Filtered by author: MRS PacNW Water Nerds Clear Filter

President’s Message February 2022

Rob Lee새해 복 많이 받으세요! In Korean, this phrase means, “Please receive many new year’s blessings.”

Whether you celebrate the start of the new year (per the lunar calendar) or cannot believe we’re already in the second month of the solar calendar, my hope is that each and every person reading this heads into 2022 with many blessings to come.

PNCWA exists to share blessings with our industry and the communities we serve. I’m so excited to gather together for our annual conference, which will be held in person in Spokane, WA, and bless each other by sharing our experiences and lessons learned from all the good work being conducted out there. Don’t forget to submit an abstract, due February 25!

I’m absolutely amazed by the ways I’ve seen individuals give, and the blessing that it bestows on our entire region — folks like Brittany Downing (InFLOW Committee Chair), who is leading the efforts to bring in the next InFLOW class and spur on our next generation of diverse leaders, or Caitlyn Dwyer (Government Affairs Committee Chair), who facilitated the recent Watershed Based Water Quality workshop. And I’m blown away by the work being done by Vicky Hollingsworth and Jeff Schmidt and the entire Conference Committee, who are planning our next conference. There’s so much going on, and there are so many ways to get plugged in! All it takes is an ask!

There’s a spiritual saying that goes, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” In my personal experience, that’s absolutely true. And I would love each and every one of you to receive that same blessing. So reach out to PNCWA ([email protected]), send me a note, or ping a board member or committee chair, and we’ll get you connected and provide clear, discrete ways you can give… and be blessed.

we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give

Apply to Become a Mentor or Mentee By Feb. 28

mentor program

The PNCWA Mentorship Program application is now open! This one-year program pairs seasoned clean water professionals with students and young professionals for a series of conversations and learning opportunities to challenge and inspire us and to help us stay connected. It’s a great way to grow your career as well as your PNCWA network. If you’re an experienced professional interested in guiding the industry’s future leaders, or a student or young professional seeking advice from someone who has faced the same career questions, consider participating in the 2022 program.

For more information, visit our webpage.

Read More

Last Tech Spotlight Before the March 2 Emerging Technologies Webinar

emerging tech webinar

In recent newsletters, the Emerging Technologies Committee has highlighted topics to be covered in the upcoming CEU-eligible webinar, “Advances in Collection to Recovery: Tech Highlights from the 2021 PNCWA Annual Conference.” The final two topics are summarized below, and the committee encourages PNCWA members and non-members alike to grab a lunch or midday coffee and join this innovation-packed webinar at 12 p.m. PST on Wednesday, March 2.

Read More

Stormwater Learning Hour February 2022

Stormwater Learning Hour

Join the Stormwater Committee’s next learning hour tomorrow, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. PST. Matt Knudsen and Stephanie Rosentrater from Marion County Public Works will present on the environmental impacts to County property and right-of-way caused by the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire, which devastated many communities in the Santiam Canyon, destroyed thousands of properties, and severely altered the landscape. Connect via Zoom here:
Meeting ID: 883 1348 3166
Passcode: Stormwater

Read More

Government Affairs Committee Update Feb 2022

gov't updateOn January 31, 2022, the White House released a comprehensive guidebook on the funding programs in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the bipartisan infrastructure package.

“This guidebook is another step in our effort to be as transparent as possible, so you know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild,” according to Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. “After all, most of the building will actually be done by state, Tribal, and local government partners.”

Read More

Water Resource Recovery Facility Spotlight - City of Coeur d’Alene’s Coeur d’Green Composting Facility

Resource Recovery in Action: City of Coeur d’Alene’s Coeur d’GreenTM Composting Facility turns municipal biosolids into nutrient-rich soil amendment.

The City of Coeur d’Alene has been a pioneer in the wastewater treatment industry since 1939, when it’s 10,000 residents passed a bond to build one of the first secondary wastewater treatment plants in the Northwest (for a whopping $140,000!). Then, in 1989, the City again demonstrated its pioneering efforts in resource recovery with the construction of a composting facility that converts biosolids from the City’s wastewater treatment facility into a high-quality soil amendment using the aerated static pile composting method. The Class A Exceptional Quality product has been affectionately coined Coeur d’GreenTM compost and is unrestricted for horticultural uses. Since 1989, the composting facility has gone through many upgrades to improve operations and the quality of the end product, including covered wood chip storage, added bays for aerated curing, and upgraded conveying, mixing, and screening equipment. Figure 1 below is a schematic of the current composting process.

Read More

Oregon Region Excellence in Service Award Winner

Hank Erbele

Hank Erbele has been awarded the 2021 PNCWA Oregon Region Excellence in Service Award, which recognizes those who have given truly outstanding service in one or more of the following aspects of the water quality industry: providing leadership in Section, Region, or Member Associations, delivering conference teaching, and impacting operator training, including the development of training courses that advance the knowledge of water quality operators. Hank has served in various leadership roles in the Oregon Region and Oregon’s West Central Operators Section for about 20 years. Congratulations, Hank!

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:

Read More

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.

Read More

Leadership Committee Update


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.”

Read More

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


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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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


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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Message from the 2022 Conference Chairs


A Message from Vicky Hollingsworth, PNCWA 2022 Conference Chair

Read More

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.

Read More

Get the Word Out on 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.

Read More