Onward and Upward: Join AEA’s Virtual Utility Management Conference & Celebrate Our 50th Anniversary

Posted on: February 5th, 2021 by eric

March 9 and 10, 2021

TCHs pending

This year’s Virtual Conference is coming, and it coincides with AEA’s 50th Anniversary, so it’s going to be something special.

Make your plans now to join AEA for the kick off of our 50th anniversary at the utility management conference on March 9 and 10. Topics to be presented include:

  • 50th Anniversary Presentation
  • Managing through a Crisis
  • Top HR issues
  • Improving your Utility with Innovative Technologies

And more. Videos from the Wave Award recipients will be presented.

Full details are still to come. Check back later for registration information.

AEA NJPDES Committee Makes Case for Science-based Approach to Address PFAS Chemicals in Surface Water

Posted on: February 4th, 2021 by Peggy Gallos

The AEA NJPDES Committee in January presented well-reasoned recommendations regarding future regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in surface waters in testimony to the Clean Water Council (CWC). AEA advised the CWC and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to formulate permitting regulations informed by EPA-approved testing and data being collected by drinking water purveyors.

The CWC is required to hold an annual public hearing but COVID pushed the 2020 hearing into 2021; it was held Jan. 21 virtually. The hearing opened with remarks by Shawn LaTourette, Acting Commissioner, along with Virginia Wong, Chief, NPDES Permit Program, Water Division at USEPA Region 2 as well as Meg Parish, permits section manager, and Josie Nusz, water quality scientist, both from the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

Pam Carolan, executive director of Mount Laurel Township MUA and committee chair, was the first of representatives from AEA-member organizations who testified. She was followed by Tom Laustsen of Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, Ron Anastasio of Somerset Raritan Valley RSA, Mike Wynne of Hanover Sewerage Authority, Diane Alexander of Maraziti Falcon, John Scheri of Mott MacDonald, and Dennis Palmer of Landis SA.

PVSC also arranged for Attorney Amanda Waters of Aqualaw, a Maryland-based firm with expertise in water, wastewater and related law, to testify. The entire AEA NJPDES Committee worked together to formulate the testimony.

Ms. Carolan testified that the wastewater sector shares the concerns about the presence of PFAS compounds in the environment.

“We are partners in environmental protection,” she said, noting that AEA members have worked successfully with the DEP to address nitrate in the Passaic River and PCBs in the Delaware River.

Several speakers advised the CWC that source control is the best option for managing PFAS chemicals. AEA recommended that New Jersey allow time for the gathering and analysis of the valuable data that new drinking water regulations will provide to help determine locations in the State of greatest concern. AEA noted that although there is no EPA-approved method of analysis for wastewater at this time, it is expected soon. Waiting for that approved method would create clarity and uniformity.

Treating PFAS chemicals in wastewater is a problematic approach because of limitations in technology available and the great costs of these technologies, Mr. Scheri and Mr. Palmer testified.

Mr. Laustsen described steps PVSC is already taking to track potential sources of PFAS in its flow. He and several speakers discussed the value of this type of voluntary monitoring. The State should take a targeted approach, using source control and protection of drinking water intakes as the objectives, several speakers advised.

AEA testimony also advised the State be cognizant of the impact surface water regulations could have on the processing of biosolids, limiting well-accepted approaches like land application and causing big cost increases.

AEA submitted a seven-page comment document to the CWC on Jan. 29, available for reading and download here. Among other entities that submitted written comments were PVSC, Landis SA, and Pinelands Wastewater Company, which is owned by Middlesex Water.

The CWC is a statutorily created body of State government established in 1967 to serve as an advisory board to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and to improve the water pollution control program in New Jersey. The Council consists of 18 appointed members: seven permanent members and 11 members who serve for four year terms. For its current membership, follow the link: https://www.nj.gov/dep/cleanwatercouncil/cwcmembers.htm.

Interested in learning more about the AEA NJPDES Committee or becoming a members? Contact Peggy Gallos.

Nominate someone for a WAVE Award and recognize excellence!

Posted on: December 18th, 2020 by eric

The Association of Environmental Authorities bestows Wave Awards to recognize excellence in the public water, wastewater, recycling, and solid waste sector in New Jersey. Submissions are reviewed by a three- member committee.

You may view and download a nomination form at this linkNominations are due Jan. 22, 2021

Why Should I Submit a Nomination?

Good work deserves attention. By submitting, you foster more success. You instill pride. You motivate. You help us raise awareness about the work we all do.

How Do I Submit A Nomination?

Complete the appropriate nomination form (see below). For each nomination, explain why the organization or individual award is merited. Include supporting documentation such as news stories, resumes, testimonial letters, or other material. Relevant project cost, savings attributed to an effort or project, descriptions of methodologies and other pertinent and distinguishing information should be included. Include photos or charts too, if applicable. Note: Certain limits on who can submit in some categories. See individual award type descriptions.

Nominations are due Jan. 22, 2021

Send the nomination via email (preferred method) to Karen Burris, by fax to 609-584-8271, or by postal mail, addressed to Karen, at the AEA offices, 2333 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road, Suite 2, Mercerville, 08619. For more information, contact Peggy or Karen.

Award Descriptions

Up-and-Comer

This award is aimed at helping cultivate association leadership and honor those who volunteer time and effort to AEA. The individual receiving this award is on the staff of a member organization and has, in the last three years, been consistently active and engaged in AEA, making a significant contribution to AEA and its members. Staff of regular and municipal member organizations eligible.

Individual Achievement

Recognizes extraordinary performance of duties of an operations or non-managerial staff member under difficult, adverse or challenging circumstances and/or recognizes skill and dedication. Ineligible: executive directors or department managers. Eligible: individual from regular and municipal member organizations.

Mutual Aid Achievement Award

Recognizes AEA regular or municipal member organization for outstanding or extraordinary effort to assist one or more member organizations during the past year. This awards celebrates the essence of AEA, because it is about banding together to face challenges and promote mutual interests.

Wave Service Award

Given to a non-member, individual who has gone to great lengths or effort over time to help AEA achieve its goals. This individual may be a regulator, a member of a local, state or federal legislative body or someone from any organization AEA works with in an on-going manner.

Life Member

Throughout AEAs history, there have been individuals from member organizations, who have devoted themselves to AEA, serving, volunteering and participating, and making outstanding contributions to AEA over time. Eligible individuals, from member organizations, may still be working in their profession or may be retired. The award permanently waives dues for the Lifetime Member upon their retirement, and it entitles them to attend AEA events. Lifetime Membership benefits do not accrue to the organization employing the honoree.

Outstanding Commissioner Award

This award will be given to a member of an authority board who: Has served six years or more; embodies a “customer service ethic” by consistently acting in the best interests of ratepayers; has fostered positive relationships/mutual understanding between a regular/municipal member and its community or between the member organization and legislators; has supported AEA through active participation in AEA events; has offered outstanding leadership. Nominees must be nominated by two other commissioners. Executive directors and professional consultants may not nominate commissioners.

Outstanding Associate Member, Individual

This award goes to an individual employed by an associate member company, who has been active in AEA for more than 6 years and who has contributed in an exceptional manner to AEA through his or her committee work, by speaking or writing to inform and educate members in publications or at workshops and conferences, or who has supported AEA regulatory, legislative or public relations initiatives. Nominations can come from regular, municipal and associate members. But associate members may not nominate someone from their own company.

Outstanding Associate Member, Organization.

This award recognizes an AEA associate member organization that has been a member for six or more consecutive years and that has supported AEA through active participation in committees, as presenters, through sponsorships, contributing to AEA education efforts or in some way consistently supported AEA. Only AEA Board and Executive Committee members may submit nominations, and the recipient is chosen by the Executive Committee.

Forward Thinking Award

This award recognizes regular or municipal member innovation. It is presented to members that adopt successful new approaches or techniques in use of technology, facility design, or management. Authorities will submit applications for review by a selection committee.

Public Education Award

This award recognizes an outstanding public relations or public education efforts on the part of regular or municipal members. The efforts must promote understanding of the water, wastewater, solid waste or recycling industries, provide insight into the vital nature of AEA members’ services, or encourage vocational development in the environmental management field. Regular, municipal or associate members may submit nominations for this award.

Best Management Practices Award

This award goes to an authority/municipality that has implemented a process or program that addressed a need and resulted in measurable improvement in personnel management, consumables and inventory management, technical systems, facility operations and maintenance, performance measurement, security measures, customer service or energy. Regular and municipal members may make nominations in this category.

Energy Savers Award

This award recognizes good management and innovation in connection with energy. Success in saving energy costs or consumption, adopting innovation technology or managing energy use are the types of efforts recognized with this award.

You may view and download a nomination form at this linkNominations are due Jan. 22, 202

Presentations From 2020 AEA Conference Available For Download

Posted on: December 9th, 2020 by eric

A number of presentations from our 2020 Annual Conference are now available for download in PDF form. Hopefully these documents will serve as a supplement to any notes taken at the conference and will provide  reference for you on these important topics.

The following presentations are available:

Strategic Planning Presentation

Introduction to Water CoopWilliam Senft presentation

COVID-19 Effects in the Bond Market – New COVID Related Borrowing
Robbi Acampora
Bob Beinfield

Selected Initiatives that Utilities Can Implement to Bolster their Financial Health and ResilienceAlan Karnovitz

Current Topics in Water Resources ManagementJohn Gray

Environmental Justice LegislationSean Moriarity

Developing Cyber Risk Awareness and Mitigation: Be Prepared!David Brearly and Jim Schultz

Policies, Politics and PandemicsDavid Smith

Agenda & Registration for AEA’s Annual Conference are now available

Posted on: October 26th, 2020 by eric

AEA is going virtual because of the pandemic.  We will be online to provide ESSENTIAL information providers of ESSENTIAL service need to navigate challenges and continue great service.

AEA Annual Meeting & Conference
November 12
and 13, 2020


Thursday
2.5 w tchs / 3 ww tchs
Friday 1.5 w tchs / 2 ww tchs
(Attendance for the entire day required in order to receive credit)

Topics include:

  • William Senft, EJ Water Trust, Inc. will give an Introduction to the Water Coop: a Non-profit Model of Water and Wastewater Service Delivery
  • John Gray, NJDEP will talk about Current Topics in Water Resources Management at the NJDEP
  • Rob Newby, NJDEP Division of Science and Research will present an Old Tool, New Use: Using Wastewater Epidemiology as a Strategy to Fight SARS-CoV-2
  • David A. Smith, Princeton Public Affairs Group, Inc. will wrap up with Policies, Politics and Pandemics

TCH credits for operators will be offered both days at a fee of $99 for the first 2 registrants and $50 for each additional registrant from the same organization. Introduce More of Your Folks to AEA! Our low, $25 non-TCH rate is a great way to introduce commissioners, administrative staff, operations professionals, and consultants to AEA. 

You will not be able to access the Zoom meeting without first registering. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Agenda
On-line Registration
Registration Form
Sponsor Form

 

Governor Bans Shutoffs of Drinking Water Due to Nonpayment Until March 15

Posted on: October 20th, 2020 by eric

Last week Governor Murphy announced an Executive Order prohibiting water systems from shutting off the water service to residential customers for non-payment through March 15. The order covers accounts that primarily serve residential customers. The EO will also require reconnection of any service shut off for non-payment since March 16, 2020, except in the cases of public health and safety. The EO does not cover sewer utilities. 


            About half of AEA drinking water members, that provide water to about one million people in New Jersey, do not  shut off the supply of drinking water to a home in the event of non-payment as a matter of policy


            As a matter of public health, our members that have shut off policies suspended this activity voluntarily at the outset of the pandemic. Our private/corporate purveyor drinking water colleagues also suspended shut offs voluntarily until Oct. 15.  


            There has been scant indication that anyone was continuing to do shutoffs, or leaving people without water, during the pandemic. Staff from DEP and BPU have indicated they have not received complaints of drinking water service shut offs for non-payment during the pandemic. Nor have cases like this come up at weekly cross-sector online pandemic-response meetings involving utilities and relevant State agencies. 


            AEA members are hometown utilities, accessible to customers. This gives them the ability to respond directly to individual financial hardships of customers by waiving interest charges on overdue bills and refraining from lien enforcement. While the Governor’s announcement said, “customers who are able to do so will be urged to continue to make payments,” some members have expressed worry that mandatory no-shutoffs give cover to people who are able to pay their bills but choose not to. The financial implications of no-shutoff policies become more severe as the pandemic and its economic impacts continue. 


            The Governor’s EO suggested that those in need of financial assistance reach out to their utility directly.