Words On Water #171: Impact of Coronavirus Relief Package on Water Sector

January 5, 2020

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.

Episode #171
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #167: Amy Corriveau on the Benefits of Digital Water During the Pandemic

October 29, 2020

Amy Corriveau is a Vice President and Director of Digital Solutions at CDM Smith. In this episode Amy discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has increased interest in digital water and reshaped trends and tools in the field. She explains how utilities benefited by having digital water solutions in place before the pandemic and ways that utilities tried to adopt technologies during the past six months. Amy also offers advice for steps that utilities can take to get started in digital water in a manageable and cost-effective manner.

This episode is brought to you by CDM Smith.

WOW: Take It From The Top Series With… Claus Homann

October 20, 2020

Claus Homann is Chief Operating Officer for Aarhus Vand in Denmark and a past member of the Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Claus talks about the central place of water in the city of Aarhus and how that has resulted in clean water, a higher quality of life, and economic benefits. He explains how his water utility has shifted to activity based working, an approach that provides a variety of different physical work spaces that align with the type of work. Claus also discusses how he envisions the workplace will change post-pandemic, including continuation of flexible work schedules and locations and use of technology to bring people together.

WOW: Take It From The Top
Hosted by Tom Kunetz

Words On Water #162: Kevin Marsh on the Role of I&I in Tracking Coronavirus

September 29, 2020

Kevin Marsh is the President of FlowWorks. In this episode Kevin discusses the increasingly popular practice of wastewater epidemiology in identifying coronavirus in communities and on college campuses. He explains that to accurately measure the presence of the virus wastewater flow data must be normalized for inflow and infiltration in collection systems, and how his company is working with others on this approach. Kevin also talks about the latest in machine learning and automated data.

This episode is brought to you by FlowWorks.

Episode #162
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #152: Art Umble on Protecting Wastewater Professionals from Coronavirus

August 13, 2020

Art Umble is Senior Vice President of Global Wastewater Treatment Sector Leader at Stantec and Chair of the Water Environment Federation’s Blue-Ribbon Panel on Biological Hazards and Precautions for Wastewater Workers. In this episode Art discusses the panel’s conclusions that occupational risk of infection is low, standard wastewater treatment processes inactivate the virus, and additional research should be conducted to further increase understanding of hazards and protections for personnel. He also explains that the panel updated the guidelines for protection of wastewater personnel from potential pathways of exposure to biological hazards, including coronavirus. The panel’s report is available on Access Water.

Episode #152
Hosted by Travis Loop

WOW: Take It From The Top Series… With Paul Freedman

July 14, 2020

Paul Freedman is a Past President of the Water Environment Federation and Co-Founder, President, and CEO of LimnoTech. In this episode Paul talks about using strategic planning to guide WEF through the financial challenges of the 2008 recession and how those lessons can be applied during the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. He discusses how a crisis can lead an organization to quickly reshape its approach to programs with positive outcomes. Paul also explains the critical importance of extensive internal communication during difficult times.

WOW: Take it From the Top
Hosted by Tom Kunetz

Words On Water #147: Caitlin Feehin and Allison Deines on a Utility Continuing Construction During Coronavirus

May 26, 2020

Caitlin Feehin is the RiverRenew Program Manager and Allison Deines is a Senior Policy Analyst at Alexandria Renew Enterprises. In this episode Caitlin and Allison explain that the utility needed to continue construction during the coronavirus pandemic to meet a legal deadline for combine sewer system remediation. They discuss how AlexRenew used information from health authorities and other utilities to develop protocols to protect the health of employees and construction workers while allowing the project to continue. Caitlin and Allison also talk about the importance of messaging to the community during coronavirus, including explaining why and how construction is moving ahead.

Episode #147
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #144: Kari Brisolara on the Science on Biosolids and Coronavirus

May 13, 2020

Kari Brisolara is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Louisiana State University. In this episode Kari discusses a review of current science that finds there is no evidence supporting the transmission of coronavirus through the wastewater system to biosolids. Because the coronavirus is more susceptible to treatment, including heat, no additional protective equipment or measures are required for managing properly treated biosolids.

Episode #144
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #143: Business Roundtable on Coronavirus #2

May 12, 2020

WEF is convening a series of roundtable discussions with leaders from across the water sector to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting operations, business, and people. The conversations are hosted by WEF Executive Director Walt Marlowe and explore current impacts, anticipated changes, and future plans in areas such as workforce, productivity, supply chain, projects, communication, and more. The guests for this episode are Kishia Powell, Commissioner for the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management; Paul Vogel, Principal and President of Greeley and Hansen; and Neil McAdam, Senior Vice President at World Water Works.

Episode #143

Words On Water #140: Business Roundtable on Coronavirus #1

May 4, 2020

WEF is convening a series of roundtable discussions with leaders from across the water sector to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting operations, business, and people. The conversations are hosted by WEF Executive Director Walt Marlowe and explore current impacts, anticipated changes, and future plans in areas such as workforce, productivity, supply chain, projects, communication, and more. The guests for this episode are Rich D’Amato, CEO of Brown and Caldwell; Patrick Decker, CEO of Xylem; Ted Henifin, General Manager of Hampton Roads Sanitation District; Yuvbir Singh, CEO of Suez Technologies and Solutions; and Cindy Wallis-Lage, President of Black & Veatch Global Water Business. The roundtable is hosted by Walt Marlowe, WEF Executive Director.

Episode #140

Words On Water #138: Studying Coronavirus with Wastewater Epidemiology

April 27, 2020

This podcast introduces wastewater epidemiology and explains what information related to the detection of RNA of COVID-19 virus in wastewater does and does not tell us. Wastewater epidemiology has been used for decades to track the presence of infectious diseases such as polio in communities. It has also been used to aid in the response to the opioid epidemic. Now it has gained a role in guiding state and local public health responses to COVID-19 outbreaks. This episode is the audio from a webcast moderated by Dr. Kyle Bibby (University of Notre Dame) with several speakers including Dr. Mariana Matus (Biobot), Dr. Amy Kirby (CDC), and Dr. Jennifer Murphy (CDC).

Episode #138

Words On Water #135: Considerations for Decision-Makers at Utilities Responding to Coronavirus

April 13, 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, water and wastewater utilities are essential for delivery of clean water and sanitation during the response. Ensuring those services during a pandemic while protecting human health and the environment requires strong leadership. This episode provides insights into key considerations for decision-makers and operational staff on the frontlines. This episode is the audio from a Water Environment Federation webcast. Speakers include George Hawkins of Moonshot Missions, Andy Kricun of Moonshot Missions, Todd Swingle of Toho Water Authority, and Bruce Husselbee of Hampton Roads Sanitation District.

Episode #135

Words On Water #134: Des Moines Water Works Shelters-In-Place to Respond to Coronavirus

March 27, 2020

Ted Corrigan is interim CEO and General Manager and Kyle Danley is Director of Water Production at Des Moines Water Works. In this episode Ted and Kyle explain how the utility responded to coronavirus by activating a long-standing response plan and having essential staff shelter-in-place at its three treatment facilities. They discuss how 20 employees will stay onsite for two week rotations, working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to provide clean water and sanitation for 500,000 people in central Iowa. Ted and Kyle say the staff understand they are serving in a public health role and helping their community, and that support is strong from external staff, the utility’s board, and the union.

Episode #134
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #133: Continuity of Operations During the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 23, 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, water utilities are triggering their response plans for continuity of operations. A significant component during a pandemic is a consideration of critical functions that include essential personnel whose role does not allow for telework. Critical services must continue and COOP activities in the face of potentially severe staff shortages and absenteeism are of concern. This episode is the audio from a Water Environment Federation webcast. Speakers include Sue Schneider of Spartanburg Water, Joseph Lockler of Charlotte Water, John Bennett and Taylor Huynh of Trinity River Authority, Dusti Lowndes of DC Water, Cathy Davis of U.S. EPA, Teresa Jakubowski of Barnes & Thornburg, and Steve Frank of SDF Communications.

Episode #133

Words On Water #132: Clean Water Act Regulatory Issues in a Pandemic

March 20, 2020

This episode is the audio from a Water Environment Federation webcast. During the coronavirus pandemic, water and wastewater utilities are currently triggering their response plans for continuity of operations. These events also trigger regulatory issues under the Clean Water Act as utilities work to maintain compliance during this pandemic. Utilities need to consider special conditions in their Consent Decrees and/or permits, consider regulatory obligations and maintain close contact with their regulators. Speakers include Susan Sullivan, Executive Director of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission; Fred Andes, Partner at Barnes & Thornburg in Chicago; Melanie Davenport, President of the Association of Clean Water Administrators and Director of the Water Permitting Division for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; and Shellie Chard, Director of Water Quality for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Episode #132

Words On Water #128: Coronavirus and Water Treatment

March 2, 2020

Dr. Rasha Maal-Bared is Senior Microbiologist at EPCOR and Scott Schaefer is Wastewater Practice Leader at AE2S and Chair of WEF’s Disinfection & Public Health Committee. In this episode Rasha and Scott discuss the coronavirus, its origin, and the agencies involved in response. They explain why the water sector should pay attention to coronavirus, how treatment addresses the virus, and that water workers should follow standard safety protocol. Rasha and Scott say the water sector should stay informed of developments but remain calm.

Episode #128
Hosted by Travis Loop