Charlie Stevens is Utilities Operations Officer at KC Water and Chair of WEF’s Government Affairs Committee. In this episode Charlie talks about how it feels that after years of advocating for infrastructure investment to finally have Congress pass massive legislation to provide funding. He explains that the work is not done and the water sector needs to continue talking to legislators about appropriations and policy implementation under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Charlie also discusses the benefits of participating in Water Week in D.C. and urges people to attend this year’s events in late April.
Steve Dye is the Legislative Affairs Director for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Steve provides a briefing on the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, which will provide nearly $1.2 trillion for the nation’s infrastructure. He explains that $51 billion is allocated to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure and provides a detailed breakdown of the investments. Steve also discusses how the historic investment was driven by years of advocacy by WEF members and the broader water sector.
Lauren Christopher is the Director of the Division of Energy Assistance in the Office of Community Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this episode Lauren discusses the new Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, which was established by Congress and has initially provided $166.6 million in grants to help ratepayers effected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay drinking water and wastewater utility bills. She explains that states, territories, and tribes receive these federal grants and work in partnership with water systems to ensure low-income households and families have access to services.
Jamie Eichenberger is the President-Elect of the Water Environment Federation and an Associate Vice President at HDR. In this episode Jamie explains how without significant funding increases for water infrastructure, there will be long-term harm to public health, environmental protection, social equity, and economic growth in communities, as outlined in a WEF position statement. He says the water sector needs increased and more reliable financing of water infrastructure to address such priorities as aging infrastructure and technology innovation to meet changing regulations. Jamie calls on the entire water sector to advocate for funding, particularly through Water Week and WEF’s Water Advocates program.
Steve Dye is Legislative Affairs Director for the Water Environment Federation and Jason Myers is a Partner with Barnes & Thornburg. In this episode Steve discusses how the recent coronavirus relief package passed by Congress impacts the water sector, including the $638 million it provides for a new program that will help low-income families cover the costs of their drinking water and wastewater utility bills, as well as $25 billion in rental assistance that can also be used to help offset utility payments. Jason talks about $275 billion for another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding and the extension of the deadline for using funding from the CARES Act. Steve also reviews the FY21 Omnibus Appropriations package that includes a myriad of key funding provisions for the Clean Water SRF, Drinking Water SRF, WIFIA, and stormwater and workforce programs.
Katie Henderson is manager of the Value of Water Campaign for the U.S. Water Alliance. In this episode Katie shares the results of the 2020 Value of Water Index, a poll that shows 84 percent of American voters want state and federal leaders to invest in water infrastructure. She explains the support for water infrastructure investment cuts across demographic, political, and geographic divisions. Katie also discusses other findings from the poll including people’s perceptions of local water services, climate change, and PFAS.
Municipalities need federal assistance to fix aging stormwater infrastructure, reduce flood risk, and comply with the Clean Water Act requirements. This episode outlines the asks for federal assistance to help local communities and utilities to protect surface water sources in the U.S. and ensure public safety. Addressing long-term issues of funding, providing effective tools, environmental data and pollution source control are reasonable and practical for Congress and the Executive Branch to enact in water resources and infrastructure stimulus bills. This episode features audio from a Water Environment Federation webcast. The speakers are Steve Dye of WEF and Seth Brown and Scott Taylor of the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance.
Steve Dye is the Legislative Director and Claudio Ternieden
is the Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Water Environment
Federation. In this episode Steve provides a preview of key issues for Congress
in 2020 including reauthorization of the Clean Water Act State Revolving Fund
and Water Infrastructure and Finance Innovation Act, legislation addressing
PFAS, and grants for SSO and CSO programs. Claudio discusses potential action
on regulatory topics including Waters of the United States, affordability, and
peak wet weather flow. They encourage attendance at Water Week in D.C. on April 27-28
and participation in the Water Advocates
Emily Feenstra is the Managing Director for Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives at the American Society of Civil Engineers. In this episode Emily discusses the decision to add stormwater to ASCE’s Infrastructure Report Card, particularly because of data collection by the Water Environment Federation and National Municipal Stormwater Alliance. She talks about the how the report card is produced and used, as well as the recent grades for water infrastructure. Emily also outlines how the report card has impacted public opinion, policy, and funding over the years.
Lori Weigel is Principal at New Bridge Strategy. In this episode Lori discusses the results of an annual public opinion poll conducted through the Value of Water Campaign, which found that 85 percent of voters support increased funding for water infrastructure, a level of support that cuts across demographics, geography, party affiliation, and income level. She also talks about questions on affordability that show four in five voters believe water rates are affordable and are willing to pay more. Lori also explains that only 12 percent of voters are familiar with recycled water.
WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference, is the largest annual water quality event in the world. This year it will be held September 29 to October 3 in New Orleans. In this episode, WEF staff provide a preview of WEFTEC, including highlights of the conference program, the new additions to the exhibit floor, what to expect at the opening session, and how to use the app to navigate the event.
Adam Krantz is the CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. In this episode, Adam talks about the complementary roles of the various water associations, including NACWA. He also assesses the current political will by elected officials to act on water issues and discusses paying for clean water, advancing smarter regulations, promoting innovation, and modernizing the Clean Water Act.
Abigail Gardner is the communications adviser for the Value of Water Campaign and U.S. Water Alliance. In this episode, Abigail talks about the results of a new public opinion poll that found 88 percent of voters support increasing federal investment to rebuild America’s water infrastructure and how that support cuts across age, gender, political party, and geography. She also discusses how results have changed over time, findings on drinking water behavior, and the public’s priorities for wastewater utilities.
Tony Parrott is the Executive Director of the Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District. In this episode, Tony discusses how operations and capital programs of U.S. water utilities generate $550 billion in economic activity in communities and the need for Congress to act on infrastructure funding and workforce packages that support that activity. He also highlights efforts in Louisville to include more small and minority owned businesses in contracts, promote job opportunities for local projects, and address affordability of water bills.