Conference season has certainly begun and it seems I’ll be on the road for a full three months. WEAO and OWWA in Ontario, BCWWA, CWN’s Blue Cities, AWWA and the Canadian Water Summit. In the middle of all that is a unique event that has been CWWA’s signature event for over 30 years. The Window on Ottawa , June 5th and 6th, stands apart from the rest for its specific focus on federal legislation and policy.
The Call for Presentations for our National Water and Wastewater Conference is now closed, and our Program Technical Committee will be beginning the hard work of assessing the submissions and building the program.
We had over 130 submissions, and are anticipating a fantastic program, with a balance of the latest research from academia, presentations detailing challenges and innovative solutions for utility management and sessions on climate change, utilty security and drinking water and wastewater management.
CWWA’s Drinking Water Quality Committee has been busy in 2018. The Committee meets by teleconference monthly to keep on top of Committee priorities.One of the primary ongoing work items for the group is to review and comment on the Health Canada Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.
The Window on Ottawa is CWWA's core event featuring presentations from federal departments on new legislative initiatives impacting the water and wastewater sector.
The federal government is poised to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure in the coming years, they have also recently introduced extensive amendments to the environmental assessment process and the Fisheries Act. This is a turbulent time for our industry, with many challenges, but also many opportunities. Be informed, be there!
The federal government recently announced a public consultation process to solicit input on key regulations that would be established under its proposed Impact Assessment Act (IAA).
According to the government, the IAA signals a shift from environmental assessment as practiced under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012) to a new impact assessment process that promises to take into consideration the whole range of environmental, health, social and economic effects of projects. “This new regime will shift away from decisions based solely on the significance of effects and focus instead on whether the adverse effects in areas of federal jurisdiction are in the public interest.” To further discussion, consultations on specific aspects of the IAA were recently launched
On March 27, 2018, the federal government’s omnibus Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No 1 received second Reading in the House of Commons. Part 5 of the Bill enacts the Greenhouse Gas Pollution pricing Act - sometimes referred to as the government’s ‘backstop’ legislation - which, along with its companion Fuel Charge Regulation, is designed to apply to provinces and territories without their own carbon pricing plans or with a plan that fails to meet the federal government’s standards.
Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities was joined by Kelly Gillis, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Canada, to provide an update on the Government’s progress in implementing the Investing in Canada long-term infrastructure plan. The progress made on the plan highlights the importance of partnership and collaboration – working with our provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous partners – to provide programs that are flexible and responsive to the needs of Canadians.
Details of Manitoba’s new Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act were released on March 15, 2018. The act includes five separate acts, including:
• a new climate and green plan act that would replace The Climate Change and Emissions Reduction Act and The Sustainable Development Act,
• a new industrial greenhouse-gas emissions control and reporting act, and
• amendments to The Water Protection Act, The Income Tax Act and The Fuel Tax Act.
A Fuel Tax Amendment Act would implement the $25-per-tonne carbon tax on fuel products, and would be administered through the existing fuel tax system for collection and administration.
Key updates to the regulation include, among other things:requiring a source protection authority to identify the necessary updates to a source protection plan to ensure sources of drinking water are protected when municipalities add new or alter their existing drinking water systems; and adding liquid hydrocarbon pipelines to the list of prescribed drinking water threats.
Water workers came to the rescue of a Los Angeles teen after he fell into sewage system on Easter Sunday.
Nutrient loadings (particularly phosphorus) from human, agricultural, and industrial waste, combined with climate change, changes in land use patterns, and invasive species are creating algal blooms in Ontario’s lakes. In some cases, the blooms involve blue-green algae, which can produce harmful toxins. There is no doubt that the rising trend of algal blooms across Ontario’s lakes needs to be addressed by more phosphorus controls.
Canadian Water Network
A new report by Canadian Water Network (CWN) highlights the mounting financial pressures facing Canadian water utilities. Balancing the Books: Financial Sustainability for Canadian Water Systems acknowledges the widening gap between customer expectations and water system revenue to fully recover costs, and provides customizable approaches for municipalities to achieve sustainable water systems for the long term.
Detroit plans to resume water shutoffs next month, and thousands of city residents could be affected.
Recently, the Value of Water Campaign released the results from its third annual national poll demonstrating steadfast bipartisan support for water infrastructure, irrespective of the cost. The results are in and 88 percent of Americans voters agree: Now is the time to invest in the nation's water infrastructure.
Increased numbers of women entering the workforce brings diversity, which is especially beneficial for the water industry. The engineering field is known to be male-dominated. But this is slowly beginning to change, as more and more young women are earning engineering degrees and entering the workforce. In the past, graduating classes from engineering schools may have been 1 or 2 percent female. As of 2016, about 20 percent of engineering graduates were female.