SOURCE fall 2022 Steps TOA Successful Operator Certification THE DIVISION OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE (DFA) of the State Water Resources Control Board's (State Water Board) administers financial assistance programs, including loan and grant funding for construction of municipal sewage and water recycling facilities, remediation for underground storage tank releases, watershed protection projects, nonpoint source pollution control projects, etc. DFA also administers the Operator Certification Program. SOURCE spoke with Christine Gordon, Assistant DeputyDirector, andNeal Funston, ProgramManager, Wastewater Operator CertificationProgram, about regulation updates for the Drinking Water Operator Certification and Wastewater Operator Certification.
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 15 Q:What certification programs does the Office of Operator Certification administer? The State Water Board administers both the Drinking Water Operator Certification and the Wastewater Operator Certification programs. The Drinking Water Operator Certification Program (DWOCP) follows certification and recertification guidelines established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and certifies operators of community and non-transient community public water systems. The Wastewater Operator Certification Program (WWOCP) administers the Wastewater Treatment Plant Certification examinations, certifications (grades I to V), and certification renewals. Additionally, the WWOCP examines and certifies wastewater treatment plant operators for competency to operator those plants. Q:How does the Of f ice of Operator Certification ensure these programs stay relevant and current? A Drinking Water Operator Certification Program Advisory Committee and a Wastewater Operator Certification Program Advisory Committee provide stakeholder feedback. The advisory committees are comprised of members from small, medium, and large water systems, a water recycling plant, educational institutions, a labor union representing water treatment and distribution operators, professional engineers, water treatment operators, among others. Earlier this summer, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Programs Advisory Committees met at a special joint meeting to form sub workgroups to address needed regulation updates, including military and water recycling experience, operator-in-training requirements, and for developing policies for reporting operator experience when applying for certification. Q:How many operators are certified through these programs? TREATMENT Grade Quantity T1 2,365 T2 8,258 T3 1,852 T3 1,006 T5 517 Total 13,998 DISTRIBUTION Grade Quantity D1 3,492 D2 8,949 D3 3,953 D4 1,767 D5 1,208 Total 19,369 WASTEWATER Grade Quantity OIT 656 Grade I 784 Grade II 1,488 Grade III 1,794 Grade IV 435 Grade V 1,091 Total 6,248 OPERATOR CERTIFICATION
16 SOURCE fall 2022 Q:In 2021 , Cal i fornia began of fer ing computer-based test ing. What technology improvements are being worked on for implementat ion in 2023? The Office of Operator Certification has started working with the State Water Boards’ Division of Information Technology to develop an interactive online application portal for submitting applications. It will phase in the procedure, starting with D1, D2, T1, T2 drinking water exam applications and Grade I and II wastewater exam applications. The higher-grade exam, and renewal and certificate applications will follow. Q:Who needs to be certified? What are the requirements? For Treatment Certification: Any person whomakes adecision that affects thequality of water being disbursed. To review the minimum qualifications for examination and eligibility criteria, visit the Water Board’s website at https://www.waterboards. ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/occupations/ documents/opcert/mqsforexamcert.pdf. For Distribution Certification: Any person who maintains or operates any portion of a distribution system (person making decisions regarding quality or quantity of the disbursed water). To review the minimum qualifications for examination and eligibility criteria, visit the Water Board’s website at https://www. waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/ occupations/documents/opcert/distribution_ qualifications.pdf. Q:What is the application process for the Drinking Water Operator Certification for Distribution and Treatment? For Grades 1 and 2, the first step is to pass the examination. Next, you must return the certification slip attached to the bottom of the passing results letter, along with fee to the Drinking Water Operator Certification Program. If you want to obtain a Distribution or Treatment Certification at the Grade 3 or higher level, you must submit a Certification Application. These instructions will guide you to a successful (getting it right the first time) certification package that meets the State Water Board’s requirements. The complete package includes your application, payment, and qualification documentation, including: a supervisor letter; organization chart; official job description/duties; and letter or permit water system classification. Please note that recent changes to the statutes added civil penalties, including suspension, revocation, refusal to grant a certificate, or assess fines not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) for each day of violation for the submission of false or misleading information on exam, certification or renewal applications. Q:What is the standard processing time, and what can an applicant do to ensure timely processing? Applications are evaluated in the order received. While the Office of Operator Certification tries to evaluate certification applications in a timely manner, there may be a delay due to the high volume of applications. In addition, incomplete application packages can delay processing time, so make sure the information submitted is complete and accurate. S OPERATOR CERTIFICATION
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 17 CAREER GROWTH AHEAD Take the next step at awtoperator.org AWT3 exam eligibility requirement: hold a Grade 3 certification for Wastewater Treatment Operator or Water Treatment Operator. Consider becoming certified as an Advanced Water Treatment Operator. AWTO® professionals are highly skilled and certified so they can safely operate advanced water treatment facilities to protect public health. The AWTO certification... • Positions you for career growth • Introduces you to new technologies & regulations • Boost your income • Elevates your knowledge • Distinguishes you as an expert • Demonstrates commitment to our profession • Offers three grades AWT3™, 4, and 5 Agencies are promoting and hiring certified AWTOs right now. It’s the future of water, get certified soon.
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 19 CaliforniaWater Legislation I N REV I EW By T IM WORLEY, Ph. D . THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE RACED TO COMPLETE THE 2021-22 SESSION, taking final votes on hundreds of bills before its deadline of midnight on August 31. Governor Gavin Newsom then faced a deadline of September 30 to sign or veto bills approved by the legislature. For the Water Utility Council, which sets priorities for the Section on government policy matters, the end of the legislative season brought reasons to cheer, sigh with relief, overcome a few disappointments, and prepare for a few issues to return when the next legislature convenes in 2023. Here we recap a few highlights of what was enacted and what was avoided. LEGISLATION REVIEW Tax Relief for Turf Rebates Wins Approval Governor Newsom signed AB 1124, a high priority bill for the water community, which restores an income tax exemption on rebates to homeowners who replace thirsty grass lawns and shrubs with drought-resistant landscapes. CA-NV AWWA joined a large
20 SOURCE fall 2022 LEGISLATION REVIEW coalition supporting this bill, introduced by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and cosponsored by WaterNow Alliance, the California Water Efficiency Partnership, and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). In a press release, Newsom stated, “With a drier landscape becoming the norm, we’re stepping up to help Californians replace their lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping that will help us combat the drought we’re in and build resilience for the future.” WaterNow Alliance Executive Director Cynthia Koehler wrote: “This [bill] is potentially a game-changer for cities, towns, and water utilities statewide…. No one should be taxed on rebates received for saving water. Similarly, many utilities have been reluctant to offer rebates for larger water conservation efforts when doing so would mean that they would have to issue 1099s to participating homeowners.” Wat er Ut i l i t y Counc i l member Greg Thomas, Genera l Manager of Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD), expressed approval. “With outdoor landscaping accounting for more than 50 percent of a home’s water use, it’s vital to support our customers’ efforts to reduce outdoor use. EVMWD is pleased to hear Governor Newsom recognizes our customers’ conservation efforts as well by providing the extra incentive of a tax-free rebate,” he said. Water Rate Assistance ProgramVetoed Senate Bill 222, a bill by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) to establish a statewide water rate assistance program, ultimately passed the legislature with a mix of support and grudging opposition from the water community but was vetoed by Governor Newsom. His veto message touched on one of the main concerns that kept the Section in an oppose-unless-amended position, uncertainty about the source of funding for the program. In a difficult decision after some utility members had come to support SB 222, the Section held to its opposition, stating in a letter to the Governor: “Without further clarity in SB 222, there is a risk that costs associated with SB 222 will be shifted to the water providers and their customers — which is neither equitable nor beneficial — and inadvertently result in increased costs that will impact the cross-section of the community that SB 222 is intended to assist.” These unresolved financial issues were foremost in Governor Newsom’s statement explaining his veto of SB 222. He noted that “making sure that Californians have access to safe and affordable drinking water is a top priority of this administration.” However, he wrote: “This is a permanent program that would not be implemented or initiated until funding is provided. At this time, there is no sustainable, ongoing funding identified. “I commend the author and stakeholders for their work during this Legislative session to craft a vision for such a program. However, this bill does not have any funding iden-
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 21 LEGISLATION REVIEW tified, and because it is an ongoing program that would require all community water systems and wastewater systems to participate, signing this policy would result in significant General Fund pressures in the billions of dollars to continuously provide such assistance.” Despite recent funding commitments from the U.S. government, including some targeted to disadvantaged communities, utilities’ water rates will remain their main source of funds. Operating and capital expenses have risen steadily for decades, forcing utilities to increase rates and making affordability a major problem for lower-income customers. Meanwhile, voter-enacted constitutional amendments severely restrict publicly owned California utilities’ ability to use ratepayer funds to subsidize other customers. This combination of forces seems likely to keep the search for better policy solutions to water affordability alive in the near future. UrbanWater Use Standards Despite strong reservations among most water utilities, Senate Bill 1157 by Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) will set the standard for indoor residential water use at 47 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) in 2025 and reduce it to 42 gpcd in 2030. Efforts by the water community succeeded in getting amendments requiring the Department of Water Resources to “. . . conduct necessary studies and investigations to assess and quantify the economic benefits and impacts of the 2030 indoor residential use standard on water, wastewater, and recycled water systems and shall include saturation enduse studies.” Amendments will also allow the results of these studies to recommend postponement of the further reduction in gpcd and approval of variances by the State Water Resources Control Board: “Variance options may include, but are not limited to, stranded assets, impacts on disadvantaged communities, impacts to environmental flows, or adverse impacts to wastewater or recycled water operations.” Constituents of Emerging Concern The Section supported SB 230 by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena), which sets up a new Constituents of Emerging Concern (CEC) program in the State Water Resources Control Board with funding from the state’s general fund. Sponsored by the MetropolitanWater District of Southern California and the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA), this program authorizes the formation of a nine-member panel with specified expertise to advise the State Water Board on CECs. Decoupled Water Rates The legislature passed SB 1469, authored by Senators Steven Bradford (D-District 35), Josh Becker (D-District 13), and Asssemblymember Robert Rivas (D-District 30) and endorsed by private water companies regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and supported by CA-NV AWWA. This bill requires the CPUC to consider whether to authorize a utility rate mechanism that separates or decouples the company’s revenue and its water sales. Decoupling has been practiced in regulating the electric industry and had been implemented on a pilot basis for investor-owned water utilities. The benefit of decoupling rates and revenue is to avoid the swings of revenue that can be caused by water conservation, such as from drought restrictions. Interference With DrinkingWater Quality Regulation Avoided CA-NV AWWA and AWWA have long-standing concerns about legislation that would set arbitrary deadlines or otherwise override the scientific, economic, or technological evaluations of the established regulatory process. Two bills the Section opposed on these grounds failed to pass, which in the legislative process counts as a victory. Senate Bill 1124 by Robert Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) proposed to require a new Public Health Goal for manganese in drinking water and a new Maximum Contaminant Level as a primary drinking water standard. Manganese is currently regulated as a secondary drinking water standard on aesthetic reasons (color and taste). Health effects research points to evidence of neurological effects in children, potentially qualifying manganese for more stringent control. However, the basis for regulation is not well established at the federal level, and in California, the Division of Drinking Water had already initiated the process by calling for a review of the PHG. SB 1124 died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Lead service line (LSL) replacement was the target of AB1931 by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando), which the Section joined with CMUA in opposing. The analysis of AB1931 at the Senate Environmental Quality Committee succinctly captured the concerns about duplication and conflict the bill would create with the recent Lead and Copper Rule Revision. The committee analyst wrote: Existing state and federal law and regulations have established a comprehensive structure for addressing lead in water distribution systems. Further, . . . the new federal LCRR, which takes effect in 2024, is poised to strengthen protections for children and communities from the risks of lead exposure in our drinking water supply. Additionally, US EPA is developing a new proposed rule, the Lead and Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI), to further strengthen the LCRR. US EPA plans to finalize the LCRI before the LCRR compliance deadline. Given that the Biden Administration is in the process of strengthening the new federal requirements for LSL replacements, AB 1931 could result in conflicting or duplicative and different requirements for what is already a complex program. AMore Active Voice Since the reorganization of the Water Utility Council with a Legislative Committee of water utility government relations professionals, CA-NV AWWA has more effectively taken a stance on policy issues that matter tomembers. Anymember with questions about these or other issues at the state or federal governments should contact Executive Director Sue Mosburg (email@example.com; 909-291-2108), who can route the question to get an appropriate response. S TimWorley, Ph.D., is Managing Director at Ortega Strategies Group and is a member of the Leadership Council of the WaterNow Alliance and Secretary to the Water Utility Council.
22 SOURCE fall 2022 BUILD AMERICA, BUY AMERICA IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WATER By TOMMY HOLMES INDUSTRY
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 23 BUILD AMERICA, BUY AMERICA T HE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021 brings a host of new funding for water infrastructure, as well as new requirements for domestic sourcing of materials used in infrastructure projects receiving federal assistance. The IIJA, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or H.R. 3684 (https://www. congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684? q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR3684% 22%2C%22HR3684%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=1), provided a five-year bump in infrastructure spending in the United States. However, its domestic sourcing requirements are now a permanent part of federal assistance programs. American Iron and Steel (AIS) requirements for federal assistance have been around for almost a decade, so the water sector is mostly familiar with them now. What’s new in the IIJA is the provision known as Build America, Buy America (BABA). It requires that in a manufactured product, the cost of components mined, produced or manufactured in the U.S. be greater than 55 percent of the value of the final product. These provisions took effect May 14, 2022. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance (ht t ps : / / www.wh i t ehous e .gov / wp - c ont ent / uploads/2022/04/M-22-11.pdf) on compliance with the new rule this past March. Individual federal agencies were then required to produce guidance tailored to their respective sectors based on that guidance from OMB. The U.S. Department of Transportation has already issued its guidance, while the water sector is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That could become a pressing issue as much of the money from the IIJAwas to start flowing to states this September and October. The agency has a webpage (https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf/build-america-buyamerica-baba) dedicated to this issue, and has provided a webinar (https://www.epa.gov/ system/files/documents/2022-05/OW_BABAImpl ementationWebinarPresentation-Apr2022.pdf) on the issue. AFFECTED PROGRAMS For most water utilities, the effects of this part of the law will be felt in the drinking water and wastewater state revolving loan fund (SRF) programs, in the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and in the funds coming out of the IIJA for lead service line replacement and to address emerging contaminants. WAIVERS There are certain conditions under which EPA can issue waivers from BABA and AIS requirements. A waiver can be issued if EPA finds any of the following conditions exist:
24 SOURCE fall 2022 A pplying the domestic content procurement preference would be inconsistent with the public interest (called a “public interest waiver”). T ypes of iron, steel, manufactured products or construction materials are not produced in the U.S. in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or of a satisfactory quality (a “nonavailability waiver”). I nclusion of iron, steel, manufactured products or construction materials produced in the U.S. will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent (an “unreasonable cost waiver”). In that light, EPA formally proposed a series of waivers over the spring and summer andmade a final determination to grant one. Note that these waivers apply to manufactured products and construction materials and do not waive AIS requirements. The waiver granted (https://www. epa.gov/ system/ f iles/documents/2022-06/ EPA%2 0 -%2 0WI F I A%2 0Pu b l i c%2 0 Interest%20Waiver%20 -%20Design%20 Planning_22JUN2022.pdf) was for projects receiving assistance from WIFIA and for which project design planning that began before May 14, 2022. Following are proposed waivers that were still under consideration at the time of this writing: F or projects receiving funds under the SRF (https : / /www.epa.gov/ s ys t em / f i l e s / do cume nt s / 2022- 06 / P r o p o s e d%2 0 SR F%2 0 P l a n s%2 0 a n d % 2 0 S p e c % 2 0 W a i v e r % 2 0 B A B A% 2 0 J u n e % 2 0 2 0 2 2 . p d f ) programs and for which en-gineering plans and specifications were submitted to the appropriate state agency before May 14. A six-month waiver (beginning with the effective date of the waiver) for specif ic grant programs (https : / /www. epa .gov / system/ f i les / d o c ume nt s / 20 2 2- 07 / DRAFT%20 BABA%2 0OW%2 0P r o g r ams%2 0 Waiver%20Public%20Comment.pdf ) that EPA administers. Examples are programs addressing sewer overflow and stormwater reuse, l e a d i n s c h o o l s , sma l l a nd BUILD AMERICA, BUY AMERICA
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 25 BUILD AMERICA, BUY AMERICA disadvantaged communities, U.S.- Mexico border projects and congressionally directed spending (also known as “earmarks”). F or small water infrastructure projects (https : / /www.epa.gov/ system/files/documents/2022-07/EPA_ Small_Projects_Waiver.pdf), defined as those receiving no more than $250,000 in federal funds. A “de minimus” waiver (https: / / w w w . e p a . g o v / s y s t e m / f i l e s / documents / 2022- 07/ EPA%20_De_ Minimis_Waiver.pdf) for products comprising no more than f ive percent of the total cost of materials used in a project. These materials are hardware-like items, such as screws, washers, electrical outlets, drywall tape, UV bulbs and various fasteners. A six-month waiver for Superfund and Brownfields (https://www.epa. gov/system/ files/documents/2022-07/ E PA % 2 0 C E R C L A % 2 0 B A B A _ Wa i v e r_ 6 m o n t h s _ PU B L I C%2 0 COMMENT.pdf) cooperative agreements. EPA has sent staff to events such as AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition to explain the law to stakeholders and has solicited information from then on what water infrastructure-related products are available in the country and which are not, details about products with multi-national components and assembly, and similar issues. The agency established an e-mail address for questions about BABA: BABA-OW@epa.gov. AWWA has dedicated a portion of its website to all matters relating to the IIJA and BABA (https://www. awwa . o rg / Re s our c e s -To o l s / Re s our c e - Topi c s / US - Inf rast ructure - Inve stmentJobs -Ac t # 12629704 -wate r - highl ights) , including comments the association has made on the proposed waivers. Monitor this website for the latest news on implementation of the IIJA and BABA. While the water sector is by now familiar with AIS requirements for federally supported projects, BABA presents a new learning curve for the water community. S TommyHolmes is the Legislative Director for the American Water Works Association; firstname.lastname@example.org.
26 SOURCE fall 2022 WES WATER EDUCATION SEMINAR Back in the Saddle Again! Uzi Daniel, Chair, Education Committee (West Basin Municipal Water District) Donna DiLaura, Incoming Vice Chair, Education Committee (Walnut Valley Water District)
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 27 WATER EDUCATION SEMINAR HI, FRIENDS IN WATER. We celebrate all of you. After two years online, the Water Education Seminar (aka WES) at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, was back in person on August 17, 2022! Over 600 of us showed up ready to be informed. And what a success this year was thanks to the speakers, who donated their time, (you know who are), Section staff coordination (yes you), vendor booths (hats off to you), and the handful of core volunteers who worked really hard to pull this event together (yeah I see you). This one-day event is in its second decade, still focused on learning for water operations, covering subjects ranging from advanced water treatment to SCADA optimization, from groundwater well engineering to regulatory updates. All these things make up our incredible water industry. These disciplines help us all be better professionals and servants to our communities. And it’s not just about contact hours is it? This year, many of us witnessed great participation and sharing of ideas with each other in the class room and outside the four walls. With extreme climate events, supply chain challenges, and life work balance constraints, WES reminded us how we can all help each other help ourselves and recognize we are a part of something great. Shout out if you want to help with this event We’ll see you all next year! S
28 SOURCE fall 2022 MANAGING SOCIAL MEDIA BY DARCY M. BURKE, MBA
www.ca-nv-awwa.org 29 PEOPLE DISCUSS, debate, and embrace ideas online, daily. The importance of online engagement andconversationsshould not be underestimated. Social media channels are important for customer engagement, information, education, and provide exceptional listening opportunities. Ideally, your water utility, city, or agency is part of that engagement. This means, based on the demographic makeup of your customers, you are actively participating on a variety of social media channels, including, but not limited to, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. While representing your organization, it is critical that your responses are professional, positive, and timely. This is not always easy. When online conversations turn negative, it is easy to get offtrack. Many times, management or even board members may direct you to take a negative post down, hide it, or simply ignore it. The best way to manage these directions is to ensure you have a social media policy in place. These well-intended individuals are suggesting actions that will hurt your organization’s credibility and jeopardize public trust. Board-approved social media policies should be clearly posted on your website and on all your social media channels. Following policy will help you avoid reactionary responses and allow you to address the issues at hand, adhering to best management practices. When a negative post appears, here are five tactics to help shape your responses. EMPATHIZE: Show you care. BE TRANSPARENT: Let the commenter know what your quality standards are. TAKE IT DIRECT: Move it out of the public domain and direct to the individual. BE IN THE MOMENT: Give clear timeframes and show you appreciate the urgency. EXCEED EXPECTATIONS: Give the individual options, and demonstrate you are there to help. In addition to customers, stakeholders, and others within your organization, there are several other individual types participating in the online social conversations that you need to be aware of. Here are the most common. TROLLS: Trolls lurk on the Internet to cause trouble. Typically, trolls have a website, blog, or other web presence devotedly entirely to bashMANAGING SOCIAL MEDIA
30 SOURCE fall 2022 MANAGING SOCIAL MEDIA ing others. Approach trolls with caution. Trolls live to provoke a reaction; they are often abusive and repetitive. In most cases, following the response protocols appropriately will determine if and when you should eliminate them from your online community. This is important for the benefit of other users and their experiences. RAGERS: Ragers are individuals who post with rage, a rant, or satirical comment. Like trolls, approach with caution and monitor closely. MISGUIDED: These individuals are sometimes considered mavens, or experts on a variety of topics within their communities. Their intentions are usually good; however, their information is erroneous or provides only part of the story. Setting the record straight, referencing third-party expertise, and monitoring the community’s response are appropriate in responding to these individuals. UNHAPPY: These individuals have had a negative experience with your organization. Their complaints may or may not be justified. Ideally, respond in a positive manner, redirecting the conversation to another location, such as email or phone for follow-up. Response considerations When responding to any comment on a blog, website or social media site, the following considerations need to be followed. TRANSPARENCY: Disclose your connection to the organization, as well as your role. For example, state your name and your position. SOURCING: Reinforce your resonse by citing third-party sources, including websites, articles, trade journals, and white papers. TIMELINE: Do not rush, but don’t delay! Take the time to craft a relevant and appropriate response. TONE: Respond in a tone and manner that positivley reflects your organization, mission, fellow employees, community, leadership, and customers. INFLUENCE: Focus on responding to the active and relevant approved social media sites. Follow all of your organization's policies, especially your social media policy. As your organization’s online representative, act with honesty and with integrity. This is true for all forms of media, including blogs, digital, social, and traditional. As a representative, it is important that your posts convey the leadership and spirit of your organization. Be