What an amazing year 2020 was! Back in January, which feels like a lifetime ago, ASDWA was making plans for the March member meeting in Alexandria. So very quickly we made the shift to virtual meetings and focused on the pressing need of helping keep our water systems operating safely during an unprecedented global health crisis.
Even though we worked remotely, we responded to countless emergencies including hurricanes, flooding, tornados, ice storms and wildfires. Many states developed and expanded online training.
This was also an active year on Capitol Hill and ASDWA continued to be very active with EPA.
We overcame many challenges last year and demonstrated how innovative and resilient state drinking water programs can be. While it was not how I envisioned my year as ASDWA President, I could not be more proud of the work we have accomplished. You have done incredible things and you so rarely receive the credit that you deserve. Thank you! I look forward to 2021 and am excited to see great things Cathy Tucker-Vogel and Lori Mathieu will do in their time leading ASDWA.
Stay safe and I hope that we can be together in person again soon.
- Shellie R. Chard, Water Quality Division Director, Oklahoma DEQ, 2020 ASDWA President
I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the new administrators. I look forward to meeting all of you in person and I encourage you to get involved in ASDWA committees or workgroups. Participation provides an opportunity to network with other administrators and their staff, influence ASDWA policy/program development, and learn about innovative approaches used to address drinking water challenges in other states. I would also encourage veteran administrators that have not participated in the past to get involved so that we can all benefit from your knowledge and expertise. Your participation helps ASDWA remain a strong and effective organization.
This year, we need to continue to enhance ASDWA’s relationship with Congressional staff so that we are considered the “go to” organization for drinking water related issues. One of the most pressing issues is the importance of adequately funding state drinking water programs. This will be especially important during 2021 because of the impact COVID-19 has had on state budgets.
My thanks to Shellie Chard for her excellent leadership in 2020. Her thoughtful and steady guidance helped us all navigate through a difficult year. I welcome president-elect Lori Mathieu and the new, incoming board members as well as our returning board members. I look forward to working with you to meet our challenges with your support and advice. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy so we can have a happy and productive 2021.
- Cathy Tucker-Vogel, 2021 ASDWA President, Public Water Supply Section Chief, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
We Brought Members Everything But The Bagel
With the shift to the virtual environment, we quickly adapted to host more virtual meetings on current and important drinking water topics. We began hosting short, monthly meetings with our members in August, what we call Everything But the Bagel, to discuss relevant topics and resources and provide opportunities for member input on ASDWA actions. We also hosted two short Afternoon Coffees and conducted two Summer Book Club webinars to read Troubled Water by Seth M. Siegel and Tucson Water Turnaround by Michael J. McGuire and Marie Pearthree.
We Helped Advance States’ Perspectives on the LCRR
In 2020, ASDWA brought the state perspective to the federal Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) through extensive comments to and discussion with EPA. ASDWA also supported states by developing tools and resources for lead service line inventories/replacements and corrosion control treatment.
ASDWA staff worked closely with over 40 volunteers to states to submit an 80-page set of comments to EPA on the proposed LCRR in February 2020 that detailed states’ issues and concerns.
ASDWA’s comments also included an update to its Costs of States’ Transaction Study (CoSTS), which determined that the national total need for states to implement the proposed LCRR in its first five years would be approximately 835,000 additional staff hours annually. These comments served as the foundation for Then President-Elect Cathy Tucker-Vogel’s testimony about the LCRR to the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
To further support states, ASDWA worked to develop resources related to lead including a webinar and a white paper on lead service line replacements and data, and is partnering with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) to build and deliver training on corrosion control treatment to states, water systems, and consultants.