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President's Message January 2022

Rob LeeHappy New Year! When the calendar changes from December 31 to January 1, the earth rotates 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds, just like every other day. But, for many of us, the new year is a sign of new beginnings.

The water industry is facing such tremendous challenges. COVID variants, climate change, worker shortages, supply chain issues, silver tsunami of retirees, increasing rural-urban divides, racial injustice, lack of equal access to sanitation and clean water, and the list goes on. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, there is a spark of hope. This spark is each and every one of you who raise your hand, refusing to be simply carried along by the challenges, but who instead plant your feet and take those challenges head on. You all are the spark that spurs on others, creating a chance for change.

As we head into 2022, PNCWA is embracing that chance and pushing for change in the midst of uncertainty. We are aiming to provide top-notch education through webinars, like the Watershed-Based Water Quality workshop on January 25 and 26 held by the Government Affairs Committee and January’s Stormwater Learning Hour. We have already begun planning for our annual conference that speaks directly to the issues our members are facing here in the Pacific Northwest. And through it all, we are embracing the chance to bring about the change we want to see.

If you, too, are interested in embracing this chance and spurring on change, please join us. While there are numerous opportunities to get involved, I would suggest three specific ways as we start off the new year:



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Emerging Technologies Committee Webinar

emerging tech smartcover

Advances in sensor technology have made it more accurate and cost-effective to reduce or prevent overflows by remotely monitoring collection systems. With increasingly powerful analytical capabilities, these sensors and accompanying software use parameters like flow, sewer levels, and weather data to help sewer system operators predict and manage infiltration and inflow (I&I) more reliably than ever before.

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Leadership Committee Update

leadership

The leadership committee will be hosting open discussions of relevant and interesting leadership-related ideas each quarter. These sessions, which will be held virtually via Teams, are open to any PNCWA member. The topic and date for each quarter session will be announced in the PNCWA Digest. If you are interested in joining any of the sessions, please contact Ana Arango at [email protected]

First Session:
Join us on February 14, 2022 for an open discussion on Margaret Heffernan’s TED Talk, “Dare to Disagree.”


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Water Resource Recovery Facility Spotlight — Spokane County Regional Water Reclamation Facility

spokane

In the 1970s, Spokane County noticed that septic tanks in the area posed a threat to the Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, especially as urban growth increased in the Spokane Valley. This aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for Spokane County, Washington and Kootenai County, Idaho. So, in the 1980s, the County led an effort to install sewers throughout urbanized areas of Spokane County, eliminate septic systems, and connect homes and businesses to a centralized sewer system. During that effort, all regional wastewater was treated at the City of Spokane’s Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility.

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Member Spotlight: Richard Finger

richard finger

The Member Services Committee is excited to promote our amazing volunteers in our section of the monthly digest. If you know someone we should feature in the “Member Spotlight,” send an email to committee Vice Chair Jen Murphy. For our next spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Richard Finger. Take it away, Richard.

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RSJ Subcommittee Newsletter - Jan 2022

The Racial & Social Justice (RSJ) Subcommittee January newsletter focuses on environmental justice. 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 December 2021

Rob LeeChristmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Rohatsu. All of these holidays celebrate the strength of the human spirit in the midst of trials and tribulations. They remind us of the hope that is possible for the future and that, by joining with others, there can be something greater than our own individual lives. This is the time of year to pause, reflect, and celebrate.

For those of us in the water industry here in the Pacific Northwest, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. We have made tremendous progress in creating awareness of the importance and interconnectivity of our water resources, more funding is headed our way to inject much-needed investment into our aging infrastructure, and the past year has brought a greater understanding of the impact that infrastructure has on social justice and equity.

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Save the Date: Stormwater Learning Hour

Stormwater Learning Hour

***UPDATE: click here to register*** Please save the date for the Stormwater Committee’s next learning hour on Wednesday, January 26 at 12 p.m. PDT. Kaela Mansfield and Kevin Flanagan with Osborn Consulting will present on the West Plains Stormwater Action Plan completed for the rapidly developing West Plains area near Spokane, Washington. The study addressed the question of whether regional stormwater planning can be a catalyst for growth by blurring the interface between public and private stormwater management. The presentation will cover an approach to creating beneficial management strategies that incentivize developers to maximize their footprint by paying stormwater fees for off-site stormwater treatment. A sign-up link will be provided in the January PNCWA digital digest.

Save the Date: Emerging Technologies Webinar in March

pyrolysis

One of the latest technologies that’s gaining interest, and which was recently introduced at the 2021 annual conference, uses sludge as a resource. Called pyrolysis, this process is typically used to transform woody biomass into fuels, soil amendments, and filtration media, but could be a potential alternative to sludge disposal.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Dec 2021

gov't updateSave the date for the Watershed-Based Water Quality Management webinar, which will be held January 25-26, 2022.

The White House released updated state and territory fact sheets that highlight the nationwide impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. The fact sheets detail how the historic legislation will allow states and territories across the country to repair roads and bridges, improve transportation options, build a network of electric vehicles (EV) chargers to accelerate the adoption of EVs, help connect every American to reliable high-speed internet, eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes for clean drinking water, protect against extreme weather events and cyberattacks, and improve our nation’s airports. You can download the fact sheets by state here: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

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Message from the 2022 Conference Chairs

spokane

A Message from Vicky Hollingsworth, PNCWA 2022 Conference Chair

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Member Spotlight: Erica Haide

erica haide

The Member Services Committee is excited to promote our amazing volunteers in our section of the monthly digest. If you know someone we should feature in the “Member Spotlight,” send an email to committee Vice Chair Jen Murphy. For our next spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Erica Haide. Take it away, Erica.

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Get the Word Out on Adopt-a-School

adopt-a-school

Share this image and message on Facebook or Instagram. Help us increase our reach by tagging a teacher or your kids’ schools.

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RSJ Subcommittee Dec 2021 Update

The Racial & Social Justice (RSJ) Subcommittee will be collecting information on current diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) practices that our member associations are implementing. Keep your eyes out for a short survey from the subcommittee in the coming weeks. The next RSJ newsletter is planned for the new year. The subcommittee welcomes your suggestions for content, such as educational materials (i.e. essays, books, podcasts, etc.), membership organization RSJ/DEI programs (i.e. agencies, consulting firms), projects with RSJ elements, and volunteer opportunities. Email Frank Dick with your ideas and suggestions at [email protected]ncouver.us.

PNCWA2021 Donations

boise

The PNCWA 2021 Conference undoubtedly made several changes in how we chose to meet. One of the most notable ways the conference evolved was by reallocating the money spent on attendee swag, which often has a high carbon footprint. Instead, we asked attendees to select one of these worthy causes to give the money to:

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President's Message November 2021

Rob Lee

During this time of year, I’m reminded of the importance of being thankful — or “aware and appreciative of a benefit,” as it’s defined.

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PNCWA2022 Call for Committee Collaborators

Join us as a key member of the 2022 conference committee to continue shaping the future of our annual conference.

conference pictures

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Adopt-a-School Program

schools

We are now accepting applications for the 2022 Adopt-a-School grant program! Grants fund K-12 educational projects focused on water and the environment. In the past, this program has funded field trips, sampling kits, garden boxes, stream cleanups, laboratory equipment, and even rubber boots. The average grant award is $500, and the only requirement is that the students involved tour a local treatment facility or watch a presentation from a water professional. Visit here for more information and the online application. Applications are due January 14, 2022. If you know an educator, please share this program info with them. It’s a chance to get tomorrow’s water professionals engaged today.

Another Successful Communications Camp

Comms Camp 2021

On October 28, 2021, the Communications and Outreach Committee held its annual communications camp, a one-day specialty conference focused on communications skills, in Springfield, Oregon. This year’s event was a big success, with 13 campers in attendance and a mix of virtual and in-person presenters. Proceeds from the camp help fund PNCWA’s Adopt-a-School grant program.

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InFLOW 2022

InFLOW logo

Introducing Future Leaders to Opportunities in Water

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