The Sustainability Committee facilitates professional development in the areas of social, environmental, technical and cultural advancement by meeting the clean water needs of the present generation without compromising the clean water needs of future generations.
We have facilitated a sustainability track of presentations at the Annual Conference, organized a specialty conference or pre-conference workshop at the Annual Conference to provide exposure to new sustainability topics, and submitted articles concerning sustainability in the PNCWA Newsletter.
We meet on a quarterly basis to conduct committee business.
News & Highlights
Free Workshop: Resilience Planning & Adaptation for Drinking Water, Wastewater, Storm Water Utilities
During this free, one-day training in Seattle on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, participants will learn how changing environmental conditions and extreme weather events in the Pacific Northwest could impact their utilities. Participants will also explore potential vulnerabilities to water infrastructure and strategies for reducing risk and enhancing utility resilience.
The workshop, offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is designed for participants who have the ability to make or influence planning and resource allocation decisions within drinking water, wastewater, or stormwater utilities and from governmental agencies who work with water utilities. Participants will learn about tools and resources available through the Creating Resilient Water Utilities initiative. The workshop will also provide opportunities for collaboration and the exchange of ideas for the identification and implementation of adaptation strategies that can assist in reducing risks from changing environmental conditions.
Read more about the workshop here, or register today by clicking here.
Climate Change Position Paper
In 2015, the PNCWA Sustainability Committee, led by chair Cyndy Bratz (TetraTech), produced a position paper on Climate Change Resiliency and Action for PNCWA Members. As the paper notes, climate change is resulting in conditions that will adversely impact human health and the environment – those very things that PNCWA exists to protect. To provide useful information on which PNCWA members can act, the position paper first summarizes the scientific consensus on climate change and details climate change impacts in the Pacific Northwest. Next, the paper notes two categories of action PNCWA members can take to help build a new framework to inform decision-making and actions. The paper concludes with eight recommendations to encourage members to put these actions into motion. Climate change may provide a daunting challenge, but many hands make light work. Read the full position paper.
Envision Infrastructure Sustainability Rating System Gaining Traction
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Envision certification system is gaining traction in wastewater treatment. Envision has been called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for infrastructure, and follows a similar structure to the LEED rating system. Five categories – Leadership, Quality of Life, Resource Allocation, Natural World and Climate and Risk – comprise the Envision rating system. A total of 60 specific credits created to meet triple bottom line (environmental, economic, equitable) criteria are distributed among the five categories to create and deliver sustainable infrastructure.
New York Department of Environmental Quality’s $150 million upgrade of its Brooklyn 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant earned a Silver award in August of 2015. This was the first wastewater treatment plant project in the United States to receive an Envision award.
King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division (Seattle) currently has three diverse wastewater projects in design that plan to apply for Envision certification: Sunset and Heathfield Pump Stations and Force Main Upgrade, Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station, and North Mercer Island and Enantai Sewer Upgrade.