PNCWA2021 Conference Wrap Up

Thank you to everyone who attended and engaged in PNCWA 2021! The annual conference has a way of filling people with hope for the future of our industry and reinvigorating passion for the work we do and the communities we serve. This year was no different. Nearly 400 of you joined us in person in Boise for more than 150 technical presentations. Over 200 of you were involved virtually this year, and for a whopping 167 of you, this was the first time you had attended the conference.

None of this would have been possible without the dedicated support of our sponsors, vendors, and planning teams. Thank you all for making PNCWA 2021 such a success!

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2021 Communication Camp

No matter what our daily work looks like as water professionals, clear and effective communication makes us better at getting that work done. The Communications and Outreach Committee’s annual Communications Camp focuses on precisely that. A one-day workshop focused on building skills and sharing knowledge about effective communications strategies, the camp will be held on October 28, 2021 in Springfield, Oregon.

This year, the camp features presentations on crisis communications, virtual outreach, engaging public speaking, and project management. We’ll also tour Springfield’s Mill Race Stormwater Facility. While the event will be solely in person, in 2022, we plan to offer an online version of the event as well.

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Fundraising for Water For People

The Water For People Committee would like to thank all those who participated in our conference fundraising event, Move For Water, and those who helped us “rinse a regulator” (and our Past President, Haley Falconer) at the Monday Night Networking Dunk Tank. Because of you, we were able to raise nearly $1,000 for Water For People! Also, sincere thank yous to Preservation Idaho, who provided a wonderful walking tour of Boise and made it easy and educational to get our steps in, and WaterReuse Pacific Northwest for their wonderful collaboration on the Dunk Tank.

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2021 Opening General Session Recap

What an absolute treat it was to host Dr. Dan Prinzing and Tai Simpson at our Opening Session. These eloquent speakers spoke to us about the changes we must make to create the future we want to see.

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President's Message August 2021

haley falconer and familyPNCWA Members –

As I write this, I am less than a month away from the end of my role as PNCWA President. It has been a tumultuous year but one that I will look back on with pride. We are an organization made up of passionate, creative people, including our Board who provides strategic direction and financial oversight; the committees where members share experience and interest to advance the goals of the organization, and individual members who are vital to the success of all our activities. In spite of the tumult, we have accomplished much and moved our organization forward. Here are a few highlights from this year:

  • Summit Series – a great way to connect and learn as an organization. The lessons learned from these events will be carried forward into future virtual programming.
  • Mission Statement and Critical Objectives – the Board refined the Mission Statement to better reflect the current and future work of our organization. We also crafted several critical objectives that will serve as the basis of future strategic planning efforts.
  • Partnership with Water Reuse Association – we are thrilled to be partnered with WRA-PNW for PNCWA2021 where they will be providing a technical track for two days focused on water reuse and their members will be invited to participate in our conference. This partnership is hopefully the beginning of other activities and efforts to advance recycled water in the northwest.
  • Racial and Social Justice Subcommittee – PNCWA created a new subcommittee which, “strives to empower PNCWA membership by providing education and resources, collaborating with impacted communities, and advocating for enduring racial and social justice in water resource organizations, programs, and projects that bring about lasting change.”
  • CONFERENCE! – For many, myself included, the annual conference is a highlight. Planning in the unknown has been an overwhelming challenge at times, but we are so excited with where we’ve landed. We hope to see many of you in person for this year’s conference in Boise. For those who cannot make it in person, we invite you to join us virtually and view the live streamed sessions.

To the volunteers who have led, participated in, and provided feedback for these activities and many others that we’ve accomplished this year, THANK YOU! We succeed as an organization because of you. To the Board, newly created Conference Committee, and other committee leaders who exhibited grace, trust, and leadership, you truly captured lightning in a bottle this year.

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Save the Date for the Communications Camp

The Communications Camp is returning October 28, 2021 in Springfield, Oregon! All water professionals need to communicate effectively whether presenting at a public meeting, calling a customer to answer their questions, emailing a design project team, or talking with a coworker at a treatment facility. No matter what our work looks like, clear and effective communication makes us better at getting that work done. That’s why PNCWA’s Communication and Outreach Committee puts on its annual Communications Camp, a one-day workshop focused on building skills and sharing knowledge about effective communications strategies.

In past years, the Camp has featured speakers and demonstrations with a wide range of specialties, from graphic design to writing an RFP. This year, we’re featuring presentations on crisis communications, virtual outreach, engaging public speaking, and project management. We’ll also feature a tour of Springfield’s Mill Race Stormwater Facility. Our focus is maximizing interactivity at the Camp and we’ve designed opportunities to practice your communications skills and network with industry peers regardless of your career level.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Aug 2021

A preliminary class action lawsuit settlement between the Charleston Water System (Charleston, South Carolina) and wipes manufacturer Kimberly-Clark could affect any entity that owned and/or operated wastewater conveyance and treatment systems since January 6, 2018. Class members need to be aware of this settlement and how it may affect them.

According to court filings in two cases EPA intends to reconsider approval of certain Washington water quality rules, including for PCBs, and initiate a federal notice-and-comment rulemaking to propose a rule establishing protective federal human health criteria applicable to Washington State’s surface waters. EPA intends to sign this proposed rule within nine months of the date that the Court grants the proposed order, after which time the proposed rule would be subject to public comment.

30 PSA Motion for abeyance
84 WA Motion for abeyance

Idaho has assumed primacy over the remaining two areas of NPDES permitting, Biosolids and Stormwater, completing the multi-year transfer of authority from EPA.

Leadership Corner Aug 2021

The Leadership Development Committee is composed of life-long learners. We’d like to share the following resources recommended by our committee members.

A behavioral economist explains how your calendar is messing up your priorities
From Amy Dammarell: I came across this video that rings so true to me. Especially now, when I strive to maintain connections with others and what used to be incidental office conversations are now scheduled in. I appreciated this short video that has a few reminders of how deceptive the calendar can be and how to adjust accordingly.

What Daydreaming Does to Your Mind
From Karen DeBaker: You think you’re productive by staying busy—and stressed. Imagine your productivity increasing if you scheduled time to relax and simply succumb to boredom.

RSJ Subcommittee Newsletter - Aug 2021

The Racial & Social Justice (RSJ) Subcommittee August newsletter contains links to resources on our PNCWA2021 keynote speakers, the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, and more. The newsletter’s goal is to highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion projects and collect multimedia resources and book recommendations to advance learning and awareness of history, perspective, and action for environmental, racial, economic, and social justice.

The subcommittee welcomes your suggestions for content, such as educational materials (i.e. essays, books, podcasts, etc.); membership organization RSJ/DEI program (i.e. agencies, consulting firms); projects with RSJ elements; and volunteer opportunities. Email Frank Dick with your ideas and suggestions.

President's Message July 2021

haley falconer

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that creating Ripples of Change requires introspection and action. As a conference committee planning PNCWA 2021, we want to embody inclusion, celebration, and the action required to create change. We are thrilled to announce that registration is now open for PNCWA 2021, where we will host several powerful speakers for our General Opening Session on Monday morning, including Dan Prinzing and Tai Simpson, who will be delivering our keynote (link names to bios). Dr. Prinzing is the executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, whose mission is “to promote respect for human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for peace and justice.” As an antiracism activist and community leader, Tai serves as an organizer for the Indigenous Idaho Alliance and uses contemporary and traditional Indigenous storytelling to champion radical inclusion, equity, and liberation.

We hope that the introspection our speakers’ messages inspire will carry you to action Tuesday morning as we gather for coffee at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial just four blocks from the conference center. Emily, Allison, and I have wandered this site several times over the last year and continue to find inspiration in the space. We cannot wait to see you at PNCWA 2021.

Government Affairs Committee Update Jun 2021

gov't update

In Washington state, on May 17, 2021 Governor Inslee signed into law the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (E2SSB5141) which will require state agencies including Department of Ecology to formally adopt environmental justice principles into their planning, budgeting, funding and regulatory processes. One example may be the attached Environmental Justice excerpt from the DRAFT WA General Biosolids Permit’s fact sheet.

The WA State Department of Ecology will release the draft Puget Sound Nutrient General Permit for public comment on June 16, 2021. See Ecology’s website for more information on the draft, its supporting documents, and July’s workshops and hearings. The comment period will close on August 2, 2021. Washington’s 2021-2023 capital budget (passed in April 2021) includes a $9 million proviso to help support optimization and planning requirements proposed in the draft permit. Ecology expects to release funding guidelines later this summer.

Oregon has a new aluminum standard effective April 19, 2021, more information here.

Oregon’s Wipes Labeling Bill Becomes Law. Oregon becomes the second state to require ‘Do Not Flush’ labeling. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 2344 into law on June 8, making Oregon the nation’s second state to require “Do Not Flush” labeling on disposable wipes. The state of Washington enacted a similar requirement in 2020.


Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union Troops arrived in Galveston, TX and ordered that all persons held as slaves were free and had absolute equality of their personal rights. This day has been celebrated by the Black communities for many years but has gained additional recognition recently due to increased attention on racial injustices.

The State of Washington recently announced it will make June 19 a legal state holiday for education, remembrance, and action. and All three states represented within PNCWA now officially recognize this holiday. As an industry that is focused on improving public health for all the communities we serve, we can use this time to practice active allyship by learning more about Juneteenth and working to support a just, equitable, and anti-racist society.

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PNCWA2021 Conference Update - May

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Spring has sprung in Boise, Idaho and, with it, growing excitement for PNCWA’s Annual Conference.

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Stormwater Learning Hour, June 17

Stormwater Learning Hour

Please join the Stormwater Committee for an informal learning hour on Thursday, June 17 at 12 PM PDT. Nitin Joshi, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs Manager at City of Salem, will present on the Pringle Creek Demolition and Stream Restoration project, which brought daylight to a stretch of Pringle Creek near its confluence with the Willamette River in Salem, Oregon near Riverfront Park. Since the 1980s, Salem has been working to reclaim its waterfront from a century of industrial use and to convert it to public open space and economic redevelopment. Nitin will discuss how the City tackled the technical and regulatory challenges associated with this project, which won an Award of Merit in 2020 from the Engineering News Record. Sign up now for this lunch-hour presentation with time for interaction and questions (no CEUs offered at this time).

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Water Resource Recovery Facility Spotlight – City of Sequim Water Reclamation Facility

Sequim WRF Waterfall

The City of Sequim Reclaimed Water Facility is a pioneer in the field of resource recovery with programs for both production of Reclaimed Water and Beneficial use of Biosolids. The plant, which is located on the North Olympic Peninsula, was originally constructed in 1966 as a conventional Secondary wastewater treatment plant with an outfall into the Strait of Juan De Fuca. In 1997, the treatment plant was upgraded to produce 100% of flow to Class “A” Reclaimed Water, and the Outfall was extended 1,900 feet into the Straits of Juan de Fuca. The plant was further expanded in 2010 to have a maximum month design flow of 1.67 MGD. As currently constructed, the plant consists of mechanical fine screening, influent flow measurement, grit removal, equalization basin (for daily and storm flows), aeration basins configured to perform biological nitrogen and biochemical oxygen demand removal, and secondary clarifiers. The secondary treated effluent is then coagulated and filtered either by anthracite coal media filters or a cloth media disk filter prior to UV disinfection.

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RSJ Subcommittee Newsletter - May 2021

The Racial & Social Justice (RSJ) Subcommittee spring newsletter contains links to podcasts and readings which focus on the recent awareness and attention on actions and biases toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, as well as the exposure of environmental justice issues at water utilities following the deep freeze in the southern U.S. The newsletter highlights diversity, equity, and inclusion projects and collects multimedia resources and book recommendations to advance learning and awareness of history, perspective, and action for environmental, racial, economic, and social justice.

The subcommittee welcomes your suggestions for content, such as educational materials (i.e. essays, books, podcasts, etc.); membership organization RSJ/DEI program (i.e. agencies, consulting firms); projects with RSJ elements; and volunteer opportunities. Email Frank Dick with your ideas and suggestions


On May 6, PNCWA hosted the Water Environment Federation Member Association Exchange (WEFMAX). WEFMAX serves as a symposium for WEF Member Associations from across North America to gather and share successes and lessons learned on how to best serve their members. Originally planned as an in-person gathering in Boise, this year’s WEFMAX events were hosted virtually.

More than 60 WEF members were in attendance. PNCWA President Haley Falconer provided opening remarks, along with WEF Vice President Ifetayo Venner (Florida Water Environment Association) and the WEF House of Delegates Speaker Nikita Lingenfelder (Nevada Water Environment Association). After opening remarks, PNCWA President-Elect Rob Lee and PNCWA WEF Delegate Casey Gish co-moderated three member association presentations. Haley kicked this off with a seminar on the PNCWA Summit Series and was followed by talks from the Rocky Mountain WEA and North Carolina AWWA-WEA on Operator Training Initiatives and Member Engagement, respectively.

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Member Spotlight: Brittany Burch

Brittany Burch

The Member Services Committee is excited to promote our amazing volunteers in our newest section of the monthly digest. If you know someone we should feature in the “Member Spotlight,” send an email to committee chair Brittany Park. For our next spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Brittany Burch. Take it away, Brittany.

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Meet the 2020/2021 InFLOW Participants

When the organization decided to cancel the annual conference this year, the InFLOW subcommittee decided to pivot and offer a year-long option for 2020 participants, including a multi-day InFLOW virtual workshop in 2021. Each month, we’ll highlight our participants, and they’ll share why they are excited about this year’s program. Read about Erin Lamb here.

Erin LambErin Lamb
Student at Portland State University
Civil Engineering, May 2022

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PNCWA Scholarship Program Now Accepting Applications

We are pleased to announce that 2021 PNCWA Scholarship Applications are now being accepted. The application cycle is open until June 30, 2021. Submit an application online.

Scholarships Offered:
Daniel Keil Service for Water Legacy Scholarship
Environmental Stewardship Scholarship
Lucas Eibel Memorial Scholarship
The Education for Operators Scholarship
Pat Brown Memorial Scholarship

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