Wonder Twins Activate! Stormwater and Sewer - Friend or Foe?
For more than a decade, various wastewater agencies across the State have been partnering with the stormwater community and taking on dry weather diversions to help with bacteria TMDLs in the watershed, as well as, beach water quality for the protection of environmental, human health and tourism. Recently, some Sanitation Districts have even obtained Stormwater Authorities. Several Cities have invested in large infrastructure projects to take on stormwater and treat via Wastewater treatment. The EPA, the State Water Board, and the stormwater community want more. Wastewater agencies may or may not want more. Wastewater agencies were built and designed to treat organic waste, not stormwater. This interactive skit with back and forth dialogue between Mr. Sewer and Ms. stormwater and the audience will help explain the opportunities and barriers between stormwater and Wastewater. Your questions on what is being done now, what more could be done in the future and why aren’t we rushing to do everything now will be answered. Not all Wastewater agencies are created equal. There are real risks associated with stormwater diversions for some wastewater systems. Capabilities and limitations for stormwater diversions vary across the State. There is many times a fundamental disconnect in understanding the foundation of what the wastewater business does and how it is regulated to operate. Stormwater is not the same as wastewater, it is not necessarily cleaner than wastewater, and the treatment process is not necessarily equipped or set up to operate for some constituents found in stormwater. Water is not created equally nor can it be treated equally. To connect the drops, each side must understand the other and see how they can work together to solve watershed issues. Doing more with sewer is not just about capacity. Capacity is an issue, but it is only one of many issues that need to be discussed and understood. What are the incentives to Wastewater to take on stormwater? Why should wastewater systems take it on? There are some good reasons. Let’s think of more. Solutions are going to be regionally specific. The EPA and State will not likely find a one solution fits all model approach to fixing stormwater quality. Many watersheds are already linked with multiple partnerships between water and sewer. Why is this not happening all over the State? Let us tell you why! There are fundamental political structures, financial structures, and infrastructure requirements that need to be addressed.
By the end of this presentation, you will have a better understanding of:
• resources to improve your watershed balance
• water planning needs across the region
• how to approach a sewer agency with a connecting the drops proposal
• what can be done to lower the resistance from wastewater agencies by mitigating their risks
• understanding the need for incentives
• whether or not partnerships with certain Sewer agencies are viable
• understanding other alternatives to Sewer for water quality
Let’s have an interesting and educational conversation and talk about the needs of the stormwater community, the mission of the Wastewater Agencies, and most important let’s talk about how to connect those drops.