Press Releases

The Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act

The Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act made some progress in Congress last week; it was assigned to a congressional committee for consideration, possibly to be sent on to the House or Senate as a whole. Sponsored by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), the act has two major goals: one is to improve water quality and the other is to provide jobs.
The act emphasizes “innovative” stormwater measures, particularly green infrastructure. It specifically mentions permeable pavement, natural drainage swales, and green roofs as alternatives to conventional stormwater infrastructure. A version of the bill was first introduced in 2013 by Rep. Edwards. You can read the full text of the act here.
According to a statement released by Rep. Edwards, the act will do several things to address water management:

  • Promote the use of innovative stormwater solutions within the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water and related programs and provide technical assistance to states, local governments, and the private sector;
  • Invest in planning, development, and implementation grants for community-based stormwater control projects;
  • Establish up to five Centers of Excellence in various regions of the US that would conduct research, develop recommendations, and provide training and technical assistance for implementing management practices for stormwater control and management; and
  • Promote public-private partnerships to create jobs in the design and construction of innovative stormwater control infrastructure.
    It lists further goals:
  • Improve our nation’s ability to manage clean water resources, including drinking water;
  • Increase research and development of innovative green infrastructure techniques;
  • Create jobs across diverse sectors, such as plumbing, landscaping and engineering;
  • Save taxpayer money by reducing the amount of water entering treatment plants, keeping energy costs low and prolonging the life of existing conventional water infrastructure; and
  • Provide environmental and economic benefits to communities, including reduced flooding and energy use, as well as increased community greenspace and property values.
    As it addresses polluted runoff, flooding, and combined sewer overflows, the act seems similar in intent to the thousands of municipal stormwater permits that are already in place. The Centers of Excellence and the technical assistance it promises, however, as well as more research and development on specific green infrastructure techniques, could benefit communities across the board.
    What’s your take on the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act—will it help further clean water interests, or is it redundant with existing legislation?

By: Kaspersen, Janice: Stormwater Editor

Thieves Posing As Water Utility Workers On The Rise

Water utilities are on high alert this year, trying to prevent their customers from getting scammed.

In Hillsboro, OR, police are warning “the public to be safe and be aware of activity by utility worker impostors. Police recently received a report of two male suspects who gained access to a water customer’s residence by posing as employees,” the Oregonian reported.

The local water department and the Tualatin Valley Water District headed up outreach to ratepayers, explaining how to identify if a person is truly a water employee.

“[They both said] their employees drive vehicles with utility logos displaying state-exempt license plates, carry identification and usually wear uniforms. The utilities also said employees will never ask to enter a home without a prior appointment,” the report said.

In Waco, TX, water utilities are working to stop a similar problem.

“Officials are warning of a scam after three business customers reported incidents [in February] in which the companies were contacted by someone claiming to collect payment for Waco’s water department, city water utilities spokesman Jonathan Echols said,” the Waco Tribune reported.

“In each case, someone placed a phone call to a business claiming to be a city of Waco employee and said water service would be disconnected unless the business made an immediate credit card payment over the phone, Echols said,” according to the report. “Waco’s water utility services department does not initiate calls to customers demanding immediate payment, he said.”

The nation’s largest publicly traded utility, American Water, has done outreach around a scam that used President Obama’s name to fool unsuspecting customers.

“The scam, which has been reported in a number of states, claims that President Barack Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. Customers are asked to provide their social security numbers to apply for the program. The scammers then give customers a phony bank routing number,” the company explained.

“Customers are told to provide the routing number to pay their utility bills or to receive a credit on their utility bills. According to reports, the scammers are also emailing, texting and using social media to reach customers,” the company said.

Despite that the utility had only recorded one instance of the scam occurring, the company decided to begin outreach anyway. Vice President of Customer Service Meg Neafsey explained the approach.

“We care about our customers and want to protect them from becoming victims of identity theft,” she said. “American Water customer service representatives do not ask customers to tell them their social security number for any transactions, nor do they ask for a customer’s password. If anyone asks for this information, do not provide it.”

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Releases Civil Works Strategic Plan

Washington /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) today released its “Sustainable Solutions to America’s Water Resources Needs: Civil Works Strategic Plan 2014-2018” that articulates five goals that will guide USACE into the future.

“This strategic plan presents USACE’s commitment to responsibly develop the Nation’s water resources, while protecting, restoring and sustaining environmental quality. USACE is dedicated to learning from the past and adapting the organization to ensure the U.S. enjoys a prosperous and sustainable future,” said Steven L. Stockton, USACE director of Civil Works.

USACE has been a leader in developing and managing water resources in the United States for more than 230 years and is committed to continuing the advancement of its Civil Works Program through the five strategic goals presented in the Strategic Plan. Those goals are to:

Transform the Civil Works Program to deliver sustainable water resources solutions through Integrated Water Resources Management;

Improve the safety and resilience of communities and water resources infrastructure;

Facilitate the transportation of commerce goods on the Nation’s coastal channels and inland waterways;

Restore, protect, and manage aquatic ecosystems to benefit the Nation; and

Manage the life-cycle of water resources infrastructure systems in order to consistently deliver sustainable services.

The Strategic Plan will guide USACE mission accomplishment and translate the organization’s vision into reality. The plan lays out an overarching Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) strategy that embraces a holistic focus on water resources challenges and opportunities that reflects development and management of water, land and related resources. The IWRM approach is supported by six cross-cutting, overarching strategies:

Systems Approach – Water resources planning and management should be watershed-based using systems analysis methods and tools to understand, assess and model the interconnected nature of hydrologic watersheds/systems, the economic and ecologic systems they support, and identify and evaluate management alternatives and holistic inputs and outputs.

Collaboration and Partnering – Build and sustain collaboration and partnerships with other agencies and organizations at all levels to leverage authorities, resources, talent, data, and research.

Risk-Informed Decision Making and Communication – Develop and employ risk- and reliability-based approaches that incorporate consequence analysis, especially risk to humans; identify, evaluate, and forestall possible failure mechanisms; and quantify and communicate residual risk.

Innovative Financing – Seek innovative arrangements such as public-private partnerships, revised funding prioritizations, and other appropriate funding mechanisms to develop and sustain water resources infrastructure.

Adaptive Management – Use adaptive management, a life-cycle decision process that promotes flexible decision making that can be adjusted in the face of risks and uncertainties, as outcomes from management actions and other events become better understood through monitoring and improved knowledge.

State-of-the-Art Technology – Embrace new and emerging technology and research that improve infrastructure resiliency, assist in updating design criteria, improve approaches toward planning and design, and support smart decisions.

“Sustainable Solutions to America’s Water Resources Needs: Civil Works Strategic Plan 2014-2018” is available on the web at
http://www.usace.army.mil/Portals/2/docs/civilworks/news/2014-18_cw_stratplan.pdf.

Usgbc Cces
Triton Stormwater Solutions, LLC
7600 Grand River Rd, Suite 195
Brighton, Michigan 48114
Phone: (810) 222-7652 - Fax: (810) 222-1769
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