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President’s Message March 2023

World Water Day 2023: Wednesday, March 22

World Water Day 2023 is about accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis worldwide. Water is a core element of our survival. Yet, in our PNCWA area, it’s easy to take water and wastewater for granted — we don’t think about the infrastructure, people, and administration that strives to deliver clean water anytime we want. While throughout the world, there are billions of people that don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water or sanitary services.   

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Idaho Section Update: Idaho Operator’s Conference 2023

The North Idaho Operators Section of PNCWA will be hosting the 40th Annual Idaho Operator Conference May 21-24, 2023 at the University Inn Best Western in Moscow, Idaho. The conference includes a golf scramble, jet boat tour, classes, tradeshow, and awards banquet.  

Register to attend here. 
Interested in presenting? North Idaho Operators Section is accepting abstracts on topics such as nutrient removal, digestion and biosolids, disinfection, regulations, and more.  

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President’s Message February 2023

The PNCWA Board recently gathered in Tigard, Oregon, along with many of our Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs. It was great to see so many faces at our Board and Committee meetings! We had nearly 30 people join in-person, plus ten online. We are grateful to Clean Water Services for hosting us at the Durham Wastewater Treatment Facility. We spent the morning with each committee sharing their goals and objectives for the year. This led to more discussion in break-out groups about forming Communities of Practice that would enhance committee member’s engagement in meetings, activities, and other events.

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Government Affairs Committee Participate in Water Week & Ask Your Representatives to Support the Water Sector!

Every year, water sector professionals from around the United States gather in Washington, DC and virtually to discuss important issues together and with our Federal lawmakers. Water Week 2023 will take place April 24-28. During this week, we come together to focus on national policy that impacts the water sector and how we can work together to make sure all communities have access to safe, reliable, and affordable clean water.  

The National Water Policy Fly-In is an important part of water week, presented by WEF, NACWA, WateReuse Association, AWWA, the Water Research Foundation and many others. During the fly-in, water sector professionals conduct meetings with lawmakers and/or their staff to discuss water policy positions and priorities for the year. Meetings can be held in person or virtually. A half-day summit is hosted in DC featuring speakers from Federal agencies and Congress and capped off with a networking reception.  

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Government Affairs Committee - MEMBER ALERT: PFAS Legislative & Regulatory Activity Continues to be a High Priority in 2023

The 2023 state legislative sessions are in full swing and PFAS is on the agenda in both Oregon and Washington. At the federal level, the EPA continue to progress along the PFAS Action Plan, publishing validated test methods, categorizing PFAS chemicals within existing regulatory programs, and progressing research to better characterize the presence of PFAS in our natural and built environments.  

PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large, complex group of manufactured chemicals that are ingredients in various everyday products. Multiple health effects associated with PFAS exposure have been identified and are supported by scientific studies. Wastewater treatment facilities are not manufacturers or users of PFAS, rather they are receivers of these chemicals used by industry and everyday consumers. Legislators, regulators, and clean water agencies must work collaboratively to manage PFAS holistically, with science driving the decision-making.  

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WEF Operator Scholarship

Receive up to $5,000 for operator training through WEF! 

WEF provides scholarships to individuals who are seeking water sector operator education, training, or certification to enter the industry or advance their knowledge, skills, abilities or license.  

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Wastewater Certification Test Prep

Call for Content: WEF/IWA Innovations in Process Engineering Conference 2023


June 6 - 9, 2023 @ Hyatt Regency in Portland, OR

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President's Message January 2023

lara kammereckHappy New Year!

I am excited about the many events we have planned in 2023, all to support our mission to be the premier association in the northwest dedicated to educating and connecting members to promote a healthy water environment in our region. Be sure to keep an eye on our digests for upcoming events!

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President's Message December 2022

lara kammereck

As we reach the end of 2022, I am grateful for our tri-state association returning to in-person activities where members reconnected. Committee participation has significantly increased, more than 900 attended the annual conference in Spokane, and region and section workshops were once again full. I am hopeful we will continue this strong engagement in 2023.

I recently attended the Oregon Operators Conference at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg, Oregon. The event, in partnership with the PNCWA Oregon Region, Umpqua Basin Operators Section (UBOS), American Water Works Association Pacific Northwest Section, and Umpqua Community College, provides operators the opportunity to earn CEUs through technical presentations, facility tours, workshops, and a tradeshow. Seeing so many water and wastewater professionals gathered to network, engage, and exchange ideas was inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the hands-on demonstrations of products and services in our field.

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President's Message November 2022

lara kammereckAutumn in the Pacific Northwest is a gorgeous season where leaves turn golden, the rain returns, and the weather cools. It’s also the time of year when the PNCWA board starts budget planning for 2023. We like to start the new calendar year with an approved budget that provides a roadmap of the activities for the coming year and the celebration of our annual conference in September.

We have begun reaching out to our committee chairs to finalize their goals, objectives, and work plans for 2023, including budget requests due by mid-November. The PNCWA board will review these requests, ensure they align with the Association’s strategic plan, and use them to create our budget framework. If you have any questions, please contact Marie Schmidt, our new Managing Director, at [email protected]. We appreciate the extra effort to keep our budget timeline on track and set our committees up for success in the coming year.

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President's Message September 2022

lara kammereckIt’s with great honor, gratitude, and excitement that I write my first message to you as president of PNCWA’s board of directors. As I accept this torch from Rob Lee, I’m reminded of the values and objectives that drew me to this community and the gratifying time I’ve spent in its service, all of which underscore the significance of my new responsibilities to you.

I joined PNCWA fifteen years ago. My time with the association has been marked by learning experiences and meaningful relationships formed through various committees and special initiatives, and, in 2018, I joined the board as secretary. Throughout these years, I’ve also served as a senior project manager in the Seattle area for Carollo Engineers, a role that has put me face-to-face with the challenges and opportunities PNCWA explores through collaboration, innovation, and exchange as well as the influence of our contributions toward providing clean water and securing healthy watersheds.

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A Message From Your Managing Director

marie schmidtHello! I am thrilled and honored to join PNCWA as Managing Director. I will be taking on day-to-day operations of the organization with the support of Association Management Inc. (AMI), so that PNCWA leadership can focus on strategic priorities.

Water has always been a fascination of mine, as I’m sure it’s been for you. I have a bachelor's degree in environmental science and a master's degree in water resources, both from University of Idaho. Over the last decade, I worked for the University of Idaho in the Coeur d’Alene Community Water Resource Center providing water outreach throughout north Idaho. I am excited to shift my attention to a broader audience throughout Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. I bring extensive experience in community education, collaborative partnerships, and project management to this position, and I am eager to work with all of you in PNCWA’s commitment to sustain healthy watersheds for future generations.

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President's Message August 2022

Rob LeeAs I write this, we’re less than a month away from our conference. We have around 500 people registered, including many folks who weren’t able to attend last year and a number of new attendees. It’s going to be awesome!

But I also write this with some sadness, as this marks the last official President’s message before my term ends. I’m grateful to our membership who entrusted me with the incredible honor and tremendous responsibility of serving as Board President. I’m so incredibly proud of our Association, our board, our committee chairs and volunteers, our regions and sections. There is so much great work going on, more than any single person could possibly fathom.

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Welcome to Marie Schmidt, New Managing Director

marie schmidtThe Board of Directors conducted a thorough search, and we are pleased to welcome Association Management Inc (AMI) and specifically Marie Schmidt as PNCWA’s new managing director.

Marie earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a master’s degree in Water Resources, both from the University of Idaho. She previously worked as the Outreach Specialist for the Community Water Resource Center at the University of Idaho in Coeur d'Alene for 10 years. Marie has extensive experience organizing community outreach programs, developing K-12 watershed curricula, facilitating lake management stakeholder meetings, managing volunteer water quality monitoring, fostering collaborative partnerships, and instructing stormwater and erosion control workshops. Marie lives in Spokane, WA with her husband, two children and golden retriever, and she’s happiest with her feet in a river. Please join us in welcoming Marie and AMI to our PNCWA family, and feel free to drop them a line at [email protected].

President’s Message July 2022

Rob LeeOur mission is to be the premier association in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to educating and connecting members. As we head into our next annual conference in September in Spokane, I’m excited to report that PNCWA is in great shape to accomplish that mission.

As a volunteer-led organization, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions over the last few years (huge shout-out again to Adam McClymont and Haley Falconer for your leadership!). Those decisions have led us to where we are today. PNCWA is currently in one of the strongest financial positions of its existence, and that has enabled us to bring on staff to help manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. We believe PNCWA will be better able to fulfill its mission by shifting operational responsibilities away from volunteer leaders and enabling volunteers to focus on strategic leadership and thinking. It’s a huge step for the organization and for all who are involved in PNCWA. See more below for an introduction to Marie and AMI.

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President’s Message June 2022

Rob LeePacific Northwest, summer is upon us! After one of the wettest springs on record, I’m excited for what summer brings — time off with family and loved ones, baseball games, barbecues, and longer days. Summer also brings one of the busiest times in our industry, with construction projects humming along and the consistent need for planning and design improvements and upgrades to our vital infrastructure.

PNCWA is an organization founded on volunteers from within — folks who live and breathe the issues facing our wastewater industry on a daily basis. Each and every board member, committee chair, section leader, and volunteer represents not only us, but you and all of our membership. And that ensures that the education, programming, networking, and advocacy coming from PNCWA meets those challenges we all face head-on.

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President's Message May 2022

Rob LeeI’m writing this as I look out of my office window at the relentless rain we’re experiencing this spring (at least west of the Cascades). Yet I cannot help but marvel at what spring brings us: a reminder of new life. Flowers start to bud, trees bloom, birds return and sing to us in the mornings. And those relentless rains? They’re a reminder of the essential industry that we’re all in — protecting the critical waterways that are the backbone of our lives here in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m giddy with excitement for this new season. Our board met in person this past month as a mid-year check-in about the health and direction of PNCWA, and I’d love to share a few things with you all:

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President's Message April 2022

Rob LeeOne of the greatest measures of an organization’s relevance is the answer to the question, “What would happen if we didn’t exist?” I’ve asked this of myself and of our board several times this past year — yet we keep coming back to the same answer. With the changes of the past couple of years, our industry here in the Pacific Northwest still has a critical need for collaboration, information sharing, networking, and continuing growth and education. And the inspiration and community that develops from such endeavors are always so important.

To that end, we’re excited about the progress we’re making in implementing the strategic initiatives we identified last year. I’m pleased to report these:

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President’s Message March 2022

rob lee

I recently came across a quote “Everyone has the gift of time, but few utilize.” Incredibly, we’re already a quarter of the way through 2022. Time truly flies by! Yet when I pause and look around the Association, I am amazed by the countless people giving the gift of their time to help our industry grow and our communities overcome their water challenges.

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